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195 Franchises You Can Start For Under $50,000

Our annual list of low-cost franchises.
June 7, 2011
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219755

The economic conditions of the last few years have caused a bit of a conundrum. More and more people are looking to take their careers into their own hands by becoming entrepreneurs, while less and less financing has been made available to help those dreams come true.

One solution? Businesses with startup costs low enough that they don't need financing. And the franchise world has been all too happy to provide such opportunities. In the following listing, you'll find 195 companies in categories ranging from automotive services to children's businesses, home improvements to travel agencies--all of which you can get off the ground for less than $50,000.

Keep in mind that this list is just a starting point, not a recommendation or endorsement of any particular company. No matter how easy an opportunity may be to buy into, you should always do your homework to make sure your investment will pay off. Carefully read the company's literature and legal documents, consult with attorneys and accountants and talk to as many franchisees as you can to get a feel for whether a franchise is a good fit.

Search by Category:

Automotive

Business Services

Children's Businesses

Financial Services

Home Improvement

Pets

Recreation

Services

Tech

 

Automotive

Aero Colours Inc. - Auto Appearance Service

Interior Magic Int'l. - Auto appearance reconditioning

Pathetic Medic - Mobile auto appearance services

Novus Glass Windshield Repair - Glass repair & replacement, accessories

SuperGlass Windshield Repair - Windshield repair

Miscellaneous Auto Services

America's Fleet Service - On-site vehicle maintenance

AutoQual - Auto interior restoration & reconditioning

 

Business Services

Advertising Services

AArrow Advertising - Advertising, sign spinning, guerilla marketing

AroundAbout Community Magazines Inc. - Direct-mail community magazine

Billboard Connection Inc. - Ad agency specializing in outdoor media

Bingo Bugle - Newspaper Specialty newspaper

Coffee News - Weekly newspaper distributed at restaurants

Living Well Magazine - Magazine for seniorsDirect-mail advertising Money Mailer Franchise Corp.

MyLoopCard - Advertising on golf scorecards

Sports Image - Sports marketing for high schools & organizations

Town Money Saver - Direct-mail advertising

Business Coaching/Consulting

The Alternative Board (TAB) - Peer advisory boards & business coaching

CEO Focus - Peer groups for small-business owners The Growth Coach Small-business coaching & mentoring

Referral Institute LLC - Referral training, coaching, consulting

 

Shipping Services

Inxpress - Shipping services

Unishippers Global Logistics LLC - Shipping servicesWorldwide Express Discounted air express & freight services

Miscellaneous Business Services

Bevinco Bar Systems Ltd. - Liquor inventory-control services

Cybertary Virtual - office assistant services

Leadership Management Inc. - Executive/management training & development

Mom Corps -Staffing services

Proforma - Printing & promotional products

Property Management Inc. - Commercial & residential property management

VR Business Brokers/Mergers & Acquisitions - Business brokerage; mergers & acquisitions intermediation

 

Children's Businesses

Child Care

A+ Nannies Inc. - Nanny/babysitter placement services

SeekingSitters Franchise System Inc. - Babysitting referral service

Enrichment/Education Programs

Abrakadoodle - Art education programs for children

Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services - In-home tutoring services

CompuChild - Technology education for children

Drama Kids Int'l. Inc. - After-school drama classes & summer camps

Ho Math & Chess Learning Centre - Math & chess learning program

KidzArt - Art education programs, products & services

Kumon Math & Reading Centers - Supplemental education

The Mad Science Group - Science activities for children

Young Rembrandts Franchise Inc. - Art classes for children ages 3 to 12

Children's Fitness

Baby Boot Camp - Pre- & post-natal fitness

I9 Sports - Youth sports leagues, camps & clinics

JumpBunch Inc. - Children's sports & fitness program

Kidokinetics - Mobile sports fitness program for kids

Kinderdance Int'l. Inc. - Children's movement/educational program

My Gym Children's Fitness Center - Children's early learning/ fitness program & facility

