30 Best Home Based Franchises

30 Best Home Based Franchises


Today with the thousands of franchises available, it’s possible to find a good selection of home-based franchises. And we’re here with a list of the best to choose from. Even if you don’t know how to research a franchise, we’ve done the legwork for you.

Working from home allows freedom and flexibility along with low overhead costs. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may need to identify certain types of businesses when buying a franchise. For example, a stay-at-home mom may need a franchise that allows a flexible schedule that doesn’t interfere with raising a child. Someone who is employed full-time or is retired may want a part-time franchise to earn extra money on the side.

Not all of the 30+ choices below are franchises. A few are business opportunities, but seem enough like franchises that we included them. Regardless of your circumstances, you’ll find many choices in the world of franchises that lend themselves to being operated from home.



Top Home-Based Franchises Overall

Here are the top work from home franchises:

1. ChemDry

ChemDry is a carpet cleaning franchise that has been around since 1977. The company offers patented cleaning and sanitizing products. And they provide training, financing, and plenty of brand recognition throughout the country. Of course, franchisees need to go to client homes to provide service. However, you can book appointments and run the business end from home. The fee for these franchises is $23,500, and the initial investment is $67,645 to $185,757.

2. Molly Maid

Molly Maid offers cleaning services to homeowners throughout the country. It’s one of the most recognizable names in the industry. And franchise owners can often run the bulk of their operations from home since they have employees (the maids) and support to help with the actual cleaning services. The fee for this franchise is $14,900. And initial costs are $110,000 to $155,200.

For other maid options, see our list of 20 cleaning franchises.

3. Junkluggers

Junkluggers provides eco-friendly junk removal services for individuals and businesses. Franchisees can manage appointment scheduling and business operations from home. But the business generally requires hiring a team. And you’ll need to provide service on-site at homes and businesses in your area. Franchisees get an exclusive territory along with their home-based franchises. The initial fee for the franchises is $50,000. And total startup costs start at $105,435.

For more choices, see our list of junk removal franchises.

4. Fetch Pet Care

Fetch Pet Care provides professional pet sitting and dog walking services. It’s the perfect home-based franchise system for those who love animals. You may need to hire and work with a team. But the company provides a communication platform to easily work with clients and employees from home. The franchise claims it is completely turnkey. So you can get your new home-based business opportunity up and running quickly. The fee for the franchises is $59,500, and initial costs range from $68,000 to $76,000.

5. Green Home Solutions

Green Home Solutions provides disinfecting and indoor air quality solutions for homeowners. Services include mold remediation, disinfection, odor removal, and allergen control. This is a growing industry with an eco-friendly component that appeals to today’s homeowners. The franchise company provides field support, business coaching, and lead generation assistance

Franchisees usually hire two to three employees to provide services. But you can manage the business side from home. The franchise fee for these franchises ranges from $5,000 to $30,000. The initial franchise investment is $51,900 to $149,500.

6. ACASA Senior Care

ACASA Senior Care provides in-home care for seniors. This is a growing field with plenty of room for schedule flexibility. If you’re looking for franchises you can run from home that still give you the opportunity to help others face to face, this may be the perfect industry.

ACASA is a family-owned brand that provides training and support. The focus is on hiring quality caregivers so you can focus on running your in-home care business from home. The franchising fee is $39,500, and the initial investment ranges from $71,975 to $119,150.

For other options, see our list of senior care franchises.

7. Snap-on Tools

Snap-on Tools sells tools and equipment directly to the businesses that need them most. The company uses a mobile sales model. So each franchisee has a truck and a selection of inventory. Franchisees can run the administrative operations from home and manage their regular route on a schedule of their own making.

The franchise provides training, exclusive territories, and deals for veterans. The initial fee for the franchises and working capital ranges from $36,594 to $55,122, with between $172,076 to $375,503 in total expenses. Veterans can receive up to $20,000 in tool inventory incentives.

8. Kwik Dry Total Cleaning

Kwik Dry Total Cleaning offers a dealership program for those looking for business opportunities at home. The company provides carpet, upholstery, grout, dryer vent, and wood floor cleaning. So franchisees enjoy a business model with multiple revenue streams. You can work from home when not providing on-site services. And you can control your schedule to work full or part-time. Dealers pay about $30,000 in initial fees. And startup costs begin at $42,200.

9. GymGuyz

GymGuyz is a home-based franchise that offers personal fitness training. This is the perfect business franchise if you enjoy exercise and want to work one-on-one with clients. Franchisees purchase branded vans to travel to each client – a lot cheaper than having to outfit and operate a gym.

Clients sign up for recurring services. Therefore, it’s easy to build a predictable schedule and bring in predictable profits. A passion and interest in fitness are important, but you don’t need specific certifications to get started. The fee for the franchises is $35,000. Initial investment costs range from $87,000 to $140,000.

10. Budget Blinds

Budget Blinds sells and installs various window treatments to homeowners. You can run the administrative side and communicate with customers from home. Then you just travel to clients to share options and provide installation. Franchisees enjoy flexible scheduling and multiple revenue streams since you can work with both residential and commercial properties. There’s $89,950 in initial franchise fees and $124,950 in total startup costs.

11. Mosquito Squad

Mosquito Squad is a low-cost pest control business franchise. It’s a seasonal business in many markets. So it’s an ideal home-based franchise opportunity for those looking for some extra work during the warmer months. The company also has proprietary barrier treatments to provide excellent results for customers. The fee for new franchises is $35,000. Startup costs range from $63,962 to $90,022.

Alternatives: There are other franchises to consider in the pest control market. All claim to be high profit and offer a recurring revenue franchise model where a customer tends to pay for regular services. Options include Mosquito Hunters, Mosquito Joe and Mosquito Mary – among others.

12. Lawn Doctor

Lawn Doctor is another seasonal business opportunity for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. You can work from home when running the office side of the business. Then you need to travel to customer locations to provide services for their lawns. The business model includes lawn care, tree and shrub care for a customer’s landscaping, and pest control.

The company also gives franchisees the option to hire technicians. That frees you to focus on growing your customer base and managing your home-based franchise. The fee for new franchises is $35,000. Total upfront costs for a territory are $101,015 to $125,065.

13. Fresh Coat

Fresh Coat is a home painting franchise. It’s a home-based, low-cost business model with multiple revenue streams. The franchise provides proprietary software, marketing assistance, and industry-leading profit margins.

Offerings include interior and exterior painting, along with staining, wallpaper removal, power washing, and other painting services. Franchise owners work with homeowners, business owners, and even government agencies. The fee for new franchises is $44,900. And upfront costs range from $53,945 to $76,845.

14. Garage Experts

Garage Experts offers storage and organizational solutions that franchisees install in garages. If you’re looking for turnkey businesses to franchise that allow you to work from home most of the time, this is one to consider. You don’t need to keep any bulky inventory on hand. Franchise owners get access to proprietary software and training.

New franchises can get up and running in as little as 30 days. The initial fee for new franchises is $30,000. And startup costs range from $48,035 to $85,982.

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Best Home-Based Franchises for Moms

Moms and parents are even more likely than the general population to be interested in home-based businesses. Luckily, there are franchise opportunities that allow individuals to work almost exclusively from home, rather than traveling to clients too often. There are also some that offer more scheduling flexibility than others or that utilize skills most parents possess.

15. Digital Marketing Training Group

Digital Marketing Training Group provides business opportunities home-based entrepreneurs may appreciate. It is part of the growing field of business services and business consulting offered in the franchise community. You use the company’s leads, software, and training to build your own digital marketing business. And you can create your own schedule and work either full or part-time.

Rather than traditional franchising fees and royalties, new business owners simply pay for a business training program and ongoing support. The Signature Gold program costs $29,000. And the Platinum Elite program costs $69,000.

16. Cruise Planners

Cruise Planners offers a low-cost travel agency franchise that’s affiliated with American Express. Travel agents can run a business from almost anywhere because you work with travelers remotely — using mainly the internet, a computer and phone. So you shouldn’t need to leave your home office much.

The franchise company provides professional coaching and development, as well as lead generation assistance. The fee for new franchises is $6,995. That covers basically everything you need to get started. Other startup costs are minimal.

17. Bricks 4 Kids

Bricks 4 Kids is a perfect home-based franchise business for those who love working with kids. You use LEGO toys to help kids learn STEM concepts. You work with kids at special events, birthday parties, or after-school programs. So you don’t need a physical storefront. You will need to travel to these events. But you can control your schedule or potentially even involve the whole family. The fee for the franchises ranges from $10,000 to $50,000. And upfront costs fall between $17,625 and $75,975.

18. SiteSwan Website Builder

SiteSwan offers web design software and business support for those looking to operate home-based businesses. It’s not a traditional franchise program, since you can use your own brand and pay monthly fees instead of mostly upfront costs. But the business model provides pretty much everything you need to run your web design business. You don’t need experience to get started. But you’ll need at least $149 to get the program and training.

19. ClaimTek Systems

ClaimTek Systems provides everything you need to start your own home-based business specializing in medical billing. You work with medical and dental facilities that want to outsource their billing. So you can handle basically everything from home and enjoy a flexible schedule for your home-based franchise business. The initial fee includes basically everything you need to get started. These costs range from $21,995 to $44,995.

20. Healthier4U Vending

Healthier4U Vending is a vending machine business that provides healthy snacks, drinks, and meal options. Business owners work with the company to find ideal locations to place their machines. Then you’re responsible for managing stock and maintaining machines. This opportunity claims that with it you can “build a passive business part time or full time.”

You must visit these machines regularly but can manage the business from home. There is no traditional franchise fee. Your costs simply go toward the purchase of machines. The initial investment ranges from $18,000 to $115,000.

21. Decor & You

Decor & You is an interior design franchise that’s perfect for those looking for creative business opportunities. The company offers the business owner a dedicated tech platform, training and business support, and established vendor relationships. You may need to meet with clients periodically, but you can do the bulk of the work at home. Fees for new franchises start at $14,575. And start up costs range from $34,900 to $123,600.

22. American Business Systems

American Business Systems provides a comprehensive business package for those who want to start home-based franchises in medical billing. The company provides the tech platforms, training, and ongoing support you need to run your home-based franchise business on your own schedule. The total upfront investment is $27,990. And you don’t need any extra equipment or inventory.

23. TeamLogic IT

TeamLogic IT provides managed technology services for small and medium businesses. If you’re looking for a franchise business that serves the B2B market, this one provides plenty of opportunities for recurring profits. You can hire techs to provide the actual services to your clients, who are typically small business owners. But you do need to be available to discuss business needs and answer questions. The franchise fee is between $40,000 and $45,000. And initial costs for new franchises range from $106,375 to $146,300.

24. Pet Butler

Pet Butler provides pet waste removal and outdoor cleaning services for homes and businesses. The company provides training, marketing, and office support. If you’re looking for easy franchise opportunities that you can mainly run while the kids are in school or at daycare, this one may be the perfect franchise business for you. The franchise fee is $12,500. And upfront costs can go up to $30,000.

Best Part-Time Franchises

Many entrepreneurs who are interested in home-based franchises want flexible scheduling. Perhaps you want a franchise business you can run during your free time or while pursuing semi-retirement. The following opportunities are well suited for those that don’t want to spend the 40 to 60 hours per week some franchises take.

You can operate the following franchises by putting in 20 or 30 hours a week once you are up and running, although it may take more in the beginning. Remember, your growth will likely be faster the more time you can devote to the franchise.

25. Kona Ice

Kona Ice provides a mobile shaved ice truck. The company already has locations in 45 states. So there’s plenty of brand recognition around the country. But you can run the admin side from home and bring the truck to special events in your area. The fee for the franchises is $15,000. And the initial investment is $140,350.

26. Ecomaids

Ecomaids provides environmentally responsible cleaning services. This is a very in-demand option for today’s homeowners. The company provides training, support, and a dedicated CRM platform. You can take the exact level of clients that works with your lifestyle. The franchise fee is $35,000. And the initial investment for new franchises ranges from $125,530 to $143,815.

27. Sears Handyman Solutions

Sears Handyman Solutions offers an array of home care services, maintenance and home improvement services, including plumbing, electrical, installations, and repairs.

It’s the perfect home-based franchise for handy individuals. A big benefit is the strong brand name and access to advertising options. You can schedule job appointments based on your own availability, or hire team members to go on calls.

