Franchises

Simply the Best: the Top Franchises in 110 Categories

These 110 franchises have all found a way to be at the peak of their industry in the present day.
Simply the Best: the Top Franchises in 110 Categories
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9 min read

This story appears in the May 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

With more than 1,000 companies applying for the 2018 Entrepreneur Franchise 500, just getting on our list was an achievement. But some companies rose even higher above the rest, claiming the highest ranking in their category. These 110 franchises range from one of the newest (Lendio) to one of the oldest (Baskin-Robbins), but whatever their age, they all found a way to be at the peak of their industry in the present day. We’ve highlighted what just a few of these companies have done to get to the top, and how they plan to stay there.

Related: 5 Affordable Franchises You Can Start for Less Than $10,000

The 2018 Franchise 500 rankings, from which this list is derived, are determined by an evaluation of more than 150 data points in the areas of costs and fees, size and growth, franchisee support, brand strength and financial strength and stability. But this list is not intended as an endorsement of any particular company. Always do your own research to find what franchise is truly the best for you. Read the company’s legal documents, consult with an attorney and an accountant and talk to current and former franchisees.

Automotive

Appearance Services
Ziebart
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 151
Startup cost: $227K - $450K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 379/12

Oil-Change Services
Valvoline Instant Oil Change
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 34
Startup cost: $162.3K - $2.3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 734/384

Transmission Repair
AAMCO Transmissions and Total Car Care
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 315
Startup cost: $223.6K - $330.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 630/0

Wheels and Tires
RNR Tire Express & Custom Wheels
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 202
Startup cost: $500K - $1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 83/14

Windshield Repair
SuperGlass Windshield Repair
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 402
Startup cost: $9.9K - $31K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 332/0

Miscellaneous Repair and Maintenance Services
Carstar Franchise Systems
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 255
Startup cost: $283.7K - $824.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 533/1

Miscellaneous Auto Products and Services
Line-X
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 149
Startup cost: $125.6K - $319.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 553/4

Business Services

Advertising Services
Valpak Direct Marketing Systems
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 128
Startup cost: $80.6K - $200.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 129/14

Business Brokerages
Transworld Business Advisors
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 291
Startup cost: $69.6K - $91.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 210/0

Business Coaching and Consulting
The Alternative Board (TAB)
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 234
Startup cost: $45.4K - $94.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 226/28

Printing/Marketing Services
Minuteman Press International
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 141
Startup cost: $64.2K - $164.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 965/0

Property Management
Property Management Inc.
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 152
Startup cost: $19.9K - $86.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 199/1

Signs
FastSigns International
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 70
Startup cost: $182.3K - $267.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 674/0

Staffing/Recruiting
Express Employment Professionals
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 69
Startup cost: $130K - $206K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 761/0

Training Programs
Dale Carnegie Training
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 171
Startup cost: $51.2K - $186.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 271/2

Miscellaneous Business Services
Yesco
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 143
Startup cost: $65K - $352.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 57/49

Children's Businesses

Childcare
Primrose School Franchising
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 27
Startup cost: $716.7K - $5.8M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 353/0

Children's Enrichment Programs
School of Rock
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 163
Startup cost: $136.9K - $339.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 180/20

Children's Fitness Programs
Goldfish Swim School Franchising
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 55
Startup cost: $1.3M - $2.9M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 62/1

Children's Retail
Once Upon A Child
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 58
Startup cost: $254.1K - $390.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 357/0

Tutoring
Kumon Math & Reading Centers
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 20
Startup cost: $69.8K - $141.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 25,827/32

Miscellaneous Children's Businesses
Apex Leadership Co.
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 263
Startup cost: $80.5K - $113.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 92/0

Financial Services

Business Financial Services
Lendio Franchising
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 201
Startup cost: $40.2K - $106.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 33/0

Insurance
Fiesta Auto Insurance and Tax
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 194
Startup cost: $49.7K - $107.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 175/0

Tax Services
H&R Block
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 286
Startup cost: $31.6K - $149.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,027/6,655

Miscellaneous Financial Services
ACFN-The ATM Franchise Business
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 474
Startup cost: $39.4K - $64.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 239/0

Food: Full-Service Restaurants

Sports Bars/Pubs
Brass Tap
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 213
Startup cost: $791.97K - $1.3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 46/1

Miscellaneous Full-Service Restaurants
Golden Corral Restaurants
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 54
Startup cost: $2.1M - $6.2M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 402/69

Food: Quick-Service Restaurants

Asian Food
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 240
Startup cost: $133.7K - $527K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 184/0

