The Best Franchise Brands of 2020

Check out the top franchises, in every category.
The Best Franchise Brands of 2020
Image credit: AlphaSpirit | Shutterstock
Magazine Contributor
9 min read

This story appears in the April 2020 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What are the top full-service restaurants? What about the top personal-care brands, or children’s businesses, or home-improvement providers? Those are the kinds of questions we answer every year with this, our annual “best of the best” list.

We’ve crunched the numbers from our 2020 Franchise 500 list, identifying the 113 companies that performed best in their categories. Among them, you’ll naturally find a lot of familiar names — companies that have dominated their categories for decades. But you might be surprised at how many relatively new concepts worked their way to the top as well. Whatever the story, all the companies on this list have something to teach about how to overcome competition and achieve franchising success.

Related: Franchise 500: Our Definitive Ranking of 2020's Strongest Franchises

As always, remember that this list is not intended as an endorsement of any particular company. These are the best franchises in their respective categories based on our objective ranking criteria — like size and growth, cost and fees, and financial strength — but there’s more to finding the franchise that’s right for you. So always do your homework before investing: Read the FDD, consult with an attorney and an accountant, and talk to current and former franchisees.

Automotive

Appearance Services
Ziebart
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 149
Startup cost: $291.8K-$463.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 376/12

Oil-Change Services
Valvoline Instant Oil Change
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 57
Startup cost: $174.5K-$2.5M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 750/502

Repair & Maintenance Services
Carstar Franchise Systems
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 120
Startup cost: $298.2K-$804.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 675/2

Wheels & Tires
Big O Tires
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 91
Startup cost: $311K-$1.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 457/1

Windshield Repair
Novus Glass
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 116
Startup cost: $54.5K-$258.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,014/30

Miscellaneous Auto Products & Services
Line-X
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 327
Startup cost: $126.4K-$366.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 571/3

Business Services

Advertising Services
BirthdayPak
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 313
Startup cost: $29.5K-$144.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 27/2

Business Brokerages
Transworld Business Advisors
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 119
Startup cost: $74.9K-$97.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 294/1

Business Coaching & Consulting
ActionCoach
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 346
Startup cost: $47.9K-$189.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 788/2

Printing/Marketing Services
Minuteman Press International
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 114
Startup cost: $74.9K-$180.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 967/0

Property Management
Property Management Inc.
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 281
Startup cost: $22.8K-$175.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 247/1

Signs
FastSigns International
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 55
Startup cost: $197.2K-$313.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 710/0

Staffing/Recruiting
Express Employment Professionals
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 51
Startup cost: $140K-$211K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 800/0

Training Programs
Leadership Management International
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 189
Startup cost: $20K-$27.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 458/0

Miscellaneous Business Services
YESCO Sign & Lighting Service
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 169
Startup cost: $65K-$352.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 61/37

Children's Businesses

Childcare
Primrose School Franchising
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 54
Startup cost: $637.9K-$6.4M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 405/0

Children's Enrichment Programs
School of Rock
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 219
Startup cost: $192.2K-$422.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 197/41

Children's Fitness Programs
The Little Gym International
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 179
Startup cost: $186.5K-$441.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 442/0

Children's Retail
Once Upon A Child
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 110
Startup cost: $246.7K-$391.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 385/0

Swimming Lessons
Goldfish Swim School Franchising
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 28
Startup cost: $1.4M-$3.2M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 101/1

Tutoring
Kumon Math & Reading Centers
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 12
Startup cost: $73.4K-$154.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 26,256/22

Financial Services

Business Financial Services
Lendio Franchising
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 272
Startup cost: $30.2K-$117.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 69/0

Insurance
Goosehead Insurance Agency
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 129
Startup cost: $41.5K-$116.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 535/0

Tax Services
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 197
Startup cost: $45.1K-$110.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,922/1857

Miscellaneous Financial Services
Motto Mortgage
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 395
Startup cost: $47.8K-$68.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 111/0

Food: Full-Service Restaurants

Sports Bars/Pubs
Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 122
Startup cost: $1.2M-$3.99M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 30/5

Steakhouses
Golden Corral
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 90
Startup cost: $2.3M-$6.7M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 448/36

Miscellaneous Full-Service Restaurants
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 240
Startup cost: $1.2M-$2.5M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 751/26

Food: Quick-Service Restaurants

Asian Food
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 165
Startup cost: $133.7K-$535K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 195/0

Baked Goods: Bakery Cafes
la Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 125
Startup cost: $1.2M-$3.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 53/30

Baked Goods: Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnabon
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 53
Startup cost: $108.5K-$368.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,539/1