The franchise fee ranges from $35,000 to $70,000. Upfront costs range from $47,900 to $135,300.

28. SweepSurge

SweepSurge offers a licensing program for those who want to make money working with local businesses. Basically, you purchase the promotional systems, like those for email, text, and social media. You can then brand and market them and sell directly to customers. You can run it on your schedule and scale as much or as little as you want. You just need $149 to get started.

29. PerkUp

PerkUp is a digital loyalty and customer engagement solution. As a reseller, you build a base of business clients and bring in recurring fees each month. The company provides everything you need to get started and you don’t need any experience. There’s not a traditional franchise fee or royalty fees, but you’ll need at least $149 to get started.

30. Social Owl

Social Owl offers a turnkey social media marketing opportunity. It’s a reseller program. You provide a suite of options for your business clients. It’s perfect for those who love social media and want to build a predictable base of clients. You’ll need $149 for the first month. But there’s no traditional franchise fee.

How Do You Choose a Home-Based Franchise?

When deciding on the best home-based franchise, consider if a franchise is right for you. Make sure to understand the pros and cons of franchising. Also consider the track record of the franchisor and the level of franchisee satisfaction.

Beyond that, consider the following franchise factors uniquely affecting those who work at home or part-time:

  • Territories – Some franchisees have to operate within specific territories. This is especially true for service businesses like lawn care. You may not be able to easily relocate to another state or outside that territory.
  • Schedule Flexibility – Some home-based franchises can be run on your own schedule. For example, if you work mainly online, you can do much of your work after-hours or on weekends if necessary. However, meeting with clients will require some work during normal business hours.
  • Recurring Revenues – Look for franchise models with recurring revenue streams, such as customers who pay each month for a service. This will maximize income. As a part-time person or working from home you are going to have limited time and money, so you want to maximize your ROI.
  • Travel – A home-based franchise business may require the franchisee to travel to perform work at client homes or other locations. This may be challenging for those with children or other obligations.
  • Staffing – Staff is required to effectively run some franchise businesses (example: restaurants). If you will need staff, running a business from home may make training and management a bit more challenging. Think about daily coaching, meetings or giving performance reviews to a worker. You could hire an on-site management team to run things day to day, but it will involve added expense.
  • Equipment, Vehicles and Supplies – Some franchises, such as carpet cleaning franchises, require franchisees to purchase equipment, supplies and trucks to transport everything. Some communities may have restrictions that prevent you from storing these items in your neighborhood or driveway, requiring off-site storage. To the extent you do store them at your home, consider the extra insurance required.
  • Headquarters – For many businesses, having office space in impressive real estate may be irrelevant because customers never visit the company location. But what if they do? A house may not be what they expect.
  • Growth – Finally, consider the growth potential. If you think you may want to scale up your franchise business, at some point you may simply outgrow your home.

Bottom Line

One of the obvious advantages of a home-based franchise is low investment and cost and so you might be interested in this list of Franchises under $10,000. Also, consider 25 Most Profitable Franchises as it covers franchises with high revenues compared with cost.

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15 Hot Dog Franchise Businesses

15 Hot Dog Franchise Businesses


Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs a year, or roughly 70 per person. That explains why hot dog franchises are popular.

What does that mean when you’re thinking about buying a franchise?

Let’s look at some stats about hot dogs. In other words, who’s eating the hot dogs, and where are they eating them?

  • 45% sold in retail stores
  • 21% eaten in restaurants
  • 15% purchased from street vendors
  • 10% eaten at festivals and events
  • 9% eaten at ballparks and sports arenas

Well, that is certainly food for thought. Hot dogs have long been a quick-meal staple in many homes.

As a franchisee, you can own a cart, a space in a store or a storefront. As food franchises go, hot dog franchises are comparatively simple, and many franchisees go on to own multiple locations. This type of franchise has relatively low costs because there is very little waste. Uncooked food goes back into refrigeration, where it has a long shelf life.



Hot Dog Franchise Opportunities

Want to learn more about just how hot the opportunities are? Here are the top hot dog franchise opportunities:

1. Nathan’s Famous Inc. Franchises

In 1916, Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker borrowed $300 to set up a hot dog cart on Coney Island. Faster than you could squirt a squiggle of mustard, the hot dog transformed into a profitable venture.

Nathan’s Famous annually holds a hot dog eating contest in Coney Island on the corner where Handwerker set up his cart – the corner of Stillwell and Surf. The company went public in 1970 and began to offer franchise opportunities in 1988 and it’s still in the top 5 of hot dog franchise businesses. The stalwart of Nathan’s is its World Famous Beef Hot Dog.

The franchise fee is $30,000, and royalties (based on gross sales) are 5.5%.

2. Wienerschnitzel Franchises

Wienerschnitzel has a number of specialty dogs, including Junkyard Dogs (hot dogs covered in fries, chili sauce, cheese, French’s mustard and grilled onions). In addition to dogs, Wienerschnitzel offers breakfast, and also burgers and sandwiches. The dogs are all beef or Polish sausage. The company began offering franchise opportunities in 1961.

The franchise fee ranges from $10,000 to $32,000, with a royalty fee of 5.5%.

3. Hot Dog on a Stick Franchises

The featured hot dog is just what the name implies. In the 1940s, a man named Dave Banham took a hot dog and improvised. Instead of using a bun, he used his mother’s cornbread recipe to cook a dog covering.

Hot Dog on a Stick has added other food, such as cheese on a stick and funnel cake sticks. It’s all good stick to your ribs food.

The franchise fee ranges from $15,000 to $25,000, with a royalty fee of 5%.

4. Dog Haus Worldwide Franchises

Dog Haus specializes in gourmet hot dogs. If you don’t think there can be such a thing, consider the Free Bird hot dog. The Free Bird is a turkey dog, with toppings of avocado, tomato and smoked bacon, covered in a sauce of miso ranch.

Franchising opportunities have been offered since 2010. The franchise fee is $35,000 with a 6% royalty.

5. Sonic Drive In Franchises

Sonic Drive In adds a taste of nostalgia with its signature carhops service. This Top 5 in the dog franchises offers lots of other food, such as burgers and shakes.

There are 5 dogs that are popular at Sonic: the AllAmerican , the New York, the Chili Cheese Coney, the Footlong Chili Cheese Coney and the Corn Dog. Sonic has a big menu with many offerings and also appears on our list of burger franchises.

Sonic has been offering franchise opportunities since 1953. To get started with the company you’ll need a $45,000 franchise fee and a 5% royalty.

6. Dave’s the Dog House LLC Franchises

You know Howard Johnson’s as the hotel and restaurant with the orange roof. Well, Howard Johnson, yes, that Howard Johnson, started Dave’s the Dog House in Boston before moving on to the company hotel and restaurant success.

It was Howard Johnson who got the idea of the hand-made special buns. The buns are cut from a loaf, with a cut in the center of that cut, making a nest for the dog.

The franchise fee is $25,000 with a royalty of 6.5%.

7. Umai Savory Hot Dogs Franchises

Umai Savory Hot Dogs has a specialty menu and hot dogs are a part of it. The dogs are made from premium meat, with natural casings and fresh ingredients. There is no MSG, no by-products, no colors and no fillers. The dogs are also gluten-free.

The restrictions on fresh ingredients doesn’t limit the types of hot dogs. There are 11 kinds of meat, 27 flavors and 20 sauces.

The franchise fee is $20,000 and royalties are 5%.

8. Dat Dog Specialty Franchises

Although this company is based in New Orleans, the franchise opportunity is nationwide. The Dat Dog franchises, wherever they are, will feature local beers and wee hours operations.

Gourmet sausages include alligator, crawfish and duck. There are also vegetarian food offerings and choices of 30 toppings on the dogs.

The franchise fee is $50,000 and the royalty is 6.5%.

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9.The Original Hot Dog Factory Franchises

The Original Hot Dog Factory and a variety of other foods, such as desserts and beverages. Its original hot dogs may be steamed, grilled or fried.

The franchise fee is $20,000 and the royalty is 5.5%.

10. Destination Dogs Franchises

Destination Dogs offers gourmet dogs and sausages, with a slant based on global travel. Each of the Destination Dogs hot dog franchises has a theme, based on the area where it’s located. The franchises also offer specialty cocktails, all with an eye to appeal to global travelers.

The franchise fee is $50,000 and the royalty is 6%,

11. Sam’s Hot Dog Stand Franchises

Sam’s is unique in hot dog franchises as it keeps a watchdog eye on its specialty chili sauce. Sam’s Hot Dog Stand started in West Virginia, and its secret sauce dates back to the 1960s.

As a franchise opportunity, it’s low cost with a franchise fee of $10,000.

See other franchises under $10K.

12. What’s Up Dog? Franchises

This business offers several options for franchises, from brick and mortar to trailer and carts, and even to a new, mini-concession vehicle. Are mobile dogs the new way of the future in hot dog franchises?

What’s Up Dog? offers an 8-inch, all-beef dog, also chili, cheese, and corn dogs.

Currently the fee is $25,000, and royalty is 5%. The company also offers a licensing arrangement in lieu of a franchise.

13. Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ Franchises

In addition to the traditional all-beef, Crave offers brats and sausages. All are grilled. Additional food is available with a variety of side dishes on the menu.

Crave has also added a new food truck franchise option. The fee for the franchise is $40,000.

14. Hula Dog Franchises

Hula Dog is unique among franchises in the way the food is presented. A hole (puka) is toasted into bread, and the bread is then snugged around the hot dog. The bread goes around the product, like a hula hoop.

The business is themed, with a setting like a bamboo hut. Condiments feature tropical fruits and sauces, such as Mango relish. The fee is $25,000.

15. Windmill Hot Dogs Franchises

Windmill franchises are based in New Jersey and expanding to other states. The franchises must use local butchers as the source, including char-broiled chicken breasts and custom rib eye steaks.

The fee for the franchise is $25,000 with a royalty of 5%.

How much does it cost to start a hot dog franchise?

The typical fee for a hot dog franchise ranges from $20,000 to $50,000. The initial investment, which includes startup costs, inventory, real estate and other fees, can range from $25,000 to $1 million. The franchises come in a wide variety, from small niches within other businesses to stand-alone brick and mortar. That’s why the initial investment can vary so greatly.

What does your investment go toward? You are paying the franchisor to provide training, support, and a proven system with information about how to be successful.

How much can you make owning a hot dog business?

Let’s start by taking a look at the profit margins on the star attraction. According to research compiled by LearnHotDogs.com, the average cost for a dog, with condiments, is about 40 cents. If you look at the cost for a dog with multiple toppings or loaded, the cost for the business is about 80 cents. These prices vary by the quality of ingredients, everything from the frank to the bun and condiments.

What can you charge for a hot dog and make a profit? For a hot dog just with condiments, that’s about $2. But it’s not that simple, since the difference between cost and sales price isn’t all profit. There’s the cost of utilities and insurance, as well as a mortgage and employees if that applies. There is the cost to purchase inventory and cooking and cleaning equipment.

With all that said, there’s definitely some profit in selling hot dogs. But since your price points are lower, you have to sell higher volumes to reach a sustainable income.

How do I start a hot dog business?

What if you wanted to start a business on your own, without going the franchise route? Just outfit a small cart and sell? There are a number of hurdles to overcome before doing so:

Check legal requirements, also local health requirements. You will also need a local permit. Even a food cart must have both a hot and cold water source in most cases. Licenses and permits typically cost about $500.

Expect to spend at least $3,000 on cooking equipment as a minimum. The total cost will most likely be closer to $20,000. You’ll need another $1,500 for inventory, including napkins and paper products. You’ll also need a cash register or point of sale system, with an estimated cost of about $1,000.

To sum up, before you open you’ll spend from $5,000 to $30,000. Once you’re in operation, you’ll spend $800 to $3,000 monthly to restock and renew inventory.

But, that’s a good thing. If you don’t need to restock and renew, you aren’t selling!

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30 Best Franchises for Veterans

30 Best Franchises for Veterans


Veterans make up about 7 percent of the population in the United States. About 14 percent of franchise owners are veterans, making it a popular choice for those transitioning to civilian life.

There are plenty of good reasons for this connection. Veterans are likely to develop strong communication and management skills along with a strong work ethic. Those qualities translate well to franchise ownership, both those directly serving consumers and those providing business services.

