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75 Franchises Helping Pay Back Veterans

75 Franchises Helping Pay Back Veterans
Image credit: Shutterstock

Two years ago, the International Franchise Association launched Operation Enduring Opportunity, a campaign that aimed to see 80,000 military veterans and their spouses become franchisees or find employment with franchised businesses by 2014. Today, the group is well on its way to achieving that goal.

As part of the campaign, some 64,000 veterans started careers in franchising--more than 4,300 of them as franchise owners. That's due in no small part to franchisors ramping up their efforts to recruit veterans, who many consider ideal franchisees thanks to their training and experience working within a disciplined system. Numerous franchisors offer veterans incentives like franchise-fee and royalty reductions to thank them for their service and make it easier for them to become business owners.

On the following pages you'll find the top 75 franchises that offer incentives for veterans, listed in order of their 2013 Franchise 500® ranking. We've provided details on what incentives each company offers, as well as information on the extra efforts some of them are taking to honor those who have served in the nation's armed forces.

This list is not intended as an endorsement of any particular franchise. Incentives are just one aspect you should consider when investing in any business opportunity. Always read the company's legal documents, consult with an attorney and an accountant and talk to existing franchisees about their experiences to decide if a franchise is right for you.

1. Subway
Submarine sandwiches
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 2
Startup cost: $85.7K-$262.9K
Franchise fee: $15K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 39,767/0
Incentive: Franchise fee waived if opening on a military/government location; 50 percent off franchise fee if opening on a nongovernment location but receiving government financing

2. 7-Eleven
Convenience store
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 4
Startup cost: $30.8K-$1.5M
Franchise fee: $10K-$1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 46,821/477
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

3. Supercuts
Hair salon
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 5
Startup cost: $103.6K-$196.5K
Franchise fee: $27.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,116/1,211
Incentive: $2,500 off franchise fee

4. Anytime Fitness
Fitness center
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 6
Startup cost: $61.6K-$345.5K
Franchise fee: $23.99K-$29.99K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,149/20
Incentive: 20 percent off franchise fee

5. Dunkin' Donuts
Coffee, doughnuts, baked goods
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 13
Startup cost: $310.3K-$1.8M
Franchise fee: $40K-$90K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 10,457/7
Incentive: 20 percent off franchise feefor up to five units

6. Jan-Pro Franchising
International Commercial cleaning
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 19
Startup cost: $3.1K-$50.4K
Franchise fee: $2.8K-$44K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 11,146/0
Incentive: Up to 20 percent off franchise fee

7. System4
Commercial cleaning
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 20
Startup cost: $6.2K-$37.8K
Franchise fee: $4.4K-$32K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,198/3
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

8. Miracle-Ear
Hearing instruments
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 21
Startup cost: $119K-$287.5K
Franchise fee: $20K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,290/9
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

9. Papa John's International
Pizza
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 23
Startup cost: $175K-$250K
Franchise fee: $0-$25K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,572/674
Incentive: Franchise fee waived; up to $50,000
in free equipment; royalty waived for up to
one year; $3,000 food-purchase credit

10. ServiceMaster Clean
Cleaning and disaster restoration
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 24
Startup cost: $48.6K-$176.3K
Franchise fee: $24.9K-$67K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,932/0
Incentive: 15 percent off franchise fee

11. Vanguard Cleaning Systems
Commercial cleaning
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 25
vanguardcleaning.com
Startup cost: $9.9K-$35.8K
Franchise fee: $8.6K-$32.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,696/0
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

12. Snap-on Tools
Professional tools and equipment
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 26
Startup cost: $143.7K-$307.7K
Franchise fee: $7.5K-$15K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,538/242
Incentive: $20,000 off startup inventory

 
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Snap-on Tools announced this year that it will send current and former franchisees who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam on a trip to Washington, D.C., through a $50,000 donation to the Honor Flight Network.

