24-Year Army Veteran Turns to Franchising

By Small Business FOXBusiness

After 24 years of active duty service in the U.S. Army, retired Sgt. 1st Class Keith Orr said he was ready for a new challenge: business ownership.

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“I met my franchise coach at a job fair in Columbia, South Carolina, around Fort Jackson, and we started speaking,” Orr said. “It took a couple of months and a few interviews with him to see if it was something [I] could really do.”

Orr said the problem-solving skills and operational management lessons he learned while serving prepared him well for the rigors of running a franchise. In September 2013, Orr opened a Handyman Matters franchise, achieving profitability in seven months, he says.

“We do small repair work for residential and some commercial … We try to bring a sense of trust with the construction and handyman industry. There [are] so many people working out of the back of their truck, who do some crappy work, take your money and leave,” Orr explained.  “We provide consistent, on-time service and offer a one-year warranty.”

In just over one year, Orr went from having one employee to six; he said he’s looking to hire other veterans like himself as the business expands.

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“I have the confidence that I know I’m able to handle what comes down,” Orr said, which stems from his years in the military. In his two-plus decades of service, Orr served in the Gulf War, in Haiti, and in peacekeeping missions in Egypt and Kosovo.

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Orr said his military background makes him particularly well-suited to run a franchise business, in which you’re following a prescribed set of rules.

“Lay down some established procedures, and guys like me eat it up,” Orr said.

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