For franchises, recruiting veteran franchisees can lead to successful entry into new markets with leadership you can trust. For veterans, these opportunities represent a good investment by providing the freedom to build their own civilian careers while still delivering some structure.

Because of these benefits, many companies offer special rates and other incentives to promote investment in veteran franchises. This can make it easy for those who have served to access quality business opportunities, but how do you find the franchise opportunity that’s right for you?



Franchises for Veterans to Consider

Here are 30 of the best franchises for veterans and more about the costs and requirements of owning and operating each:

1. Budget Blinds

Budget Blinds franchises provide custom window coverings and shop-at-home service for customers. This means there’s plenty of flexibility. Veterans can do much of their work from home while keeping costs reasonable. You pay $89,950 in initial fees. The total investment comes out to $124,950. However, veterans get a $15,000 discount as a thank you for serving in the military.

2. Juice It Up!

Juice It Up! franchises provide juice, smoothies, and bowls in a quick-service environment. They are part of the growing market for healthy food options. The company looks for franchisees with strong communication and management skills. The initial investment for the franchises is $25,000 with startup costs ranging from $214,375 to $390,475. The company is also a member of VetFran. They offer a 60 percent discount to qualified veterans, along with other incentives.

3. Marco’s Pizza

Marco’s Pizza franchises are part of a quick service and delivery pizza brand that focuses on quality ingredients. The company doesn’t require any business experience. They focus more on people and community-minded individuals. The fee for the franchises is $25,000. Initial investment ranges from $223,535 to $586,410. Qualified veterans and first responders get a $10,000 discount on the initial fee. Those with service-connected disabilities may have the fee waived entirely.

4. Sport Clips

Sport Clips offers hair cutting and styling franchises with a sports theme. The company focuses on creating a fun environment and supportive culture throughout its franchises. The franchise fee is $59,500 for the first three stores. Startup costs range from $233,800 to $388,300. However, qualified veterans receive a 20 percent discount on licensing fees.

5. Two Men and a Truck

Two Men and a Truck franchises provide moving services with locations throughout the country. The company has been around for more than 35 years and is part of a fairly recession-proof industry. The initial fee for the franchises is $50,000. Startup investment ranges from $100,000 to $585,000 for new franchises. However, veteran franchisees can receive a 10 percent discount on fees.

6. Experimax

Experimax franchises provide computer and cell phone repair services in small retail locations. This is currently a popular business since many consumers experience cracked screens or other small issues that need attention quickly. Franchisees get a turnkey business opportunity with a $49,500 franchise fee and between $142,000 and $351,000 in startup costs. The company provides specialized franchising for veterans including training programs to make the transition as easy as possible.

7. Visiting Angels

Visiting Angels offer home care franchises that are part of the thriving senior care and health industry. The initial fee is $45,950. Startup costs range from $123,460 to $161,150. The company serves many senior veterans. The franchises provide an opportunity to care for these senior veterans so they can stay at home. This can be a rewarding experience for those who have served.

8. Pillar to Post

Pillar to Post franchises provide home inspection services throughout the United States. The business model allows franchisees to mainly run operations from home and enjoy plenty of scheduling flexibility. The licensing fee is $24,500. Startup costs range from $41,195 to $50,995. The company offers a 20 percent fee discount to veterans. It touts the ability for franchisees to serve as leaders and shape their own opportunities.

9. Mr. Handyman

Mr. Handyman franchises provide various repairs and home improvement services. Franchisees can run many operations from home and keep startup costs fairly low. It’s perfect for those looking into franchises where they get to fix things and help homeowners. The initial franchise fee is $59,900. Startup costs range from $117,500 to $149,100 for new franchises to get up and running. Franchisees who qualify for VetFran benefits get a 15 percent discount.

10. The UPS Store

The UPS Store is a popular shipping and packing destination, with franchises throughout the country. It’s one of the most recognizable companies in the industry, making it a potentially valuable opportunity. New franchises don’t require a ton of retail space or hugely expensive equipment. You pay a $29,950 fee for new franchises. A traditional location costs between $137,849 and $566,585. Rural locations cost between $133,470 and $378,227. Store-in-store locations cost between $64,894 and $285,263. However, qualified veterans can have the initial fee waived and enjoy up to $300,000 in other incentives.

11. DreamMaker Kitchen & Bath

DreamMaker franchises provide kitchen and bathroom remodeling services. It’s a perfect franchise opportunity for those who enjoy working with their hands and building beautiful spaces. The fee for new franchises is $40,000 to $48,000, depending on territory size. Initial startup costs range from $142,575 to $364,550. However, qualified veterans can receive a $5,000 discount on the franchise fee.

12. Five Star Painting

Five Star Painting is a home improvement franchise that provides interior and exterior painting services. It’s ideal for those who want to keep costs low, manage their own schedule, and work closely with homeowners. You can be involved in the painting process while also managing a team in your franchise. The fee for the franchises is $45,000. Initial startup investment ranges from $74,700 to $184,250 for new franchises. There’s also a VetFran discount of 15 percent off the initial franchise fee for those who qualify.

13. DreamVacations

DreamVacations is a travel agency with independently run franchises throughout the country. The opportunity is low cost and flexible, since you can work with clients remotely. It’s one of the top franchises available for those who want to work in the travel industry. The initial investment for new franchises ranges from $495 to $9,800, depending on your travel industry experience. There’s basically no other overhead or inventory to purchase. Additionally, veterans can get 20 percent off the franchise fee.

14. Molly Maid

Molly Maid franchises offer a popular house cleaning service. Franchisees enjoy recurring clients, schedule flexibility, and ongoing support. You get the freedom to build your client book and schedule in the way that works best for your lifestyle. If you find the right customers, such as busy professionals and senior citizens living alone, you can do very well. There’s a $14,900 fee for the franchises to get started. The initial investment for new franchises ranges from $110,000 to $155,200. Qualified veterans can receive a 15 percent discount.

15. Sylvan Learning

Sylvan Learning is a tutoring franchise that partners with local schools and students throughout the country. Those looking for business opportunities that involve teaching or working with kids may appreciate this franchise. The company has more than 40 years in business and is known for its community involvement. There’s a $24,000 fee and between $70,270 to $163,625 in startup costs for new franchises. A veteran discount is available on the fee as well.

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16. Fast Signs

FastSigns is a printing and graphics business that offers franchise opportunities for those who want to enjoy some creativity at work. It’s also one of the top business services franchises for veterans. If you’re set on the B2B sector, this may be the option for you, though some consumers may also use these services. The initial fee is $49,750, with between $218,596 and $298,679 in startup costs. About 10 percent of the company’s franchisees served in the military. Fast Signs offers a fee discount, reduced royalties, and additional financing opportunities for veterans and first responders.

17. Mosquito Joe

Mosquito Joe offers pest control franchise opportunities for those looking to work outside and enjoy flexible scheduling. You also don’t need a retail space or significant staffing. As a result, this may be perfect for those looking for franchises for veterans that are relatively affordable. There’s a $40,000 fee and initial investment between $95,600 and $140,000. The company is a VetFran member and provides financial incentives for those who qualify.

18. Oxi Fresh

Oxi Fresh is a carpet cleaning business that allows franchisees to provide services for both homeowners and business clients. As a result, franchisees will provide both consumer and business services. They provide a devoted management team and a proven marketing program. Franchisees can generally run their daily operations from anywhere. They don’t need an expensive storefront or huge team to get started. There’s a $39,900 fee for new franchises. Initial investment ranges from $39,900 to $50,000. The company also offers a 10 percent veteran discount for those who qualify.

19. Snap-on Tools

Snap-on is a popular tool brand with franchises throughout the country. The business opportunity is perfect for self-starters and those with sales experience. You can even start a mobile sales business to keep overhead low and enjoy maximum flexibility. Those seeking franchises for veterans that don’t require making a huge investment in retail space may appreciate this option. The initial fee for the franchises and working capital ranges from $36,594 to $55,122, with between $172,076 to $375,503 in total expenses. Veterans can receive up to $20,000 in tool inventory incentives.

20. Grease Monkey

Grease Monkey is an international franchise business that offers oil changes and similar services. This type of service is always in demand. Franchisees enjoy proven systems and a team of experienced automotive leaders that care. However, you don’t necessarily need automotive experience to thrive. The company’s franchises are owned by people from all walks of life. The initial investment ranges from $156,695 to $347,850, with a $35,000 fee for the franchises. Veterans can receive up to $10,000 off that initial fee.

21. Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness offers an international franchise opportunity for those interested in the fitness industry. It’s a fast-growing industry and this is a recognizable brand in many markets. It may be especially interesting to those seeking franchises for veterans in this industry. There’s a $42,500 franchising fee and between $98,430 and $523,824 in startup costs. The company offers grant opportunities to help connect veterans with startup capital.

22. Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins is a popular ice cream brand with franchises around the country. The company looks for franchisees with strong leadership skills and community connections. You don’t necessarily need industry experience to get up and running. Ice cream is something that’s always in demand. The initial fee ranges from $12,500 to $25,000, with total costs between $123,952 and $558,830. Veterans may have the initial fee waived and enjoy reduced royalties.

23. Crunch Fitness

Crunch Fitness is a gym brand with a focus on community. The company provides memberships and group classes with multiple revenue streams. If you’re looking for a franchise for veterans that lets you stay active and engage with loyal customers, this is a solid option. The initial investment is between $304,500 and $2,129,500, including a $25,000 fee for the franchises. The company offers undisclosed discounts to qualified veterans.

24. Checkers

Checkers is a popular fast-food chain with a racing theme. It’s a proven business model that focuses mainly on drive-thru services. The company has plenty of brand recognition throughout the country. There’s a $30,000 fee per location. Initial investment ranges from $254,000 to $1,431,000. As a supporter of VetFran, the company waives the initial fee for qualified veterans.

25. Hobbytown

Hobbytown is a retail business that offers games, models, and various other hobby related products. The franchise opportunity gives individuals the chance to implement proven systems while still maintaining that small business feel. The franchise fee is $20,000, with a total investment of around $225,000. Active military and veterans may receive a $5,000 discount on the initial fee.

26. Pearle Vision

Pearle Vision is an eye care franchise. However, you do not need a medical background to own one. The company provides a turnkey business model and an efficient supply chain for glasses and optical supply services. This allows you to easily connect with the professionals and products you need to get started and run a successful franchise. The financial requirements range from $415,521 to $644,264, including a $30,000 franchise fee. Honorably discharged veterans may receive a 20 percent discount.

27. Subway

Subway is one of the most recognizable quick-service restaurant companies in the world. The franchise opportunity includes business resources, support, and scalability. However, you don’t need a huge space or extensive staff to get started. New entrepreneurs looking for recognizable franchises likely can’t do better than this. The initial franchise fee is $15,000. Total investment ranges from $100,000 to $342,400. The company offers a 50 percent franchise fee discount to veterans and waives it entirely for those looking to open a Subway on a military base.

28. Ziebart

Ziebart offers appearance and protection services for vehicles. This includes things like window tinting, rust protection, and undercoating. Those seeking franchises for veterans who enjoy working in the automotive industry may appreciate this option. The brand has more than 60 years of experience and focuses on providing ongoing support to franchisees. The initial investment ranges from $228,200 to $450,500, which includes a $36,000 franchise fee. However, that fee is completely waived for eligible military veterans.

29. ChemDry

ChemDry is a carpet cleaning franchise. The company offers patented cleaning products and has more than 40 years of industry experience. Additionally, this business can be run from home for the most part. This keeps financial requirements minimal and provides plenty of flexibility for franchisees. The initial licensing fee is $23,500. Total upfront investment ranges from $$67,645 to $185,757. The company provides a 10 percent veteran discount toward the initial licensing fee, along with financing options for those who don’t have tons of access to capital right away. ChemDry also does not require specific business experience, but instead values hard work and resourcefulness.

30. School of Rock

If you are a musician or like music and find the idea of teaching rewarding, this is a great franchise. School of Rock provides musical education services to kids in communities around the country. It’s a perfect opportunity for those who care about kids or enjoy working with young people who have a passion for music. Each location offers classes and lessons for kids in various age groups and those looking to learn different instruments and musical styles. The initial franchise fee is $49,900. Total upfront investment ranges from $271,500 to $494,100. Qualified veterans can receive a 10 percent discount on the fee for new franchises.