Stretch-N-Grow Int'l. Inc. - On-site children's fitness program

Stroller Strides LLC - Stroller fitness program

The Swim Squad - At-home swimming lessons

TGA Premier Junior Golf - Youth golf programs

ID & Safety Programs

DIGIKIDS - Children's identification products & services

Guard-A-Kid - Children's identification & safety products

Ident-A-Kid Services of America - Children's identification products & services

Kidproof Safety - Child safety education

 

Financial Services

Bookkeeping services

Alliance Cost Containment LLC BookKeeping Express - Business Financial Services

Tax Services

Colbert/Ball Tax Service - Tax preparation & electronic filing

Daniel Ahart Tax Service - Tax preparation services

Express Tax - Tax preparation & electronic filing

H & R Block - Tax preparation & electronic filing

Instant Tax Service - Retail tax preparation & electronic filing

Smart Tax - Tax preparation

Tax Centers of America - Tax preparation & electronic filing

The Tax Refund Store - Tax preparation

Miscellaneous Financial Services

ACFN-The ATM Franchise Business - Automated teller machines

Fiesta Insurance Franchise Corp. - Insurance & tax preparation services

 

Food

Candy Bouquet Int'l. - Floral-like designer

Happy & Healthy Products Inc. - Frozen fruit bars

 

Home Improvement

Painting

Five Star Painting - Residential & commercial painting

Fresh Coat - Interior painting

360 Painting Inc. - Residential & commercial painting

Miscellaneous Home Improvements

Christmas Decor Inc. - Holiday & event decorating services

Closet & Storage Concepts - Residential/commercial closet & storage systems

Frames N Panes - Window restoration

Furniture Medic - Furniture restoration & repairs

Get A Grip Franchising LLC - Countertop, bathtub & tile resurfacing

Kitchen Tune-Up - Residential & commercial kitchen & bath remodeling

Mr. Appliance Corp. - Household appliance services & repairs

Mr. Sandless - Sandless wood floor refinishing

N-Hance - Wood floor & cabinet renewal systems

Nite Time Decor Inc. - Landscape & architectural lighting

Re-Bath LLC - Bathroom remodeling

Surface Specialists Systems Inc. - Kitchen/bath repair, refinishing & resurfacing, acrylic tub liners

 

Maintenance

Carpet, Drapery & Upholstery Cleaning

Chem-Dry Carpet Drapery & Upholstery Cleaning - Carpet, drapery & upholstery cleaning; tile & stone care

Heaven's Best Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning - Carpet & upholstery cleaning

Oxi Fresh Franchising Co. - - Carpet cleaning

Commercial Cleaning

Anago Cleaning Systems - Commercial cleaning

BearCom Building Services Inc. - Commercial cleaning

Bonus Building Care - Commercial cleaning

BuildingStars Inc. - Commercial cleaning

CleanNet USA Inc. - Commercial cleaning

E.P.I.C. Systems Inc. - Commercial cleaning

Jan-Pro Franchising Int'l. Inc. - Commercial cleaning

Jantize America - Commercial cleaning

Mint Condition Franchising Inc. - Janitorial & building maintenance services

Office Pride Commercial Cleaning - Commercial cleaning

OMEX - Office Maintenance Experts - Office cleaning & maintenance management

OpenWorks - Commercial cleaning

ServiceMaster Clean - Comm'l./residential cleaning & disaster restoration

Stratus Building Solutions - Commercial cleaning

System4 - Commercial cleaning

Vanguard Cleaning Systems - Commercial cleaning

Leather & Vinyl Repair

Cartex Limited - Leather, vinyl, plastic & cloth repair

Color-Glo Int'l. Inc. - Leather, vinyl & fabric restoration & repair


Plumbing

Ace DuraFlo Systems LLC - Pipe restoration services

Rooter-Man - Plumbing, drain & sewer cleaning

Residential Cleaning

EcoMaids - Eco-friendly residential cleaning

Home Cleaning Centers of America - House, office, carpet & window cleaning

MaidPro - Residential & commercial cleaning

MTOclean Inc. - Residential, commercial & carpet cleaning, pressure washing

Restoration Services

Disaster Kleenup Int'l. (DKI) - Insurance restoration services

Service Team of Professionals Inc. - Disaster restoration, carpet cleaning, mold remediation