13. Liberty Tax Service
Individual and online tax preparation
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 28
Startup cost: $56.8K-$69.9K
Franchise fee: $40K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,286/234
Incentive: Special financing

14. Great Clips
Hair salon
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 29
Startup cost: $109.2K-$208.3K
Franchise fee: $20K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,287/0
Incentive: $5,000 off first-store franchise fee

15. Papa Murphy's
Take-and-bake pizza
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 30
Startup cost: $215.9K-$378.4K
Franchise fee: $25K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,298/63
Incentive: Discounted royalty fee

16. Midas International
Auto repair and maintenance
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 31
Startup cost: $123.6K-$412.2K
Franchise fee: $30K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,185/72
Incentive: Franchise fee waived

17. The UPS Store
Postal, business and communications services
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 32
Startup cost: $148.7K-$347.2K
Franchise fee: $29.95K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,739/0
Incentive: $10,000 off franchisee fee
and 50 percent off application fee

 
The UPS Store waived its franchise fees for 20 veterans in 2012. This year, the company committed to hiring more than 25,000 veterans over the next five years and to pledging more than 25,000 employee volunteer hours to veterans service organizations.

18. GNC Franchising
Vitamin and nutrition store
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 33
Startup cost: $185.5K-$281.4K
Franchise fee: $40K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,669/3,151
Incentive: 50 percent off first-store
franchise fee

19. Cruise Planners-American
Express Travel
Cruise and tour travel agency
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 34
Startup cost: $2.1K-$22.5K
Franchise fee: $495-$9.99K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,455/0
Incentive: $1,000 off franchise fee; $500 marketing credit; free training for second person; three months of website hosting and support

20. Circle K
Convenience store
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 36
Startup cost: $210.5K-$1.6M
Franchise fee: $25K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,593/3,142
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

21. Merry Maids
Residential cleaning
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 38
Startup cost: $60.2K-$87.8K
Franchise fee: $36.5K-$50.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,431/236
Incentive: 15 percent off franchise fee

22. Anago Cleaning Systems
Commercial cleaning
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 39
Startup cost: $5.6K-$32.4K
Franchise fee: $4.6K-$32.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,438/0
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

23. Edible Arrangements International
Sculpted fresh fruit bouquets
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 40
Startup cost: $153.1K-$278.1K
Franchise fee: $30K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,093/0
Incentive: $10,000 off first-store franchise fee

 
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This year, Edible Arrangements launched its "Hero's Welcome" program to veterans who want to be franchisees; the program includes specialized training and mentoring from existing franchisees who are also military veterans.

24. Matco Tools
Mechanics' tools and service equipment
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 41
Startup cost: $88.9K-$243.7K
Franchise fee: $0
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,425/6
Incentive: $10,000 in inventory

25. Auntie Anne's
Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels
Pretzels
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 44
Startup cost: $194.9K-$367.6K
Franchise fee: $30K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,373/17
Incentive: $10,000 off franchise fee

26. The Maids
Residential cleaning
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 46
Startup cost: $95.6K-$123.4K
Franchise fee: $10K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,085/33
Incentive: $4,000 off franchise fee

27. Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
Carpet, drapery and upholstery cleaning; tile and stone care
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 48
Startup cost: $29.95K-$131K
Franchise fee: $14.95K-$19.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,522/0
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

28. Sport Clips
Men's sports-theme hair salon
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 49
Startup cost: $158.3K-$306.5K
Franchise fee: $25K-$49.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,029/28
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

 
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In February, Sport Clips—which has sponsored and partnered with a number of veterans organizations over the years—appointed Matt Deputy, an Air Force reservist who spent eight years on active duty, as its veterans affairs officer. The company has also announced that it will fund a new scholarship program to help vets transition into civilian careers.

29. Meineke Car Care Centers
Car parts, oil changes
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 51
Startup cost: $148.9K-$412.8K
Franchise fee: $30K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 959/19
Incentive: 25 percent off franchise fee

30. Cold Stone Creamery
Ice cream, sorbet
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 53
Startup cost: $286.1K-$474.3K
Franchise fee: $42K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,423/37
Incentive: 20 to 50 percent off franchise fee

31. Choice Hotels International
Hotels
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 54
Startup cost: $88.1K-$14.4M
Franchise fee: $10K-$60K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 6,264/3
Incentive: Development loans

32 CruiseOne
Travel agency
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 55
Startup cost: $4.6K-$26.3K
Franchise fee: $495-$9.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 943/0
Incentive: 20 percent off franchise fee

33. Fantastic Sams Hair Salons
Hair salon
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 58
Startup cost: $116.1K-$236.1K
Franchise fee: $30K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,169/17
Incentive: 25 percent off franchise fee;
$5,000 product credit

34. Comfort Keepers
In-home care
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 59
Startup cost: $66K-$99.4K
Franchise fee: $45K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 747/15
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

