- 2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#7 Ranked #12 last year
- Initial investment
$579K - $1.9M
- Units as of 2023
5,813 7.9% over 3 years
Ace Hardware Franchise
Interested in franchising opportunities but don’t like paying franchise or royalty fees throughout your contract? Ace Hardware might be the opportunity for you.
That’s because Ace Hardware franchisees don’t have to pay franchise or royalty fees. When you have a franchise for Ace Hardware, you own your store and benefit from the brand recognition and company support resources Ace brings to the table.
The Ace Hardware Corporation is a well-known home improvement store, so it’s also an ideal franchisor partner for franchise owners.
Are you interested? Let's take a closer look at what it means to own and operate an Ace Hardware franchise, including a breakdown of the costs and benefits of working with Ace Hardware.
Why should you start an Ace Hardware franchise?
If you’re looking into an Ace Hardware franchise, you already know the two most significant selling points for entrepreneurs and business owners like yourself: no franchise fees and no royalty fees.
That in and of itself makes any Ace Hardware store you open possibly more profitable than an alternative franchise location.
But that’s not the only reason to consider starting an Ace Hardware franchise and becoming your area's go-to helpful hardware folks. Ace Hardware, as a brand, has a lot of name recognition. When people need hardware supplies, they automatically default to brands they already know and love, like Ace Hardware.
Fortunately, Ace Hardware’s reputation is solid and beloved through and through. Ace Hardware has been a top franchise on many Franchise 500 lists, plus ranks highly by many other organizations and magazines.
That’s not the only reason you should consider starting an Ace Hardware in your local community. You don’t have to open a new store from scratch. Instead, you can open a brand-new location or convert an existing hardware retail store into an Ace Hardware franchised location.
Say that you tried to open a hardware store business with your own branding, only to find it challenging to gather and maintain a solid customer base.
You can take the same hardware and retail location but replace it with the Ace Hardware logo and branding. Many franchisees have done this and immediately seen an increase in their customer base. Indeed, many converted Ace Hardware stores experience a rapid 11% lift in their retail sales and a 24% boost to their gross profits post-conversion.
Ace Hardware also offers a variety of other incentives for store conversions, including discounts, extra support and financing opportunities. Of course, new store incentive amounts can vary depending on location and size.
Ace Hardware doesn't stop there, either. A portion of the company profits is distributed back to each retail owner annually. So if the company does well, your bottom line will also benefit. In this way, Ace Hardware franchisees are a little more connected to their corporate supervisors than other franchisees.
Ace Hardware even allows franchisees to integrate a flexible product mix, furthering customization to tailor service to local markets.
If your market, for instance, primarily purchases a specific type of product, you can specialize in ordering and storing those products, so you know that your profits will be consistent.
Regarding hardware store franchising opportunities, Ace Hardware is head and shoulders above the rest, bar none.
What resources and support does Ace Hardware offer its franchisees?
Ace Hardware provides new franchisees with ongoing support, including lease negotiation services, help with field operations and assistance with the grand opening of each new location. That can be highly beneficial if you are still learning the ropes and figuring out how to manage an Ace Hardware franchised location effectively.
But Ace Hardware also goes above and beyond when it comes to marketing support. For example, you can take advantage of national and regional advertising campaigns and strategies. This will help you market your location to your target audience effectively in no time.
Social media and SEO advertising are part of the comprehensive support package offered by Ace Hardware, as his email marketing and website development assistance. Ace Hardware even provides advertising templates so your marketing campaigns feel branded and in tune with the overall corporate marketing strategy.
Want to keep people coming back to your store again and again? Use the Ace Hardware loyalty program and app, which will become available to your store as soon as your location opens to the general public.
This advertising assistance will allow you to focus more on running your store profitably instead of coming up with advertising ideas.
How much does it cost to start an Ace Hardware franchise?
You already know that Ace Hardware franchise costs don’t include franchise fees or royalty fees. But what about the other financial requirements associated with starting a franchise for this company and adopting its business model?
Depending on location or startup costs, store owners must make an initial investment of between $292,000 and over $2 million.
To ensure you can finance this type of investment, Ace Hardware requires aspiring franchisees to have $250,000 in liquid capital and a minimum net worth of $400,000. Other fees add up for a total investment of slightly higher than this.
While Ace Hardware doesn’t charge royalty fees, there is a downside — the franchise terms aren’t automatically renewable.
So, after your franchise term goes up, you’ll have to renegotiate a new contract with Ace Hardware. That shouldn’t be a problem if your store has performed well, but you may need to look into different franchise opportunities if it hasn't.
Does Ace Hardware provide financial assistance?
Another benefit of working with Ace Hardware is the variety of financial assistance you can access.
Firstly, if you're a veteran, you may be able to take advantage of discounts on investment fees. But even if you aren't a veteran, Ace Hardware maintains financing relationships with third-party lenders and other sources.
