The 10 Hottest Industries in Franchising

Interested in franchising, but don't know where to begin? Why not start with what's hot?

Our Franchise 500(R) research shows these are the 10 industries set to blow away the competition in 2011 and beyond--from the tried and true like hamburgers and senior care to the new and innovative like resale stores and spa services. We've also highlighted the top franchises in each category.

Keep in mind this list is just a starting point for your research--not an endorsement of any particular franchise or industry. To find the opportunity that's right for you, make sure you read the company's FDD, consult with an attorney and an accountant, and most important, talk to other franchisees.

Child care

Goddard Systems Inc.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 87
Preschool/educational childcare
Cost: $632.3K-679.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 364/0

Fast facts
Goddard Systems Inc. has been No. 1 in the Child Care category of the Franchise 500(R) for the last 10 years.

At No. 87, this is its highest Franchise 500(R) ranking ever.

Each year, the company awards a scholarship to a high school junior or senior who graduated from a Goddard school.

Goddard Systems Inc.
More parents are returning to the work force to make ends meet, so child care franchises continue to thrive, with seven companies making the Franchise 500(R). Leading the category for the 10th consecutive year is Goddard Systems Inc. The King of Prussia, Pa., company pushed its way into the top 100 for the first time, at No. 87, thanks in part to the addition of 25 new franchises in 2010. What makes Goddard and several other child-care franchisors on our list particularly popular is the added value they offer parents by combining child care with educational services.

For Goddard, it's the FLEX Learning Program, a play-based curriculum developed by early childhood education experts. Goddard schools teach everything from potty training for toddlers to computer skills for preschoolers to yoga for kindergarteners. However, franchisees needn't have a background in education--in fact, most don't--because Goddard's dual-management system encourages them to focus on the business side of the franchise while an accredited educational director tackles the teaching.

Primrose School Franchising Co.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 158
Educational child-care facility
Cost: $607K-3.9M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 212/1

The Learning Experience
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 205
Child care
Cost: $465.3K-3.5M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 79/16

Kiddie Academy
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 211
Child-care learning center
Cost: $345.1K-627K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 103/4

Discovery Point Franchising Inc.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 290
Child-care center
Cost: $365.2K-419.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 58/0

SeekingSitters Franchise System Inc.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 303
Babysitting referral service
Cost: $44.2K-70K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 45/6

Childrens Lighthouse Franchising Co.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 314
Child-care services
Cost: $429.5K-3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 19/9

A+ Nannies Inc.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: NR
Nanny/babysitter placement services
Cost: $39.3K-53K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2/3

Adventure Kids Playcare
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: NR
Child care & entertainment center
Cost: $228.5K-453.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 7/2

Rainbow Station Inc.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: NR
Preschool, after-school recreation, care for mildly-ill children
Cost: $1.4M-3.3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 5/4

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Tracy Stapp Herold is the special projects editor at Entrepreneur magazine. She works on franchise and business opportunity stories and listings, including the annual Franchise 500.

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This article was originally published in the March 2011 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: Buy In While They're Hot.

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