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How a FranNet Consultant Helped This Millennial Buyer Achieve His Entrepreneurial Dream

As the younger generation reaches the franchise-buying age, FranNet consultants understand the trends, desires and goals that drive entrepreneurs today.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 3:15PM 08/01/22

When entrepreneur Dustin Hughes first reached out to FranNet consultant Kristina Hawfield about the prospect of franchise ownership, he wasn’t sure if he had the financial and professional experience to make it work. At the age of only 36, Hughes said he still had a lot to learn. That is where Hawfield came in. 

For more than 35 years, FranNet’s experienced local franchise consultants like Hawfield have helped guide clients like Hughes through the process of identifying the franchise opportunities that best fit their business and lifestyle goals. Now, with Millennial buyers outpacing Baby Boomer buyers for the first time, FranNet is emerging as an essential resource for younger entrepreneurs looking to take control of their destiny and become their own boss.

The Journey to FranNet

Before dipping his toes into franchising, Hughes came from a military background. He served for four years before returning home and taking on managerial roles for maintenance companies. But as someone from a family of entrepreneurs, Hughes says he always knew he wanted to open a business of his own one day. 

“My dad is a business owner himself — he owns a hot tub, chemical service and repair company,” said Hughes. “My mom comes from the financial side and works for the banks. My aunt is also an entrepreneur. I’ve always known business ownership was my goal, but I just didn’t know how to get there.”

When Hughes’ aunt visited him last year, he says the two began talking about business ownership. “She suggested a franchise, and I had always thought of franchising as just big fast food chains,” he said. “She already had a relationship with Kristina, so she introduced me, and I set up a meeting with her and FranNet.” 

Finding the Right Fit

After a candidate like Hughes reaches out to FranNet, the consultants use the proprietary tool — the Entrepreneur Readiness Profile — to build franchisee profiles and begin the matchmaking process. Developed over the last 30 years, this electronic assessment is a fact-finding and discovery process that digs deep into the prospective franchisee’s needs and goals, from the kind of business they want to run to how many employees they want (if any) and the kind of lifestyle they want to live outside of their business.

“When we sat down and built out the business model and looked at personal, financial goals, short term and long term, the thing that I appreciated about Dustin was that he was incredibly open-minded,” Hawfield said. “He didn’t have a set product or service he was stuck on; he was more interested in how the business would work for him.”

Once the franchisee profile is complete, FranNet leverages its portfolio of over 250 franchisors to find the opportunity that will work for both the prospective franchisee and the brand. 

“After filling out the entrepreneur profile, we are building out all aspects of the business model, similar to buying a house: budget, financing, transferable skills,” Hawfield said. “Then I use that information to connect him with businesses and funding partners. That was really eye-opening for Dustin because he learned about the ROBS program, where you can use your 401K tax and penalty-free in conjunction with the SBA loans or home equity line. That allowed more options.”

Hawfield helped Hughes narrow down his options to three concepts, one of which was the moving and junk removal franchise College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving. “I saw that the brand culturally fit his vision, his goals, his values,” she said. “One thing unique to Millennial buyers like Dustin is that they have a passion for continued growth and development. They are always striving for knowledge and self-improvement and that is the culture of College Hunks. That is why this one kept rising to the top. Not only could the business fulfill his goals, but it also really resonated with his values culturally.” 

Hughes agrees, noting that College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving also aligned with his current skill-set. “At first, I had never in my life thought about a moving or junk removal company,” he said. “But the more I talked to the team, the more I saw the brand aligned with my values and my background. A franchise offers you a support system already in place. Their support system is incredible. What I was really looking for is the ability to work for myself and be my own boss, while also having that support behind me."

Another factor that helped Hawfield find the right fit for Hughes was his passion for travel, a common trait among Millennial buyers. “He was looking for a business that would allow him, as an entrepreneur, to self-direct his own career,” she said. “He wanted that flexibility to take a vacation to Colombia and know that he is set up to take that time off and still work remotely and be involved in the business. A lot of Millennial buyers don’t want to be at the liberty of W2 paycheck.”

A Job Well Done

Hawfield says Hughes’ story is a great example of how FranNet can help Millennial entrepreneurs realize their potential by providing them with the information, education and resources needed to start franchising. 

“Oftentimes, people don’t know what is out there,” said Hawfield. “For example, junk removal wasn’t on Dustin’s radar, but when I showed him the business — logistics, operations, staffing, investment level — it was clear that it just fit. It was a business that he didn’t think of, but he knew he could be passionate about it, and we were able to show him what he was looking for.”

Hughes officially signed a franchise agreement with College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving in February of 2022 and hopes to open his Denver operation in July. 

“I obviously love the experience so far, and I’m so happy with the way everything turned out,” he said. “I am also so thankful for Kristina and FranNet. Everything was as flawless and smooth as I could have hoped.” 

With 75 consultants throughout the U.S. and Canada, FranNet franchise consultants have helped thousands of entrepreneurs like Hughes across North America start their own businesses through franchise ownership.

If you are a potential franchisee looking to invest or a franchisor looking to attract new candidates, contact FranNet at