Franchising is a popular entrepreneurial path for those who want to run their own business with a significantly decreased risk. Investing in a franchise means giving yourself a greater chance of success, because you have brand power and support behind you.
Many big-name franchises are notoriously expensive, but buying into a successful, established brand doesn't have to cost millions, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars. For aspiring franchise owners with any size budget, here are more than 50 options with minimum initial investments ranging from less than $10,000 to upward of $1 million.
$10,000 (or less) to $24,999
- Bar-B-Clean: Bar-B-Clean offers residential and commercial customers a convenient, low-cost grill-cleaning solution. The service includes a deep cleaning of the interior and exterior of the grill, as well as a thorough inspection of the burner and ignition systems. There are currently eight Bar-B-Clean locations serving 17 territories throughout seven states. Franchise fees begin at $19,500.
- Java Dave's Coffee: Java Dave's Coffee offers a unique and affordable opportunity that's a bit different from the traditional franchising model. For as little as $500, you can become a licensed Java Dave's retailer for five full years in any type of space you choose, whether it's a mall kiosk, a mobile unit or a full-fledged coffee shop. The basic licensing fee includes a selection of Java Dave's products and recipes, corporate training and professional product branding. Larger packages (up to $3,495) include signage and equipment. While licensees have complete freedom over their store name, location and operating hours, they do need to finance their own physical retail space.
- Jazzercise: Love fitness and fun? Consider becoming a Jazzercise franchise owner. With studio space, sound equipment and a love of dance and great music, you can teach Jazzercise classes to your local community. Although opening your own Jazzercise fitness center starts at an initial investment of $9,000 (plus ongoing royalties and insurance coverage), you can pay as little as $3,000 up front if you rent a public facility to teach your class.
- 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. According to the website, franchise survival rates are above 90 percent after one, five and 10 years.
Editor's note: Considering opening a franchise? If you're looking for information to help you choose the right one, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, Buyer Zone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:
$25,000 to $49,999
- Blue Moon Estate Sales: Blue Moon Estate Sales helps clients through every step of the estate-sale process, and eases the stress and workload of an event few people ever plan for. With 14 locations currently operating up and down the east coast, Blue Moon Estate Sales specializes in residential, commercial and moving liquidation services. Estimated costs are about $25,000.
- Chem-Dry: This carpet cleaning company uses an all-natural, green-certified solution to clean carpets and upholstery. The initial total investment for a Chem-Dry franchise begins at $42,000, and goes up depending on the equipment and van you choose.
- e2 Young Engineers: e² Young Engineers combines education and entertainment to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses using Lego and K'nex assembly kits. The company currently has a presence in 17 countries, operates in more than 50 territories and has plans to open 50 franchises in the U.S. by the end of 2017. Fees range from $37,400 to $58,850.
- Fetch! Pet Care: Fetch! Pet Care is a nationwide provider of pet sitting and dog-walking services. Entrepreneurs who manage independent pet-sitting and dog-walking businesses through Fetch! receive training and support from both the company and its network of franchisees. Total estimated costs range from $34,895 to $48,500.
- N-Hance Wood Renewal: Founded in 2001, N-Hance Wood Renewal has more than 370 franchises in the U.S. and Canada. Using its trademarked "Lightspeed instant curing system" for hardwood cabinets and floors, the company provides one-day hardwood refinishing without dust, mess or odor. The total initial investment begins at about $40,000, but thanks to N-Hance's in-house financing, you can apply a down payment of less than $20,000 to get started.
- Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning: Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning offers green cleanings using a unique, low-moisture process. Oxi Fresh has been featured in Inc. magazine's Inc. 5000 and been recognized as one of "America's Best Franchises to Buy" by Forbes. The company has more than 270 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with more locations currently in development. Initial franchise fees start at $33,900 for a single territory, with discounts for multiple territories.