Why are veterans a good fit for franchising?

Veterans tend to possess strong leadership and communication skills, which are ideal for managing teams in a small company. The training that members of the military receive is often enough to help them face down nearly any challenge. This makes them especially well suited for the ups and downs of owning a company. Some also appreciate structure, which is a big part of the appeal of a franchise. They receive enough freedom to find and lead their own team and build something for themselves. However, they also get proven systems and processes that can lead to success if they follow the franchise model properly.

Does the VA help veterans buy a franchise?

No, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. does not provide any loans or financial assistance for veterans franchise opportunities. However, the U.S. Small Business Administration does have a special Veterans Advantage loan program to support veteran business opportunities, including franchises. Additionally, the VetFran program of the International Franchise Association Foundation helps interested veterans find affordable franchise opportunities through discounts and other incentives.

Does McDonald’s offer incentives to veteran franchise owners?

No, McDonald’s currently does not publicly promote any special offers and incentives for veterans looking to purchase franchises. The company did not respond to inquiries from Small Business Trends regarding this point. To find out more about franchise opportunities with McDonald’s, you can reach out to the company directly. They may provide additional information to specific veteran franchisees. However, there are no official programs currently on the company’s website or other promotional materials.

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Franchise Disclosure Document: The 23 Required Items

Franchise Disclosure Document: The 23 Required Items


When it comes to buying a franchise, the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is the number one thing to read. It helps you understand the legal and financial commitments you will be making when becoming a franchisee.

The FDD is also where prospective franchisees will find the majority of information they need to know to make an informed decision about a particular franchise offering.



What is a Franchise Disclosure Document?

The Franchise Disclosure Document is a legally-required document that a franchisor gives to prospective franchisees in the U.S. It discloses important information about the franchisor. The Disclosure must be presented in a specific manner consisting of 23 sections of information.

The FDD is required by Section 436 of Title 16, Code of Federal Regulations — known as The Franchise Rule .1  Certain states also have disclosure laws. Disclosure documents can be provided electronically or via paper.

Franchisor disclosure documents must be in plain English. Even so, they tend to be long. For example, Smashburger’s FDD is around 300 pages. Chik-Fil-A’s is over 400 pages.

How Do I Get a Franchise Disclosure Document?

A prospective franchisee gets the official Franchise Disclosure Document from the franchisor.

  • The franchisor must provide the Disclosure a minimum of 14 days before prospective franchisees pay money or sign a binding franchise agreement.
  • Franchisors must also get potential franchisees to sign a receipt acknowledging they got the Disclosure.

Samples may be available upon reasonable request. Also, FDDs must be filed publicly and are searchable online in certain states: California, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana. 2

The 23 Required Items

Here are the 23 items that the FTC requires in Franchise Disclosure Documents.

1. The Franchisor and any Parents, Predecessors, and Affiliates

This section tells you about the franchisor company and its history, as well as affiliated companies.

2. Business Experience

In this section you will see a summary of the experience that the franchise company management has. At franchise discovery day you will have the opportunity to meet franchise executives. See: Questions to Ask Franchisors.

3. Litigation

This section requires disclosure of certain franchise-related lawsuits and governmental actions.

If you see a lot of lawsuits relative to the number of franchisees in the system, buyer beware. All types of businesses get sued. One or two lawsuits isn’t necessarily a problem. If a franchisor sues or gets sued a lot, though, find out why. For example, 20 lawsuits in a small franchise system that has 200 franchisees is excessive. Your attorney can help you understand whether any litigation should be concerning.

4. Bankruptcy

Has the franchisor or any of its key leaders been through bankruptcy?

5. Initial Fees

The franchisor must disclose the franchise fee and any other initial fees. Initial fees might include site development fees or fees for reviewing a lease.

6. Other Fees

This discloses recurring or occasional fees, including royalties and advertising fees. Some franchisors get creative with fees for audits, pest control and gift card services. Make sure you plug all the fees into your financial projections.

7. Estimated Initial Investment

This section contains a table of all estimated fees and costs that franchisees can expect to incur. The initial investment is typically expressed as a low and high range. This section also specifies if the payee is the franchisor or a third party such as a landlord.

8. Restrictions on Sources of Products and Services

Are there restrictions on where you can obtain inventory or services? Some franchisors require that you buy supplies from an approved distributor or the franchisor itself.

9. Franchisee’s Obligations

This section provides information on your legal obligations.  It also should point out in detail the sections in the franchise agreement where obligations appear.

Pay close attention. For example, franchisees may be obligated to submit monthly sales reports, achieve minimum sale revenue targets, and only use pre-approved marketing materials.

10. Financing

If the franchisor offers financing, leases, extended payment terms or other financial terms, they will be identified in this section.  This is critical to know when considering franchise financing.

11. Assistance, Advertising, Computer Systems, and Training

This is one of the most important information items. It outlines any assistance the franchisor agrees to provide, such as site selection. It also outlines ongoing support obligations including training and advertising.

Training: The Federal Trade Commission recommends paying particular attention to training commitments, including:

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  • Are new employees eligible for training and, if so, at what cost. Who pays?
  • How much time is spent on technical training, business management training, and marketing?
  • Is support staff available for troubleshooting?

Advertising: The franchisee usually has to pay into an advertising and marketing fund. The FTC recommends a potential franchisee check into such things as:  

  • Do franchisees have any control over how advertising dollars are spent?
  • What percentage goes toward national advertising? What about local?
  • Do you need the franchisor’s consent to develop and buy your own advertising?

12. Territory

A franchisee territory is important because it protects against oversaturation and competition that puts your investment at risk. Are you getting an exclusive or protected territory? If not, you may be shocked later to discover other franchisee units opening up nearby.

13. Trademarks

This information in this item outlines your rights to use the franchisor’s brand names and trademarks.

14. Patents, Copyrights, and Proprietary Information

The information here outlines your rights to use the franchisor’s intellectual property.

15. Obligation to Participate in the Actual Operation of the Franchise Business

This describes any obligation of the franchisee to personally participate in the actual operation of the business. Some franchise opportunities require a franchisee to work full-time in the business.

16. Restrictions on What the Franchisee May Sell

The franchisor will want you to sell only its offerings. This FDD item outlines what a franchisee may sell — or not.  For instance, if the franchise is a restaurant, this may mean that you can only sell the franchisor’s menu items. You can’t unilaterally add your own dishes, no matter how tasty.

17. Renewal, Termination, Transfer, and Dispute Resolution

This franchisor item outlines whether your franchise contract is renewable and the circumstances allowing early termination. Dispute resolution is often required through arbitration.

And what if you want to sell? This section outlines any conditions for selling your business.

18. Public Figures

Are public figures involved in the franchise as investors or owners? Does the franchisor uses celebrities to promote the franchise? This should be disclosed.

19. Financial Performance Representations

Franchisors are not required to provide information about how much their franchisees earn — but are permitted to do so. If they choose to provide such information, it will be in franchisee item 19.

According to the International Franchise Association, approximately 30% of franchisors actually include financial performance representations for franchisees. If they do provide financial performance information, what they provide varies:

  • 99% of all systems providing financial representations give sales data.
  • 49% percent give expense data.
  • Far fewer provide a franchisee unit income statement.

20. Outlets and Franchisee Information

Item 20 is very important because it lists statistical information about franchise units in the past three years. It also lists current franchisees and every former franchisee in the past year, along with contact information including addresses and phone numbers.

A savvy prospective franchisee will want to discover what others who invested their own money have to say. Talk with several existing franchisees. They’re likely used to getting calls. Visit at least one in person. See: Questions to Ask Franchisees.

21. Financial Statements

This section contains audited financial statements. Review the audited financial statements to make sure the franchisor is not in trouble.

22. Contracts

All contracts you will be asked to sign must be attached to the Disclosure Document. This includes the franchise agreement, leases, options, etc.

23. Receipts

You will be asked to sign a receipt so the franchisor has proof that it provided the franchising disclosure document to you. Signing the receipt does not bind you into buying a franchise.

Should I Get Help Reviewing the FDD?

Investing in a franchise is a major commitment. Read through the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) point by point. Take your time. Time in this context is your friend.

Some people make the mistake of thinking that franchise disclosure documents can’t be changed, so why hire a franchise attorney? Why engage a franchisee consultant? Here’s why:

  • A franchise attorney knows what can go wrong and the red flags to look for. An experienced attorney can advise how to protect yourself — or in rare cases — when to walk away.
  • A franchise consultant or advisor can bring years of expertise. He or she helps you understand how a franchise works — and offers invaluable tips on how to buy a franchise.

Remember, franchises usually require a commitment of at least 10 years. Isn’t 10 years worth effort?

1 16 CFR 436

2 Helpful search tips at Drumm Law

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Is a Franchise Right for Me?

Is a Franchise Right for Me?


When thinking about whether a franchise is right for you, it’s essential to dig deep into your own psyche.  Make sure you are investing in a business for all the right reasons. You have to desire it! More than that, a franchise has to be a good fit.

Consider the pros and cons of franchising carefully. But most of all, understand your needs and motivations. Knowing whether a franchise is right for you depends on knowing yourself and what you want out of life. The right franchise opportunity can be rewarding, even life-changing.



Who Makes a Good Franchise Owner?

If you enjoy being in charge and making your own decisions, yet appreciate the advantages of partnering with an established brand, then owning a franchise could be right for you.

The people who make good franchise owners are those who rise to the challenge of being a business owner and are invigorated by taking on responsibility. Yet, they are pragmatic. They realize that having the ongoing support of a well-known brand and a proven franchise system gives them a head start in business.

10 Questions for Self Assessment

Franchisees are responsible for employing around 8 million people in America. You can find successful franchise owners on street corners all across the country — from quick service restaurants to pest control franchises. There are hundreds of thousands of happy franchise owners. However, owning a franchise doesn’t guarantee success.

When considering “is franchising right for me” it’s good to refer to a series of questions to ask yourself. Carefully think through and give yourself honest answers to these 10 questions:

1. Are you ready for the responsibility of owning a business?

Some people thrive on being in charge. Others, not so much. A franchise gives you a blueprint for a business, and franchisors are expected to provide ongoing support. However, the responsibility for success or failure falls on your shoulders. If you have never owned any business before, a franchise could require major changes in focus. How you spend your time will be different. You may have a wider range of responsibilities, some of which you may be confronting for the first time in your career.

You have to make snap decisions, often with less than complete information. If you’re wrong on a critical decision such as quality control, it could jeopardize the entire business.

Not only that, but being profitable is your responsibility. Your decisions and actions affect the livelihoods of your staff. If payroll is due and sales are down, you are the one who has to search for a way to get the money, fast.

2. Are you willing to do whatever it takes for success?

Owning a franchise can be extremely rewarding financially and emotionally, but it isn’t a walk in the park. You must be willing to work more than 40 hours a week. In fact, you might have to work 60 hours or more when first starting out.

For most entrepreneurs long hours aren’t a problem. Their business is a labor of love. Ask this question: will you still feel this way when you have to miss a child’s sports event, or work every weekend?

Also, you’ll probably have to do non-managerial or clerical tasks sometimes. If the trash needs emptying and your employees are busy, it’s up to you. If someone has to schedule customers, and your employee is sick that day, it may be you who does it.

Those who come from corporate backgrounds will not have other departments to ask for support or services. Even paying bills takes time and you won’t have a finance department to call like in the past.

3. Do you believe in the franchise brand?

The franchising business model involves a relationship designed to last at least 10 years. You will be “married” to a particular franchisor for the next decade. It’s essential to choose the right franchise. Here are three things to evaluate:

  • A good industry match — The industry must be one you are comfortable with. This is critically important if you are new to the industry and have no experience in it.
  • A brand you admire — The brand needs to be one you can get behind 100%, because you’ll be using the trademark and representing it as a franchisee. Does the brand have a track record of success? Your risk is higher if it’s a new unproven franchise. Plus, you’ll have to work with the franchise executives for a decade or more. You will get a chance to meet them during Franchise Discovery Day. Use that opportunity to ask insightful questions. See: Questions to Ask the Franchisor.
  • Happy franchisees — Will the brand live up to your expectations? You won’t know for sure until you work with them, but there’s a good way to judge. See how they treat existing franchisees. The Franchise Disclosure Document will list existing franchisees. Visit and talk with some of them. See: Questions to Ask Franchisees.

