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Nobody Does it Better: The Best of the Franchise 500

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This story appears in the May 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What does it take to stand out? If anyone knows, it’s the companies on our Best of the Best list, who not only ranked in Entrepreneur’s already competitive 2016 Franchise 500, but landed the coveted top spots in their industry categories.

Anytime Fitness | Facebook

These 100 companies are ranked based on Entrepreneur’s objective, quantifiable criteria, including system size, growth rate and financial strength and stability. Other factors weighed: years the franchise has been in business, startup costs, litigation brought by franchisees, franchise terminations and whether financing is available.

Ranking aside, please understand that these aren’t the only factors to consider when searching for the best franchise for you. This list isn’t intended as a recommendation of any one company or companies. You should always do your own research before investing in an opportunity. Read the company’s legal documents, consult with an attorney and an accountant and make sure to talk to existing and former franchisees.

AUTOMOTIVE

Appearance Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #106

Startup cost: $374.7K-$486.7K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 470/0

Oil-Change Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #23

Startup cost: $219K-$400K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,085/0

Transmission Repair

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #143

Startup cost: $227.4K-$333K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 669/0

Wheels & Tires

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #330

Startup cost: $298.8K-$573.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 64/12

Windshield Repair

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #171

Startup cost: $9.9K-$31K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 319/0

Miscellaneous Repair & Maintenance Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #50

Startup cost: $200.1K-$466.4K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 973/1

Miscellaneous Auto Products& Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #103

Startup cost: $1.1M-$10.5M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,121/1,080
 

BUSINESS SERVICES

Advertising Services--Publishing

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #158

Startup cost: $9.8K-$10.8K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 829/5

Advertising Services--Miscellaneous

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #229

Startup cost: $83.1K-$169K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 177/65

Business Brokerages

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #185

Startup cost: $59.6K-$81.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 193/0

Business Coaching& Consulting

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #257

Startup cost: $41.3K-$91.7K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 179/11

Property Management

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #148

Startup cost: $76.6K-$99.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 283/2

Shipping Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #178

Startup cost: $45K-$421.4K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 215/95

Signs

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #76

Startup cost: $96.6K-$248.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 961/0

Staffing

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #70

Startup cost: $120K-$196K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 760/0

Training Programs

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #199

Startup cost: $91.5K-$108.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 251/0

Miscellaneous Business Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #74

Startup cost: $4.7K-$50.2K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 676/1
 

CHILDREN'S BUSINESSES

Childcare

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #109

Startup cost: $706.7K-$750.7K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 440/0

Children's Enrichment Programs

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #79

Startup cost: $$33.8K-$51.1K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 672/0

Children's Fitness Programs

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #194

Startup cost: $31.7K-$38.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 161/9

Children's Retail

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #132

Startup cost: $244.8K-$376.6K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 316/0

Tutoring

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #40

Startup cost: $64.1K-$134.1K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 25,391/36

Miscellaneous Children's Businesses

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #333

Startup cost: $120.6K-$303.4K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 69/0
 

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Business Financial Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #239

Startup cost: $99.98K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 374/0

Insurance

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #243

Startup cost: $49.7K-$107.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 150/0

Tax Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #45

Startup cost: $58.7K-$71.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,941/178

Miscellaneous Financial Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #500

Startup cost: $40.4K-$67.8K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 247/0
 

FOOD/FULL-SERVICE RESTAURANTS

Buffet Restaurants

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #104

Startup cost: $1.97M-$5.5M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 392/108

Sports Bars/Pubs/Bars

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #325

Startup cost: $898K-$2.9M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 95/2

Miscellaneous Full-Service Restaurants

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #9

Startup cost: $1.2M-$2.1M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,547/164
 

FOOD/QUICK-SERVICE RESTAURANTS

Baked Goods--Cookies

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #128

Startup cost: $183.2K-$316.7K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 357/0

Baked Goods--Pretzels

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #31

Startup cost: $196.5K-$370.1K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,632/16

Baked Goods--Miscellaneous

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #55

Startup cost: $181.1K-$387.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,340/2

Chicken--Wings

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #59

Startup cost: $1.4M-$3.6M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 576/594

Chicken--Miscellaneous

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #41

Startup cost: $1.3M-$2.5M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 14,162/5,258

Coffee

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #8

Startup cost: $217.3K-$1.6M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 11,750/0

Frozen Desserts-- Frozen Yogurt

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #125

Startup cost: $223K-$427.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 310/0

Frozen Desserts--Ice Cream

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #29

Startup cost: $90.4K-$396.1K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 7,597/10

Frozen Desserts--Miscellaneous

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #77

Startup cost: $114.1K-$129.4K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 713/8

Hamburgers

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #6

Startup cost: $989.4K-$2.2M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 30,081/6,444

Mexican Food

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #18

Startup cost: $1.2M-$2.6M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 5,398/923

Pizza

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #11

Startup cost: $297K-$2.1M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 13,248/2,357

Sandwiches--Philly Cheesesteak

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #110

Startup cost: $153K-$450K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 490/47

Sandwiches--Submarine

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #5

Startup cost: $116.6K-$263.2K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 43,916/0

Sandwiches--Miscellaneous

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #1

Startup cost: $323K-$544K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,361/58

