Capital Area Franchise Association Explores ACA Employer Requirements, Action Plans

The Capital Area Franchise Association (CAFA) held its monthly networking lunch this week that included an informative panel on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and steps employer can take to prepare for compliance in 2014.  The overwhelming consensus: if you haven’t already started preparing, you should.


CAFA, a network of franchisees and franchisors in the DC, Maryland and Virginia areas, hosted the event in Tyson’s Corner, VA and assembled a panel comprised of four unique perspectives.  A franchisee, a franchisor, an accountant and an insurance broker contributed to the panel to clarify some of the ACA’s more confusing provisions and describe what effective action plans look like.

Chris Frye, a Virginia-based CPA with Yount, Hyde & Barbour, explained that effective ACA planning involves making a string of strategic decisions, and that business owners should make these decisions while surrounded by trusted advisors.  Mark Carrier, President of the Maryland multi-unit hotel franchisee B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, added that no business will be unaffected the employer mandate.  Although some businesses may not be required to provide coverage to employees, every business will see changes to the way they operate.  CAFA President Joe Caruso stressed the need for prompt action on ACA compliance, with open enrollment for state exchanges beginning in October 2013.

As compliance deadlines approach, franchise owners need resources and materials to begin understanding how the employer mandate will impact their businesses.  IFA’s new website,, contains tools and information for employers to determine which aspects of the employer mandate they are responsible for complying with, testimonials from franchise industry leaders about how they are adjusting their business and workforce to comply with the law, and an interactive feature to chat with IFA government relations staff in real-time to answer questions about the law.  The site is sponsored by the Hylant Group.

IFA SmartBrief Brings Franchising’s Story to Life

Eager to learn what is affecting franchise businesses in legislative, policy,
marketing and economic areas? Three times a week, those following the franchise industry can get the latest news in IFA’s news bulletin, IFA SmartBrief. Published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it includes such categories as franchise news, best practices and business leadership, news from IFA, trends watch and a policy and finance update.

With a circulation of 25,000, the brief provides tips to help better operate
your franchise business, as well as share the activities IFA is conducting on Capitol Hill to promote the industry and counter policies and regulations that would stifle franchise businesses in their local communities.

The brief, easy-to-ready summaries spotlight what your peers and competitors are doing to expand, update or rebuild their brands. There are many media sources and include major media such as the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, trade publications include QSR and Adweek and broadcast outlets such as FOX Business News and CNBC. Articles provide tips on taking advantage of social media, improving your credit, listening to customer feedback and more.

Not yet signed up for this free resource?  Visit and select SmartBrief under “Resources.”

VetFran joins Hiring our Heroes at Jobs Fair



As part of its partnership with Hiring Our Heroes, VetFran exhibited at the March 15 Capital One sponsored Job Fair for Veterans and military spouses at the Washington D.C. Convention Center.  IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira and soon to be veteran franchise owner Wade Franklin were interviewed by WMZQ, a Washington area country station with a large veteran audience that broadcast live from the fair.  IFA’s Kevin Blanchard and Josh Merin spoke to veterans about ownership and employment in franchising.  Blanchard, a recent veteran said “It is an honor to be in a position of offering resources and explaining current franchising opportunities to other veterans.”

Wade Franklin served seven years in the Navy including deployments to Japan, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. Leaving the military, Franklin dreamed of owning his own business saying “One good thing about the Navy is they really taught me how to make good decisions and how to manage things, and I felt ‘Hey, I want to take a chance on myself.” Wade saw that The UPS Store was waiving the franchise fee for veterans as part of VetFran’s Operation Enduring Opportunity, giving him the chance to open his own business. “I don’t have business experience, but in franchising they give you the support.” Franklin will open his Arlington, VA UPS Store in April and hopes to begin hiring his fellow veterans.

Kevin Schmiegel, Executive Director of Hiring Our Heroes singled out IFA in his remarks which kicked off the event.  Schmiegel thanked Caldeira for IFA’s commitment to veterans and VetFran’s leadership in the Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign.   Mr. Schmiegel told the audience that franchising has been a major part of the progress the campaign has made.


Two Men And A Truck Joined by Mich. Gov. Snyder to Announce Growth Plans


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At a time when growing and expanding your business can be challenging, one moving franchise continues to create jobs in its home state of Michigan and across America.  The family owned franchise business, Two Men And A Truck, announced it will expand into 300 new U.S. markets with franchised operations and will grow its presence to 500 sites, while also bringing 125 new jobs to its Lansing, Mich. headquarters.

In a press conference held on Feb.27, which included Two Men And A Truck executives and Gov. Rick Snyder, the governor stressed the importance of growing local businesses.

“Quite often, people spend their time saying we’re hunting for out-of-state companies, we’re trying to bring them in here, and we’re doing a fair amount of that,” Snyder said.  “The fundamental comeback in Michigan is by having successful companies right here in Michigan grow and flourish, and there’s no better example than the company right here.”

Two Men And A Truck experienced 36 consecutive months of growth, are projecting a 23 percent growth for this year and on target to achieve $325 million in sales.

“We believe in the brand, we believe in staying in Michigan and we believe in the growth we’re seeing, but we’re going to need great people here,” explained Two Men And A Truck President Randy Shacka.

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Two Men And A Truck, which has placed greater emphasis on customer service and marketing efforts, has logged 390,000 moving trips in 2012 and currently has 234 locations in the U.S., 19 in Canada and one in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Even though the housing market has not returned to prerecession levels and the economy isn’t booming, our numbers continue to demonstrate growth,” stated Shacka.

IFA President and CEO discusses Obamacare and what it means for small business owners



As full implementation of Obamacare is set to go into effect next year, small businesses and specifically franchise owners are doing everything they can to understand the new law, while still trying to grow and create jobs.  IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira spoke with radio host Mark Carbonaro on FOX News Radio to explain how this law will affect franchise owners who are already living in a challenging economic climate.

“The health care law is anything but affordable for small employers, but the law is here to stay, so we are trying to work with the White House to educate them before full implementation begins,” explains Caldeira.  “As an industry that is projected to create 162,000 new jobs and over 10,000 establishments, we need some flexibility with the law.”

Businesses that hire younger and lower skilled workers are now putting a ceiling on the work week of below 30 hours, as to avoid high penalty costs.  These ‘29er’s’ as they have been called, are the workers that are really going to be affected because their hours will be cut.  Yet as Caldeira explains, it is not because employers don’t want to offer insurance; it is out of necessity just to stay in business.  “Companies are going to have to look at their business model and in order to remain profitable, will have to move people to part time.”

Small business owners will be forced to either stay under the 50 employee threshold or keep workers under 30 hours per week to avoid penalties and neither is optimal for a country that desperately needs jobs.  “These arbitrary markers create perverse economic incentives. Where is the motivation for employers to grow and expand their business?” Caldeira asks.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

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