The franchising industry is the doorway to a world of opportunity. Thousands of franchises offer countless concepts, all with varying startup costs. And while many require a storefront and overhead expenses, a large number of them – ranging from pest control to dance fitness lessons to deck and lighting companies and repair services – can be operated right from home. Home-based franchises are becoming viable options for business ownership, enabling many new franchisors to grow their businesses more effectively Franchise Finder Find the right franchise for you! Explore our directory of over 800 franchise opportunties.

The popularity of home-based businesses has been growing for a while now. Home-based entrepreneurship has become so common, in fact, that those running businesses from home have earned their own title, “homepreneurs,” and have become significant pillars in the economy. According to a recent survey conducted by Small Business Success Index and analyzed by Emergent Research, there are currently about 6.6 million home businesses nationwide that generate at least 50 percent of the owner’s household income. These businesses employ over 13 million people; 35 percent of them generate more than $125,000 in revenue, and 8 percent generate more than $500,000.

So what’s driving this trend? There are many factors, one of which is the struggling economy. “Home-based franchising is alive and well and, in this down economy, thriving,” explains Harold Kestenbaum, a franchise attorney who has worked with more than 100 franchise concepts. “More franchise companies have gone to the home-based model, when possible, since the tightness of the credit market has made selling the big-box franchises very difficult. The home-based model opens up the opportunities for prospects with lower budgets, which is a good thing.”

Additionally, as technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s easier than ever to operate a business from home and still portray a professional image. “As technology continues to offer more and more communications abilities, such as Web conferencing and seamless communication systems, home-based franchising will continue to be a viable option for many companies looking for qualified buyers and for buyers who wish to have the flexibility of working at a home base,” says Alisa Harrison, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the International Franchise Association.

Finally, the once somewhat negative stigma associated with working from home is dissipating as the entire image of the traditional workplace is undergoing a metamorphosis. According to data released in January from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people who worked at home increased from about 9.5 million in 1999 to about 11.3 million in 2005. Furthermore, nearly half of these home-based workers had college degrees, and nearly half of them earned $75,000 a year or more. As the whole concept of working from home becomes more common, so does the idea of running a franchise from home.

The flexibility and freedom of running a business from home helps franchisees realize their dream of starting a business, but it also enables franchisors to introduce new concepts and grow their businesses. With home-based franchising becoming more widespread, those searching for a franchise may not have to roam too far from home to find – and start – a business of their own. (Sara Wilson)

On Tuesday, I met with members of the Virginia congressional delegation about healthcare reform and other issues important to the franchise industry during the International Franchise Association (IFA) 10th Annual Public Affairs Conference held in Washington, D.C. on September 14 – 15, 2009

I joined 450 other franchise leaders from around the country in Washington to urge Congress to consider the impact of healthcare reform on small and franchise businesses. 

We urged congressional leaders to focus on reducing the cost of health care, improving the quality of care and making health insurance affordable for businesses to offer to employees. While the franchise industry supports healthcare reform, now is not the time, during the worst recession since World War II, for substantial new increases in healthcare costs. More consideration for small businesses in the healthcare debate is critical to the future of the franchise industry.

In addition, I highlighted the importance of franchising to the U.S. economy during meetings with Representative Eric Cantor and meetings the legislative staffs of Senator Jim Webb and Senator Mark Warner.  According to a study conducted for the IFA Educational Foundation by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the economic impact of franchising, there are more than 900,000 franchised businesses in operation across the country that provide for 21 million jobs and generate $2.3 trillion in economic output.

However, the tight credit markets are hampering our ability to create new, sustainable jobs. A 40 percent reduction in franchise lending is predicted this year, resulting in the loss of an estimated 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. During these meetings, we urged Congress to promote more lending and less government spending so franchise businesses can provide better jobs that help the economy recover at a faster pace.

Despite the sluggish economy, most consumers are engaging in some form of outdoor entertaining, with an average frequency of about four times per year. While monitoring their spending, many have found it acceptable to invest a portion of their savings in select household items and that includes outdoor entertaining. According to a recent report, Outdoor Entertaining Trends 2008: Consumers Bring the Indoors Out, from The NPD Group, Inc., a leading market research company, roughly 45 percent of outdoor entertainers purchased some type of related product in the past 12 months.

In addition, more than 40 percent of outdoor entertainers tell NPD they plan to purchase/add an item to their property in the next 12 months. Firepits/outdoor fireplaces, outdoor lighting, and water fountain/décor were among the top products outdoor entertainers said they plan to purchase within the next year.

In addition to products for entertaining, people have also considered what other factors go into home entertainment and outdoor living, such as Mosquito & Tick Control. What ever the need is, when it comes to outdoor living, there is typically a professional that can handle it from the Outdoor Living Brands group of companies.

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Your landscaping has multiple purposes. It can, and should, enhance and improve the look of your property of course, and if well done it can increase the value of the property.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is a great enhancement as it offers not only beauty, but also additional security to the property by virtue of improved visibility in areas that are dimly lit and hard to see.

Landscape Lighting for Elemental Focus

Landscape lighting can include details such as a light shining spotlight fashioned on a single element that you wish to enhance, such as a tree, or fountain. The spotlight will focus on the single feature, drawing attention to it after dark so that it becomes more visible to the passer by.

Some key elements you might select to draw attention to are a water pond, a water fall, a single tree, fountain or flower garden. You could also choose to set in place a stone statue or garden decorative feature that you’d like to focus on and build around.

