The Service Industry: Why Veterans Are Flocking to the Franchise World

It has to do with focus, structure, camaraderie and a hard-earned ability to thrive within complex operations.
Source: Israel G. Vargas
Israel G. Vargas

Robert and Radiah Mallard manage a lot of buildings. And when a tenant in one of them has a broken window or a leaky faucet, the first thing the Mallards do is fill out a Form 5988-E. 

Nowhere on the form is it called that. But the Mallards reflexively revert to the military jargon they used during long careers as U.S. Army logistics, maintenance and supply officers, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, where a 5988-Echo was the ubiquitous starting point for fixing anything, from a defective rifle to an out-of-commission truck.

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“We’re about standard operating procedures, just like everything in the military has a standard operating procedure,” says Robert Mallard, who, with his wife, opened a Property Management Incorporated franchise last year in Columbus, Ga.

That’s one of the surprisingly long list of parallels that have attracted disproportionate numbers of veterans to the franchising industry: the idea that they can be their own boss but also have an established structure and a clear plan of attack from headquarters. Franchising, like any business model, isn’t for everyone. Some entrepreneurs prefer to go their own way, and chafe against guidelines. But veterans often come with a different skill set.

“If you look at someone who’s very used to a structured system and you give them a venture like a franchise,: Someone’s already proven that this works.”

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