Baked Goods: Doughnuts
Shipley Do-Nuts
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 157
Startup cost: $410K-$771.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 290/12

Baked Goods: Pretzels
Auntie Anne's
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 400
Startup cost: $199.5K-$385.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,892/11

Baked Goods: Miscellaneous
Great American Cookies
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 136
Startup cost: $177.7K-$476.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 383/0

Chicken
KFC
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 24
Startup cost: $1.4M-$2.8M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 22,774/329

Coffee
Dunkin'
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 1
Startup cost: $395.5K-$1.6M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 12,957/0

Frozen Desserts: Custard
Culver's
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 9
Startup cost: $1.97M-$4.7M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 709/6

Frozen Desserts: Ice Cream
Baskin-Robbins
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 13
Startup cost: $93.6K-$401.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 8,072/0

Frozen Desserts: Miscellaneous
Kona Ice
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 60
Startup cost: $127.8K-$151.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,180/19

Hamburgers
McDonald's
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 3
Startup cost: $1.3M-$2.2M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 35,461/2647

Hot Dogs
Wienerschnitzel
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 87
Startup cost: $303.6K-$1.4M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 328/0

Mexican Food
Taco Bell
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 2
Startup cost: $525.5K-$2.96M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 6,662/474

Pizza
Pizza Hut
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 10
Startup cost: $357K-$2.2M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 17,120/56

Sandwiches: Philly Cheesesteak
Charleys Philly Steaks
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 126
Startup cost: $253.2K-$582.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 562/59

Sandwiches: Submarine
Jersey Mike's Subs
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 8
Startup cost: $237.4K-$766.97K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,520/72

Sandwiches: Miscellaneous
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 23
Startup cost: $313.6K-$556.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,763/55

Seafood
Captain D's
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 140
Startup cost: $1M-$1.2M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 244/291

Smoothies/Juices
Smoothie King
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 14
Startup cost: $263.6K-$844.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,037/36

Miscellaneous Quick-Service Restaurants
Orion Food Systems
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 228
Startup cost: $59.5K-$140K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,032/0

Food: Retail Sales

Candy
Kilwins Chocolates Franchise
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 105
Startup cost: $381.3K-$898.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 130/2

Miscellaneous Food/Beverage Businesses
Nothing Bundt Cakes
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 45
Startup cost: $431.6K-$600.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 301/6

Health

Chiropractic Services
The Joint
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 78
Startup cost: $182.7K-$368.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 419/55

Eye Care
Pearle Vision
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 58
Startup cost: $77.7K-$620.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 418/107

Health Products
Miracle-Ear
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 98
Startup cost: $119K-$352.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,417/54

Physical Therapy
Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 33
Startup cost: $148.8K-$819K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 388/19

Miscellaneous Health Services
Profile by Sanford
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 64
Startup cost: $445K-$699.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 131/30

Home Improvement

Flooring
Floor Coverings International
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 154
Startup cost: $154.2K-$222.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 157/0

Kitchen & Bath Remodeling
Miracle Method Surface Refinishing
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 163
Startup cost: $84.5K-$145K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 153/1

Organization/Storage Systems
GarageExperts
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 231
Startup cost: $51.5K-$146K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 90/0

Painting
CertaPro Painters
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 238
Startup cost: $133.3K-$169.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 359/0

Window Coverings
Budget Blinds
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 17
Startup cost: $110.3K-$234.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,213/0

Wood Refinishing
N-Hance Wood Refinishing
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 263
Startup cost: $51.97K-$167K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 590/0

Miscellaneous Home-Improvement Businesses
USA Insulation
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 223
Startup cost: $149.8K-$270K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 38/1

Lodging

Campgrounds
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 264
Startup cost: $62K-$3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 81/0

Hotels & Motels
Hampton by Hilton
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 30
Startup cost: $7.6M-$20.3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,491/0

Maintenance

Carpet & Upholstery Services
Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 74
Startup cost: $67.6K-$178.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,576/0

Commercial Cleaning
Jan-Pro Franchising International
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 34
Startup cost: $4.2K-$54.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 9,155/0

Crime-Scene Cleaning
Bio-One
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 247
Startup cost: $80.98K-$127.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 88/0

Garage Door Repairs/Installation
Aladdin Doors Franchising
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 350
Startup cost: $32.4K-$99.95K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 43/2

Home Repairs
Screenmobile
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 162
Startup cost: $91.98K-$183.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 121/1

HVAC/Duct-Cleaning Services
One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 143
Startup cost: $81.8K-$550.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 350/33

Lawn Care/Landscaping
Lawn Doctor
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 52
Startup cost: $100K-$116.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 592/0