- Tutor Doctor: Tutor Doctor provides a personalized one-to-one, in-home tutoring service to students of all ages. Now with offices internationally, the Tutor Doctor vision is becoming a reality, positively impacting students and their families worldwide. Tutor Doctor was named the No. 1 In-Home Tutoring Franchise by Entrepreneur.com in 2015, and has nearly 450 territories in 15 countries. Investments start at $39,700.
- WIN Home Inspection: WIN Home Inspection began in 1993, offering home inspection business franchises in the Pacific Northwest. The company recently started expanding across the US, and now has locations in 28 states. Initial investments begin at $36,150.
$50,000 to $74,999
- AdviCoach: AdviCoach is a business coaching and advisory services franchise catering to small and midsize 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.
- Caring Senior Service: Caring Senior Service is an in-home care company with more than 50 locations across the country. The brand believes that every senior should be able to remain "happy, healthy and home," and addresses the three leading areas of concern when choosing homecare – quality caregivers, care solutions and active involvement.
- 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. Depending on the model and location you choose, your estimated initial investment could be as low as $72,000 for a single mobile unit.
- Kidcreate Studio: Kidcreate Studio offers children’s art classes, camps and art-themed birthday parties which are made available for children ages 18 months through 12 years. As the leader in the child art education industry, Kidcreate Studio offers attractive opportunities for business minded individuals looking to earn a successful living in an industry with strong consumer demand. The initial investment starts at $54,000.
- ShelfGenie: Founded in 2000, ShelfGenie offers customized cabinet shelving solutions. The company has more than 160 locally owned and operated franchise locations in 22 U.S. states and Canada. The total franchise investment begins at $70,100.
- Weed Man USA: Weed Man USA is a network of locally owned and operated lawn care businesses providing environmentally responsible fertilization, weed control and integrated pest management services. Today, Weed Man helps support franchisees in more than 455 territories throughout the United States. Initial investments range from $68,000 to $85,000.
$75,000 to $99,999
- BrightStar Care: Chicago-based BrightStar Care is a national private-duty home care and medical staffing franchise with more than 280 locations. The company provides medical and nonmedical services to clients within their homes, as well as supplemental care staff to corporate clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each BrightStar Care location is required to pursue Joint Commission accreditation. You can start your own BrightStar franchise starting at $92,371.
- British Swim School: Despite its name, British Swim School is an international franchise based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that teaches water survival skills to children as young as 3 months old. The company currently operates across 100 pools in 14 states, and average initial investment begins at $80,000.
- Froots: Froots is a healthy alternative to traditional fast food fare, providing a variety of smoothies, shakes, fresh-squeezed juices, sandwiches, wraps, paninis, salads, soups and more. The homegrown business has been operating in South Florida since 2001, and currently has more than 30 U.S. units as well as several international locations. Froots has both kiosk and store front business models available with costs starting from $92,600 and $140,150 respectively, including the $25,000 franchise fee.
- Maui Wowi Hawaiian: 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. The initial investment for a brick-and-mortar shop can be as low as $75,000.
- 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, the total initial investment can start as low as $89,200.
- Screenmobile: Screenmobile offers repair, replacement and installation of window, door, porch and patio screens, and retractable screens at a client's home or office. Screenmobile has been named on Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 list every year since 2005 and has more than 90 locations across the country. The initial franchise fee is $74,000, and includes your license, marketing materials, equipment, training and trailer.
- Painting with a Twist: Painting with a Twist is a leading paint-and-sip franchise with 300 studios in 36 states. The company began franchising in 2009 and provides customers with paint, a canvas and brushes that lead to a fun evening with friends and a finished piece of art. Painting with a Twist has been ranked the No. 1 Paint and Sip franchise as part of Entrepreneur magazine's annual Franchise 500 edition for the past three years.
$100,000 to $249,999
- Blo Blow Dry Bar: Blo Blow Dry Bar has partnered with Gwyneth Paltrow and celebrity hairstylist David Babaii to create a rapidly growing chain of global blow-dry bars. Startup costs include a franchise fee, an ongoing 6 percent royalty fee and brand fee, and build-out and opening costs, for a total investment range of $160,900 to $280,500.