Baked Goods: Pretzels
Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 124
Startup cost: $199.5K - $385.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,814/14

Baked Goods: Miscellaneous
Cinnabon
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 98
Startup cost: $182.8K - $327.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,464/2

Barbecue
Dickey's Barbecue Pit
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 170
Startup cost: $289.9K - $421.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 549/5

Chicken
Wingstop Restaurants
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 31
Startup cost: $346.8K - $733.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,035/21

Coffee
Dunkin' Donuts
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 3
Startup cost: $228.6K - $1.7M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 12,538/0

Frozen Desserts: Custard
Culver Franchising System
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 13
Startup cost: $1.8M - $4.3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 623/8

Frozen Desserts: Ice Cream
Baskin-Robbins
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 41
Startup cost: $93.6K - $401.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 7,982/0

Frozen Desserts: Ices
Kona Ice
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 83
Startup cost: $120.2K - $143K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 894/14

Frozen Desserts: Miscellaneous
Yogurtland Franchising
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 469
Startup cost: $309.3K - $702K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 316/12

Hamburgers
McDonald's
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 1
Startup cost: $1M - $2.2M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 34,108/3,133

Hot Dogs
Wienerschnitzel
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 166
Startup cost: $303.6K - $1.4M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 320/0

Mexican Food
Taco Bell
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 8
Startup cost: $525.1K - $2.6M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 5,889/797

Pizza
Papa John's International
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 16
Startup cost: $130.1K - $844.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,410/645

Sandwiches: Philly Cheesesteak
Charleys Philly Steaks
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 160
Startup cost: $225.6K - $532.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 519/56

Sandwiches: Submarine
Jersey Mike's Subs
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 24
Startup cost: $193.2K - $660.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,219/58

Sandwiches: Miscellaneous
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 11
Startup cost: $329.5K - $557.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,657/63

Smoothies/Juices
Smoothie King
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 35
Startup cost: $225.7K - $778.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 876/26

Miscellaneous Quick Service
Orion Food Systems
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 212
Startup cost: $59.5K - $140K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 996/0

Food: Retail Sales

Candy
Kilwins Chocolates Franchise
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 94
Startup cost: $392.5K - $591.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 107/2

Miscellaneous Food Businesses
Edible Arrangements
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 53
Startup cost: $195.5K - $327.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,239/6

Health

Health Products
Pearle Vision
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 72
Startup cost: $400.3K - $605.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 421/102

Physical Therapy
Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 117
Startup cost: $82.3K - $390K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 252/17

Miscellaneous Health Services
The Joint
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 109
Startup cost: $211.4K - $339.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 337/47

Home Improvement

Flooring
Floor Coverings International
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 156
Startup cost: $153.4K - $214.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 166/0

Kitchen and Bath Remodeling
Miracle Method Surface Refinishing
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 173
Startup cost: $83.4K - $127.99K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 144/1

Lighting Services
Christmas Decor
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 433
Startup cost: $19.6K - $62.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 257/0

Organization/Storage Systems
Tailored Living
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 131
Startup cost: $156.9K - $297.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 207/0

Painting
360 Painting
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 287
Startup cost: $76.7K - $123.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 82/0

Wood Refinishing
N-Hance Wood Refinishing
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 159
Startup cost: $62.2K - $160.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 479/0

Miscellaneous Home-Improvement Businesses
Budget Blinds
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 23
Startup cost: $110.1K - $230.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,132/0

Lodging

Campgrounds
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 265
Startup cost: $52K - $3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 85/0

Hotels and Motels
Hampton by Hilton
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 29
Startup cost: $6.9M - $17.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,277/0

Maintenance

Carpet, Upholstery, and Drapery Services
Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 137
Startup cost: $56.5K - $161.96K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,536/0

Commercial Cleaning
Jan-Pro Franchising International
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 51
Startup cost: $3.99K - $51.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 8,486/0

Glass Repair/Replacement
Glass Doctor
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 179
Startup cost: $128.8K - $265.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 180/0

Handyman Services
Handyman Connection
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 253
Startup cost: $101.8K - $159K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 82/0

Home Repairs: Miscellaneous
Precision Door Service
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 226
Startup cost: $67.8K - $515.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 86/1

HVAC Services
One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 104
Startup cost: $81.8K - $535.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 318/34

Lawn Care/Landscaping
Weed Man
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 59
Startup cost: $68.5K - $85.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 335/0

Leather and Vinyl Repair
Fibrenew
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 185
Startup cost: $93.3K - $104.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 241/0

Pest Control
Mosquito Joe
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 42
Startup cost: $66.6K - $127.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 234/2

