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The Doctor Is In

Make money with: furniture repair, home safety, cruise travel.

Helpless furnishings everywhere sport battle wounds from the occasional moving mishap. If you have a knack for restoring their natural beauty, consider Furniture Medic LP, the Memphis, Tennessee-based franchisor that calls itself "the prescription for damaged furniture."

According to president Todd Vieyra, top Furniture Medic accounts include moving companies, the insurance industry (restoring flood- or fire-damaged furnishings), commercial properties, and government properties (refinishing furnishings in courthouses and federal buildings).

A franchise fee of either $11,400 or $16,400, depending on territory size, buys your license to practice furniture medicine. Franchisees receive extensive training, including a two-week home study course, two weeks of training in Memphis, and a mentor program pairing new franchisees with established ones. Annual regional meetings and national conventions help polish skills, as does a yearly training-video update.

Additional start-up costs, beginning at $3,500, cover an equipment package and start-up marketing tools. A company van is required; if it's purchased through Furniture Medic, the company handles the $500 down payment. The monthly royalty fee is $200 or 7 percent of gross sales; advertising royalties are $30 or 1 percent of gross sales.

So far, approximately 425 franchisees in North America have found success as furniture "M.D.s." Those grossing less than $250,000 per year typically run their franchises from home; higher revenue usually requires a commercial location. To aid furniture in distress, call (800)?77-9933.

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