Leather & Vinyl Repair
Fibrenew
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 275
Startup cost: $87.8K-$99.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 249/0

Pest Control
Mosquito Joe
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 218
Startup cost: $95.6K-$140K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 285/4

Plumbing
Rooter-Man
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 85
Startup cost: $46.8K-$137.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 666/29

Pool Maintenance
ASP America's Swimming Pool Company
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 84
Startup cost: $108.1K-$145.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 310/0

Residential Cleaning
The Maids
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 35
Startup cost: $63.3K-$141.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,278/174

Restoration Services
Servpro
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 27
Startup cost: $160.1K-$213.95K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,715/0

Restroom Maintenance
Enviro-Master International Franchise
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 341
Startup cost: $180K-$324.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 77/0

Window Cleaning
Window Gang
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 256
Startup cost: $34.4K-$81.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 104/117

Miscellaneous Maintenance Businesses
ChemStation
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 211
Startup cost: $324K-$441.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 56/6

Personal Care

Fitness Businesses
Planet Fitness
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 7
Startup cost: $1.1M-$4.2M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,779/80

Hair Care
Great Clips
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 15
Startup cost: $136.9K-$259.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,371/0

Lash & Brow Services
Amazing Lash Studio
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 307
Startup cost: $224.7K-$482.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 222/7

Massage & Spa Services
Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 151
Startup cost: $532.6K-$618.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 433/1

Salon Suites
Sola Salon Studios
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 76
Startup cost: $531.2K-$1.7M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 436/25

Senior Care
Interim HealthCare
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 141
Startup cost: $125.5K-$198.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 593/0

Waxing
European Wax Center
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 56
Startup cost: $359.7K-$564.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 725/5

Miscellaneous Personal Care Businesses
Palm Beach Tan
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 20
Startup cost: $498.3K-$802.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 325/230

Pets

Pet Care
Dogtopia
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 71
Startup cost: $757.3K-$1.6M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 95/10

Pet Stores
Pet Supplies Plus
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 50
Startup cost: $440.6K-$1.3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 261/222

Miscellaneous Pet Businesses
Sit Means Sit Dog Training
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 374
Startup cost: $49.8K-$145.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 137/0

Recreation

Adventure Parks/Entertainment Centers
Urban Air Adventure Park
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 80
Startup cost: $2.3M-$2.96M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 95/2

Paint & Sip/DIY Studios
Painting with a Twist
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 213
Startup cost: $118.5K-$285.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 298/3

Sports Equipment & Apparel
Fleet Feet
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 86
Startup cost: $187K-$413K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 150/29

Travel Agencies
Cruise Planners
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 46
Startup cost: $2.3K-$23.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,061/1

Miscellaneous Recreation Businesses
Freedom Boat Club
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 178
Startup cost: $149.2K-$458.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 174/22

Retail

Apparel & Accessories
Uptown Cheapskate
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 354
Startup cost: $302.8K-$487.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 71/2

Convenience Stores
7-Eleven
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 11
Startup cost: $47.1K-$1.2M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 66,307/2382

Tools Distribution
Snap-on Tools
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 31
Startup cost: $172.2K-$375.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,597/207

Miscellaneous Retail Businesses
Ace Hardware
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 6
Startup cost: $286K-$2.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 5,179/133

Services

Dry Cleaning & Laundry Services
Tide Cleaners
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 97
Startup cost: $682.1K-$1.6M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 136/9

Embroidery & Screen Printing
Big Frog Custom T-Shirts
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 474
Startup cost: $183.2K-$250.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 94/0

Home Inspections
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 171
Startup cost: $37.1K-$45.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 577/0

Locksmith Services
The Flying Locksmiths
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 190
Startup cost: $181.6K-$426.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 85/1

Moving/Junk Removal Services
Two Men and a Truck International
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 175
Startup cost: $100K-$585K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 299/3

Photography & Video Services
TSS Photography
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 451
Startup cost: $20.4K-$74.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 179/0

Postal & Business Centers
The UPS Store
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 5
Startup cost: $138.4K-$470K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 5,166/0

Real Estate
HomeVestors of America
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 19
Startup cost: $56K-$426.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,102/0

Security Services
Security 101
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 305
Startup cost: $119.8K-$223.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 45/0

Miscellaneous Services
Pirtek
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 308
Startup cost: $161.9K-$782.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 513/5

Tech

Electronics Repairs & Sales
uBreakiFix
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 21
Startup cost: $55.4K-$236.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 513/15

Miscellaneous Tech Services
CMIT Solutions
2019 Franchise 500 Rank: 124
Startup cost: $127.97K-$175.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 233/0

loading...

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur