There are plenty of advantages to buying a franchise. For one thing, you can leverage an existing customer base rather than having to slowly build your own. Other perks include training, access to a supply chain, marketing support, and collective buying discounts.
With so many of these advantages baked into the purchase of a franchise, it’s no wonder that they have a higher survival rate than independent businesses. There are currently about 750,000 franchise locations around the nation, with more added every day.
There are also some disadvantages to buying a franchise. There can be sizable upfront costs, plus ongoing fees and royalties. And you don’t have as much autonomy with business decisions.
Some of the most popular franchises rank among the world’s most recognizable brands. Examples include McDonald’s, Dunkin’, Taco Bell, the UPS Store, 7-Eleven, Baskin-Robbins, Pizza Hut, and KFC. But the cost to open one of these big-name franchises can be immense.
Let’s look at 7 proven franchises that offer great earning potential without the massive price tag:
- Jazzercise: Get those jazz hands ready—you can join the Jazzercise franchise for an initial fee as low as $1,250. There’s a surprisingly high demand for these ’80-style classes, though they probably don’t include as many headbands and leg warmers as they did back in the day.
The Jazzercise franchise gives you the option of becoming an instructor (for the low rate mentioned above) or owning your own center, which costs substantially more but is still a great price.
- Chester’s Chicken: You’ve probably seen the well-known logo of this quick-serve restaurant at least once in your life. The southern fried chicken on the menu is quite good, and the up-front franchise fee is under $4,000, ranking it among the lowest-cost restaurant franchises in the country.
You’ll get a lot of flexibility when scouting possible locations. You could take the traditional route of putting one of these restaurants in a shopping plaza or mall food court, but if you want to find a place with more traffic, you could opt for a store-in-store arrangement and put one in a convenience store or gas station.
- BuildingStars: The commercial cleaning industry has seen lots of growth this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, making this a good time to invest in a franchise like BuildingStars. Their initial fee can be as low as $795, freeing up lots of cash for the investment necessary to launch the business.
You can open a BuildingStars franchise in just about any major city worldwide. With its innovative green cleaning solutions and standard night cleaning services, there’s definitely a demand for this type of business.
- Lendio: Given the economic upheaval of 2020, small business owners are more motivated to seek financing now than in any other era in recent history. Lendio is the nation’s leading platform for helping these entrepreneurs quickly connect with the right financing.
The initial investment to become a Lendio franchisee is much lower than many other franchise opportunities—and it gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the world as you help others reach their business goals.
- 360clean: Here’s another commercial cleaning franchise that offers a low initial fee and lots of earning potential. If you have $15,000 on hand, you could become a potential candidate.
Because 360clean uses a cleaning approach that results in germ-free environments less likely to spread infections, these services have become more popular in the COVID-19 era.
- JAN-PRO: JAN-PRO is consistently rated as one of the best franchise opportunities available in the commercial cleaning industry. The initial fee can be under $3,000, and you have the option of basing the business from your home. There are also franchise fee discounts for military veterans.
With more than 10,000 JAN-PRO franchisees in the US, this is a thriving company that offers lots of great opportunities.
- Rooter-Man: While some of the brands on this list are relatively new to the franchising world, Rooter-Man has been doing it since the Carter administration. It’s safe to say they know a thing or two about keeping their franchisees happy.
With initial fees starting as low as $4,000, this can be an inexpensive way to get into the world of plumbing. And if your business really takes off, you’ll get to keep more of your money—Rooter-Man uses a franchise model that charges a flat rate rather than a percentage of sales.
Whether you want to sell fried chicken, clean office buildings, teach exercise classes, or connect small business owners with loans, there are countless ways a franchise can help you achieve the goal of becoming a business owner.
“A franchise owner is of course a business owner,” says a franchising report from Forbes. “They have bought into the franchise brand because they are looking for the challenge of running their own business and are ready to embrace the demands and responsibilities that that involves. A great franchisee will be passionate and determined, disciplined and organized—and of course a franchisee has taken a financial risk by investing in the franchise.”
As you review your options for various franchises, consider how experienced you are in the industry and how passionate you are about the work. If you feel like you could wake up each morning ready to take on the day’s challenges, you’ve probably found a solid match.
One final word of advice: find a business mentor who can advise you during the process and help you navigate the inevitable obstacles that will arise. Preferably, you can find someone who has ample experience in your specific industry. If you’re having a hard time finding a mentor who fits the bill, reach out to your nearest SCORE office and have them connect you with a mentor who can help you to take your business to new heights.