Smoothies

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #92

Startup cost: $181.1K-$422.95K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 747/26

Miscellaneous Quick Service

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #93

Startup cost: $58.5K-$134K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 897/0
 

FOOD/RETAIL SALES

Vending

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #322

Startup cost: $64.4K-$109.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 130/29

Miscellaneous Food Businesses

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #35

Startup cost: $192.7K-$326.4K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,233/7
 

HEALTH

Health Products

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #44

Startup cost: $119K-$287.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,259/6

Health Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #154

Startup cost: $141.9K-$337.2K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 271/48
 

HOME IMPROVEMENT

Building & Remodeling

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #214

Startup cost: $45.8K-$55.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 188/0

Organization Systems

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #197

Startup cost: $111.1K-$249.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 184/0

Painting

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #107

Startup cost: $130K-$162.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 472/0

Wood Refinishing

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #117

Startup cost: $24.3K-$145.2K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 373/0
 

HOTELS & MOTELS

HOTELS & MOTELS

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #2

Startup cost: $3.8M-$14.1M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,053/1
 

MAINTENANCE

Carpet, Upholstery& Drapery Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #42

Startup cost: $29.8K-$142.8K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,512/0

Commercial Cleaning

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #24

Startup cost: $3.9K-$51.6K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 7,849/0

Electrical Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #296

Startup cost: $66.8K-$473.3K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 103/6

Handyman Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #381

Startup cost: $103K-$132.1K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 203/0

Home Repairs--Miscellaneous

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #220

Startup cost: $58.2K-$116.6K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 175/0

HVAC Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #160

Startup cost: $74.1K-$541.3K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 283/38

Lawn Care

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #86

Startup cost: $68.5K-$85.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 563/0

Pest Control

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #249

Startup cost: $15.9K-$69.6K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 187/0

Plumbing

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #100

Startup cost: $46.8K-$137.6K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 533/17

Residential Cleaning

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #46

Startup cost: $98.6K-$126K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,137/60

Restoration Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #4

Startup cost: $141.6K-$191.2K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,694/0

Window Cleaning

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #147

Startup cost: $78.2K-$139.7K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 314/1

Miscellaneous Maintenance Businesses

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #127

Startup cost: $76.8K-$259.6K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 365/28
 

PERSONAL CARE

Fitness Businesses

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #10

Startup cost: $62.9K-$417.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,075/28

Hair Care

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #3

Startup cost: $144.4K-$293.8K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,510/1,067

Massage/Spa Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #43

Startup cost: $413.7K-$960.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,085/0

Senior Care

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #68

Startup cost: $115K-$125K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,071/2

Tanning Salons

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #120

Startup cost: $502.7K-$810.3K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 229/184

Miscellaneous Personal-Care Businesses

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #294

Startup cost: $114K-$199.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 137/2
 

PETS

 

Pet Care

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #204

Startup cost: $356.6K-$1M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 178/4

Pet Stores

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #144

Startup cost: $123.3K-$192.1K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 288/0

Miscellaneous Pet Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #286

Startup cost: $50.7K-$123.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 88/1
 

RECREATION

Sports Businesses

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #292

Startup cost: $16.7K-$19.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 326/5

Sports Equipment& Apparel

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #224

Startup cost: $180K-$338K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 123/29

Travel Agencies

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #25

Startup cost: $2.1K-$22.7K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,143/1
 

RETAIL

Apparel & Accessories

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #105

Startup cost: $230.95K-$398.2K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 439/0

Batteries

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #75

Startup cost: $215.1K-$389K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 614/46

Convenience Stores

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #7

Startup cost: $37.6K-$1.1M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 55,944/495

Electronics Stores

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #156

Startup cost: $144.7K-$196K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 594/31

Tools Distribution

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #22

Startup cost: $159.7K-$316.3K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,579/225

Vitamins

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #15

Startup cost: $190.9K-$321.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,210/3,524

Miscellaneous Retail Businesses

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #14

Startup cost: $238.5K-$1.6M

Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,800/91
 

SERVICES

Dry-Cleaning& Delivery Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #340

Startup cost: $81.5K-$529.9K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 69/0

Embroidery& Screen Printing

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #130

Startup cost: $93.7K-$256.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 420/0

Home Inspections

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #102

Startup cost: $33.2K-$42.6K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 470/0

Moving/Junk-Removal Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #162

Startup cost: $178K-$555.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 280/2

Paint & Sip Studios

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #225

Startup cost: $89.3K-$143K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 276/0

Postal &Business Centers

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #17

Startup cost: $167.8K-$353.6K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,907/0

Printing

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #67

Startup cost: $63.6K-$184.98K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 939/0

Real Estate

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #21

Startup cost: $37.5K-$279.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 6,824/15

Miscellaneous Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #98

Startup cost: $100.4K-$135K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 511/3
 

TECH

Electronic Repairs

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #461

Startup cost: $24.6K-$228.5K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 216/2

Miscellaneous Tech Services

2016 Franchise 500 rank: #250

Startup cost: $126.3K-$174.4K

Total franchises/co.-owned: 155/0
Tracy Stapp Herold

Written By

Entrepreneur Staff

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.