Franchise program helps local veterans own, operate businesses

WACO, Texas (KWTX) This weekend, the nation honored the men and women who have served this country, but one program has been helping veterans become business owners for more than two decades.

(Photo by Kathleen Serie)

In the last 13 years alone, the VetFran program has given more than $2.2 million in discounts to hundreds of veterans around the country who want to own their own businesses.

Mark McGaughy, a Marine Veteran, is one of them.

He owns two Mr. Rooter plumbing franchises in Dallas Fort Worth and Waco, both of which he purchased for a discounted price through the VetFran program.

"It makes a huge difference at the beginning when you're talking about cash flow and profitability, and just the overall success of the business,” McGaughy said.

He said owning a franchise allows him to transfer the skills he learned in the Marines to the business world.

"We're going to say, those four years, we see value in it, and here's how we're going to quantify that value,” McGaughy said.

Jerry Allen is also a veteran.

He owns a Grounds Guys franchise in Temple thanks to VetFran, putting his 26 years of Army experience to the civilian world.

"The military has a format, planned ways, structure of doing things,” Allen said. “And so a franchise is basically a structure on how you do things in that franchise."

VetFran was started through the Dwyer Group, which is a franchising company of trade service brands based out of Waco.

"Our veterans have made a big commitment to serve this country,” Dwyer Group President, CEO Mike Bidwell said. “It's a huge commitment, and it's just a small part that we can do to give veterans a discount toward the purchase of a franchise."

The success of the program has been adopted by the International Franchise Association in Washington, D.C.