One of the most difficult aspects of owning a business is hiring and managing employees. As a sole proprietor, you don't have to worry about any of that — you're in business for you and you alone. But with that independence comes the scary prospect of having no one but yourself to rely on for business support.
Owning a franchise that doesn't require employees gives you the best of both worlds: There's no staff to manage, but you benefit from the strength of a trusted brand that can help you with all of your business needs. Here are eight franchise options for entrepreneurs who want to work by themselves.
Have a head for business strategy and love to help others? Consider becoming a certified business coach through the AdviCoach franchise. Breaking into the consulting field can be difficult on your own, but AdviCoach's brand recognition, methodology and resources can put you on track to make a difference in the lives of fellow business owners.
Because of this business model's flexible scheduling and location, all you need — aside from the necessary knowledge and people skills — is a phone and Internet connection to start your business as an AdviCoach. Your total investment, which includes training, operations and marketing support, ranges from $66,000 to $74,250. [4 Franchise Trends That Are Good News for Entrepreneurs]
America's Swimming Pool Company
America's Swimming Pool Company (ASP) is the country's largest swimming pool service and maintenance franchise. Founded on a commitment to superior swimming pool service and solutions, ASP serves both residential and commercial properties.
An ASP franchisee is not required to have any past experience in swimming pool service: The company provides dedicated training through "Pool School," which provides everything the franchisee needs to run the business, from product information to marketing strategies. The total investment for a single ASP franchise ranges from $50,000 to $60,000, which includes the franchise fee and all necessary capital.
Fetch! Pet Care
If you love pets and want to own a business taking care of them, investing in a Fetch! Pet Care franchise might be the right option for you. This pet-sitting and dog-walking brand offers opportunities in more than 1,500 national cities with all the corporate support you need to get your business up and running quickly.
Fetch! franchisees must have a strong credit history and a minimum of $15,000 in liquid financial net worth. First-year franchise fees, including on-site training, equipment, marketing and supplies, begin at $23,295 for a single area of operation.
For many new mothers, the idea of a flexible career that allows them to work from home and spend time with their children is a dream come true. The Fit4Mom franchise takes this one step further by allowing "mompreneurs" to center their businesses around their babies.
Fit4Mom is a group exercise program featuring pre- and post-natal classes for moms and moms-to-be, including stroller-based workouts where attendees bring their children along. This home-based opportunity allows franchisees to set their own schedules and run classes from anywhere, with the help of corporate training, support and partnerships. A Fit4Mom franchise investment begins at $1,750 plus a monthly franchise fee, depending on the size of the territory and whether you want to run a part- or full-time business.
Like Fit4Mom, Jazzercise is a workout program franchise that's perfect for a fitness-minded solopreneur. Once you become a Jazzercise instructor, you'll have access to the brand's training, technology, choreography and other support so you can begin teaching classes in your local community.
With an initial franchise fee of just $1,250, it's one of the most affordable options on the market. Total up-front investments can range from about $3,000 to $38,000, depending on whether you rent studio space or want to open your own Jazzercise studio.
For nearly 50 years, Lawn Doctor has focused on innovation in the lawn-care industry, both for customer lawn needs and franchisee operations. Because the industry is founded on repeat service, franchise owners are well-poised to achieve impressive business growth, with the right customer service and marketing skills. Lawn Doctor franchisees should understand sales basics, but the company does provide franchise training for anyone who needs it.
While many Lawn Doctor franchisees go into business with a spouse or family member, this flexible opportunity is certainly manageable as a solo operation. The cost of owning a single-territory Lawn Doctor franchise ranges from approximately $80,000 to $100,000. The company offers in-house financing for eligible franchisees, as well as the opportunity to convert an independent lawn-care business to a Lawn Doctor.
Flexible work arrangements are becoming more and more important to today's job seekers. Mom Corps, a national staffing firm that helps employers fill intermittent staffing needs, was founded to help provide both its clients and its franchise owners with the flexibility and work-life balance they desire.
Entrepreneurs with a background in staffing and a great professional network should consider investing in a Mom Corps franchise. The initial startup cost for an exclusive territory in one of 30 states is $25,000. This includes new-owner training, a "Buddy" mentor program, operations and marketing systems, and back-office support. While there are ongoing franchise fees, a staffing business generally has low overhead costs, especially if you work out of your home.
At its core, business success in any industry is all about building and maintaining strong, value-based relationships. Safeguard, a provider of business products, services and expertise for more than 55 years, allows entrepreneurs to use their relationship-building skills to become expert B2B sales leaders and consultants.
When a person becomes a Safeguard franchisee, he or she is able to work from home with a standard Monday through Friday workweek. The company prides itself on helping franchise owners be in business "for themselves, but not by themselves," and offers support from corporate headquarters through its "Base Connection" program. Franchisees are connected with skilled Safeguard customer service reps, and can route any individual customer issues to the representatives. This allows franchisees to spend time building the business instead of handling administrative issues. Safeguard recommends that potential franchisees have about $75,000 of available capital to get started.
Updated April 29, 2015. Additional reporting by Stephanie Taylor Christensen, Business News Daily contributor.