Franchising is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who want a ready-made business to run
Credit: Franchising image via Shutterstock
Owning a business is a dream job for many Americans, but coming up with and executing a successful startup idea can be difficult. If you want a surefire business model and an established brand presence, why not invest in a franchise?
While all franchises require you to have some startup money saved up, you may not need as much as you think. For as little as $10,000, you can own your slice of the franchising pie. No matter what your budget is, there's a franchise out there for you. Here are 20 franchise options whose minimum initial fees range from $10,000 to $1 million. (Actual costs could be higher depending on location and other factors determined by the parent company.)
- City Dogs: With options for a fixed kiosk or mobile unit with multiple investment levels, hot dog retailer City Dogs is a flexible franchise option for first-time entrepreneurs. [Franchising: Definition and Top Opportunities]
- Fetch! Pet Care: Fetch! Pet Care is a nationwide provider of pet sitting and dog-walking services. Entrepreneurs who manage independent pet sitting and walking businesses through Fetch! receive training and support from both the company and its network of franchisees. [Related story: How to Start a Pet Care Business]
- Tax Centers of America: Capitalize on tax season by opening your own Tax Centers of America franchise. The company provides annual training sessions to keep franchisees up to date on current tax preparation laws and software.
- iLoveKickboxing.com: If you've ever dreamed of turning your passion for fitness into a business, opening an iLoveKickboxing location may be the right choice for you. This international company has lower overhead costs than a traditional gym, as the only equipment you'll need is matted floors and heavy bags.
- Molly Maid: Imported to the U.S. from Canada in 1984, Molly Maid allows franchise owners to operate an independent home-cleaning service in targeted markets across the country. Depending on the coverage area, initial franchise fees start at less than $45,000.
- ServiceMaster Clean: ServiceMasterClean offers residential and commercial cleaning services, as well as disaster restoration for homes and businesses damaged by events like fires and floods.
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$50,000 - $99,999
- AdviCoach: AdviCoach is a business coaching and advisory services franchise catering to small to mid-size businesses. Its model empowers business owners to increase the productivity and value of their businesses through unique coaching methodologies and "Rapid Impact Strategies" to help them reach long-term income, lifestyle, wealth and equity goals.
- BookKeeping Express: BookKeeping Express is the first U.S. franchise focused solely on providing bookkeeping services nationwide. The company integrates a full range of bookkeeping, management, accounting and financial reporting services that are traditionally used by Fortune 5000 companies.
- Doc Popcorn: Doc Popcorn is the largest retailer of popcorn in the world, with more than 80 units in 25 states. This popcorn franchise offers a flexible franchise system, allowing entrepreneurs to buy into the brand at a level that fits their budget.
- Maui Wowi: Maui Wowi Hawaiian has embraced the Hawaiian culture and has been serving "paradise in a cup" for more than 30 years. This leader in the mobile event business provides premium fresh fruit smoothies and Hawaiian coffee, including the highly regarded Kona coffee from the island of Hawaii. Maui Wowi has more than 450 units in seven countries.
$100,000 - $499,999
- BlueGrace Logistics: BlueGrace is a third-party logistics franchise that offers complete, customized transportation management solutions to customers across the United States. The company offers freight services such as truckload services, international and domestic air freight, ocean freight, supply chain management, service desk support and auditing services.
- Fastsigns: Fastsigns provides visual communications solutions to help customers of all sizes and industries meet their business objectives and increase their business visibility through the use of signs, graphics, printing, promotional products and related marketing services.
- Fresh Healthy Vending: American consumers are shifting toward a healthier lifestyle, and franchises like Fresh Healthy Vending have capitalized on the growing demand for nutritious ready-to-eat foods. These all-digital vending machines are stocked with fresh, healthy snacks, and have a presence in 43 states, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and five Canadian provinces.
- Kono Pizza: The concept of Kono Pizza — pizza ingredients in a dough cone — was established in Europe and brought to the U.S. in 2013. There are 130 Kono Pizza locations operating in 20 countries, with 15 locations planned to open in the U.S. this year.
- Aaron's: Aaron's is a leader in sales and lease ownership of household furniture and appliances. The company has more than 2,000 showrooms in North America and was ranked third on Forbes Magazine's list of Top 20 Franchises for the Buck.
- Dairy Queen: Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Dairy Queen No. 1 on its list of Top 500 Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Franchises. In addition to ice cream shops, franchisees can also open a DQ Grill and Chill restaurant or an Orange Julius location.
- Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores: Sears, the national home appliance and hardware retailer, operates the following franchises: Sears Appliance and Hardware Stores, Sears Home Appliance Showrooms and Sears Outlet.
- Ace Hardware: Aspiring Ace Hardware franchisees have access to royalty-free national and international opportunities to own and operate an Ace store. Independent hardware stores have the option to convert their business to the Ace Hardware brand.
- Retro Fitness:Since opening in 2004, Retro Fitness has evolved from a regional Northeast gym concept into a national fitness system with more than 100 gyms in 13 states. Each Retro Fitness location is a full-service fitness center, with 60 to 100 pieces of equipment from leading manufacturers.
- Sizzler: A pioneer of the "pay first" fast-casual restaurant concept, Sizzler provides its franchisees with a demographic analysis, extensive training programs, and operations/marketing support. [Related Story: How Sizzler Got Its Sizzle Back]
Originally published on Business News Daily on Jun. 10, 2012. Updated on Feb. 12, 2014.