Former UPS driver changes careers midlife through franchising
A recent story in The Roanoke Times uses a former delivery truck driver-turned-yogurt franchise owner to illustrate what we at FranNet have been experiencing for the last few years now — professionals who change careers in middle age and turn to franchising as a means to a more secure future. The International Franchise Association projects that the franchise industry will add 14,000 new units and 168,000 new jobs in 2012, so Cary Broome is at the crest of a significant employment trend. The story’s author, Amanda Codispoti, interviewed FranNet of Virginia owner Heather Rosen for some critical insight into the franchise industry (and we can’t imagine a better source!). Here’s the story:
Cary Broome worked for 24 years as a United Postal Service delivery driver.
Now 53, he’s retired and he and his wife have decided to take on a new endeavor. They are opening a franchised self-serve frozen yogurt shop, at Hunting Hills Plaza in Roanoke next to Kohl’s. They expect to open Feb. 17.
The couple have poured their savings and stocks into the business, a move that makes them somewhat worried given the economy. But Broome said he believes that opening a franchise is less risky than starting their own business.
“It’s really scary to me because we don’t have any business experience,” he said. “That’s why we chose a franchise.”
Franchising offers first-time business owners guidance, support and a proven business model.
And in today’s economy, starting a business can provide more stability than a job in corporate America. Franchises in particular can be see as lower risk.
“For a lot of people, it’s really their only hope,” said Heather Rosen, a Virginia-based consultant for FranNet, which offers advice and education to potential franchisees.
“What I’m hearing from people is that, ‘My job isn’t stable. I need more income security,’ ” Rosen said.
A report by research firm IHS Global Insight conducted for the International Franchise Association estimates that after three years of decline, the number of franchises will grow this year by 1.9 percent, from an estimated 735,571 establishments in 2011 to 749,499 businesses this year.
The forecasted growth also means more jobs. The report estimates that new franchises will contribute to 168,000 new jobs, an increase from last year.
James Gillula, managing director for IHS Global Insight, said that the projected growth of franchise business is slightly behind that of independent business, but that job growth in franchising is ahead.
“One of the primary reasons is that access to credit, while improving, continues to hinder growth in parts of the franchise sector,” he said.
For instance, the lodging sector is expected to see 3.1 percent growth, according to the report. Franchises that fall in the retail products and services sector will see only 0.1 percent growth. Retail food franchises are expected to grow by 0.9 percent.
In addition to tight lending, the decline in franchises the past three years is also attributed to lower levels of consumer spending.
But consumer spending grew slightly in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the IFA expects it to continue to grow this year.
Franchise or independent?
When you start a franchise business, you’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself – that’s the franchising catch phrase that hooked Broome when he was exploring the idea of opening a franchise.
“We don’t have any experience,” Broome said. “We’ve never run our own business.”
He and his wife, who works in human resources, wanted to open the frozen yogurt store to diversify their income, Broome said. He also wanted to be part of the community, he said, and to have an opportunity to teach his two daughters about work ethic.
To read the rest of the story, click here.