Electronic gadgets of nearly every size and function imaginable have permeated lives -- whether at the office, at home or via mobile when you're on the go. This proliferation has resulted in the emergence of a crop of "e-fixers," ready to remedy any tech meltdown a business or individual may experience. The tech franchises that made Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 list this year have exhibited outstanding quality, strategy and financial growth.
Here's a look at the top seven technology franchises.
No. 1: Fast-teks On-site Computer Services
Franchising since: 2004
Startup costs: $34,650 - $60,600
Overall rank: 120
In today's fast-paced world, having a reliable technology partner to turn to can be a game-changer. Enter Tampa, Fla.-based Fast-teks On-Site Computer Services, which offers a range of information-technology solutions for its thousands of small businesses and individual homeowner clients.
No. 2: The Utility Company
Franchising since: 2006
Startup costs: $36,321 - $61,987
Overall rank: 241
For The Utility Company, a provider of virtual IT service and support for small and midsize businesses, the main objective is to provide customers with one national point of contact rather than various small point solution providers. And what types of solutions does it provide? The Utility Company can manage technology, communications and vertical line of business applications, as well as resolve problems with software vendors, support centers and manufacturers on a client's behalf.
No. 3: Computer Troubleshooters
Franchising since: 1997
Startup costs: $28,800 - $81,500
Overall rank: 252
On-site computer services franchise Computer Troubleshooters was founded by Wilson and Suzanne McOrist in Australia in 1997. Chip Reaves, an American entrepreneur who had operated a similar business in Atlanta, brought the franchise to the U.S. in 1999. Franchisees provide hardware repair, networking, software consulting, diagnostics, Web site development, security consulting and other computer services to small businesses.
No. 4: WSI Internet
Franchising since: 1996
Startup costs: $60,350 - $166,650
Overall rank: 262
Founded in 1995, WSI Internet provides internet services to small- and midsize businesses over its network of consultants that spans nearly 90 countries and six continents. This Toronto-based company has inked several strategic alliances, partnerships and membership of dominant industry associations -- including the International Franchise Association, the Canadian Franchise Association and the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization -- that it says give its consultants access to advanced training and other resources.
No. 5: CPR-Cell Phone Repair Inc.
Franchising since: 2007
Startup costs: $59,350 - $144,000
Overall rank: 403
Broken cell phones and other busted gadgets once were dismissed as throwaways -- inexpensive to buy and replace. CPR-Cell Phone Repair is breathing new life into your electronics by providing on-premises repairs. From water damage to cracked or shattered LCDs, CPR-Cell Phone Repair fixes smartphones, iPods and all types of devices. The company anticipates that it will expand to about 200 locations by 2012.
No. 6: CMIT Solutions Inc.
Franchising since: 1998
Startup costs: $99,800 - $125,950
Overall rank: 472
CMIT Solutions started as a small computer support company in Austin, Texas, in 1996. The business has since become a provider of managed services and other computer consulting services with franchise locations across the U.S. It combines personalized local service with the technical resources of a large national company -- offering small-business clients the products, partnerships, and round-the-clock technical support that standalone locals can't always provide.
No. 7: Computer Medics of America Inc.
Franchising since: 2003
Startup costs: $10,300 - $60,000
Overall rank: 480
The idea for Computer Medics of America Inc. was cooked up in 1997 by John Francis while living in the Seattle/Tacoma area of Washington State, where he performed on-site service calls. Two years later, he moved to Eagle River, Alaska, and formed Computer Medics as a full-time mobile computer-repair business serving several neighboring communities. By 2002, the business began marketing nationally and its franchises taken hold across the U.S.
The Top Seven Tech Franchises
The 2011 Franchise 500 Ranking
Slideshow: The Top 10 Franchises
Will I Make Money As a Franchisee?
Finding Your Perfect Franchise
Top Franchising Trends for 2011