Some Laid Off Workers Turn to Franchising

16 Apr 2009

Jack Burris

Jack Burris is president of Red Beard Marketing, a marketing, business development and brand consulting company based in Charlotte, NC. RBM is a full service firm, and we also happen to have a lot of experience in the franchise vertical and currently work with some of the best and brightest minds in the franchise community including Franconnect, Franchise Business Review, Franchise Payments Network and FranchiseWorks LLC, all small businesses designed to help franchisors, franchisees and interested investors through the franchise process. RBM is always results-oriented.

The past 18 – 24 months have been tough on corporate America. I’m based in Charlotte (home of Bank of America and Wachovia/Wells Fargo) and many of my friends that work for the bank are always nervous. A lot of these people were also able to store up a nest egg and once they get the bad news, are looking to make their next move, working for themselves using a proven business model. Franchising does offer a great opportunity and when the right matches are made, both the franchisees and franchisor are able to prosper. But as Jim Symington says in the article, “It’s a ton of work.”

This story, pulled from, provides some interesting insight and real life stories about people from who were laid off from long-time jobs and decided to look at franchising as a business opportunity:

Jim Symington, who was laid off in September, doesn’t mind risking his 401(k) for a shot at franchise ownership. After working for someone else for 30 years, most recently as a director of information technology for a manufacturing company, he was ready to control his own destiny.

“I was angry. I was starting to think it was gold watch time I had been there so long,” he said. “My first thought was never again am I going to be in this situation, be at the mercy of someone else’s greed or needs.”

He decided to go to a franchise broker in Atlanta and get some direction on what franchise would be best for him. (Franchise brokers get paid a commission by the franchise operators, so keep that in mind when they’re making recommendations.)
After researching a host of franchise concepts, Symington chose Mr. Handyman, a home maintenance and repair firm, on encouragement from the broker.

“Oddly enough, I found a fit I wouldn’t have dreamed of,” he said. “I used to have a team of IT guys, and I would send them out on projects to fix things. But now instead of taking laptops, they’d be taking hammers.”

Symington paid a $68,000 franchising fee and upfront costs, and the franchisor required at least six months of working capital, a total of $40,000, to start the business. In return, he got a wealth of marketing materials, online resources from the franchisor and a 90,000-home territory.

Read more about Jim and others here

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