More than one million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will enter the workforce in the next five years. Rather than attempt to elbow their way into the tight job market, some veterans are pursuing franchising because it mimics the rule-based system they grew accustomed to in the military.
One such veteran is Matthew Sprague, a U.S. Army veteran who has found success in owning four Bar-B-Clean franchises in California’s Los Angeles area.
Before joining the Bar-B-Clean team, Sprague spent nearly five years in the U.S. Army, earning the rank of field artillery sergeant during his service that included one combat tour in Iraq from 2010 until 2011. In 2013, he was honorably discharged and moved to Pasadena, California with his wife, Linda, and two small children.
But like most veterans these days, he had a difficult time finding a job that would support his family.
“I was working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car making $10 per hour,” recalls Sprague, noting that even the best promotion would have only raised his hourly pay to $13.50. “That simply wasn’t going to cut it.”
It was then that Sprague began exploring his options in franchising.
“SOP (standard operating procedure) is a term well understood by anyone who has served in the armed forces. It refers to a plan, a system, a step-by-step function will be carried out. Veterans understand the importance of following a plan to successfully execute a mission and capitalize on every opportunity,” Sprague says. “This systematic approach to achieving goals is very similar to the franchising model of doing business and it’s why more and more veterans like myself are taking advantage of franchise
opportunities after returning to civilian life.”
Shortly after starting his search for a home-based, low-investment franchise opportunity, Sprague came across Bar- B-Clean, the only barbecue cleaning franchise in the country. He recognized the tremendous opportunity in a niche market with little or no competition and purchased his first Bar-B-Clean territory in April 2014. He bought three more territories later that year.
Today, Sprague’s Bar-B-Clean franchises offer residential and commercial customers a convenient, low cost grill cleaning solution. Using a proprietary steam cleaning system that pumps out 310 degree steam vapor at 75 psi, the service – which typically takes between 2 ½ and 3 ½ hours to complete – includes a deep cleaning of the interior and exterior of the grill, as well as a thorough inspection of the burner and ignition systems.
“It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. I want to be that somebody,” says Sprague, noting that nearly 90 percent of all U.S. households own a grill or smoker and more than 60 percent of those owners use their grills year round making a periodic cleaning necessary.
“Everyone knows grills get extremely greasy and dirty, but they really hate to clean them. Until now, grill owners haven’t had many places they could turn to have their grills professionally cleaned. Bar-B-Clean fulfills that customer demand.”
With four Bar-B-Clean territories under his belt – serving Pasadena, South San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and the Burbank/Glendale area – Sprague has cleaned more than 600 grills in the past 12 months, nearly half of which he has cleaned since the beginning of this year alone.
He is in the process of purchasing a fifth territory in West Los Angeles, and says he would someday like to own 10 total territories throughout the Los Angeles area.
“Veterans bring a lot of great things to the table,” says Bar-B-Clean founder and CEO Bryan Weinstein, who offers veterans a 30 percent discount off Bar-B-Clean’s $19,500 franchise fee. “Their leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills are second-to-none in my experience and Matthew is no exception. I anxiously look forward to his future success.”
For other veterans considering the Bar- B-Clean franchise opportunity, Sprague says he expects they’ll get from it what they put into it.
“It’s definitely an up-andcoming business. For someone who wants to work for themselves, it’s a great way to go. Think about it. Everybody that owns a backyard barbecue is a potential client!”
For more information about Bar-BClean and its franchise opportunity, visit: www.bar-b-clean.com.