Best Franchises for Veterans

Understanding and appreciating the value that military veterans bring to the franchising sector, Franchise Business Review is proud to identify the Top Franchises for Veterans. We surveyed nearly 2,500 veteran franchise owners across more than 200 leading franchise brands on their overall satisfaction with their brands and their likelihood to recommend them to others. The top franchise companies with the highest satisfaction among their veteran owners made this year’s awards list.

Explore the best franchise opportunities for veterans. Compare veteran discount opportunities, franchise costs and fees, business model, training and support programs, and more. Request more information from the franchise opportunities that interest you most.

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360 clean employees
Includes owner satisfaction report
out of 100

360clean

360clean is a health-focused office cleaning service for businesses throughout the United States.

Investment: $20,800 - $29,000 Cash Required: $20,000

A&W Restaurants

Industry: Food, Retail

A&W Restaurants is an American chain of fast-food restaurants distinguished by its burgers, signature draft root beer and root beer floats. The A&W franchise family is a group of diverse, expe…

Investment: $276,000 - $1,454,750 Cash Required: $150,000
Includes owner satisfaction report
out of 100

ActionCOACH

ActionCOACH is a global business coaching franchise that offers aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals personalized one-on-one mentorship from a team of skilled business coaches. 

Investment: $52,000 - $150,000 Cash Required: $75,000
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Aire-Master of America

Aire-Master offers unique blends of essential oils and fine aromatics including exclusive Aire-Master scents plus odor neutralizers to eliminate unpleasant odors and impart a light, pleasant aroma in …

Investment: $54,984 - $160,900 Cash Required: $50,000

Amazing Athletes

Amazing Athletes uses a multi-sport program designed to benefit children aged 18 mos. to 6 years physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. Their program introduces the fundamentals of 10 differ…

Investment: $33,100 - $64,950 Cash Required: $30,000
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Anago Cleaning Systems Master Franchise

With over 30 years of experience as a leader in the commercial cleaning franchising industry, Anago Cleaning Systems is recognized as the technology leader in the franchised commercial cleaning indust…

Investment: $219,000 - $399,000 Cash Required: $219,000

Assisting Hands

Assisting Hands Home Care grew out of a desire to provide seniors, and others needing non-medical assistance at home to help clients remain independent, safe and comfortable in their own homes. Assist…

Investment: $87,700 - $159,650 Cash Required: $100,000
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Auto Appraisal Network

Industry: Automotive, Services

Auto Appraisal Network provides a centralized appraisal report process and national network of certified appraisers to ensure consistent, accurate, and professional appraisals.

Investment: $16,700 - $44,275 Cash Required: $300,010,000
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Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

Industry: Real Estate

Whether you are buying or selling a home, you can expect a better service experience with Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate agents before, during and after the transaction.

Investment: $113,920 - $455,000 Cash Required: $50,000

BIGGBY COFFEE

Industry: Food, Retail

Biggby Coffee is a neighborhood cafe with offerings that include espresso-based beverages, coffee, tea, other beverages, sandwiches, baked goods, and other food products as well as whole bean coffee, …

Investment: $276,000 - $439,000
Includes owner satisfaction report
out of 100

Chicken Salad Chick

Industry: Food, Retail

Chicken Salad Chick serves more than a dozen scratch-made, southern-style flavors of chicken salad made daily.

Investment: $742,300 - $980,300 Cash Required: $250,000
Includes owner satisfaction report
out of 100

Christian Brothers Automotive

Industry: Automotive, Services

Christian Brothers Automotive offers full-service auto repair service and maintenance for every kind of vehicle — gas or diesel, foreign or domestic, car or truck. 

