This article originally appeared in the March 2018 edition of Veterans in Franchising.
A brand-new franchising opportunity wants to turn military veterans into small business owners. G-FORCE, based in Bedford, NH, is a parking lot striping franchise that is open exclusively to veterans of the United States Military and active Guard and Reserve.
Founded by Jack Child, a 10-year Army and Air Force veteran, the company started operations last year and just received the green light to start accepting franchisees.
But, Child isn’t just a veteran of the Armed Forces, he’s also a veteran of the parking lot striping and pavement services franchise industry, having been the first to develop a lot striping franchise concept in 2009. He sold that business in 2012 and was under a no-compete order for five years. The no-compete order ended last year, opening the door for G-FORCE.
“I decided to jump back into the industry, but this time with the focus exclusively on military veterans,” Child said during a recent interview from the National Pavement Expo & Conference in Cleveland. “This time, I’m building the brand around the franchise owner, instead of the other way around, which is how most franchises evolve.”
Parking lot striping is what Child calls a “stealth business” in that not many people have heard of it or think about it, but anyone who uses a parking lot interacts with the industry. Parking lots are everywhere and they all need G-FORCE’s services.
Because it’s required by law for parking lots to be clearly marked, there is a constant need for the service G-FORCE offers, Child noted. Over time, parking lot stripes and other markings wear away and that can lead to a dangerous situation for businesses. A fresh striping job also enhances the property’s value and aesthetics for customers, employees and tenants.
In addition to parking lot striping, franchisees will have the opportunity to expand their services if they want. They’re required to offer the striping services but, if they choose, they may expand into warehouse striping, hot rubber crack sealing (very high demand), asphalt repairs and installation of signs, detectable warning systems, rubberized speed bumps, rubberized wheel stops and concrete parking stops.
While the business is seasonal in the colder climates, it can be run year-round in warmer climates. It also has low overhead and can be operated from home as an owner-operator service until a franchisee is ready to expand and hire more people, Child pointed out.
G-FORCE’s distinctive camo-style trucks and trailers, inspired by a military theme, help set G-FORCE franchisees apart from the competition. According to Child, the business community overwhelmingly supports veteran business initiatives.
Franchisees get a large exclusive territory, service trailer, one or more striping machines (depending on the package), traffic paints, stencils and miscellaneous equipment with their franchise. If franchisees don’t already own a pickup, they may lease one.
Total Investment for a G-FORCE Franchise is between $22,050 and $86,400, depending upon territory size, truck, equipment package and other variables, according to the company’s latest Franchise Disclosure Document. Veterans are granted a 1% discount for each year of service off the Franchise Fees, up to 15%.
Corporate America Steps Up to Help
G-FORCE has negotiated attractive discounts and grants from Corporate America as their way of saying “Thank you”.
Paint company Sherwin-Williams is donating the first 50 gallons of paint to each new franchisee which can generate about $5,000 worth of sales. They’ve also offered nationwide pricing for G-FORCE Franchisees.
Graco Industries, which manufactures the line painting machines, is offering discounts exclusive to G-FORCE franchisees.
Pavement Stencil Company, which was founded by an army veteran, is offering a 10 percent discount on the stencils the franchisees will use for painting.
And, pavement sealant manufacturer GemSeal is also offering discounts to G-FORCE franchisees on paints and equipment and can assist with leasing.
Child and G-FORCE’s operations manager, Bill Putnam (pictured on cover), are hoping the veterans they bring in as franchisees will in turn hire veterans as their businesses expand, although who the franchisees hire is ultimately up to them.
Support and Training
G-FORCE is looking for veterans who want to be their own boss; who are committed to outstanding customer service; who like to work outdoors work with state-of-the-art equipment; who want to create wealth for themselves; who wish to create opportunities for fellow veterans, and can follow a proven system. They must have the highest standards of integrity to represent the company.
Because the company just started franchising, it’s wide open for territories right now.
When G-FORCE signs up a franchisee, they’ll receive training either in New Hampshire or in their own territory. That training will include how to operate and maintain the equipment (which now includes laser technologies), how to generate sales leads, how to quote jobs and how to close deals. Franchisees will also get help with marketing and their online ads.
Child has extensive experience with training others. During his military service, he spent seven years in the US Air Force as an officer, pilot and, finally, as pilot instructor for the C-141. Not only did Child have to teach others how to fly, he was actually in charge of teaching the other pilot instructors.
“So, I was essentially teaching others how to teach and that’s come in very handy when I wear my franchise hat,” Child said, “…it’s important to know how to help someone approaching a new task —whether it’s running a franchise or hooking up to a tanker at 20,000 feet for the first time — you have to understand their state of mind, tell them about the common errors, minimize or eliminate those errors before they occur and set them up for success.”
Child has already received some promising feedback about G-FORCE. Back in November, the company won the First Annual Veteran Entrepreneur Series Pitch Competition in Boston among 18 fellow “Vetrepreneurs”, sponsored by Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, Veteran’s Edge, Suburban Integrated Facilities Resources, WS Development and Venture Cafe. The judges in the competition were impressed with G-FORCE’s franchise concept because of its multiplying effect on the veteran community.
G-FORCE is one of two national brands with a veteran focus, but is currently the only franchise system dedicated exclusively to veterans.
G-FORCE, whose motto is “We’ve Earned our Stripes, Let us Earn Yours”, holds a lot of potential for military veterans looking to own their own business.