Opinion: Franchises Are Heavy-Hitters in DFW Economy

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If Texas bounced back incredibly well after the pandemic—and we did—then the Dallas-Fort Worth area and its small businesses led the way. Texas regained most of those lost jobs faster than any other metro area in the nation. What’s more, we’re not only #1 in job growth rate but also wage earning expansion.

Even as inflation challenges families and the possibility of a recession continues to concern local employers, we’re in much better stead than other states. Our positive outlook is fueled in large part by our entrepreneurial spirit and economic diversity, both centered on our small businesses, especially our local franchised businesses.

The independence and innovation that drives entrepreneurship in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well as across Texas is frequently expressed in our robust franchise industry. An often-overlooked sector of the small business community, franchising punches above its weight in our economy, metaphorically speaking.

For many Texans, “franchise” is a familiar word, but one applied only to a narrow sliver of franchised businesses. Many favorite quick-service restaurant brands operate under the franchise model, but it’s so much more than that. A franchise brand—sometimes a national company but just as often a regional or local one—develops a product or service line, brand identity, and operating structures. It then licenses the concept and elements to independent business owners who run their own local establishments.

To give you a sense of how diverse franchising is, the place you get your car’s oil changed is likely to be a franchise. Where you rent a mailbox and ship packages, probably a franchise. You may work out at a franchised gym, grab a smoothie from a franchised vendor, and then pick up the kids from a franchised tutoring provider. Once back home, you might benefit from services from enterprises operating under Neighborly franchise brands, including such prominent names as Five Star Painting®, Mr. Rooter® Plumbing, and Molly Maid®.

This year, Texas is projected to be the number one state for franchise growth – expected to grow to almost 80,000 franchise establishments and employ a little more than 863,000 people with good jobs at competitive wages. All told, these small businesses contribute more than $80.8 billion to the Texas GDP, proving they are a key component to our state’s economic vitality.

Franchises add so much to our economic diversity because the franchise industry itself is diverse. The industry boasts more women, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses than their non-franchised counterparts. What makes the difference in inviting first-time and underrepresented entrepreneurs into the fold? Franchising offers advantages like access to capital, an established operating model to follow, and the support of fellow franchisees in the same brand family.

As an example, consider the opportunities that franchises offer our veterans. Transitioning to civilian life after the U.S. Marine Corps or another branch of service can be challenging, as one of us can attest. Our heroes must chart an entirely new career direction, and franchising welcomes them. Many of the same traits that make veterans successful in the armed services—leadership, discipline, grit, and teamwork—also make them excel as local business owners.

Today, veterans make up about seven percent of the U.S. population, but they account for a whopping 14 percent of all franchisees in America. As they achieve success in the franchise sector, they tend to share it by hiring former service members and the spouses of active-duty military. In this way, franchising builds a bridge from the military to the private sector for deserving citizens who have sacrificed for our country. We owe our service members the power to prosper once they’ve completed their service to our country.

Our mission in Texas must, therefore, be to continue supporting an industry that is supporting our veterans, our families of every background and ethnicity, our communities, and our economy. That means keeping franchises in their rightful place within the small business community and extending the same helpful initiatives and smart policies to these companies as we do to other locally owned and operated enterprises.

Residents and businesses across the Dallas-Fort Worth region have proven exceptionally resilient. Let’s keep up the good work and ensure Texas remains open for the opportunities franchising can bring.

Mary Kennedy Thompson is the Chief Operating Officer at Neighborly, the world’s largest home services company. Matt Haller is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Franchise Association.

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