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Starting a Business Over 50

Here are 5 franchises that may be a good fit for older workers

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1. Floor covering

Floor Coverings International

  • Service: provides floor coverings for homes
  • Founded: 1988
  • Number of franchises: more than 80
  • Headquarters: Smyrna, Ga.
  • Investment costs: $160,000 to $250,000
  • Fit for 50-plus? The business can be run from your home or the store. No 3 a.m. phone calls for service.
  • But: It's not recession-proof and requires energetic marketing for customers.

Spotlight: Cindy, 53, and John Henson, 52, Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.

Cindy and John first talked about owning a business decades ago, when they were dating. In 2005 they made good on that dream. They moved from New Jersey to their favorite vacation spot, Ocean Isle Beach, and opened Floor Coverings International locations in two counties. Cindy has kept her job at an education company, working the franchise part-time. John carries the bulk of the day-to-day responsibilities.

"It's been fantastic for us," says Cindy, even though they're a long way from achieving their goal of being more or less absentee owners and seeing some financial returns.

"I've always wanted to be on my own," says John, "and yet at the same time, there are 90 other franchise owners who I can bounce ideas off of, and that's been nice, too."

Her advice: Set a dollar amount that you're willing to invest and never exceed it.

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