Face of franchising changing

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More women and minorities own franchises than ever before, according to the International Franchise Association.

But that isn’t the only emerging trend in the franchise industry, especially in Colorado.

Ruth Garcia, co-owner and managing partner of Denver-based RG2 Consulting LLC, has noticed an up-tick in clients who are still employed.

“They are looking for security and don’t trust the stock market,” she said. “They want to put their money in something tangible that they can touch. They actively manage their retirement fund by investing in a franchise, rather than having money sitting in a 401(k).”

But they continue in their day jobs, hiring a manager for the franchise and “managing the manager,” until the second income is sufficient to justify leaving.

Another trend Garcia has seen is among women in their mid- to late-50s, who used to manage a business for their husbands, or worked in the service industry, or have raised children or cared for aging parents.

They want to own their own business — and they look for something that will be “fulfilling” and that gives back to the community.

Many women buy franchises that offer child enrichment programs or adult daycare or in-home senior care.

“These women realize that they can become professionals and make money at what they’ve been doing for the last 10, 20, 30 years of their lives,” Garcia said.

Of course, the timing could not be better for opening a franchise that offers care to the elderly — millions of baby boomers are retiring and will be growing older for the foreseeable future.

Matthew Barrett, executive director of the Small Business Development Center, said he sees more former military or retired military than nonmilitary people showing interest in buying franchises.

“As the military presence continues to grow in this region, we’ll see more franchises,” Barrett said. “For former military, buying a franchise is often a smoother transition to the civilian marketplace than a startup business.”