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Franchising in 2017: Which Sectors Are Entrepreneurs Targeting This Year?
Millennials and Baby Boomers are pursuing franchising opportunities more and more, and it’s the industries they’re targeting that are the trendiest to watch headed into 2017.

It was a rocky 2016.

We had a tumultuous election, the Cubs won the World Series, and we endured the deaths of all-time great musicians like David Bowie and Prince. And yet, despite these ups and downs, the franchising industry celebrated another incredible year of growth—and it’s poised to generate nearly $600 billion in GDP in 2017. According to the International Franchise Association, the industry grew approximately 2 percent in 2016 and has around 800,000 domestic franchisees this year. Those numbers are only expected to climb in 2017 – in fact, the industry has only grown in each passing year since 2010.

Franchising offers prospective entrepreneurs the ability to choose from the myriad of creative services, goods, products with a built-in support structure and proven model of success. Among some the fastest-growing and most popular sectors—especially after coming off a spectacular 2016—is residential pest control franchises like Mosquito Joe.

Founded in 2012, Mosquito Joe rocketed to nearly 170 units in 2016 after having just 40 in 2014. The budding franchise’s CEO, Kevin Wilson, elaborated on their business model and its appeal to potential entrepreneurs.

“There are multiple things that make our business model appealing. The first is that you don’t need pest control or business experience to invest in Mosquito Joe. We provide all the training you need to launch the business, and of course the support doesn’t stop there. You are buying into an established brand and a growing family, with ongoing support and training from the franchisor.”

Mosquito Joe is, on its own, a microcosm of the booming franchising industry. The International Franchise Association predicted a 3 percent increase in franchise jobs in 2016, totaling over 9 million jobs. In a digital age, it’s easier to learn about franchises like Mosquito Joe that are on-the-rise and can offer immense corporate support that can attract would-be franchisees with their proven model of success. In turn, franchisees can have the confidence in appealing to a high volume of potential employees, as anticipated by the IFA.

Franchise consultant Sarah Brown of FranNet echoed Wilson; franchises don’t need you to know everything about their sector, they just need their franchisees to be passionate, open-minded, and willing to learn.

“Seventy-five percent of my clients are industry switchers,” Brown said. “They just want a change of scenery.”

Brown’s Baby Boomer clientele want to stay close to home, operate a recession-proof business, while leaving something for their children and their children’s children. And since Baby Boomers represent such a large portion of the American workforce, the sectors they’re flocking toward are the ones she views as trendy.

“People are attracted to the wellness industry because it’s relatively recession-resistant,” Brown said. “Lots of Baby Boomers are looking to start their second, third, or fourth acts in life, and franchising adds just that. While wellness is a broad term, it includes diverse franchise concepts like massage services, fitness, and skin care. These are the types of franchises that I see as trending headed into the New Year.”

Interestingly enough, millennials are also attracted to wellness franchise concepts, too. Both demographics have always shown a willingness to spend their hard-earned money on their own personal wellness, making the sector an interesting one to keep an eye on in 2017. Brown sees the two groups as big areas of growth in franchising.

Apart from wellness, Baby Boomers and millennials alike are seeking out education franchises. Grandparents have long shown a willingness to spend money on education opportunities on their grandchildren and younger people view it as a recession-resistant and altruistic opportunity.

“They want to give back,” Brown said. “Low-cost franchises make a lot of sense for both Baby Boomers and millennials. They have a lot in common that way.”

Brown projects these two generations – millennials and Baby Boomers – to become more significant players in franchising in the years to come, making the sectors they’re targeting the ones to watch. 

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