35. Home Instead Senior Care
Nonmedical senior care
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 60
Startup cost: $56.3K-$72.5K
Franchise fee: $44K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 988/2
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

36. Novus Glass
Auto glass repair and replacement
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 61
Startup cost: $31.6K-$134.8K
Franchise fee: $12.99K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,581/13
Incentive: $3,000 off franchise fee

37. Home Helpers/Direct Link
Medical and nonmedical
personal-care services
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 63
Startup cost: $61.5K-$120.8K
Franchise fee: $39.9K-$45.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 606/0
Incentive: $2,000 off franchise fee

38. Cinnabon
Cinnamon rolls, coffee
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 65
Startup cost: $142.3K-$365.7K
Franchise fee: $30K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,073/2
Incentive: $10,000 off franchise fee

39. Express Employment Professionals
Staffing and HR solutions
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 66
Startup cost: $105K-$195K
Franchise fee: $35K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 633/0
Incentive: 50 percent off franchise fee

40. RadioShack
Consumer electronics
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 67
Startup cost: $145.9K-$607.4K
Franchise fee: $39.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,306/4,395
Incentive: 15 percent off franchise fee

41. Batteries Plus Bulbs
Batteries, light bulbs and related products
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 71
Startup cost: $193.6K-$410.1K
Franchise fee: $37.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 529/40
Incentive: $10,000 off franchise fee

42. Wingstop Restaurants
Chicken wings
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 76
Startup cost: $252.6K-$554.9K
Franchise fee: $30K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 558/23
Incentive: $15,000 off first-store franchise fee

43. Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs
Pizza, subs, wings, salads
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 78
Startup cost: $220.2K-$382.5K
Franchise fee: $25K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 544/0
Incentive: 50 percent off franchise fee

44. FastSigns International
Signs and graphics solutions
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 79
Startup cost: $171.2K-$276.97K
Franchise fee: $36.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 540/0
Incentive: 50 percent off franchise fee;
50 percent off first-year royalty fees

45. Molly Maid
Residential cleaning
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 80
Startup cost: $85.6K-$131.1K
Franchise fee: $14.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 618/0
Incentive: $6,000 off franchise fee

46. Massage Envy
Therapeutic massage and facial services
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 81
Startup cost: $331.5K-$825.6K
Franchise fee: $45K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 894/1
Incentive: $5,000 off franchise fee

47. Moe's Southwest Grill
Fast-casual Southwestern food
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 85
Startup cost: $453.2K-$787.5K
Franchise fee: $30K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 503/4
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

48. Cellairis Franchise
Cell-phone and wireless-device accessories
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 87
Startup cost: $33.4K-$439K
Franchise fee: $7.5K-$25K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 649/28
Incentive: 20 percent off franchise fee

49. AAMCO Transmissions and Total Car Care
Car care
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 88
Startup cost: $232K-$299K
Franchise fee: $39.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 716/11
Incentive: $8,000 off franchise fee

50. Weed Man
Lawn care
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 89
Startup cost: $67.1K-$84.1K
Franchise fee: $20K-$33.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 446/0
Incentive: 25 percent off franchise fee

 
Weed Man franchisees volunteered in July for the 17th annual Renewal & Remembrance event organized by the Professional Landcare Network, helping to weed, plant and garden at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

51. Cost Cutters Family Hair Care
Hair salon
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 92
Startup cost: $88.5K-$180.1K
Franchise fee: $27.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 414/317
Incentive: $2,500 off franchise fee

52. Goddard Systems
Preschool/educational child care
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 93
Startup cost: $701.4K-$721.4K
Franchise fee: $135K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 400/0
Incentive: $20,000 off franchise fee

53. CertaPro Painters
Residential and commercial painting
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 94
Startup cost: $129K-$158.5K
Franchise fee: $52.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 442/0
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee;
preferred in-house financing

54. Maid Brigade
Residential cleaning
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 98
Startup cost: $85K-$124K
Franchise fee: $25K-$40K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 476/0
Incentive: 15 percent off franchise fee

55. Mathnasium Learning Centers
Math learning center
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 102
Startup cost: $82.3K-$136K
Franchise fee: $37K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 380/2
Incentive: 40 percent off franchise fee

