Franchises For Every Budget
Franchising is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who want a ready-made business to run / Credit: Franchising image via Shutterstock

Any new venture runs the risk of failure, but that risk is much lower when the venture has a proven business model and an in-demand product. For this reason, some entrepreneurs choose to give themselves a greater chance of success by investing in a franchise.

"But aren't franchise fees expensive?" you might ask. If you think you can't afford it, think again. Becoming the owner of an established brand doesn't have to cost millions, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. A high-profile brand like McDonald's or Pizza Hut may be out of reach, but for less than the cost of a luxury car, you could own a smaller but just as lucrative franchise.

For aspiring franchise owners, here are more than 30 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.) [Franchising: Definition & Top Opportunities]

  • 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.
     
  • 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]
     
  • Jazzercise: Love fitness and fun? Consider becoming a Jazzercize franchise owner. With studio space, sound equipment and a love of dance and great music, you can teach Jazzercise classes to your local community. While opening your own Jazzercise fitness center requires an initial investment of about $9,200 plus ongoing royalties and insurance coverage, you can pay as low as $2,980 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.
  • Chem-Dry: This carpet cleaning company uses an all-natural, green-certified solution to clean carpets and upholstery. Chem-Dry franchises begin at $39,999 and go up to $139,500, depending on the equipment and van you choose.

  • 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.

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:

 

  • 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.
  • Caring Senior Service: Caring Senior Service is a nationally recognized in-home care company with more than 50 locations in 18 states. The company addresses the three leading areas of concern when choosing home care: quality caregivers, care solutions and active involvement. If you're interested in the health care field, join this franchise to make positive changes in the lives of seniors and their families by providing trusted service and support.

  • 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.
  • Blo Blow Dry Bar: If you've ever dreamed of running a business that's connected to a celebrity, this might be a good option. 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, built-out and opening costs. 

  • 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.
  • Capriotti's Sandwich Shop: Founded in 1976, Capriotti's Sandwich Shop remains true to its 38-year tradition of slow-roasting whole, all natural turkeys in-house every day. The franchise operates more than 100 locations across 16 states and federal districts.

  • 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.
     
  • 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, you have the opportunity to take your 'pops on the road.
  • Hungry Howie's Pizza: Hungry Howie's Pizza, the originator of the flavored crust pizza is a top-10 American pizza concept with close to 600 locations in 21 states. The brand bakes its dough in- store fresh daily, and is known for its eight famous crust flavors.

  • Hurricane Grill & Wings: Hurricane Grill & Wings is known for its jumbo fresh chicken wings, more than 35 flavors of signature sauces and rubs, and tropical, laid-back vibe. With 70 locations open or under construction in 12 states, this franchise is a great, fast-growing opportunity for any aspiring restaurateur.

  • 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.
  • 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 450 units in 15 countries and has 500 additional locations in the pipeline.

  • 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. 

  • 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.
  • Fatburger: This gourmet burger brand offers custom-built burgers and a great customer experience. Fatburger is ideal for any entrepreneur who believes in better fast food and wants to be a part of the franchise's rich history and company culture. There are more than 150 locations in 32 countries worldwide.

  • 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.
  • Woodhouse Day Spa: The Woodhouse Day Spa is a national luxury spa franchise that operates in the belief that health, wellness and beauty are intricately linked. Known for their more than 70 rejuvenating spa treatments, Woodhouse Day Spa currently has more than 40 locations in 13 states, with plans to open 280 locations.

  • 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.
  • Sky Zone Indoor 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.

  • 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 Oct. 9, 2014.