Franchise Buying Guide

Cash Course

Suzie and Dave McGuire, 36 and 34
Presented by Guidant Financial
Guidant Financial specializes in helping entrepreneurs purchase new franchises using their retirement funds.


Franchising might be a fairly sure thing, as opposed to other ways of starting a business, but if you think its path to millions comes without risk, meet Suzie and Dave McGuire. In 1989, Dave left the security of a corporate job to work for a franchisee of Servpro, a restoration and cleaning system franchise. His change in jobs involved relocation, and he had to move Suzie and their baby boy from Bloomington, Illinois, to Springfield, Illinois. "My parents thought we were absolutely crazy," says Dave. "We left the company car, the vacations, the health insurance. We burned our bridges. We couldn't afford to fail-our family's well-being depended on [our success]."

In 1990, the family moved once again, this time to Champaign, Illinois. The couple set up a Servpro franchise in their home, and their second son was born a few weeks later. The spare bedroom served as an office, and their home number doubled as a business line. Even though they were struggling, the McGuires took great joy in early successes. Dave recalls the steps to their first million: "The very first time our phone rang and we got a job, that was great. I remember the first time we got a paycheck and could afford to eat more than macaroni and cheese."

"We couldn't afford to fail-our family's well-being depended on [our success]."

The days of living on macaroni and cheese are now a distant memory for the McGuires, whose family now includes twins, born in 1997. This year, sales for their franchise are on track to reach $2 million.

Money isn't the only measure of their success. When a devastating fire struck their warehouse last year, members of the Champaign community as well as other Servpro franchisees helped the McGuires rebuild their warehouse. Looking toward the future, the McGuires are rich in more ways than one.

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This article was originally published in the August 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Cash Course.

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