56. Marco's Franchising
Pizza, sandwiches, wings
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 103
Startup cost: $206.6K-$396.6K
Franchise fee: $25K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 380/0
Incentive: $5,000 off franchise fee

57. Smoothie King
Smoothies
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 104
Startup cost: $144.4K-$336.2K
Franchise fee: $25K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 648/8
Incentive: 20 percent off franchise fee

58. Steamatic
Cleaning services, disaster recovery,insurance restoration
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 106
Startup cost: $121.2K-$198.2K
Franchise fee: $15K-$40K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 368/0
Incentive: 25 percent off franchise fee

59. Tutor Doctor
Tutoring services
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 107
Startup cost: $65.5K-$168.7K
Franchise fee: $39.7K-$127.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 376/1
Incentive: $5,000 off franchise fee of $44.7K and up

60. Padgett Business Services
Financial, payroll, consulting and tax services
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 108
Startup cost: $105.96K
Franchise fee: $56K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 402/0
Incentive: $4,000 off franchise fee

61. Kona Ice
Shaved-ice truck
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 112
Startup cost: $104.6K-$120K
Franchise fee: $15K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 409/164
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

62. Rainbow International Restoration & Cleaning
Indoor cleaning and restoration
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 114
Startup cost: $148.7K-$241.1K
Franchise fee: $28K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 314/0
Incentive: 25 percent off franchise fee;
special vendor incentives

63. Sign-A-Rama
Signs
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 116
Startup cost: $87.1K-$229.2K
Franchise fee: $44.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 888/0
Incentive: 10 to 50 percent off franchise fee

64. Pop-A-Lock
Franchise System
Mobile security, locksmithing and related services
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 118
Startup cost: $87.3K-$99.4K
Franchise fee: $15.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 286/0
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee;special training program

65. American Leak Detection
Concealed water, gas and sewer leak detection
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 119
Startup cost: $76.8K-$259.6K
Franchise fee: $29.5K-$120K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 366/15
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

66. Sears Home & Business Franchises
Carpet, upholstery, air-duct and dryer-vent cleaning; garage solutions
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 120
Startup cost: $11K-$191.6K
Franchise fee: $3.4K-$94.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 341/15
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

67. Rita's Italian Ice
Italian ice, frozen custard, gelato
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 121
Startup cost: $140.2K-$379.4K
Franchise fee: $30K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 552/0
Incentive: 50 percent off franchise fee

68. Fish Window Cleaning Services
Window cleaning
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 122
Startup cost: $76.2K-$136.7K
Franchise fee: $28.9K-$51.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 294/1
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

69. American Poolplayers Association
Recreational billiards league
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 123
Startup cost: $16.7K-$19.9K
Franchise fee: $19K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 307/6
Incentive: 25 percent off franchise fee

70. Right at Home
Senior home care and medical staffing
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 124
Startup cost: $72.2K-$126.1K
Franchise fee: $45K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 265/1
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

71. Wild Birds Unlimited
Bird-feeding supplies and gifts
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 125
Startup cost: $95.3K-$161.8K
Franchise fee: $18K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 283/0
Incentive: 15 percent off franchise fee

72. WSI Digital Marketing
Internet services
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 126
Startup cost: $64.4K-$171.7K
Franchise fee: $49.7K-$147K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 998/2
Incentive: 10 percent off franchise fee

73. Menchie's Frozen yogurt
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 127
Startup cost: $300K-$320K
Franchise fee: $25K-$40K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 316/1
Incentive: $10,000 off franchise fee for active-duty personnel; $1,000 to $3,000 off franchise fee for veterans (dependent upon number of units)

74. Coffee News
Weekly newspaper distributed at restaurants
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 128
Startup cost: $9.4K-$10.4K
Franchise fee: $8.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 884/4
Incentive: Three-year 0 percent financing for second through fifth units

75. U.S. Lawns
Commercial grounds maintenance
2013 Franchise 500 rank: 131
Startup cost: $48.5K-$75.3K
Franchise fee: $32K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 262/0
Incentive: $5,000 off franchise fee

 
Although they didn't make our top 75, these companies earned an honorable mention for waiving their franchise fee for qualified military veterans:
Budget Blinds
CiCi's Pizza
Port of Subs
Ziebart
Tracy Stapp Herold is the special projects editor at Entrepreneur magazine. She works on franchise and business opportunity stories and listings, including the annual Franchise 500.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the October 2013 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Active Duty.

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