25 Top-Ranked Franchises You Can Run as a Side Hustle
Get a taste of the entrepreneurial lifestyle with these concepts.
There are thousands of franchise concepts on the market today, representing dozens of industries, sectors and business channels. Some entrepreneurs look for a business model to own that's meant to replace a previous full-time job with a full-time franchise commitment. Other concepts lend themselves to owners who wish to explore the semi-absentee model, whereby you can hire a true industry professional and manage the manager.
And then there are franchise business models that only require a part-time commitment to own and operate. These may be the perfect solution for those looking to dip a proverbial toe in the entrepreneurial waters. Because these concepts typically don't require a full-time commitment, some in the industry have begun referring to them as "side hustle" opportunities. Regardless of the moniker, owning and operating a franchise unit that falls into this category means you can likely keep your day job while nurturing an alternate stream of income.
When it comes to the best franchise concepts by category, Entrepreneur has you covered. We have business opportunities to share from over a dozen industries. Everything from automotive, home services, and childcare to food, health and beauty, and everything in between. To see what's in our franchisor database, be sure to check out Entrepreneur's Best of the Best Rankings.
Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find your personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests and budget.
In consideration of this laid-back route to business ownership, here are 25 top-ranked "side hustle" franchises that can be found in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 2022 list:
1. The Maids
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 22nd
Initial Investment: $84K to $148K
Units as of 2021: 1,538 (+10.9% in the last 3 years)
After founding Bishop Building Services, a janitorial company, Daniel J. Bishop brought his cleaning business experience to the residential arena with The Maids in 1979. Four-person cleaning teams arrive at clients' homes in the company's distinctive yellow cars to dust, vacuum and clean kitchens and bathrooms using the company's 22-step cleaning system.
2. Jan-Pro Cleaning and Disinfecting
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 30th
Initial Investment: $4K to $56K
Units as of 2021: 10,476 (+19.2% in the last 3 years)
Jacques Lapointe founded Jan-Pro in Providence, Rhode Island in 1991. Jan-Pro began franchising the following year, offering both master and single-unit franchises, and has since grown to over 10,000 units throughout the United States and Canada. Jan-Pro franchisees offer commercial cleaning services to businesses such as car dealerships, gyms, banks, churches, schools and offices. The company's "Cleaning Greener" initiative emphasizes the use of cleaning products that require fewer chemicals to clean more.
3. Stratus Building Solutions
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 32nd
Initial Investment: $4K to $80K
Units as of 2021: 2,418 (+56.1% in the last 3 years)
Franchising since 2006, Stratus Building Solutions has unit franchises and regional master offices nationwide. Franchisees provide "Stratus Green Clean" services, using proprietary chemicals and equipment to clean office buildings, shopping centers, restaurants, retail businesses, dealerships, medical offices, religious centers and more.
4. Anago Cleaning Systems
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 34th
Initial Investment: $11K to $68K
Units as of 2021: 1,719 (+13.5% in the last 3 years)
David Povlitz founded Anago in 1989. The company began franchising in 1991, and now has master and unit franchisees throughout the U.S. and internationally. Unit franchisees provide regularly scheduled office cleanings as well as periodic commercial cleaning services.
5. HomeVestors of America
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 35th
Initial Investment: $72K to $431K
Units as of 2021: 1,154 (+17.8% in the last 3 years)
Ken D'Angelo founded HomeVestors of America and began franchising in 1996. Based in Dallas, the company buys houses in need of repairs or updates, then repairs and sells them or holds them for rental properties. Some homeowners will sell their houses to a HomeVestors franchisee because they need quick cash offers and to close quickly, and they can sell their houses without any repair or updating expenses.
6. Monster Tree Service
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 67th
Initial Investment: $409K to $560K
Units as of 2021: 218 (+738.5% in the last 3 years)
Monster Tree Service offers much-needed tree and plant care services to both residential and commercial customers. Uniformed crews, highly visible branded vehicles and state-of-the-art equipment make Monster Tree Service stand out from the crowd in a profession that needs and responds to distinctive professionalism.
7. Kona Ice
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 73rd
Initial Investment: $150K to $174K
Units as of 2021: 1,395 (+30.9%% in the last 3 years)
Kona Ice franchisees bring their trucks to events to serve up shaved ice that customers can flavor themselves. Franchisees also partner with schools, teams, youth groups and other community groups for fundraising events. Shaved ice carts, kiosks and trailers are also available.
8. Phenix Salon Suites
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 75th
Initial Investment: $494K to $1.5M
Units as of 2021: 308 (+33.9% in the last 3 years)
Gina Rivera's family has been involved in the salon industry for over 75 years, and she continued the tradition by becoming a licensed hairdresser. In 2007, the family opened Phenix Salon Suites (named for their son Phenix) to offer salon professionals an alternative to either renting a booth in an existing salon or dealing with the challenges of owning their own salon. Franchising began in 2010. Phenix franchisees offer month-to-month leasing of suites for hairstylists, nail technicians and other salon professionals.
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 79th
Initial Investment: $47K to $138K
Units as of 2021: 768 (+12.1% in the last 3 years)
Rooter-Man was founded in 1970 by Donald MacDonald in North Billerica, Massachusetts. The company expanded throughout the northeast before beginning to franchise in 1981. Franchisees offer residential and commercial plumbing, drain services and repairs, and sewer cleaning.
10. Dream Vacations
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 82nd
Initial Investment: $2K to $21K
Units as of 2021: 1,489 (+11.9% in the last 3 years)
Dream Vacations franchisees sell travel packages, including travel protection, shore excursions, hotels and tours to individuals, couples, families, businesses and groups.