Investment: $520,250 - $640,400 Cash Required: $85,000
Clean Air Lawn Care home services franchise opportunity franchise owners in front of company vehicle

Clean Air Lawn Care

Clean Air Lawn Care is the nation’s only full-service, sustainable, and organic lawn care franchise. They provide lawn care maintenance with our solar-powered equipment and organic lawn treatments t…

Investment: $65,431 - $112,126 Cash Required: $50,000

College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving

College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving is a North American junk removal and moving company with headquarters in Tampa, Florida. The company provides junk removal, local and long distance full service m…

Investment: $108,800 - $273,200 Cash Required: $80,000

Critter Control

Critter Controls’ model operates on the simple concept of getting pests out and keeping them out, using humane techniques to handle nuisance wildlife such as birds, moles, squirrels, mice, racco…

Investment: $63,525 - $169,525 Cash Required: $8,075
Includes owner satisfaction report
out of 100

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative

Cruise Planners is a travel agency specializing in booking cruises to destinations around the world.

Investment: $2,295 - $23,465 Cash Required: $10,995

Military Veterans Are Uniquely Qualified To Become Successful Franchise Owners

After 26 years in the U.S. Army, including a stint as a flight medic during Desert Storm, Mike Hanlon was looking for a second career with flexibility and purpose that he could pursue while raising his children.

“This has really turned into the perfect job for me,” said Hanlon, owner of a Dream Vacations franchise business in Wilmington, North Carolina since 2015. “I get to make my clients happy, supplement my military pension and spend time with my kids. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Meanwhile, Will Childers, a six-year veteran who specialized in logistics/embarkation in the U.S. Marine Corps, wanted to explore a career where he could take advantage of his military training and business education, and pursue his passion for taking care of others.

“I can’t help but feel this was God’s plan for me all along. I get to run my own business while helping others who are unable to help themselves,” said Childers, franchise owner of HomeWell Care Services in Georgetown, Delaware since 2020. 

Army veteran Mike Hanlon said he’s found the perfect work-life balance as a Dream Vacations franchise owner.

After years of military service, Hanlon and Childers both discovered the exciting and rewarding world of small business ownership through franchising. It’s proven to be a mutually beneficial relationship with franchisors recognizing the unique skills that veterans offer. Many franchise brands are even making a concerted effort to recruit more vets to run their businesses by enticing them with a long list of incentives, such as major discounts on startup fees. 

Veterans, who in many cases struggle to transition to civilian life and find steady employment, play a critical role in the franchising success story. Among the more compelling statistics are:

  • Veterans own 1 out of every 7 franchises in the U.S., according to a study conducted by the International Franchise Association (IFA), despite making up about 7 percent of the civilian adult population.
  • There are more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses in the U.S., which generate more than $41 billion in GDP.
  • According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), roughly a quarter of all veterans are interested in starting their own businesses.

Understanding and appreciating the value that veterans bring to the franchising sector, Franchise Business Review (FBR) is proud to identify the Top Franchises for Veterans of 2021. FBR surveyed nearly 2,500 veteran franchise owners across more than 200 leading franchise brands on their overall satisfaction with their brands and their likelihood to recommend them to others. The top 80 franchise companies with the highest satisfaction among their veteran owners made this year’s awards list. 

“Franchising needs more business owners with grit and leadership skills, especially now given the pandemic,” said retired Navy veteran Eric Stites, the founder & CEO of Franchise Business Review. “Veterans are very resilient by nature. If anyone is well-equipped to operate under challenging circumstances, veteran franchise owners are.”

As the director of recruitment at Dream Vacations, Janet Harris and her team make hiring veterans and their spouses a top priority. On average, the online travel agency recruits about 100 veterans a year as franchise owners. With more than 520 former vets in the network now, approximately 35 percent of Dream Vacations’ entire franchise system is now composed of former military men and women.

A Veteran-Focused Franchise Mission

“Veterans are just a natural fit for us because many of them have been exposed to international travel and other cultures while in the military,” said Harris, who also serves on the International Franchise Association’s VetFran committee, whose mission is “educate both veterans and franchisors about the unique match between the skills and aptitude of entrepreneurial veterans and the demands and opportunities of being a franchisee.” 