- Club Pilates: Club Pilates offers several signature class formats to suit all ages and experience levels. The company has a 500-hour teacher-training program designed to thoroughly and safely teach group Pilates classes. Club Pilates currently has sold more than 250 territories sold throughout the United States and Australia, and was named on Entrepreneur magazine's list of Top New Franchises of 2016.
- Dental Fix Rx: Founded in 2009, Dental Fix Rx is a mobile dental equipment repair service that delivers immediate, on-demand equipment service, hand-piece repairs and cost-effective consumable products. The company has sold 250 franchises that service 18,000 customers throughout North America. Initial investment is estimated at $125,000.
- 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. According to the company's website, the total investment ranges from $151,140 to $293,525.
- 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 more than 250 active franchisees across North America. There are several franchise packages to choose from, which will determine your initial investment.
- HipPOPs: This South Florida-based franchise offers all-natural, gluten-free, kosher handcrafted gelato bars on a stick. HipPOPs' unique concept puts a new twist on the classic ice cream truck treat by allowing customers to choose their own premium chocolate dip and crushed nut topping. Since franchisees run their business out of a food truck, they have the opportunity to take their pops on the road.
- iLoveKickboxing: 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 because the only equipment you'll need is matted floors and heavy bags. The total estimated initial investment starts at $120,099.
- Kono Pizza: The concept of Kono Pizza — pizza ingredients in a dough cone — was established in Europe and was brought to the U.S. in 2013. There are 130 Kono Pizza locations operating in 20 countries. The company estimates its average total initial investment to be as low as $75,826 for carts, $131,766 for kiosks and $165,976 for storefronts.
- School of Rock: Since 1998, music education franchise School of Rock has been providing students of all ages with exceptional and one-of-a-kind musical experiences. The company encourages students to rehearse along with their fellow students, allowing for a uniquely supportive and motivating environment in which to succeed. Initial investments start at $115,650.
- Waxing the City: Waxing the City is a waxing studio that caters to women and men, and offers "superior waxes, highly trained staff and compassionate and caring customer service." In late 2012, Waxing the City partnered with co-ed fitness franchise Anytime Fitness LLC, which offers its franchise support systems to Waxing the City franchisees. Company executives expect to have 350 locations open in the next five years. Initial investment begins at $121,925.
$250,000 to $499,999
- Capriotti's Sandwich Shop: Founded in 1976, Capriotti's Sandwich Shop remains true to its tradition of slow-roasting whole, all-natural turkeys in-house every day. The franchise operates more than 104 locations across 15 states and federal districts. For a single unit, the company estimates its minimum franchise investment to be about $325,000.
- Hurricane Grill & Wings: Hurricane Grill & Wings is known for its jumbo fresh chicken wings; more than 35 flavors of signature sauces and rubs; and its tropical, laid-back vibe. With 80 locations open or under construction in 15 states, this franchise is a great opportunity for any aspiring restaurateur, and can be started for as low as $450,000.
- Menchie's Frozen Yogurt: This self-serve frozen-yogurt chain offers 100 rotating flavors, including low-carb, no-sugar-added, dairy-free, nonfat, gluten-free and kosher options. Menchie's currently operates more than 500 units in 15 countries and has hundreds of additional locations in the pipeline. Average total costs range between $300,000 and $350,000.
- Music Go Round: Music Go Round specializes in used musical gear. With more than 30 franchised stores in the U.S. and an international e-commerce operation, the company buys, sells and trades quality used and new gear such as guitars, drums, keyboards, sound equipment and accessories. The brand is franchised by Winmark Corp.— parent company of the similarly priced Plato's Closet, Once Upon A Child, Style Encore and Play It Again Sports franchises — and has territories available across the United States. Total costs are estimated at around $300,000.
