Are franchises the new business frontier?

caines | 2/7/2013, 4:30 a.m.

Local entrepreneurs take advantage of a growing business venture As many Americans feel the effects of the economy, whether its an actual pink slip or the constant threat of one, there is always the option of putting the skills gained over the course of ones career to the test.Although many business ventures seem particularly risky in this economy, certain sectors home health care, commercial cleaning and tax consulting combat the effects of recessions fairly well. But how are creative entrepreneurs doing here in Liberty City and its surrounding communities? Several brothers tell us that franchising is one way to make a good income and to be your own boss.

Exploring the franchising industry

Milton Jones represents the commercial cleaning industry as a Jan-Pro franchisee. He says that Jan-Pro was an affordable way to realize his dream of business ownership. With an initial investment of $950 he has already seen a respectable return on his money. "Jan-Pro is one of the country's fastest growing franchises and it's actually ahead of Subway which is the second fastest growing franchise," Jones said. "I have a contract with the them [Jan-Pro] which is slated for renewal soon. And I have the added bonus of a great motivator my brother, Ty Jones." Upon returning to his native Miami, Ty Jones pursued employment but says he repeatedly rebuffed due to two factors: over-qualification and salary requirements. Jones found the franchise solution to be the most viable option for his entrepreneurial goals. He took his last dime and invested in Home Helpers a senior care franchise and was recently granted licensure by the State of Florida and is ready to take on clients. "My plan is to differentiate my franchise from the other 1,000-plus competitors by emphasizing safety and health," he said. "I saw the lucrative potential and set up a meeting with other members of my family to encourage them to join me in applying their education, business savvy and technical skills on the open market in South Florida. Some of them are coming on board." Despite his franchise being so new, Jones says he has his sights on ultimately developing his own brand. He currently has a workstation set up at the Audrey Edmonson Small Business Development Hub in Liberty City which helps reduce his operating costs as opposed to tackling the full burden of renting a private office. According to both brothers, aspiring franchisees should do their homework before jumping into business. Their suggestions include: do extensive research in your sectors of interest; consider the legacy thats available to the generations of family that follow; consider partnering when the cost factors are prohibitive; and create unique attributes of your business to distinguish your franchise from others. Ideas for other low-cost franchise opportunities that are ideal for lower-income citizens or modest savings include: tax preparation; financial consulting; travel agencies; and residential cleaning. Some benefits to franchising versus sole proprietorship include: instant branding; built-in marketing; technical support; operating from home or shared office suites; and automatic standards. For further research and franchising opportunities, visit www.entrepreneur.com. By Tanya JacksonMiami Times writerjewelson3@gmail.com