Searching for a franchise but think they're all starting to sound the same? It's time to look beyond the hamburger and sandwich restaurants, janitorial services and auto repair shops to some unique offerings. From a boating club to a dating service to a make-your-own-wine shop, we've brought together a list of franchises to give you a better view of what's really out there.
Remote Control Hobbies
Bring on the planes, trains and automobiles--as long as they're remote controlled. Remote Control Hobbies is a retailer and event organizer that started franchising in 2004 and serves remote-control vehicle racing fans. The franchise locations also hold racing events and help organize clubs to help keep customers engaged with their products.
Freedom Boat Club
Taking the hassle out of boating is the whole point of Freedom Boating Club. It lets its members use any of its large variety of boats at its locations on a reservation basis, and it takes care of all the prep-work, cleanup and maintenance of the hobby. It caters to boaters of all levels and boasts a host of partnerships with other boating organizations and brands.
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- Franchise 500 rank: #335 in 2007
Helping the grieving, recently divorced and those who need some extra assistance, Caring Transitions helps clear homes of their contents. Its clients include families, attorneys, realtors and funeral directors. Whether it's selling items, shipping them to family members or donating them to charity, the company promises to take care of a person's belonging with the family's best interests in mind.
It's Just Lunch
Want to try your hand at playing matchmaker? It's Just Lunch will let you do just that, setting up single professionals on lunch dates and hoping they'll make a connection. Launched in 1992 after the founder was thrust into the single world after a called-off engagement, the company tries to take the stress out of dating by hand-picking pairs and letting them meet in a low-key environment.
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- Franchise 500 rank: #225 in 2007
Ovenu Oven Detailing Service
Taking the cleaning franchise concept to a niche level, Ovenu franchisees go into people's homes to clean their ovens and other kitchen appliances. The company prides itself on its attention to detail and good customer service. Their motto: "We'll finish what your 'self-clean' doesn't."
Positive Changes Hypnosis Centers
Changing behavior through hypnosis is the name of the game at Positive Changes. The centers provide programs for those wanting to lose weight, quit smoking, reduce stress, improve athletic abilities and more. It's all about the power of the mind.
Taking the popular wine store and bar concept a step further, Rosevine Winery lets customers create their own bottles of wine by mixing varietals of grape juice, letting it ferment and designing their own labels--all with the help of wine experts. The franchise targets areas with a large population of affluent over-40-year-olds, and the locations also specialize in cigars.
If you didn't find anything that suits your taste on this list, don't worry: There are plenty of other one-of-a-kind concepts in our Franchise Zone for you to browse--just check the miscellaneous sections of each category. And for a spotlight on even more unique concepts, check out the One-of-a-Kind Franchises Slideshow.
When one catches your eye, begin your research. Due diligence includes thoroughly reading a company's literature and its Uniform Franchise Offering Circular, calling and visiting the existing franchisees, and consulting with an attorney and an accountant. Use our thorough how-to to guide you on your journey.