Retired Air Force Veteran Rob Chick is no stranger to risk. As a member of the well-respected “Wild Weasels,” Chick spent over a decade baiting enemy missile sites in order to reveal their covert locations. But when the time came to transition into the civilian workforce, Chick was apprehensive about his future and concerned about the odds of survival in a very competitive business world.
“It can be a rough road,” said Chick. “Even with their incredibly high levels of life experience and training, I’ve seen many successful men and women in uniform struggle to find the right opportunities in the civilian sector after military retirement.”
Rob’s wife, Christina, spent two decades working in Air Force Intelligence as a Chinese linguist and software specialist. She too wondered how she could parlay her military career into a lifelong dream of owning a business.
After exploring and researching franchise opportunities through VetFran, an organization that connects franchise companies to those transitioning out of the armed forces, the Chicks explored a franchise business ownership opportunity with Budget Blinds® because of its history of supporting Veterans and veteran-related causes. Budget Blinds is part of the Home Franchise Concepts family of brands and specializes in window treatments for the home.
One year later, Budget Blinds franchise ownership has proven to be an ideal niche for this Veteran couple, offering a team-based environment based on proven systems and standard operating procedures familiar to most U.S. Veterans. Former military members make excellent leaders because they have experience collaborating with others to both set and achieve goals. This makes them ideal candidates for running successful franchise businesses.
In addition to Budget Blinds®, Home Franchise Concepts also owns its sister company Tailored Living®, a national leader in home organization. U.S. Navy Veteran and Tailored Living franchisee, Derek Harris, experienced first-hand how easily his skills translated from the battlefield to the business field. “Tailored Living really complements the hands on attitude I gained as an Engineering Laboratory Technician,” explained Harris.
“I’ve been able to carry over my military work ethic into my day to day business activities, which has helped me make a successful transition to the civilian workforce.”
Home Franchise Concepts has long supported Veteran related causes, garnering accolades from Military Times and Franchise Business Review throughout the years. But after hearing many similar stories from over 50 Veteran franchisees regarding the need for greater assistance transitioning Vets, Home Franchise Concepts wanted to take on a more active role in helping Veterans and their families achieve success through business ownership. On Veteran’s Day 2013, the company launched the Million Dollar Franchise Event, a program that set out with both a passionate mission and an aggressive goal: to provide $1,000,000 in financial support to help former service members and their spouses become a part of its team of leaders and entrepreneurs.
The Million Dollar Franchise Event offers significant franchise fee discounts for its Budget Blinds® (up to 40 percent) and Tailored Living® home improvement franchises. This means military Veterans, or spouses of military Veterans, can purchase a Budget Blinds® franchise for $39,950 ($74,950 non-discounted price), or a Tailored Living® franchise for $44,950 ($49,950 non-discounted price). The program aims to make entrepreneurs of at least 30 Veterans.
“The Million Dollar Franchise Event is the least we can do to support the men and women who have selflessly risked their lives to protect our freedoms,” said Chad Hallock, CEO of Home Franchise Concepts. “U.S. Veterans deserve a chance to experience the American Dream, and we are excited to be able to help them achieve it.”
The program is already gaining attention in the Veteran community, recently welcoming Ohio-based Andy Birge. After a prestigious 20-year career in the United States Air Force, Birge wanted to leverage his military training and experience by starting his own business. “I was drawn to Budget Blinds for its notable reputation for providing exceptional team-based support,” he said. “Not only did they assist me financially, but the training they’ve provided so far has really boosted my confidence in being able to grow this business beyond my initial expectations.”
Home Franchise Concepts provides two weeks of intensive training at its Orange, CA headquarters, giving new franchisees the foundation to build a successful business. But the support and training does not end there.
Franchisees have access to business coaches, marketing experts, and ongoing public relations to support their business’ goals and longevity. Each new franchisee receives four weeks of one-on-one business coaching, which provides all the assistance needed for them to transition from training to the running of their business. This includes setting up office systems, accounting processes, vendor accounts, and creating and implementing a local marketing plan. Business coaches also evaluate in home consultations, helping to improve communication and identification of customer needs. Once the initial training phase is completed, Budget Blinds franchisees then have access to ongoing business coaching for extra guidance towards their long-term goals.
Many of the company’s current Veteran franchisees are also taking part in a new Veteran franchise-owner mentoring program called Vets4Vets. Under the program, new Veteran franchisees are paired with existing Veteran franchise owners to help get their business off the ground.
Home Franchise Concepts is proud to offer two very different business models under one roof. Tailored Living provides whole home organization solutions, from spacesaving closet design to complete garage renovations that include the capability of installing specialty car themed accessories. With the help of their state-of-the- art 3D design software D’Vinci, which helps customers visualize each project, the Tailored Living brand offers franchisees an exciting hands-on business, ideal for design-minded Veterans.
Budget Blinds provides homeowners with window treatments and room accessories, from drapes and plantation shutters, to pillows and rugs. Requiring no inventory storage, Budget Blinds appeals to Veterans seeking a low overhead business model with the option of operating as a home-based business; according to a 2007 U.S. Census Study, this represents about 55 percent of Veteran franchise business models. The Budget Blinds franchise model is also designed to help franchisees gain more from their business’ success; franchisees pay a low monthly fixed fee instead of profit sharing based on percentage of sales.
Budget Blinds was founded in 1992, and currently boasts over 850 franchises serving nearly 4,000 cities across the United States and Canada. With the help of its Million Dollar Franchise Event, the company hopes to add at least 30 new Veteran franchisees that will bring their military experience and work ethic to the team.