Restroom Maintenance

Aerowest/Westair Deodorizing Services - Restroom deodorizing services

Aire-Master of America Inc. - Restroom deodorizing & maintenance services

Window Cleaning

Squeegee Squad - Residential & highrise window cleaning

Window Gang - Window & pressure cleaning, gutter cleaning, blinds sales

Miscellaneous Maintenance Businesses

ASP Pool and Spa Co. - Swimming pool maintenance & repairs

Critter Control Inc. - Urban/rural wildlife management

DoodyCalls - Pet waste removal

Foliage Design Systems - Interior foliage & plant maintenance

The Glass Guru - Window restoration & replacements

Grout Doctor Global Franchise Corp. - Grout, tile & stone care

The Grout Medic - Tile & grout maintenance/restoration

Jet-Black Int'l. Inc. - Asphalt maintenance services

KCS Applications Inc. - Acrylic asphalt sealcoating

Lawn Army - Lawn care

Mister Sparky - Residential electrical services

Pestmaster Services Inc. - Pest & weed control

Pet Butler - Pet waste cleanup & removal

U.S. Lawns - Commercial landscape maintenance services

Yellow Van Handyman - Handyman services

Personal Care

Fitness Businesses

Curves - Women's fitness & weight-loss center

Jazzercise Inc. - Dance fitness classes

My Personal Trainer - Personal training & nutritional programs

 

Senior Care

Acti-Kare Inc. - Nonmedical in-home senior care

Companion Connection Senior Care - Medical & nonmedical senior care

FirstLight HomeCare - Nonmedical in-home care services

Home Helpers/Direct Link - Nonmedical care services

HomeWell Senior Care - In-home senior care

Stay at Home - Nonmedical in-home care

Touching Hearts At Home - Nonmedical home care for seniors & disabled people

 

Pets

Camp Bow Wow/Home Buddies - Dog day care & in-home pet care services

Fetch! Pet Care Inc. - Pet-sitting & dog-walking services

In Home Pet Services Inc. - Pet-sitting & dog-walking services

Pets Are Inn - Pet lodging service in private homes

Snaggle Foot Dog Walks & Pet Care - Pet-sitting & dog-walking services

Whiskers & Paws Catering - Pet food delivery service

 

Recreation

Sports Businesses

American Poolplayers Association - Recreational billiard league

Outdoor Connection - Fishing, hunting & adventure travel

 

Travel Agencies

Cruise Holidays - Cruise travel agency

Cruise Planners/American Express - Cruise & tour travel agency

CruiseOne Inc. - Cruise & travel agency

Travel Leaders - Travel agency

 

Services

Home Inspections

1st Inspection Services Inc. - Commercial & residential inspections

AmeriSpec Home Inspection Services - Home inspections

Inspect-It 1st LLC - Property inspection

National Property Inspections Inc. - Home & commercial property inspections

Pillar To Post Inspection Services - Home inspections

 

Photography

Lil' Angels Photography - School & child-care photography

PortraitEFX Photography Franchise - Photography

TSS Photography - Youth sports, school & event photography

 

Real Estate

Advance Realty USA - Real estate

Area Pro Realty Franchise Inc. - Residential real estate brokerage

Assist-2-Sell - Discount real estate services

Benham REO Group - Foreclosed property sales

OptionPlus Homes Inc. - Lease-to-own homes

RE/MAX LLC - Real estate

Real Living Real Estate LLC - Residential real estate

Sell4Free Real Estate Systems Inc. - Real estate

United Country Real Estate - Real estate brokerage, auction & marketing services

Miscellaneous Services

Auto Appraisal Network Inc. - Vehicle appraisal services

Caring Transitions - Sales of estates & household goods

Central Courier - Delivery services

Certified Restoration DryCleaning Network - Textile restoration services

College Assistance Plus LLC - College consulting services

Complete Music - Mobile DJ entertainment service

EagleRider Motorcycle Rental - Motorcycle, scooter, ATV & watercraft rentals & tours

Edgemaster Mobile Sharpening - Knife & garden tool sharpening

Eliza J - Portable restrooms for outdoor events

Goin' Postal - Retail shipping & business services

Hungry Heart Franchise LLC - Nutritional counseling & hypnotherapy

One Hour Parties - Party & event planning

The Original Basket Boutique - Gifts, gift baskets, corporate gifts

Plan Ahead Events - Event planning

Pressed4Time Inc. - Dry cleaning pickup & delivery, shoe repair

Pro Energy Consultants - Energy auditing

Property Damage Appraisers - Auto & property appraisals for insurance cos.