Landscape Lighting for Security and Safety

Another way in which landscape lighting can be used is to assure the safety and security of the homes occupants. A well placed light under a set of open stairs, or beneath a deck, will add beauty to the area, as well as the ability to see those steps or the areas after dark. Well lit areas help to reduce the likelihood of unwanted intruders. In addition, professionally placed lighting can improved many security surveillance equipments range and ability as well.

Landscape lighting can offer so much to a home’s landscaping that planning and implementing it over the course of our landscaping plans is certainly something we need to take into consideration.

Landscape Lighting Experts

Quite often we don’t consider elements such as lighting when planning our landscaping design, and may overlook our need to light up more dark areas. We may also neglect to focus attention on a given part of the landscaping using landscape lighting that would greatly increase the beauty of the overall design.

 Hiring an expert in landscape lighting, such as Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, means that you get the benefit of their experience when it comes to not only the overall design, but each aspect of it; from aesthetic design, architectural interest and eco-friendly methods of creating your properties landscaping.

Landscape lighting is both an art and a science and when used correctly can improve security, functionality and property values for your property. To begin planning your own landscape lighting design, contact the experts at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and see what they can offer you.

To see professional lighting in action, take a look at this YouTube Video from Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

If you feel you have the talent, design sense and drive, we are always looking for telented people to become franchise owners. See if we are right for you.

I feel that every once in a while it’s necessary to let the people in internet land really know whats happening at Outdoor Living Brands HQ, here in Richmond Virginia. Getting a feel for the company you are gettting involved with is the key to any good discovery process, and we are no different.

On May 6, the Richmond franchises of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, Archadeck and Mosquito Squad will host a Grand Opening Event at the company’s headquarters on Emerywood Parkway. The company will present trend information on outdoor living as it relates to outdoor lighting design and installation, the design and build of innovative outdoor rooms and decks and mosquito, flea and tick elimination for outdoor spaces.

The event will serve as a unique networking opportunity for those involved in the outdoor living services industry in the Richmond area. Invitees are encouraged to attend and learn more about the Outdoor Living Brands family of companies and opportunities for building trade alliances.

Comprised of category-leading brands Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad, Outdoor Living Brands operates through more than 150 franchise locations worldwide with a dedication to innovation, high quality standards, customized service and gracious outdoor living. The company was founded in late 2008 by the merger of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Archadeck. The acquisition of the Mosquito Squad brand soon followed.

As I sit here on this warm, rainy evening, I can’t help but think about all the nooks and crannies collecting water around my property. From our potted plants to dimples on the crinkled grill cover. Tomorrow I will casually go around, turning  pots over, shaking out covers and preventing my land from becoming an itchy, annoying, mosquito breeding ground.

But in the current economy, there is a bigger problem than just these puddles in my home; with two “for sale” signs on my street, there are large unmaintained areas teaming with mosquitoes that end up disturbing the entire neighborhood. While I wish this problem was unique to me, this is a major issue throughout the country, either from foreclosed or empty homes.

In our area we have a local Mosquito Squad office, protecting our property from the nusience and diseases caused by mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. By eliminating the food source and killing these pesky insects, we can enjoy these warm spring nights in Virginia, and entertain outside into the evening.

Mosquito Squad is one of the few businesses out there that fairs well in any economic climate. With 20 franchises across the country and growing, it may be just the type of business opportunity  you are looking for to begin controlling your economic destiny. It’s the right concept at the right time for business owners and familes. If you are looking to protect your outdoors or would like to investigate buying a business in your area, check it out at www.mosquitosquad.com.

More than 40 people called the Columbia County Mosquito control office Monday with complaints about growing mosquito populations in the flood affected southern area of the county.

Columbia County mosquito control director Bill Lycan said the department also received close to 40 calls Friday and most were from the Three Rivers Estates area after the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe rivers overflowed their banks and left a large breeding area for mosquitoes. Lycan said on Monday that the county’s mosquito control spraying for the season isn’t scheduled to begin until May 4 but the department may have to begin the season early.

“The rest of the county is pretty dry, but it just depends on mosquito populations and funding,” he said. “We’re still waiting to find out what the state is going to give us in money. They may cut all of it out. Should that happen, I don’t know what the county’s position is going to be. That will be about 40 percent of our total funding for mosquito control.”

In addition to the funding issues, the local mosquito control department will operate dependent on the mosquito population with some new guidelines. An inspector from the Florida Department of Agriculture reviewed the local department Monday. That inspection will result in some changes at the local department. “They’re very much going to the letter of the law on the rules and we’ve got to change some things to even continue our program,” Lycan said. “Just because someone calls and says, ‘there are mosquitoes,’ we can’t use that to spray anymore — we’ve got to go out and verify that there is actually an increase in mosquito population.”

With the new rules in place, the department will send an employee out to do a landing rate count where the employee will go to the area, get out of the truck for one minute and count how many mosquitoes land on him in the allotted minute. That data will be compiled in a log and sent to the Department of Agriculture, showing there is sufficient cause to go spray.

“We can’t afford to buy traps and don’t have the personnel to set them out, collect them and recount those mosquitoes every morning,” Lycan said.

When the mosquito control department begins its local spraying program, it will utilize five trucks, which will run three nights a week, disbursing 30 gallons of mosquito insecticide each night.

“The people that are complaining the most are surrounded by water, but I can’t do anything for them until the water goes down,” Lycan said.

For the rest of us, there is an alternative- Mosquito Squad. By providing a pest & disease free environment in your back yard, you can protect your family and pets every day from nuisances and disease. Get your yard back with Mosquito Squad and start enjoying the outdoors again.