- Pancheros Mexican Grill: Pancheros Mexican Grill is part of the increasingly popular "fast casual" restaurant movement, offering burritos, bowls, salads, tacos and quesadillas — all made with freshly pressed tortillas — with the customer's choice of fillings. Pancheros currently has more than 65 units and requires a minimum of $250,000 liquid cash to get started.
- Skoah: Skoah is a facial shop specializing in "personal training" for your skin. The company offers facials by a team of Skin Care Trainers who place an emphasis on guest education and quality care. Founded in Vancouver in 2001, the spa has grown to 17 locations throughout the United States and Canada. In 2016 the company announced it would begin selling its franchise opportunity, starting at $279,900.
$500,000 to $999,999
- Dogtopia: Founded in 2002, Dogtopia is one of the nation's leading dog daycare, boarding, training and spa facilities offering an experience focused on safety and transparency in the market. Each facility averages between 3,500 and 10,000 square feet and is specially designed to provide dogs and pet parents with the best experience by reducing odors, noise level, illness and accidents. With 44 locations across North America, the brand continues to expand through franchising with successful entrepreneurs. Initial investment is estimated at $500,000.
- The Goddard School: The Goddard School is a pre-school franchise that offers year-round programs for children from six weeks to six years old. Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the franchisor of The Goddard School, currently has franchises throughout the United States. Each school is a licensed childcare facility with an on-site owner, an education director and a faculty trained in early childhood education or childhood development. Minimum total investment ranges from $703,100 to $759,800.
- Pet Supplies Plus: Pet Supplies Plus, a franchise with more than 370 locations in 27 states, offers a wide array of pet food, pet products, grooming services and animal expertise. The company recently announced a reduction of royalty fees from 4 percent to 2 percent for the first 12 months of a new franchise agreement. The estimated initial investment starts at $549,400.
- TRUFUSION: TRUFUSION is a group fitness studio that offers unique fusion workout classes, including hot Pilates, yoga, barre, Fly Gym, Tru Kettlebell, Battle Ropes Express, Barefoot Bootcamp, Yinfused and more. The Las Vegas-based franchise has developed a loyal fan base of locals that coin themselves members of the TruTribe. Offering several additional products and services including a full smoothie bar, healthy food items, and an original line of workout apparel, TRUFUSION aims to be a one-stop shop for all things health and fitness.
- Woodhouse Day Spa: The Woodhouse Day Spa is a national luxury spa franchise that operates under the belief that health, wellness and beauty are intricately linked. Known for its more than 70 rejuvenating spa treatments, Woodhouse Day Spa currently has more than 40 locations in 13 states, with plans to open 280 locations. The estimated initial investment ranges from $510,050 to $750,400.
- ZIPS Dry Cleaners: ZIPS Dry Cleaners was founded in 1996 and began franchising 10 years later. Its successful business model is based on a concept of dry cleaning that is ready for pickup the same day it's dropped off and for a flat-rate price of $2.29. Total costs start at $769,050 for a single territory.
$1 million +
- 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.
- Boston's Restaurant & Sports Bar: Boston's Restaurant & Sports Bar offers a contemporary, sit-down family dining atmosphere with a separate sports bar customized with local team memorabilia. While Boston's specializes in pizza and pasta, its menu features more than 80 items, including salads, sandwiches and a variety of sports bar favorites such as burgers, wings and ribs. With annual system-wide sales approaching $1 billion, Boston Pizza and Boston's have more than 390 outlets throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.
- Retro Fitness: Since opening in 2004, Retro Fitness has evolved from a regional Northeast gym concept into a national fitness system with more than 370 gyms in 27 states. Each Retro Fitness location is a full-service fitness center, with 60 to 100 pieces of equipment from leading manufacturers.
- Sky Zone Trampoline Park: This all-walled, indoor trampoline park would be ideal for energetic entrepreneurs looking to run a family-friendly recreational venue that inspires active fun in the community. Sky Zone currently operates more than 78 parks across the U.S., Mexico, Australia and Canada.
All listed price estimates are accurate at the time of writing. Actual costs could be higher depending on location and other factors determined by the parent company.