Reflection of U - Custom cosmetics

Showhomes - Home management & staging services

 

Tech

Computer Medics of America Inc. - Mobile computer repair services

Computer Troubleshooters - Small-business technology consulting

Fast-teks On-site Computer Services - On-site computer repair services

The Utility Company - IT services

Let's Get Physical

Let's Get Physical
Jazzercise franchisees keep spandex alive

Back in the days of leg warmers, spandex and Olivia Newton John's "Physical," dance fitness was all the rage. But today only one of the many franchises that sought to capitalize on that particular craze remains: Jazzercise.

Why? It's not because people stopped loving dance. Just look at all the dance-themed reality shows on TV today (including Dancing with the Stars, whose two-time champion Cheryl Burke is now the spokeswoman for Jazzercise). Kelly Sweeney, Jazzercise's VP of U.S. sales, attributes the company's survival, and its continued growth long after its competitors went the way of other '80s fads, to its unique franchising model.

Jazzercise has a few types of franchisees. One is class owners. Like most of Jazzercise's franchisees, class owners teach classes themselves, but they also recruit instructors to teach for them. Those other instructors are not employees, though--they're fellow franchisees. Associate franchisees, to be exact.

6 Steps to Jazzercise
It takes just 12 weeks for a Jazzerciser to go from attendee to franchisee. Here are the steps each new instructor must go through:

1. Complete and submit a Franchised Instructor Application.

2. Attend a movement screening, where you will be evaluated for leadership ability and movement skills.
3. Get CPR certification and pass an online health and fitness exam.

4. Carefully review the Franchise Disclosure Document and Franchise Agreement, then sign and return the agreement.

5. Study training materials, including training and choreography videos, choreography notes and music and a fitness resource book.

6. Attend a weekend workshop, "audition" by performing several Jazzercise routines and receive training in teaching techniques, recruiting, class procedures and more.

After completing the workshop, you become a certified Jazzercise instructor. You can teach classes for another franchisee as an associate, or if you desire to be a class owner, find a place to hold classes--parks, YMCAs, churches--and get to work marketing your business and setting up classes.

Most Jazzercise franchisees begin as associates, and it's easy to see why. Associates can teach as many classes as they like (with a minimum of four per month) and leave running the business largely to the class owners. "It's a great way to get your feet wet and learn the business before you jump right in," Sweeney explains.

This model also benefits those who choose to make the jump to being class owners. "It's not like running a fast-food place, where you have somebody quitting everyday," Sweeney says. "Associate franchisees care about how well we do, because it's not just a paycheck to them--it's their own business."

The two-tiered model allows people from every walk of life to become franchisees. Mothers with small children can start out as associates teaching a few classes a week, then take on more classes or even become class owners as their kids get older.

As instructors get older themselves, they can teach low-impact Jazzercise Lite classes or transition to running the business more and teaching less. And with a franchise fee of only $1,000, even people as young as 18 can go from attending Jazzercise Junior classes to owning their own business.

It's also a business that can move with you. Kim Romines, a former ballet dancer, started out as an associate franchisee in Kansas City in 2001. But in 2003 her husband's job took her to Watkinsville, Ga., where there were no existing Jazzercise classes, "so I could either start them, or not have Jazzercise," she says. She chose the former.

After a month of searching for a location, she got into a women's health center and became a class owner. She built the business up to 17 instructors with 40 classes a week and had even moved into her own center before she had to relocate again in 2008.

Now in Abilene, Texas--and determined to stay put this time--Romines is building her business up once more, offering classes in two local churches. She's recruited 10 new instructors so far. One is a military wife, and a few plan to move in the next few years, so she knows they won't be with her forever--but she knows from her own experience that they'll be OK.

"They'll have their own business to take with them," Romines says, "and I love that."