Some Laid Off Workers Turn to Franchising

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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