From the forces to franchises


As members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces leave the services and return to civilian life one of the first obstacles facing them is finding a new career. Many will join civilian services such as fire and rescue or the police force. However, for many more the path is less clear. 

Now more help is available for ex-service personnel to set up their own franchise businesses from the Royal British Legion Be the Boss scheme. Business start-up and growth support is available for those leaving the Armed Forces on or after 7 October 2001, as well as reservists who have been on active deployment since that date. 

Be the Boss support includes grants and loans, information, advice and guidance to help applicants create a business plan, on-going business ‘health checks’ and mentoring. Applicants may receive up to £30,000 in financial support over the course of the scheme depending on the nature of their business, business plan and budget, and demonstrable needs. 

If starting up a business from scratch is not practical for whatever reason, running a franchise business could be the answer. Franchisees have the freedom of running their own business but with all the support of a national organisation. 

Drain Doctor has several franchisees who are ex-servicemen like Michael Burrows and Jason Hawkins. Michael served with the 1st Battalion Royal Green Jackets. When he left the army Michael worked as a plumber, supervising a team of 12 at an established plumbing business involved in installing plumbing and drainage. 

When Michael decided to start his own business he looked at other franchise opportunities and opted to join Drain Doctor because it has a real focus on customer service. 

Jason, who owns the Norwich franchise, served in the Royal Navy as a physical training instructor for 11 years putting recruits through their paces. He also served as a police officer in the Suffolk Constabulary before purchasing the Drain Doctor Plumbing franchise for Norwich. 

Franchise businesses like Drain Doctor offer a good opportunity for ex-servicemen and others to start their own businesses with the added support of a national network.

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