11. Signal 88 Security
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 98th
Initial Investment: $78K to $221K
Units as of 2021: 722 (+78.3% in the last 3 years)
Former law-enforcement professionals founded Signal 88 Security in 2003, in Omaha, Nebraska, where "signal 88" is police code for "situation secure." In 2008, Reed Nyffeler began franchising Signal 88. Franchisees offer patrol, guard and virtual monitoring services and have access to proprietary software.
12. Novus Glass
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 101st
Initial Investment: $57K to $216K
Units as of 2021: 2,013 (-0.5% in the last 3 years)
After having to replace three windshields due to small breaks, inventor Dr. Frank Werner teamed up with chemical engineer Bill Wiele to find a way to repair windshields rather than replace them. In 1972, Werner partnered with Gerald Keinath, patented his windshield repair system and designed a business plan to bring it to market. The business, originally called Keinath Inc., was soon renamed Novus Glass and began franchising in 1985.
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 134th
Initial Investment: $110K to $143K
Units as of 2021: 616 (+9.6% in the last 3 years)
Pop-A-Lock was started in 1991 by law enforcement agents in Lafayette, Louisiana. Pop-A-Lock franchisees offer commercial, automotive and residential locksmithing, including integrated high-tech security devices and electronic access systems.
14. Cruise Planners
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 135th
Initial Investment: $2K to $24K
Units as of 2021: 2,659 (-3.7% in the last 3 years)
Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Services Representative, is a home-based travel agent network. Cruise Planners travel agents work from home selling full-service travel packages, including cruises, land-based vacations, travel insurance, car rentals and more.
15. Leadership Management International
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 164th
Initial Investment: $20K to $28K
Units as of 2021: 477 (+3.2% in the last 3 years)
Paul J. Meyer founded Leadership Management Inc. (LMI) in 1966 to help companies develop leadership skills in their workers. The company provides a line of programs and courses designed to help people achieve their professional and personal goals. LMI's programs are produced in 28 languages and have been marketed in more than 70 countries.
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 183rd
Initial Investment: $517K to 623K
Units as of 2021: 215 (+4,200.0% in the last 3 years)
With just one call, Redbox+ delivers an exclusively patented combination roll-off dumpster and portable toilet to your job site. The company's waste management professionals can deliver two services to your site with just one call.
17. Tutor Doctor
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 197th
Initial Investment: $84K to $129K
Units as of 2021: 727 (+31.0% in the last 3 years)
Tutor Doctor franchises offer in-home, one-on-one tutoring for students from kindergarten through college. Tutors tailor their teaching to each student's homework and sometimes work collaboratively with the student's teachers. The Ontario-based company was founded in 2000 and began franchising in 2003.
18. Destination Athlete
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 205th
Initial Investment: $28K to $94K
Units as of 2021: 173 (+147.1% in the last 3 years)
Since 2008, the purpose of Destination Athlete has been building better communities through athletes. The brand aims to help athletes get to their personal destination by providing a one-stop resource for everything team: sports and field equipment, uniforms, spirit wear, varsity jackets, fundraising solutions and more.
19. Mosquito Shield
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 216th
Initial Investment: $93K to 127K
Units as of 2021: 166 (+196.4% in the last 3 years)
Mosquito Shield's mission is for customers to enjoy their yards by delivering a mosquito-free environment that allows them to spend more time outdoors. Mosquito Shield started when president and founder David Briggs saw that there were not any dependable or affordable options on the market for residential mosquito control. Mosquito Shield Franchise Corp has developed a supporting cast of individuals dedicated to the success of its franchisees.
20. American Poolplayers Association
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 234th
Initial Investment: $23K to 29K
Units as of 2021: 336 (+3.7% in the last 3 years)
In 1979, professional billiard players Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart pursued a novel idea: Why not create an organized league system for amateur pool players? Dubbed the American Poolplayers Association (APA), their brainchild now operates franchise leagues across the United States and Canada (where the organization is known as the Canadian Poolplayers Association.) Members participate in annual 8- and 9-ball championships, pay a yearly membership fee to the APA and pay a weekly fee to the league operator (franchisee) each time they play. League operators host team games each week; winners go on to compete in division and national tournaments.
21. Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA)
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 235th
Initial Investment: $66K to $86K
Units as of 2021: 705 (+1.3% in the last 3 years)
Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) is based in Addison, Texas. ERA franchisees offer cost-management consulting services, using the company's proprietary E-SCAN's (Strategy-Costs-Alignment-Numbers) to summarize ways to reduce costs and increase profits and working with management teams to implement these plans. Franchises are located in more than 25 countries.
22. Made in the Shade Blinds and More
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 236th
Initial Investment: $66K to $75K
Units as of 2021: 122 (+41.9% in the last 3 years)
For more than 16 years, Made in the Shade Blinds and More has empowered entrepreneurs across North America by offering a convenient, shop-at-home service for window treatments and more.
Related: Low-Cost Business Ideas
23. Koala Insulation
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 242nd
Initial Investment: $127 to $165K
Units as of 2021: 213 (+21,200.0% in the last 3 years)
Koala Insulation is an insulation installation franchise that seeks to provide homeowners across the U.S. with money and energy-saving insulation services while providing local business owners and entrepreneurs with the opportunity to own and operate a successful and lucrative franchise.
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 255th
Initial Investment: $19K to $51K
Units as of 2021: 8,526 (+4.4% in the last 3 years)
Founded in 1985, Coverall has cleaned work environments for more than 40,000 customers worldwide. Coverall franchisees use a program designed to help reduce the spread of illness-causing germs in the workplace.
25. WIN Home Inspection
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 262nd
Initial Investment: $33K to $40K
Units as of 2021: 239 (+29.9% in the last 3 years)
WIN Home Inspection began in 1993, offering home-inspection franchises to people in the Pacific Northwest. The company now offers franchises across the U.S. and has locations in 32 states.