The 10 Hottest Industries in Franchising

Health Products & Services

Miracle-Ear Inc.
Healthcare isn't just a hot topic in the political world right now; it's also one of the most promising industries for the franchising world, as the results of the 2011 Franchise 500(R) show. Nine health-related franchises made the ranking, including quite a few relative newcomers, offering everything from arch supports to weight-loss programs to chiropractic care.

Fast facts
Miracle-Ear has been No. 1 in its category all 20 times it ranked in the Franchise 500(R).

It ranked No. 77 on the 2011 Fastest-Growing Franchises list.

According to the Deafness Research Foundation, approximately 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss.

But while these newer concepts might be making waves, it's the oldest brand on the list that remains at the top of the heap. Miracle-Ear Inc. was founded in 1948 by electronic inventor Ken Dahlberg. The company was the first to sell in-the-ear hearing aids, and the Miracle-Ear name has become nearly synonymous with hearing aids since. The concept wasn't franchised until 1983, but the system has grown to include more than 1,300 offices, with many located within Sears stores. A worthy example for all health-related franchises to follow.

Miracle-Ear Inc.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 44
Hearing instruments
Cost: $122.5K-570K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,301/27

Pearle Vision
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 108
Eyecare center
Cost: $42.2K-628.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 362/378

HealthSource Chiropractic and Progressive Rehab
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 111
Chiropractic, nutrition & weight-loss services
Cost: $52.95K-249.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 269/0

2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 272
Wheelchair ramp rentals & sales
Cost: $122K-205.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 43/1

Hungry Heart Franchise LLC
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 344
Nutritional counseling & hypnotherapy
Cost: $43.2K-58K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 10/1

Foot Solutions Inc.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 355
Comfort shoes & inserts for clients age 40+
Cost: $199K-210K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 227/1

Medi-Weightloss Franchising USA LLC
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 356
Physician-supervised weight loss program
Cost: $224.5K-468.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 66/0

Relax The Back Corp.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 433
Products for relief/prevention of back & neck pain
Cost: $237.5K-401.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 109/0

Good Feet Worldwide LLC
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: 437
Arch supports & related products
Cost: $86.9K-215.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 122/3

Doctors Express
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: NR
Urgent care services
Cost: $508.5K-693K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 10/1

Foot Solutions Mobile Concept
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: NR
Mobile comfort shoe & orthotics sales
Cost: $85K-110K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 0/0

Passport Health Inc.
2011 Franchise 500(R) ranking: NR
Immunization/vaccination service for international travelers
Cost: $73.6K-101.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 68/1

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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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