4. Do you have sufficient capital?

A franchise opportunity requires some money. The franchisor must disclose the estimated initial investment, including startup costs. However, make sure you also have funds to cover current operating costs until you start seeing a profit. In most startups this takes 6 months to a year after opening.

In addition, depending on your personal circumstances you may need funds to pay for living expenses. An emergency contingency fund is always wise. Read more: Franchise Financing.

5. Are you comfortable following a system?

The essence of the franchising business model is a system with rules. Franchises depend on consistency. Whether it comes to the design of your new business premises or the equipment you use, you will find many choices already made for you.

You will get an operations manual to follow. If you have new ideas, you may not be able to implement them. For many people, following a franchising system is fine. If this sounds like you, a franchise may be a perfect fit.

But there is a class of entrepreneurs who chafe at being told what to do. If you are the type of free-wheeling entrepreneur called “unemployable” due to your unorthodox creativity and willingness to break the rules, franchising could feel like jail. A franchise will not be right for you.

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6. Are you good with a team?

Most franchises involve having staff, at least a couple of employees. To be successful in franchising you will need your team behind you all the way. Consider your ability to do the following:

  • Hiring and training — Your success will depend on your ability to spot great people, help them learn new skills, and bring out the best in them.
  • Leading and motivating — You will need to get your team fired up and buying into your vision and goals to move the business forward.
  • Coaching and firing — Occasionally you may have to have a firm talk with someone about performing better — or terminate them. It can be gut wrenching. Can you do it?

But, you say, you plan to hire a general manager to run the business. First, know that this is not the general rule in a franchise opportunity. Most people are owner-operators, which means they are hands on. But even with a general manager, everything still rides on choosing the right manager and getting the best out of him or her.

7. Do you like interacting with customers?

Customers are your lifeblood! You must be able to interact effectively with them. At times you will have to, even if simply to resolve the occasional customer complaint.

If you come from the corporate world, you may have been many steps removed from dealing with actual customers. Depending on your past work roles, it might have been rare to engage with a customer. However, with franchise opportunities, you can’t afford to be uncomfortable talking with customers. It’s essential to know what customers want and how to delight them.

8. Do you have the patience for legal matters?

Franchises are required to provide prospective buyers with a Franchise Disclosure Document. This is a lengthy document required by the Federal Trade Commission giving you important information.

You must also sign a franchise agreement governing the rights and obligations of both sides during the franchise relationship. Both documents are extremely important. Study both carefully. If you don’t have the patience to try to understand them, you could be rudely surprised later.

9. Are you running toward a franchise – or away from something?

Passion in business matters. You are going to be happiest if you pursue something you really want. If you are buying a franchise because you just want to get out of a job you hate, chances are you won’t last long in business.

10. Is your family supportive?

Last but most important of all — consider how your family feels about you buying a franchise. Does your spouse or partner even know you’re looking at franchise opportunities?

Most franchise opportunities will require a sizable chunk of your savings. You may have to get a loan, which could involve giving a personal guarantee and possibly pledging your home as collateral. You are going to need the support of your family. There’s enough stress starting and growing a business, without adding relationship stress. If you don’t have your family’s support, then a franchise may not be right for you.

Should Corporate Employees Pursue Franchising?

The answer is yes, provided you are excited — and not simply doing it because you can’t find a job. A franchising opportunity should be something you really want and can’t wait to start.

Many successful franchise owners come from the corporate world. Some are executives fed up with the 9-to-5 life who want a new challenge. Others are successful corporate professionals who buy franchises after being downsized.

Some people make the mistake of pursuing a dual track for too long.  They try to hedge their bets. They split their efforts, using some of their energy to look for a new job and the rest to evaluate franchise business ownership.

Some have an attitude of, ‘Well if I can’t find another job, I’ll just buy a franchise.’

But this is not the best approach, says franchising expert Joel Libava. “I generally don’t recommend this way of doing things. Decide on one approach or the other, quickly. You either want to be a franchise business owner, or you don’t. There is so much pressure when launching a business. Doing so merely because you can’t find a good job adds even more pressure.”

He goes on to add, “I have found that almost all of the people I have been able to help place into franchises have focused 80% of their time on finding opportunities in franchise ownership, from the start. They have pretty much made the decision to move away from a corporate career early on, and really want to do something on their own. They’re excited for the future.”

What Does a Franchise Owner Do?

A franchise business owner is someone who owns a business under the auspices of a franchise agreement. The other party to the relationship — the franchisor — provides the system which serves as the blueprint for success, and provides ongoing support such as advertising and marketing. Read more about the parties: Franchisor vs Franchisee.

Most franchise owners do whatever it takes. Meaning, each day they roll up their sleeves and do whatever is required to operate the business profitably. Owners spend time as strategic leaders, but step in as needed on tactical activities. Owners do the following:

  • get sufficient sales to be profitable (encourage word of mouth referrals, achieve positive reviews, engage in the community, etc.);
  • pay expenses and manage cash flow (banking, accounting, etc.);
  • manage staff (hire, train — and fill in when short-staffed);
  • oversee and, if necessary, perform daily operational activities (everything from changing the menu to changing a light bulb);
  • support customers as needed (wait on customers, resolve issues, etc.);
  • plan for the future (remodeling, expansion, etc.);
  • comply with responsibilities owed to the franchisor.

Summary

In the end, the question “is franchising right for me” depends on looking deep inside. It’s a journey of self discovery requiring you to identify trade-offs you are willing to make. For additional self-evaluation, take Joel Libava’s Franchise Quiz.

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10 Bubble Tea Franchise Businesses

10 Bubble Tea Franchise Businesses


Bubble tea, sometimes referred to as boba, is a drink that usually includes tea, milk, and tapioca balls. There is a huge variety of flavors and styles. And the drink is known for being especially shareable in social media photos. So these shops are mainly popular with Gen Z and Millennials (Here’s what Millennials want), with people of all ages now discovering the magic of bubble tea.

Though bubble tea has become most popular in the U.S. in the last decade or so, it actually originated in Taiwan back in the 1980s. Now, the industry is valued at nearly $2.5 billion around the world. And it’s expected to continue experiencing significant growth throughout the next decade.

So if you’re looking to capitalize on a growing global trend, bubble tea may be the perfect business opportunity for you. And if you’re not interested in building your own brand from scratch, there are plenty of boba tea franchise opportunities to consider.

These businesses allow entrepreneurs to latch onto an established brand and benefit from proven systems and processes. But you still get the freedom to build your own location and manage your own team. Essentially, it’s a way to expedite the process of starting your own bubble tea shop.

If purchasing a bubble tea franchise seems like the perfect business for you, the exciting opportunities below may help you get started.



Bubble Tea Franchise Opportunities

Here are the best bubble tea franchise businesses for aspiring entrepreneurs to consider:

1. Gong Cha

Gong Cha is a boba franchise that focuses on quality ingredients and creative mixes. The chain offers special features like online ordering to make it easy for customers to keep returning for more bubble tea. And they have a strong national and international presence. The company is headquartered in Taiwan. But there are Gong Cha stores throughout several countries, including the United States, Canada, Korea, Singapore, and Australia. Franchise fees vary on a case by case basis but usually fall around $30,000. But the company estimates the initial investment at between $177,430 and $335,400.

2. Kung Fu Tea

A Kung Fu Tea franchise gives entrepreneurs access to a popular, U.S.-based bubble tea company that’s been around for about a decade. They offer made to order beverage along with specialized merch like reusable straws and tea sets. They even partner with other brands like TKK Fried Chicken and Yasubee Ramen. So franchisees can diversify their revenue streams and provide even more value to customers with the additional service. Those who want to franchise Kung Fu Tea in the United States can follow a proven ten-step process to get started. The franchise fee for a traditional store is $37,000. They also offer nontraditional options, like those in shopping centers. But those fees vary on a case-by-case basis. Total upfront costs fall between $124,050 and $428,050.

3. Sharetea

Sharetea franchise locations are all about bringing fun to the milk tea beverage experience. The company has roots in Taiwan and locations in multiple countries. In fact, there are currently more than 100 stores throughout North America. So it’s an international brand with some current recognition in the U.S. The company has been in operation for more than 28 years. And the team provides site selection assistance, marketing plans, and comprehensive training for new tea franchises. The franchising fee is $22,500. And startup costs range from $260,000 to $360,000.

4. Bubbleology

Bubbleology is a boba tea franchise that is known for fresh tea and tapioca beverage options. In addition to bubble tea, the business also provides specialty waffle desserts that are especially shareable on social media. The company offers both single and multi-unit development opportunities. You can even choose between the non-traditional kiosk or the traditional in-line locations. So costs and experience vary from case to case. However, requirements in the restaurant or retail industry is a must for new franchisees. The initial franchise fee ranges from $20,000 to $30,000. And the total initial cost range from $163,250 to $361,600.

5. Bee & Tea

Bee & Tea is a fast-casual restaurant with a focus on bubble tea, smoothies, bao, and healthy bowls. The company offers key appeal for millennials and gen Z. But they offer options for older age segments as well. Additionally, each store offers plenty of customization options to keep customers happy. The restaurant’s snack-sized meals and Asian inspired flavors are perfect for modern consumers. And the interior design and decor elements are modern and trendy. So the entire experience is memorable and consistent. The franchise fee is $40,000. And initial costs range from $144,000 to $280,000.

6. Tapioca Express

Tapioca Express was one of the first bubble tea franchises in the U.S., opening its first store back in 1999. The first stores were opened in California. But they now have shops in several additional states including Washington, Texas, and Virginia. In addition to bubble tea, they also provide mochi waffles, snacks, and smoothies. The business sources quality ingredients from Taiwan. And they provide a set system for getting started with a new franchise. So you should know exactly what to expect right from the start. The initial payment to Tapioca Express of $51,000 covers training, product deposits, licensing, marketing materials, and mandatory equipment purchases. Total upfront costs range from $200,000 to $527,000.

7. Boba Loca

Boba Loca is a boba tea franchise that focuses on providing a welcoming customer experience. In addition to bubble tea, the company provides a wide array of snacks, juice, pastries, and a full espresso bar. Franchisees must work in their stores and previous restaurant or franchising background is preferred. But the company provides a dedicated process for getting new stores up and running. Currently, many of the franchise locations are in California. But there are opportunities available in other markets as well. The franchise fee is $14,000. And upfront costs range from $88,445 to $325,955.

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8. Ding Tea

Ding Tea franchise opportunities are available to anyone over 20 years old with good credit and a passion for tea. The menu is full of fruit flavored milk teas and other specialty beverages, all made with quality ingredients. The company currently only has a few U.S. locations. But it has plenty of recognition throughout Asia, Europe, and Australia. The business provides training, professional support, and ongoing communication to support franchisees. And there’s a set process to help new franchises get up and running. There’s a $20,000 franchise fee. And you’ll need between $123,000 and $422,000 to get started with a new franchise.

9. Koi Tea

Koi Tea offers a starter kit and operational support for its boba tea franchises. Franchisees need familiarity in food service, retail, or multi-unit management. They also look for candidates who care about building community and being involved with their local area. The company provides the opportunity to open one location or to move into multi-unit development. And several store layouts and sizes are available. So it’s a truly flexible opportunity. The company has been around for just a few years and doesn’t have many locations yet. So they have the ability to provide personal attention to each new franchisee. The franchise fee varies on a case by case basis. And specific financial requirements vary by market size. But the initial costs generally range from $200,000 to $500,000.

10. CUPP Bubble Tea

CUPP Bubble Tea is a UK-based boba tea shop that offers franchising business opportunities internationally. They provide options for turnkey locations if you want to get a new store up and running quickly. But they also provide multi-unit opportunities for those that want to build a larger business. If you really want to step up your franchise game, the business also offers the opportunity to become an International Master franchise. This is where you get the rights to a specified country. Master franchisees are responsible for running the entire CUPP network in that territory. So you need extensive knowledge of the local market, along with the ability to attract new franchisees. The franchise fee for a traditional UK location is £15,000. And turnkey operations can be started for as little as £50,000.

How much does it cost to start a bubble tea business?

