Older Workers Starting New Careers Buying Franchises

Seattle PI:

Kathy McAvoy-Rogalski keeps her year-old business operating on a short leash, and that’s a good thing.

Operating a Fetch Pet Care franchise with her husband, James, out of their home has proven to be a rewarding second career for the early retiree.

“It’s the one job where I can honestly say your clients are always happy to see you,” said the 56-year-old Yonkers, N.Y., woman.

Thousands of older Americans with an entrepreneurial bent have started new careers in recent years by buying small franchises in enterprises ranging from beauty shops to home maintenance to tax preparation. The option is likely to draw more interest as baby boomers age and, in the bleak economy, get laid off.

Franchising offers the chance for additional income and a new direction for people in the later stages of their working careers who either don’t want to retire or can’t afford to. Boosted by a brand name, training, advertising and an established business plan, a franchise can ease the struggle and risk of opening a business and still let you call some shots.

Hefty startup costs, which may range from $20,000 to $150,000 to buy part-time or smaller franchises, don’t guarantee a profit. There also are royalties, licensing requirements, long-term commitments and the franchise company’s ultimate control to consider. Three-quarters of all new franchising companies go under within the first 10 years, according to Scott Shane, professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University.

That makes it critical for individuals to do careful research and look at any buying opportunity skeptically.

Photo by Fetch Pet Care.

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