The other important mission of VetFran is to make entry into franchising easier for veterans. At Dream Vacations, which was also named a Top Low-Cost Franchise by FBR, all military vets who purchase a travel agency franchise receive an Enlistment Package valued at no less than $5,000, or 30 percent off the initial franchise fee. They can also select one of two perks currently being offered — waived administrative fees valued at $1,350; or a computer tablet valued at $1,000. In addition, they can receive a waived training fee for a business partner, veteran-themed marketing assets, and the ability to hire active-duty military spouses and veterans as associates at a discount. 

Additional veteran incentives that Dream Vacations offers include travel discounts for military customers and access to veteran networking groups.

“The great thing about being a Dream Vacations franchise owner is that we offer a lot of flexibility. It’s a commission-based business so it’s up to you how much work you put into it and how much money you can make,” said Harris, who points out that Dream Vacations was named the No. 1 Franchise for Veterans by the Military Times for four consecutive years (2014-2018). 

Neighborly’s Commitment to Vets

With more than 4,800 home-service franchises in nine countries, including 3,200 in the U.S., holding company Neighborly placed five of its 19 brands — Mosquito Joe, Mr. Appliance, Mr. Electric, Mr. Handyman and Glass Doctor — on FBR’s list of Top Franchises for Veterans this year. Neighborly COO Mary Kennedy Thompson says her company’s commitment to supporting and hiring veterans is personal. 

“Don Dwyer, our founder, who served in the military, wanted to give back to those who served our country. So, he started the VetFran Program right after Desert Storm in the 1990s,” said Thompson, an ex-Marine herself. “From the start, our company has  made it a top priority to recruit veteran employees and franchise owners because we feel veterans deserve the power to prosper. They served our country and put their lives on the line for us. We owe it to them to take care of them.”

Military veterans Hanlon and Childers have certainly benefited from their franchising experiences. Hanlon is one of Dream Vacations top performers, growing his business every year. Despite the pandemic, which has severely impacted the travel sector, he says he’s selling more luxury vacations at a higher price point in 2021 than in previous years.

“It takes a special skill set to become a successful franchise owner, and the fact is not all veterans make great franchisees. But a lot of them do, and I’ll do whatever I can to educate them and guide them through the process,” said Hanlon, who in 2019 was named Dream Vacations’ Ambassador of Veteran Affairs, an award which honors a former member of the Armed Forces who represents the interests of military veterans and is dedicated to their advancement as travel agents.

Childers, who became passionate for home care services while caring for his ailing grandmother, credits his military experiences with providing him the discipline and the tools to become a successful multi-unit franchise owner.

“In the Marines, I was put in charge of the logistics of moving hundreds of troops, everything they required to take with them to prepare them for war. I now run a franchise with about 100 employees who are caring for clients with a lot of different kinds of physical and mental disabilities. I feel like I was prepared to take this challenge,” he said.

“The Marines taught me a lot of things, but most importantly discipline and organizational skills,” said Childers who opened his HomeWell franchise during the pandemic and yet still exceeded his first-year revenue goals by 300 percent, placing him among the franchise’s top performers. “The thing I like about the franchise model is it’s got a good game plan, and it also provides me with the structure I need to be successful.” 

Includes owner satisfaction report
out of 100

Wild Birds Unlimited

Industry: Pet Services, Retail

Wild Birds Unlimited provides a comprehensive array of bird feeding products, as well as local nature information.

Investment: $197,919 - $325,763 Cash Required: $40,000
FirstLight Home Care senior care franchise opportunity caregiver with elderly
Includes owner satisfaction report
out of 100

FirstLight Home Care

FirstLight Home Care provides home care services, helping seniors and people recovering from illness, injury or surgery, adults with disabilities, veterans and anyone 18 and older who need in-home sup…

Investment: $113,300 - $197,900 Cash Required: $100,000
Includes owner satisfaction report
out of 100

Any Lab Test Now

Any Lab Test Now provides direct access to clinical, DNA and drug and alcohol lab testing services, as well as phlebotomy and other specimen collection services, through a retail storefront business m…

Investment: $133,900 - $227,900 Cash Required: $90,000