Most bubble tea franchises cost between $75,000 and $500,000. Large locations and those in populous cities are likely to cost on the high end of that spectrum. Kiosks and stores in shopping centers or airports tend to cost less to get started. The majority can get up and running for between $125,000 and $200,000.

Is owning a bubble tea business profitable?

The profitability of owning a bubble tea shop depends on your market. If you’re in a trendy or affluent area, you’re more likely to earn enough to offset your expenses. The industry is still experiencing growth. So it is certainly possible to build a profitable business in this market.

How much can you make owning a bubble tea shop?

The amount you can earn with a bubble tea shop depends on your store volume. Locations, prices, and costs play a major role. However, many stores make $3 or more per serving. And materials can cost $0.75 or less. If you sell 500 products per day, you could bring in more than $30,000 per month before factoring in other expenses.

How do I start a bubble tea business?

To start your own bubble tea business, you first need to scout locations. Find something in an upscale or touristy area with plenty of walkabilities. A popular downtown location would be ideal. Then you need to source equipment and supplies. This includes blenders, stoves, tea shakers, cups, straws, tea ingredients, and tapioca pearls. You’ll also need to take care of any licensing and inspection requirements in your area.

On the business planning end, you’ll need a logo, branding, menu, and price list. Think about how you’ll market to customers and how many products you think you’ll be able to sell each day to eventually make a profit. Before opening, hire and train a team to make all the drinks on your menu.

If you opt for a franchise instead of starting your bubble tea business from scratch, most of these steps will be laid out for you.

What do I need to open a boba shop?

First, you need a location. This should be a retail storefront that has enough space for your equipment, countertops, sinks, staff, and a small customer area. Equipment-wise, you’ll likely need a stove for brewing tea and making tapioca pearls. You should also consider tea shakers and blenders for specialty beverages.

On the supply side, you’ll need a large selection of cups, lids, straws, and napkins. If you sell other products like hot beverages or snacks, you’ll need specialty containers for those items as well. In terms of ingredients, stock up on tea powders in various flavors, creamers, sweeteners, various teas, milks, water, and tapioca pearls.

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10 Best Tire Repair Franchise Opportunities

10 Best Tire Repair Franchise Opportunities


All vehicles need quality tires. But these important parts eventually wear down and need to be repaired or replaced. So tire repair and replacement services are always in demand. In fact, the U.S. tire industry is worth about $35 billion. And U.S. drivers shell out about $3 billion each year due to tire damage from potholes.

If you’re looking for a new business opportunity that’s steady and fairly recession-proof, the tire business could be perfect for you. But you don’t have to start from scratch when building your new enterprise.

Franchises provide the opportunity to connect with a recognizable brand and utilize their proven systems and processes. There are plenty of big names in the industry to consider. In fact, some even offer various automotive repair and maintenance services.

If you’re interested in purchasing a tire repair franchise or similar auto service center, check out the list below for options.



Tire Franchise Opportunities

Here are the best tire repair franchise businesses for aspiring entrepreneurs to consider:

1. Big O Tires

Big O Tires has been providing tire and auto service since 1962. It has more than 450 locations throughout the country. And franchisees get some freedom to operate independently while still receiving support when needed. In addition to traditional franchises, the company also offers multi-unit opportunities, veteran and first responder discounts, and conversion opportunities for existing tire businesses. The franchise fee ranges from $10,000 to $35,000. And the total upfront investment ranges from $311,000 to $1,138,300.

2. Tuffy Tire & Auto Service

Tuffy Tire & Auto Service started in Detroit and has been around for more than 50 years. The company offers tires, muffler service, and various other auto repairs. The company is dedicated to staying on top of new technology in the auto industry. And they provide extensive support to franchisees. You don’t need automotive experience. And they offer both single and multi-unit opportunities. The fee for new franchises is $30,000. And the initial investment ranges from $224,000 and $413,500.

3. Spiffy

Spiffy is a mobile, on-demand car care business. The company provides tires, oil changes, washing, detailing, and glass service. Since it’s a mobile business, franchisees can keep costs relatively low. And you may be able to get up and running quickly since you don’t necessarily need a physical storefront location. The company also has proprietary technology and green solutions that improve the experience and attract more customers. The franchise fee is $40,000. And upfront costs range from $100,000 to $200,000.

4. RNR Tire Express

RNR Tire Express provides a variety of tire replacement and auto services. The company provides exclusive territories for new franchises. And you don’t need specific automotive industry experience to be considered. There are currently more than 500 locations around the country. So there’s a fair amount of brand recognition already. They also provide unique rent-to-own payment options to attract even more customers, increasing profit potential for franchisees. The initial franchise fee is $35,000. And upfront costs range from $500,000 to $1,000,000.

5. Meineke Car Care Center

Meineke is a total auto care franchise business. With tons of services, franchises can enjoy a variety of revenue streams. And the company has national and well-established brand recognition in markets across the country. It also provides a dedicated tech platform for performing inspections and managing operations. Basically, this can make the day to day operations much more straightforward, which is especially helpful for new franchises. They look for franchisees with business acumen, strong community ties, and a drive to succeed. The initial franchise fee is $35,000. And startup costs range from $319,774 to $610,318.

6. GoMobile Tires

GoMobile provides customers with a mobile tire buying experience. Basically, you can run everything from a van instead of a large storefront. You can keep a minimal inventory and each discount franchise is set up with an online purchasing platform for customers to easily order online. The company is especially popular with fleet vehicles. So franchisees can get lots of ongoing business from local companies that need tires. You also get access to training and general business support. The fee for the franchises is $30,000. And total costs come to about $170,000; you can buy the mobile shop and pretty much everything you need right from GoMobile.

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7. All Tire Supply

All Tire Supply offers tire repair materials, tools, and equipment. As a mobile distributor, they work with auto repair shops, dealers, and retailers that need replacement parts. Since it’s not a traditional repair shop, you can keep startup costs relatively low. For example, you just need a warehouse for inventory and distribution network, rather than a fully developed storefront. As a B2B business, this option also allows you to serve a different market than many automotive franchises. And you don’t need to worry about building an extensive team or service list. The fee for the franchises is $50,000. And startup costs range from $80,300 to $172,800.

8. Tire Pros

Tire Pros is a network of select independent tire shops throughout the country. When your shop is selected for the program, you receive a dedicated account manager, training, purchase incentives, relationships with vendors, and marketing support. It’s also backed by American Tire Distributors, the largest tire distribution network in North America. And there are currently more than 600 franchise locations throughout the country. The fee for the franchises is just $7,000. And the total upfront investment ranges from $218,000to $369,500.

9. In Motion Tires

In Motion Tires provides full-service mobile tire and wheel shops around the country. They currently have markets available in multiple states. Owners get the opportunity to work closely with customers and work with their hands on a daily basis. The company provides state of the art equipment and business support to help franchisees get their operations off the ground. They also provide training for new franchises. There are currently only a few set locations. So markets across the country are open. The company doesn’t publish its franchise fees or costs. But you can reach out to them to find out more.

10. Tread Connection

Tread Connection offers mobile tire repair and installation vans. The company offers a tire repair and replacement franchise with low overhead. No automotive experience is necessary. And the company provides training and protected territories. There are also incentives for franchises that include multiple territories. The minimum fee for the franchises is $37,500. The mobile tire repair van costs between $115,000 and $135,000. And other startup expenses range from $11,700 to $30,900.

How much does a tire repair franchise cost?

Tire repair and automotive franchises can cost anywhere between $100,000 and $1,000,000. Generally, mobile franchises cost between about $100,000 and $200,000. And larger brick and mortar shops that provide tire repair and other automotive services cost between $200,000 and $1,000,000.

Is owning a tire shop profitable?

Tire repair shop profits depend on a number of factors, including shop size, inventory, team size, prices, location, and sales and service volume. Moderately sized tire shops with minimal expenses may expect a profit margin of around 20 percent or more. Adding multiple revenue streams like automotive repairs may help shops become more profitable.

How much can you make owning a tire shop?

The amount a tire repair shop brings in can vary widely. However, a moderately sized shop with a few employees and service bays can bring in between $36,000 and $60,000 per month. That could lead to monthly profits of $20,000 or more.

How do I start a tire business?

To start a new tire repair shop, you first need to find a location. Scout a location that’s easy to access with plenty of space for repair bays and inventory storage. You should also research the customers in the area. Pretty much every location has some need for tire repair or replacement. But the income range and driving habits of your customers may impact what type of products and services you provide. For example, shops in a low-income area may benefit from offering used tires. But if you’re opening up in a city with lots of public transit, research competition in the area to make sure the market isn’t too saturated.

You also need to set up your location with lifts and other equipment to facilitate quality service. Then invest in the necessary inventory. This often involves creating relationships with popular tire brands. You’ll also need to hire some tire and auto repair professionals to provide the necessary services to your customers. Offer training. Create a service list and prices. Brand and market your business. Then manage the daily operations.

These are just some of the steps involved in opening a tire business on your own. If you want a step-by-step guide laid out for you, a franchise may be the way to go. The opportunities above give you access to proven systems and set processes so you know what to do every step of the way. Then you can utilize strong brand recognition to immediately build trust with customers in your area.

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Franchise Financing Options: How to Find the Money

Franchise Financing Options: How to Find the Money


When buying a franchise, the key number you will need to know for franchise financing purposes is the initial investment. The initial investment is your “all in” costs and includes the franchise fee and various startup costs such as grand opening, initial inventory, signage, leasehold improvements, supplies, equipment and more.

The initial investment for most franchises is between $75,000 to $500,000 — with about half falling under $250,000. However, the initial investment varies widely by industry and brand, with some franchises at less than $75,000 and others approaching $1 million or more.

But don’t shy away because of these numbers. Buying a franchise is very doable. “Many first time franchise buyers can find an abundance of viable franchise options between $100k to $250k,” advises Mariel Miller, a national franchise advisor. “And most of the time, with the right franchise financing strategies, they can come up with several funding combinations to afford it.”

Many buyers put together financing options that include a combination of personal savings, SBA loans, conventional business loan products, 401(k) rollovers, and/or franchisor in-house programs.

In this guide we help you identify existing assets you may have available. We’ll also identify lenders for the best sources of franchise financing.



Assess Your Situation

To figure out your franchise financing needs, first assess your existing situation.

Franchisors and lenders expect prospective franchisees to have some personal funds to put toward the initial investment. Candidates usually need 10% to 30% cash, provided  they are open to considering the many popular funding strategies available today, says Miller.

Franchisors may impose two requirements:

  • Net worth. Franchise brands want to know you can afford the franchise. They specify a minimum net worth of  assets over and above debts.  (Calculate your net worth.)
  • Liquid assets. Some franchisors require a cash equivalent — such as $35,000 — in savings.  This is money you can get at quickly to cover unanticipated startup expenses, pay for living expenses until the business turns a profit, and/or apply toward the franchise fee.

“We recommend and assist clients in conducting a cost-of-capital analysis as well as a general fundability or prequalification discussion with a franchise finance expert early on in the process. Based on my experience, it’s rare that we cannot find a solid funding strategy that works,” says franchise advisor Mariel Miller.

Personal Assets  for Franchise Financing

Always get your spouse’s agreement to use personal assets. Retain a portion for family expenditures such as children’s education and emergencies.

Here are assets commonly used for franchise financing:

Savings and Investment Portfolios

Your personal savings includes bank accounts and investments in brokerage accounts.

Severance Package 

Been downsized — or about to be?  A severance package can include all kinds of goodies. There may be severance pay, unused vacation and sick pay, deferred compensation, and company stock or stock options to be cashed in.

Home Equity

People with equity in their homes sometimes choose to tap into it through a home equity line of credit. Although popular, this is not usually the best idea. It can limit your future credit availability. And you could be mortgaging away your family’s security.

Retirement Accounts

Aspiring franchisees may want to withdraw from their retirement accounts — IRA, 403(b) or other account.  But that’s not always wise. First, you could be risking funds you’ll need in your golden years.  Second, you could have to pay a 10% penalty for early withdrawal, along with taxes on the money — seriously eating into the available funds to put toward a franchise.

The IRS rules are complex. Before using retirement funds, get your accountant or a franchise finance expert to estimate taxes and penalties. Avoid unpleasant surprises later.

401(k) Business Financing

If you’re still intent on using retirement funds, an option is a 401(k) rollover, also called Rollovers as Business Startups (ROBS).

