Shining a Spotlight on Veteran Franchise Owner Keith Placencio

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Military veterans are a perfect fit for franchise ownership. This is because the two fields share a similar set of values. Discipline, operational planning, and the ability to follow a system are just a few of the skills taught in the military that match up perfectly with running a franchise. We recently sat down with Keith Placencio, a successful Batteries Plus veteran franchise owner, to discuss his experience in the military, how it has helped him succeed at Batteries Plus, and the advantages a franchise offers veterans.

What are the Benefits of the Military Lifestyle?

In many ways, Keith’s time in the military set the tone for the rest of his life.

“I went into the Marine Corps back in 1987, August 10 of 1987, right out of high school. My wife and I were high school sweethearts; we were  already married, had a daughter, and went into the Marine Corps, which wasn’t easy, but we knew it was a great life that would lead to great things.”

Altogether, Keith spent four years in the Marines, where he took part in Operation Desert Storm.

“Being a marine is one of the greatest experiences of my life. The Marine Corps gave me more motivation and more discipline. One of the greatest things I picked up from the Marine Corps is how to overcome, improvise, adapt, and all that great stuff that you need to be successful in life.”

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How Keith Became an Entrepreneur

After leaving the Marines, Keith attended New Mexico State University, where he obtained a degree in electrical engineering. In the years that followed, Keith held a number of positions, including an engineering position at General Motors, a stint in the National Guard, and even a brief period as an insurance agent. But despite his success, he was drawn to the idea of owning his own business.

His first franchise was a shaved ice business called Kona Ice. Over the years, he built that up to a business that included five trucks in five separate territories, as well as a traveling Travelin’ Tom’s Coffee.

“It’s been such a ride, but, you know, there’s some ups and downs to snow cones, of course…and so I knew I really had to diversify.”

After doing some research, Keith sought out the advice of a friend who had been successful in the franchising world. Among his holdings, this friend owned a Batteries Plus in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which he was planning on selling. The two of them met and, after some additional research, Keith purchased his friend’s Batteries Plus location.

“We hit the ground running in our first year and two out of our twelve months have been record-breaking months, and this store’s been open ten, eleven years. So, to do that, that’s a big feather in our cap.”

One of his favorite things about the business is the way in which it allowed him to leverage the relationships he had already built with his Kona Ice trucks and turn them into Batteries Plus customers.

“What do snow cones have to do with batteries? It’s about developing those relationships and building that rapport with your community, and with the city, and with the county, and the hospitals and the schools. All those businesses that you want to get into with Batteries Plus—I’m already there and people love us because we’re Kona Ice.”

Franchise Success Through Community

Keith’s community-centric approach has yielded impressive results, including a massive deal to outfit the city’s police cruisers with the best auto battery franchise. Due to the enormous number of onboard electronics, the city’s squad cars were burning through auto batteries at an alarming rate. So, Keith met with the department to show how he could provide them with a much better battery. 

Keith didn’t just propose a one-size-fits-all solution; instead, he initiated open and extensive conversations with the police department to grasp the unique demands of their fleet. Through these discussions, he assessed the power requirements of the onboard electronics in the squad cars, considering factors like the number of devices, their power consumption, and the typical usage patterns. Armed with this information, Keith was able to identify a battery that perfectly matched the vehicles’ specifications, ensuring that they would no longer burn through as quickly.

Why Should I Purchase a Battery Franchise?

One of the things Keith loves about owning a franchise is the way in which it allows you to start your business right away, without having to create the whole operation from scratch.

“Could I do something like this, could I do something like another startup? Heck yeah. I know I could, but it’s going to take me a lot longer, it’s going to be a lot more difficult, I’m going to make a lot more mistakes and it’s going to cost me a ton more money to ever get to that point.”

Some aspiring entrepreneurs may be put off by the royalty fees associated with franchising, but Keith believes they more than pay for themselves.

“Of course, you’ve got to pay your fees and the royalties and all that, but that’s well worth what you get back when you’re with a great franchise.”

He also highlighted just how valuable Batteries Plus’ support systems are.

“The fact that they’re trying to help franchisees be successful and doing all those things, looking at new technologies, looking at securing other revenue sources and streams, is just amazing.”

If you’re a veteran interested in franchising, Keith is always available to offer advice.

“Call me, please find a way to call me, Batteries Plus in Las Cruces and I’ll help anybody, any veteran.”

Is Batteries Plus the Right Fit for You?

Batteries Plus offers a number of incentives to veterans interested in purchasing a Batteries Plus of their own. The company is an IFA VetFran member and offers a $10,000 discount off the franchise fee for military veterans. In 2022, Batteries Plus was also recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as a Top Franchise for Veterans for the ninth year in a row.

Want to learn more? Contact us today.

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