Veteran starts pavement company to help others like him
By ADAM URQUHART
Feb. 12, 2018
AMHERST, N.H. (AP) — A Bedford-based company launched a unique initiative this week that caters specifically to veterans.
Jack Child, of Amherst, said his company - G-FORCE - specializes in pavement maintenance and parking lot striping. In August 2017, he created an opportunity available exclusively for veterans, active guard or reserve members to work for and own a G-FORCE franchise.
"We really built the brand and imagery around today's returning veterans, something they can take pride in ownership of," Child said.
As a veteran himself, having been in the Army for three years and being involved in the Air Force for seven years, he knows what it's like to make that transition back home.
It's low-cost in entry, and the total investment can start as low as $25,000.
Being a franchise that's selling exclusively to veterans, Child said, "It makes it a little harder in some ways, because we're narrowing our potential prospects, but I also think it becomes a magnet and shines a brighter light on what we're trying to do for veterans."
He hopes that once franchises are set in place around the country, that they too will hire other veterans to make an even bigger impact on the veteran community.
"We've got several prospects from around the country expressing serious interest," Child said.
Everything about the G-FORCE brand has a military-type look to it, from the logo to the name, and even their trucks and trailers have a camouflage wrap.
"The crews wear camo pants, branded shirts and things like that to project a professional image," Child said.
He said he'd like to expand and grow the franchise to reach the major metropolitan areas of the country, such as targeting areas like Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Georgia.
However, right now, the company itself is focusing on parking-lot striping and covers most of New Hampshire and a good bit of Massachusetts.
"We are the folks who either put down new parking lot markings on new pavement or we restore old, worn out markings that have been there for a few years," Child said.
With most every public parking lot requiring these markings, G-FORCE lays down paint for anything from parking spaces, reserved spots, arrows, fire lanes and much more. They also install parking-lot signs, like handicap signage.
"Our primary service is pretty straight forward. We also offer hot rubber crack sealing, and we work with other contractors to provide sealcoating, other paving repairs and other major asphalt repairs," Child said, adding that, "We are using that business to help fund our expansion into putting veterans into the business around the country."
Child said he has a soft spot for veterans who've been serving over the past 12 years or so that have had multiple tours.
"The military has been asked to do a lot, and when they return, they haven't always been able to transition and find meaningful work or get into a business," Child said.
With his own military background and understanding of the challenges of transitioning from military to what he said they call "the real world," he looks to help others do the same.
"I have some experiences in my background that put me in a position to help them with their transition and show them how to get into business," Child said.
The company will take care of a lot of things for the veterans such as creating a website, for example, to free them up to start up and grow their business.
"As an instructor-pilot, I'd take a pilot who had not been in an airplane or experienced the task at hand, and it was my job to transfer my knowledge to them so I could set them up to succeed," Child said.
He said that they would fail and make mistakes, but that he'd use it as a learning tool and try to pre-empt those mistakes.
"Even though I've started many businesses over the years, I still know what it's like to be on day one, thinking of getting into a business and how it feels to launch. I can try to steer them in the right direction to help them succeed and not make the mistakes I've made over the years," Child said.
Having much experience under his belt, he said he thinks they'll be able to get 50 franchises established over the next three to five years.
Child and his partner Bill Putnam, operations manager for the local striping business, take on a sort of military mindset of being in uniform and showing up and getting the job done.
Child said in November 2017, the company's business model was recognized in Massachusetts as the best of 18 entries in a veteran entrepreneur series pitch competition. He said they made the final five, then took first prize and were given $5,000 to put toward the business.
Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.nashuatelegraph.com