The ROBS rollover enables aspiring business owners to tap into their own retirement monies to fund their businesses, without paying taxes or early-withdrawal penalties. The business owner forms a new corporation, and rolls the retirement funds over into a new 401(k) in the new corporation. Then the new 401(k) invests in stock in the business owner’s own corporation.

The original retirement account is treated as a rollover. Therefore, no taxes or early-withdrawal penalties apply — provided all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.  ROBS are legal and the IRS says they are not an abusive tax avoidance strategy. But the IRS still calls them “questionable“.

Franchise consultant Joel Libava believes that under the right circumstances, ROBS can be appropriate to finance a franchise.  But he emphasizes caution.  “ROBS are not for everybody. As long as the IRS says they are legal, and they are set up correctly, I can see their value. However, the scenario needs to be right. A 25-year-old with $12,000 in his IRA — not a good fit. But 50 year-olds with $400,000 in their IRAs? Much more applicable. However, people should never dig into retirement funds too deeply. In other words, they shouldn’t use $375,000 of the $400,000 sitting there.”

Libava warns it’s essential to set up a ROBS — also called 401(k) business financing — correctly.  Not following the rules could be costly.  “I’ve seen franchisees use 401(k) financing successfully, provided it’s done properly. If you’re going to do one, find a firm experienced in setting up ROBS plans correctly. Understand exactly what you can use the funds for, and what not.”

Guidant Financial is one firm that specializes in these 401(k) rollover plans.  Read more on ROBS plans.

Franchise Loans

Any discussion of franchise financing options usually addresses one key issue: how to get a loan for a franchise.

Some lenders that offer financing for franchise business owners make startup loans for new franchisees. Others work exclusively with existing owners already in business.

  • For first-time, new franchise owners, the best options are a term loan or an SBA loan.
  • For existing franchise business owners who want to expand, refinance or get working capital, the best options include short term loans, medium-term loan, SBA loan, equipment financing, business line of credit, alternative lending, or merchant advance.

To get a business loan, your personal credit score is key. The bare minimum is a credit score of 600. To get an SBA loan most experts agree that you need a score in the range of 640. A credit score of 700 and up will get you the biggest number of financing options and best terms for a bank loan.

Financial institutions typically require personal guarantees for small business loans. They may require collateral and a down payment as high as 20% to 25%.

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SBA Loans for Franchisees

SBA loans are made by lenders but backed by the U.S. government and can be used by franchisees. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) establishes all requirements and generally guarantees 75% of the loan.  To be eligible to get SBA financing for franchises, the brand must be listed in the SBA’s Franchise Directory.

Small Business Administration financing is available to borrowers who otherwise would not be able to obtain financing.  A lender can assess the franchise finance options available to you.  Try to find an SBA-preferred lender, which has authority to give direct approval and helps you get through the application process quickly.

The two main types of SBA loans are the 7(a) and 504 programs.

7(a)

An SBA 7(a) loan is the best SBA option for new franchisees.  This loan can also be used by existing franchisees that need working capital, to refinance or for growth. Advantages are:

  • A 7(a) loan can be used to open a new franchise business.  Conventional lenders are often hesitant to lend to a startup with no track record of sales. But 7(a) loans can be based on future projections.
  • The required down payment can be lower than conventional financing. Business owners can finance a significant chunk of the project costs – up to 90%.
  • The maximum amount for a 7(a) loan is $5 million.  The repayment term can be longer than conventional business loans – up to 10 years.
  • Interest rates are often favorable.
  • Veterans may be eligible for reduced fees under the Veterans Advantage Program.

One downside: the lender is required to tie up your personal real estate as collateral by placing a lien on your home.  This can hamper future personal plans, such as your ability to sell your existing home and buy a new one.

504

The 504 SBA loan can be used to finance real estate, facilities and equipment.  A 504 loan is not a good option to get a new franchisee business going because of the limitations of what you can use the funds for. But it may be appropriate for existing franchisees who want to grow and expand by, say, buying a new building.  SBA 504 loans can have terms up to 25 years for real estate, with favorable interest rates.

Best Franchise Financing Sources

One of the best advantages of working with a franchise advisor or consultant is referrals to companies that specialize in franchise financing. “Experienced advisors have a wide range of contacts and can refer you early in the process, without any sort of commitment or costs,” says Miller.

Another option is your local community bank if you have a good relationship there. And there are online sources including:

ApplePie Capital – ApplePie Capital is a lending marketplace focusing exclusively on franchise loans. It brings together a nationwide network of lending partners. It also offers its own conventional loan product called ApplePie Core.  ApplePie Capital supports first-time franchisees and existing franchisees.

Credibly – Credibly offers a variety of loans for small business owners, including for franchisees.

SmartBiz – SmartBiz is known for being experts in SBA lending for small businesses. But the group also offers bank term loans.

Balboa Capital – Balboa is best for franchise financing for existing franchisees (in business at least one year with $100,000 in revenue).  Balboa works with a variety of franchise brands. It provides options such as short term and medium term loans.

OnDeck – OnDeck offers term loans and a business line of credit product. Requirements are a credit score of at least 600 and one year in business.

Funding Circle – Funding Circle is a marketplace that underwrites and funds loans for small business borrowers and then finds institutional investors for those loans.  Funding Circle is best for existing franchisees, and offers SBA 7(a) loans and term loans up to 10 years in length.

CAN Capital – CAN is best for existing franchisees and offers a short-term loan of 6 to 18 months.  The maximum amount is $250,000.  CAN also offers merchant cash advances.

In addition to the above lenders, the franchisor may offer options, as per the next section.

Franchisor Provided Financing

Many franchisors are willing to provide franchise finance resources in some way. Assistance takes various forms, as follows.

In-House Franchise Financing

It’s possible to find franchisors that offer in-house financing, but it’s the exception rather than the norm. “Only about 12% of franchisors offer in-house financing,” says Miller.

One example is 7?Eleven. Its website says it has “an internal program that provides up to 65% financing on your initial franchise fee. This program, which is uncommon to most franchisors, also provides an open account (or financing) for the inventory purchases and operating expenses of your store.”   Ask the franchise sales representative or your franchise advisor for any in-house options.

Preferred Franchise Lenders

Many franchisors have “preferred lender” partners. The franchisor sets up a working relationship with one or more lenders that offer financing to its prospective franchisees.  Subway, for example, offers three preferred lender choices:  Ascentium Capital, JenCas Financial and IPC Franchise Financing.

Other franchisors simply point you toward a list of franchise lenders. Auntie Anne’s documentation says, “we can provide a list of lenders who have expressed interest in lending to franchise partners.”

Financing Consultants

Some franchisors engage a financing consultant to work with you — for free.  Moe’s Southwest Grill, for example, states that it “may engage an advisor who will provide consulting services to franchisees to assist them with securing financing and it pays the advisor for this assistance to franchisees.”

Franchise Incentives

Franchisors today may offer incentives to encourage new business.  Incentives include reducing the franchise fee and relaxing other requirements to make it less expensive for a new business.

For example, hundreds of franchisors provide incentives to U.S. veterans, active military and sometimes military family members. See the listings on the VetFran website.  If you are transitioning out of the military, also check with the VA’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

“Not only are more brands honoring discounts for military families, some have extended the same consideration to first responders,” says Miller.

How Do You Qualify for Franchise Financing?

Qualifying for a franchise loan is similar to qualifying for any other kind of loan. Remember, to start you also need to meet the franchisor’s requirements.  At a minimum you will need these qualifications:

  • Acceptable personal credit history.  Your personal credit score reflects whether you are reliable as a borrower.  Check your credit history to make sure all information is accurate before applying for any kind of franchise financing.  Your small business credit score may also come into play if you apply for credit for an existing business.
  • Required down payment.  Almost any kind of SBA or conventional business loan will require a down payment.
  • Financial information.  Be prepared to submit a business plan — or revenue and expense forecasts, or a P&L.
  • Franchise information. Lenders want to know: is the franchise brand an established name, with a track record of successful franchisees?

How Do You Buy a Franchise With No Money?

The short answer is:  you cannot buy a franchise with no money.  Every franchise requires an initial investment. While it’s not possible to buy a franchise with no money, you can target lower-cost franchises. See:

If you have no money at all, think longer term — and plan. Sometimes it’s best to step back, accumulate savings, and apply for financing options later after your financial situation improves.

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Multi-Unit Franchises: Path to Wealth

Multi-Unit Franchises: Path to Wealth


Franchising has long been an attractive business opportunity for many reasons. It offers an established product or service with proven best practices and business systems. Banks are more willing to lend to a franchise business than an independent start-up. Franchisees also receive advertising and marketing assistance that includes marketing plans, budgets, and creative.

Multi-unit franchising — owning multiple units within a given territory — has become the go-to strategy in recent years. Franchisees are drawn to the prospect of significant financial gains and lower operating costs produced by owning multiple units.

In addition to generating more income, many multi-unit owners appreciate the revenue diversification that comes with managing more than one franchise location. Owning multiple franchises can sometimes mean a safer investment since they don’t depend on a single site to make all the revenue.

All-in-all, a multi-unit franchise adds up to a better way to make your small business wealth-building dreams come true. Learn more in our simple guide.

Can You Own More Than One Franchise?

A franchisee can own more than one franchise of the same brand. Being a multi-unit franchisee is different than single-unit franchise ownership, however, which requires hands-on involvement. Being a successful multiple-unit franchisee calls for a semi-passive approach that relies on technology and greater management sophistication.

While the industry average is five locations, there is no limit to how many franchises a person can own. For example, in the U.S., NPC International, the largest restaurant franchisee, holds over 1,200 fast-casual, quick-service restaurants. Others, such as Flynn Restaurant Group and Carrols Restaurant Group, have thousands of locations scattered across the United States and other countries.

There are many benefits to becoming a multi-unit franchisee, whether you own a couple of franchise business locations in your hometown or scores of multiple locations in disparate cities.

We already alluded to the opportunity for more significant financial gain and security that comes with revenue diversification. Owning more than one franchise location makes it easier to weather harsh economic times.

Another benefit is when signing a multi-unit agreement up front; in most cases, the franchisor discounts the franchise fee for every unit the franchisee agrees to open after the first one. This agreement benefits the franchisor, who locks up a particular geographical area. Because he knows a certain number of units will open there, he gives the franchisee a discount.

Better work-life balance is also an attraction to becoming a franchise owner. Multi-unit franchisees can put a strong team in place, freeing the owner of day-to-day management responsibilities.

According to Mariel Miller, founder of The Franchise Advisor, a franchise consulting firm, multi-unit franchise ownership is an especially popular option for people who want to keep their careers and invest.

“About 80% of the work I do is with corporate executives and other people looking to invest part-time and build wealth in semi-absentee, multi-unit deals,” Miller said.

That’s different from the single-unit owner/operator model, which requires the owner to be on hand every day and, essentially, serve as the manager.

Miller added that the more advanced play for people who want to do this on a large scale is to invest in multi-unit, multi-branding franchise operations.

“You could purchase several contiguous markets and open them on a development schedule,” she said. “That’s multi-unit traditional, and you go wide.”

Another popular option is to go deep rather than wide, operating several units within the same area. Miller outlined two ways to go about it: multi-units in non-related categories or multiple units within the same category.

“Say you live in the northern Chicago suburbs, and you buy five automotive franchises, which are very durable, solid, with slow, steady growth,” she explained. “Now, you have a hub, a core operations team. Then, you pick up a different type of franchise in the same area, such as fitness or wellness. The other way is to stay in the same category, plumbing, for example, and then come back with roofing and then a yard franchise.”

What is a Multi-Unit Franchise?

A multi-unit franchise is one where a franchisee purchases the right to own and operate more than one unit, typically in the same territory or region. In that case, the owner plays a smaller role in the day-to-day operation and, instead, relies on an experienced management team to supervise store-level activities.

As part of the franchise agreement, franchisees agree to open subsequent franchise units on a prescribed schedule — referred to as a “development schedule” — typically, one per year or year and a half. The schedule depends on the franchisor.

In most cases, the franchisee has exclusive rights to a geographical area when he or she signs a multi-unit agreement. That prevents the franchisor from letting anyone else open in the protected area. To keep franchisees from opening new locations only when they are comfortable doing so, the development schedule agreement obligates them to open a certain number of stores within a specified timeframe.