You can get financing assistance through these lenders to cover startup, inventory and payroll costs.
Remember, the initial franchise fee isn’t necessary, which improves your buying power for your franchise business.
If you have the will to start an Ace Hardware franchise, you may be able to do it even if you don’t have the necessary cash in your bank account.
What kind of training will you get for your Ace Hardware franchise?
Ace Hardware provides new franchisees with an in-depth training experience of 40 hours of classroom training. However, Ace wants franchisees to already have some business and management experience to ensure that new stores open up and run smoothly from the beginning.
Virtual classroom training can be conducted from anywhere, but in-person training must be conducted at the Ace Hardware headquarters in Illinois. If you are a new investor opening your first Ace store, you must complete a Base Camp New Owner training program before your grand opening.
But after your store launches, you can take advantage of over 1600 online courses, which you can utilize to train your team members and ensure they provide top-tier Ace Hardware experiences to your customers for years to come.
Ace Hardware Franchise Reviews
At the time of this writing, many current Ace Hardware franchisees have positive things to say about the business relationship.
Steve Bjorkman from McHenry, IL, says he “looks at Ace as a big family. We have dealer groups where you get to learn from other owners and share ideas. Since we have been in the dealer groups, other owners have become close friends of mine that I can learn from. I still stay in contact with employees at the corporate offices that I worked with years ago.”
Similarly, Kirby Kuklinski of Colorado Springs, Colorado, says, “Prior to owning an Ace, I was working in corporate America and didn’t want to be behind a desk anymore. I looked at 30 to 40 different options of companies to invest in and the biggest reason I chose Ace is because they allow owners to be independent.”
Start an Ace Hardware Franchise Today
Ultimately, Ace Hardware’s franchise advantages, including no royalty or franchise fees, make it stand out from other franchise opportunities.
You can start the process of opening your own Ace Hardware franchise today by applying on the corporate website.
If you’re interested in more information about Ace Hardware and other franchising opportunities, check out Entrepreneur’s other guides and resources.
About Ace Hardware
|Franchising Since||1976 (47 years)|
|# of employees at HQ||1,288|
This company is offering new franchisees throughout the US.
This company is offering new franchisees worldwide.
|# of Units||5,813 (as of 2023)|
Information for Franchisees
Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a Ace Hardware franchise.
Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees
Here's what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.
Initial Franchise Fee
Definition: The initial fee paid to a franchisor to join their system
What you need to know: Found in Item 5 of the FDD, this may be a flat fee, or may vary based on territory size, experience, or other factors.The franchise fee is an up-front (one-time) cost that a new franchisee pays to the franchisor. This fee is usually due at the signing of the franchise agreement and covers the right to use the franchisor's trademarks, name, and related business systems.
Definition: The total amount necessary to begin operation of the franchise
What you need to know: The initial investment includes the franchise fee, along with other startup expenses such as real estate, equipment, supplies, business licenses, and working capital. This is outlined in a chart in Item 7 of the FDD, showing a range of possible costs from low to high.
|$579,350 - $1,913,080|
Net Worth Requirement
Definition: The minimum net worth you must have in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company
What you need to know: Net worth is the value of a person's assets minus liabilities. Assets include cash, stocks, retirement accounts, and real estate. Liabilities include items like mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt.
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
Definition: A discount or other incentive offered to military veterans who buy a franchise with this company.
|Franchise fee (affiliation fee) waived|
Term of Agreement
Definition: The length of time your franchise agreement will last.
What you need to know: Franchise terms are typically anywhere from 5 to 20 years in length, but are sometimes instead dependent on factors such as the term of your lease. Once your term is up, you may have the option to renew your agreement, typically for a smaller fee than the original franchise fee.
|Is franchise term renewable?||No|
Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.
|Third Party Financing||Ace Hardware has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll|
Training & Support Offered
Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.
|Classroom Training||40 hours|
Meetings & Conventions
Security & Safety Procedures
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Additional details about running this franchise.
|Is absentee ownership allowed?||No|
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Definition: The business can be run from your home and/or a vehicle, and it is not necessary to have a retail facility, office space, or warehouse.
Can this franchise be run part time?
Definition: This business can be run by the owner on a part-time basis (less than 40 hours per week) and/or as a side business; it is not necessary for the business to be open/run full-time.
|# of employees required to run||15-25|
Are exclusive territories available?
Definition: An exclusive territory is a fixed area in which you are given the right to operate and in which no other units of the same franchise may be opened.
What you need to know: Territory size may be based on factors such as radius, population size, zip codes, and more. Details can be found in Item 12 of the FDD.
Franchise 500 Ranking History
Compare where Ace Hardware landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Ace Hardware ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
Are you eager to see what else is out there? Browse franchises that are similar to Ace Hardware.
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