Plumbing
Rooter-Man
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 107
Startup cost: $46.8K - $137.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 613/22

Pool Maintenance
ASP-America's Swimming Pool Company
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 101
Startup cost: $96.2K - $143.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 254/0

Residential Cleaning
Merry Maids
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 38
Startup cost: $86.8K - $123.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,667/3

Restoration Services
Servpro
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 12
Startup cost: $158.1K - $211.95K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,749/0

Restroom Maintenance
Enviro-Master International Franchise
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 82
Startup cost: $166.3K - $292.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 70/2

Window Cleaning
Fish Window Cleaning Services
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 193
Startup cost: $83.2K - $146.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 271/1

Miscellaneous Maintenance Businesses
AdvantaClean
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 148
Startup cost: $105.2K - $240.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 236/1

Personal Care

Fitness Businesses
Anytime Fitness
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 17
Startup cost: $89.4K - $677.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,617/38

Hair Care
Great Clips
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 7
Startup cost: $136.9K - $258.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,285/0

Lash and Brow Services
Amazing Lash Studio
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 136
Startup cost: $270.4K - $584.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 176/0

Massage and Spa Services
Massage Envy
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 45
Startup cost: $434.8K - $1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,189/0

Salon Suites
Salons by JC
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 108
Startup cost: $545.6K - $1.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 72/10

Senior Care
Right at Home
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 49
Startup cost: $78.3K - $137.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 553/0

Miscellaneous Personal-Care Businesses
Palm Beach Tan
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 52
Startup cost: $479K - $789.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 257/189

Pets

Pet Care
Camp Bow Wow
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 146
Startup cost: $859.6K - $1.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 134/9

Pet Stores
Pet Supplies Plus
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 32
Startup cost: $555.4K - $1.3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 198/210

Miscellaneous Pet Services
Sit Means Sit Dog Training
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 340
Startup cost: $49.8K - $145.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 119/1

Recreation

Paint-and-Sip Studios
Painting with a Twist
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 168
Startup cost: $89.3K - $188.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 285/4

Sports Equipment and Apparel
Fleet Feet Sports
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 90
Startup cost: $180K - $338K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 137/34

Trampoline Parks
Sky Zone
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 81
Startup cost: $1.3M - $2.7M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 180/1

Travel Agencies
Cruise Planners
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 60
Startup cost: $2.1K - $22.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,564/1

Miscellaneous Recreation Businesses
Freedom Boat Club
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 309
Startup cost: $144.2K - $193.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 121/19

Retail

Apparel and Accessories
Plato's Closet
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 97
Startup cost: $253.1K - $399.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 472/0

Convenience Stores
7-Eleven
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 2
Startup cost: $37.6K - $1.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 61,086/1,019

Tools Distribution
Snap-on Tools
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 30
Startup cost: $169.5K - $350.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,696/162

Vitamins
GNC Franchising
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 85
Startup cost: $180.5K - $347.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,084/3,506

Miscellaneous Retail Businesses
Ace Hardware
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 19
Startup cost: $272.5K - $1.6M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,932/101

Services

Dry Cleaning and Delivery Services
Zips Dry Cleaners
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 135
Startup cost: $855.4K - $1.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 51/2

Embroidery and Screen Printing
Big Frog Custom T-Shirts
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 225
Startup cost: $180.2K - $239.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 80/0

Home Inspections
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 64
Startup cost: $34.4K - $42.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 560/0

Laboratory Services
ARCpoint Labs
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 272
Startup cost: $145.3K - $249.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 105/2

Locksmith Services
Pop-A-Lock Franchise System
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 93
Startup cost: $99.7K - $134.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 558/3

Moving/Junk-Removal Services
Two Men and a Truck International
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 87
Startup cost: $95K - $666K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 300/2

Photography and Video Services
Multivista
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 252
Startup cost: $128.5K - $541.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 62/5

Postal and Business Centers
The UPS Store
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 4
Startup cost: $177.96K - $402.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,979/0

Real Estate
RE/MAX
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 5
Startup cost: $37.5K - $225K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 7,560/0

Security Services
Signal 88 Security
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 89
Startup cost: $73K - $268.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 416/7

Miscellaneous Services
Pirtek
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 78
Startup cost: $113.6K - $633K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 484/4

Tech

Electronics Repairs
uBreakiFix
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 18
Startup cost: $60.4K - $220.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 307/18

Miscellaneous Tech Services
CMIT Solutions
2018 Franchise 500 Rank: 186
Startup cost: $127.2K - $173.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 175/0

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