Franchisees aren’t limited to a single territory, either.

“With the multi-unit development model, you are awarded a particular territory, but you have a bigger vision,” Miller said. “Upon securing that territory, you put a reservation on markets close by that you will open in a reasonable time frame. If you want to grow, you want to go multi-territory.”

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According to the franchise market research firm, FRANdata, 54% of all franchises are now multi-unit operations, and the number continues to rise. Currently, 43,212 multi-unit operators control more than 223,213 franchised units in the U.S.

The eight-year span from 2010 to 2018 saw a 23% increase in entry-level multi-unit operators (those with 2–5 units). That comes as a consequence of many brands focusing their development models on multi-unit development packages over single-unit programs.

Industries with the highest concentration of multi-unit franchisees are found mostly in the food sector. Quick serve restaurants (i.e., fast food) control most of the multi-unit franchises (82%), followed by sit-down restaurants (72%), and baked goods (57%).

Some non-food industry classifications on the rise include beauty-related (71.5%), clothing and accessories (55%), automotive (54%), business-related (52%), and real estate (52%).

On the other end of the spectrum, none of the photo-processing related franchised businesses are controlled by multi-unit franchisees, according to FRANdata. Publications and travel businesses also have low multi-unit franchise concentrations — 0.56% and 3.2% respectively.

There are also some interesting geographic distinctions. You may be surprised to learn that West Virginia has the largest concentration of multiple unit franchisee locations (61%), followed by Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma, each with 58% to 59%.

Another distinction relates to gender. Only 24% were women-owned, of which 40% were controlled by multi-unit franchisees.

What is the Most Profitable Multi-Unit Franchise Option?

As important as it is to ask, there is no one “right” answer to that question. Many factors influence profitability.

  • Business Model. First, there’s the business model. Typically, service businesses have better margins than brick and mortar businesses.
  • Cash management is another factor related to profitability. It plays a role as does expenses and expense control. One benefit of a franchise is its massive buying power so that you have a better chance of keeping costs in line than if you were out on your own.
  • Talent requirements is yet another factor affecting profit. Does the business require employees with specialized skills? If so, that’s going to be harder to come by and, likely, cost more.
  • Location is another critical factor. There’s a reason realtors say, “location, location, location.” What applies to home ownership also matters when choosing where to put your store. Location can have as much impact on your business success as the products or services you offer.
  • Market demand is yet another consideration. Is the customer base large enough to support the locations? Demographics differ from franchise to franchise. While many communities, even small towns, can support a McDonald’s restaurant, the same may not be said for a Roto-Rooter or Anytime Fitness franchise, for instance.
  • Brand recognition also plays a role. In that case, McDonald’s wins hands down. The company comes with a loyal customer base, a key to profitability, and has the highest brand recognition of any franchise organization.

That’s not to say opening multiple McDonald’s restaurants guarantee franchise wealth and fortune. For one, the investment is huge. While the initial franchise fee of $45,000 won’t put too much of a strain on the budget, the initial investment can run upwards of $2 million.

However, Miller asserts that there is no direct correlation between the initial franchise investment and the actual return. “That’s counterintuitive, but it’s true,” Miller said. “Profit margin is one of many pieces to the equation.”

“If we’re talking margins, 10-15% out of a retail food establishment versus 20-30% from a non-brick-and-mortar service business,” she said. “I would tend to lean into the service business because the margins are stronger, but that may not fit what the person is looking for.”

She also argues that contrary to popular opinion, franchising is not all about the brand.

“The main benefit of becoming a multiple-unit franchisee is that the business offers an established product or service according to ever-improving operating systems,” Miller said.

Interestingly, most of the most profitable multi-unit franchises don’t fall within the food vertical but include brands such as The UPS Store, Dream Vacations, Anytime Fitness, and Supercuts.

Finding the most profitable multi-unit franchise opportunity is a complicated matter that requires an extensive amount of research. The franchise disclosure document (FDD), item 19 precisely, is the best place to start when asking the question of “How much money can I make?”

Item 19 is the part of the FDD that indicates the costs, earnings, and other financial performance expectations for a franchisee. It includes claims such as:

  • Average gross sales for a combined number of units;
  • Adjusted gross sales for individual units;
  • Store sales breakdowns by square footage;
  • Cost breakdowns of goods, labor, leases, and other factors.

One of the best ways to learn about a given franchise’s profit potential is to talk with current franchisees. Whether or not they can remark about the financials, having a conversation with several will provide you with vital insights you can’t get anywhere else.

Bottom Line

There are many good reasons to invest in a multi-unit franchise. Whether your goal is to prepare for retirement, build an additional income stream, or go full time, the opportunity for generating wealth as a franchise owner is tremendous. Plus, owning more than one location protects against an economic downturn that a single-unit location would not. There’s also the satisfaction that comes from knowing you are investing in the lives and futures of other people — your employees.

If you feel owning multiple franchises — either the same brand or different brands within one or more territories — is attractive, do your due diligence. Take the time to research, talk to other franchise owners, and even utilize a qualified franchise consultant’s services.

Being a multiple-unit franchisee may not be for everyone, but it might just be your road to financial prosperity and security. With its popularity growing, now may be the perfect time to invest.

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Franchise vs Business Opportunity: What’s the Difference

Franchise vs Business Opportunity: What’s the Difference


What is the Difference Between a Franchise and a Business Opportunity?

A business opportunity is simply a comprehensive business investment that lets the buyer start a business immediately, out of the box, so to speak. A franchise is also a business opportunity, but not all business opportunities are franchises, says franchise expert Joel Libava at The Franchise King.

He explains the difference this way:

“Sometimes, people confuse a franchise with a business opportunity, or “bizopp.” The major differences include upfront costs (which are almost always significantly lower with a bizopp), support, and the rules. In a business opportunity, there aren’t that many rules to follow as an owner. Business opportunities are generally looser in nature; you buy the opportunity, learn how to run the business, and then you’re pretty much free to market it and run it as you wish.”

To expand on Libava’s explanation, we turn to another franchise expert, Mariel Miller, founder and CEO of The Franchise Advisor, a franchise consultancy.

To Miller, the main differences between going with a franchise vs business opportunities relates to the personality of the business owner and how quickly he or she wants to reach profitability.

“Let’s say I was going to open an independent business. If it’s all my own, everything from colors and branding to the computer network and financials, I get to make it all up. The upside of that is it represents my sense of creative expression and pride of ownership. The downside, however, is that the number one reason businesses fail in the United States is undercapitalization. If you have to figure all that out, it will take you a lot of time. Unless you have a lot of money, it can ruin you.”

Miller explains that in franchises, even though it’s also your business, you can’t do things your way as a franchisee.

“It’s an execution of their way inside your market,” she says. “Franchise business owners have great ideas, and there’s nothing wrong with them, but the model runs the way it runs, and you have to execute on how it works.”

The second difference relates to speed to profitability.

“At the end of the day, there is nothing different except the support and structure that overarches the franchise system. Your P&L (Profit and Loss) statement is going to look the same except that you pay a royalty to the franchisor. Either you take three to five years to figure all the systems out and what that’s going to cost you before you become profitable, stable, and scalable. Or, you purchase the systems, the stability, best practices, and ongoing support to launch and get profitable as soon as possible. That’s what a franchisor gives you.”

What to Know if You Are Buying a Business Opportunity

Because of the rising number of business opportunity scams over the past few years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wanted to ensure business buyers’ safety. It created the Business Opportunity Rule as a result.

The rule requires business opportunity sellers to give prospective buyers specific information to evaluate a business opportunity and assess the risks. Armed with the knowledge, buyers can get a better sense of whether the deal is legitimate. If it’s not, they have grounds for legal proceedings with support from the FTC.

Libava advises business buyers to pay particular attention to earnings claims. In the past, companies have claimed that you could retire off of what you make stuffing envelopes or make thousands of dollars from a work from home scheme. The seller must substantiate these claims in writing and list how much other buyers have made and their location (since results may vary depending on many factors).

He says that buyers should know that they will have to sign a document stating that the seller can share their personal contact information with future business buyers.

The following tips will ensure you find a trustworthy business opportunity:

  • Confirm that the seller has filled out the disclosure document about the business opportunity thoroughly and provided supporting documents;
  • Contact the references the seller lists and ask questions about their experiences with the business opportunity;
  • Look for business opportunities that illustrate how you’ll make money, rather than drawing you in with promises of big financial rewards.

With that said, let’s turn our attention to the other type of business opportunities: franchises. We will answer some important questions about the business model, aided by insights from Miller.

Which Franchise Makes the Best Business?

The best franchise business opportunities have demonstrated proven durability, stability, and profitability, regardless of the product or service they represent.

“Everyone asks what the ‘hot’ brand is,” Miller says. “That’s a good question, but it’s not what you need to know. The question is, how do I learn to identify the characteristics of the most durable, profitable companies?”

There isn’t a singular concept, category, business model, budget, or investment level that’s doing better than another, she says.

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“There are hundreds of brands doing spectacularly well, that are outperforming normal system growth,” she added. “If the brand is growing quickly, it’s because the financial equation is exceptional, the leadership is proven, and it’s in the right sector for long-term durability. Hundreds of brands do that at varying levels.”

What Is the Most Profitable Franchise to Own?

From a profit margin-only standpoint, service-based businesses tend to fare better than other franchise opportunities, such as those in the food sector. That’s often the case due to lower overhead and operating costs. Many service businesses can run from home and need fewer employees. Service-oriented businesses aren’t just home-services (i.e., plumbers, electricians, or roofers) but can include everything from travel planners to yoga instructors to bookkeepers and more.

“If we’re talking profit margins, you see 10-15% out of food versus 20-30% from non-brick and mortar, perhaps home-based, service business,” Miller said. “Even though one-third of all franchises are food-related, their margins are lower.”

A quick internet search reveals an extensive list of the most profitable franchises, and you won’t be surprised which brand sits at the top: McDonald’s. The initial franchise fee of $45,000 seems equitable and affordable. However, the overall initial costs to the franchisee range from $1 million to more than $2 million, making it prohibitive for many.

From an initial investment standpoint, costs vary greatly based on the types of franchises. A simple retail franchise brand, such as Subway or Anytime Fitness, could run between $150 and $300K. More sophisticated retail franchises, like a Meineke Muffler or urgent care facility, will average between $300k and $750K. A home- or small office-based service franchise with no retail space and low overhead will range from $75 to $175K.

However, Miller emphasized that the amount you invest in the business does not necessarily correlate to how much profit you could expect to receive. It may be counterintuitive to think that, but it’s true nonetheless, she says.

Read about the Most Profitable Franchises.

How Do I Get Into the Franchise Business?

Getting into the franchise business starts with learning, according to Miller.

“To get into a good franchise business, you need to learn about the opportunities out there that match your goals, skills, and quality-of-life requirements,” she says. “The research process can take as little as a few months to years, depending on your commitment and if you enlist help along the way.”

She recommends that the franchisee start wide and then narrow down the business sectors of most interest. Then, find the top performers, those poised for real growth, and contact the franchisor.

“With a shortlist of good franchises, you begin due diligence, about an eight-week process guided by the franchisor representative,” she says. “You will be given all the information and materials you need to study to learn all you can about the opportunity.”

Miller stresses that the prospective franchisee carefully examine the Financial Disclosure Document (referred to as the “FDD”), a legal document required by law, which the franchisor must make available to the franchisee, that outlines each franchise business offering.

“[The FDD] is full of useful information, although it is written in legalese and can be cumbersome to get through,” Miller says, requiring the help of an attorney who specializes in franchises and other business opportunities.

See our Franchise Guide.

Is it Better to be a Franchise or Independent?

There is no one right answer to that question. It comes down to how much control the business owner wants to exert, the level of creative expression, and speed to profitability vs a willingness to operate based on the franchisor terms. There are many benefits to franchise ownership — brand recognition, training, co-oped advertising and marketing, and ongoing franchisor support — but that doesn’t mean franchising is right for everyone.

Miller advises that prospective business owners explore both franchises and other types of business opportunities to see which is right for them. She recommends that people ask: Can business ownership, in general, help me achieve my financial and lifestyle goals? Can a franchise do that or another business opportunity? Will I enjoy it and do well in it?

Neither option is a guarantee of success. But if owning a business is in your blood, as Miller says, it all starts with learning.

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