75 Franchises Helping Pay Back Veterans

By
This story appears in the October 2013 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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.

Shutterstock

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

 
//assets.entrepreneur.com/article/102-franchise-hero.jpg
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

 
//assets.entrepreneur.com/article/102-franchise-hero.jpg
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

 
//assets.entrepreneur.com/article/102-franchise-hero.jpg
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

Take our franchise quiz to find the perfect match for you.