Army vet hopes to help others through franchising

A former drill sergeant wants to create job opportunities for fellow veterans, and sees the structure and procedures of small business as a good fit.

By MSN Money staff Mar 30, 2014 12:19PM

By Kate Taylor, Entrepreneur


Entrepreneur on MSN MoneyRon Adams © Ron AdamsRon Adams retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years of service ready to embark on his lifelong dream of opening his own business. Ready to take orders from himself and utilize the leadership and interpersonal skills he learned as a drill sergeant, Adams launched a new small business. As a franchisee with N-Hance Revolutionary Wood Renewal in Columbia, S.C., he plans to give back to fellow veterans by creating local job opportunities and someday to pass down to his children as a legacy business.


How long you have owned the franchise?

One year.


Why franchising?

I've always dreamed of opening my own business in a service-related industry that would allow me to take orders for myself while utilizing the strong leadership and interpersonal skills I gained as a drill sergeant. I decided to turn to franchising because of the structure, established systems and procedures that a franchise provides.


Veterans are used to following a set process and structure and know how to rely on a support network. After being in an environment with a constant sense of unity between soldiers, the structure of a franchise model seemed similar, as you must be able to trust fellow franchise owners and rely on each other for support. I knew that my self-discipline and determination to succeed, coupled with a proven business system of a national franchise, would allow me to excel as a franchise owner.


What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

In December 2011, I retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years of service, which included three tours in the Middle East and a period of time spent molding 5,000 civilians into soldiers as a drill sergeant. I served in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn and received several accolades, including a Bronze Star and an Honorable Military Discharge.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

Towards the end of my service, I began recognizing the benefits of the N-Hance Wood Renewal franchise model for myself: It's service-related as I wanted, offers flexibility with hours, allots the choice of hiring as many people as needed, has an established track record and a great support system that has been proven to work. The prospect of becoming part of a national service with a physical presence in more than 1,400 of the 1,900 Home Depot locations across the nation was a no brainer for me.


I knew the home improvement industry would be a good fit because I've always enjoyed working with my hands and making a difference in people's lives by creating a better living environment. Additionally, N-Hance Wood Renewal is heavily invested in research and development, from product development, testing in the field, manufacturing, and quality control, which allows franchise owners to provide their customers with top-quality products and processes that are and cutting edge in the industry.


How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

The total investment before opening my franchise was $38,860. The cost breakdown includes:

  • Initial franchise fee: $19,000
  • Van and van Wrap: $13,000
  • Advertising: $2,000
  • Training: $1,500
  • Computer: $1,500
  • Insurance: $1,200
  • Uniforms: $500
  • Phone line: $160

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

I first found out about the opportunity with N-Hance Wood Renewal through Mr. Mathew Thornton, a business coach at The Entrepreneur's Source, whom I met at a local career fair. I also consulted with the Columbia Small Business Development Center and did extensive research online regarding the home improvement industry and need for floor renewal services, N-Hance Wood Renewal's franchise system, services, and customer reviews. Speaking with and shadowing two N-Hance franchise owners in South Carolina helped finalize my decision.


What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

The most unexpected challenge of opening my N-Hance Wood Renewal franchise was the amount of time it took to complete my business plan and to gain financial support for a business loan. As a new franchise owner, you will face bumps along the way, but you can't let them get in the way of your long-term goal. It's important to stay positive in the face of adversity, be patient and have the ability to adapt in unanticipated situations.


What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

If you're interested in opening your own franchise, you need to find an industry and franchise concept that suits your personality and needs. I recommend finding a good business coach or mentor, doing extensive research to understand the business model and industry, and meeting with others who know and have succeeded in the franchise. You must also possess certain skillsets including self-discipline and the ability to properly follow systems and procedures.


The path to becoming a successful franchisee owner involves having a long term plan, and sticking close to the plan, even when you face obstacles along the way. You have to be willing to go the extra mile to beat out the competition and give a positive name to your brand.


When you find a good fit in a franchise system, come up with a short and long-term business plan with or without financial support and do not procrastinate. Most importantly, you must be dedicated to your company's success and believe in the business philosophy.


What's next for you and your business?

Columbia has been a great market to start a business and I look forward to expanding into additional territories throughout South Carolina. As a veteran who found success in franchising, I'd also like to give back to local veterans by creating job opportunities as I take on additional territories. I've worked with an array of military personnel during my time in uniform and share a strong bond with my fellow vets.


Another goal of opening a franchise was to create a legacy business that I could pass down to my four children. They've already started working with me and are quickly learning the ins and outs of the home improvement industry and running a successful franchise.


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