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Franchise 500 2023
2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#160 Ranked #188 last year
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Initial investment
$198K - $326K
Units as of 2022
357 arrow up 4.7% over 3 years

In 1981, Jim Carpenter opened the first Wild Birds Unlimited with a small inheritance and a passion for backyard bird feeding. In 1983, he began franchising. To provide people with what they need to enjoy their own backyard bird feeding hobby, he made sure to sell only the best products. Over three decades later, the company still stands by selling quality and affordable bird food, nest boxes, bird feeders, and more at its stores.

For decades, Wild Birds Unlimited has aimed to bring together humans and nature under the same blue sky. With over 300 locations in the U.S. and more than a dozen in Canada, the Wild Birds Unlimited name has become synonymous with backyard bird feeding.

Why You May Want to Start a Wild Birds Unlimited Franchise

Of course, you may want to consider opening a Wild Birds Unlimited if you are a person who shares the same hobby as the company's founder. But you may also want to consider the company's culture and values. Wild Birds Unlimited looks for hard-working, ethical individuals. They value diversity and environmentally sustainable products. They also support local bird and natural wildlife conservation groups and education. 

An ideal franchisee is enthusiastic and committed to excellence. They are also committed to helping their community and spreading the joy of backyard bird feeding—and franchisees typically love birds.

Wild Birds Unlimited will train franchisees in ways that the company has found to make a successful business and assign them a business coach for their first year in operation. The company will even provide franchisees with marketing and IT support.

What Might Make a Wild Birds Unlimited Franchise a Good Choice?

Outside of sitting comfortably in a niche market, Wild Birds Unlimited takes advantage of a large global hobby. Wild Birds Unlimited accepts online orders connected to franchisees' stores and has its own product line. This private merchandise line includes custom seed blends, feeders, and hardware. 

If you're interested in opening a Wild Birds Unlimited, make sure you can cover the initial startup fees, including the franchise fee. You'll also want to make sure you're ready for any additional ongoing fees. These fees will include royalty fees and advertising fees.

How Do You Open a Wild Birds Unlimited Franchise?

Location is a huge consideration. Try to locate high-traffic areas connected to malls or grocery stores. Being in a high-visibility location may also make your store more appealing. 

As you make your decision to franchise with Wild Birds Unlimited, make sure you take time to explore the opportunity. The company's discovery process will help you do this, too. Research the brand and your local area to see if a franchise would do well in your community. If you are in an area with other feed and seed stores, too much competition may not allow for the most possible growth.

Overall, if the company finds you a good fit, you can soon open your doors—and other people's doors—to the world of backyard bird feeding.

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Company Overview

About Wild Birds Unlimited

Industry Pets
Related Categories Pet Stores, Miscellaneous Retail Businesses
Founded 1981
Parent Company Wild Birds Unlimited Inc.
Leadership Jim Carpenter, CEO/Founder
Corporate Address 11711 N. College Ave., #146
Carmel, IN 46032
Social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest

Business Overview

Franchising Since 1983 (2023-1983 years)
# of employees at HQ 52
Where seeking

This company is offering new franchisees in the following US states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming

This company is offering new franchisees in the following international regions: Canada

# of Units 357 (as of 2022)

Information for Franchisees

Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a Wild Birds Unlimited 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 Information Circle
Initial Investment Information Circle
$197,919 - $325,763
Net Worth Requirement Information Circle
Cash Requirement Information Circle
$40,000 - $50,000
Veteran Incentives Information Circle
15% off franchise fee
Royalty Fee Information Circle
Ad Royalty Fee Information Circle
Term of Agreement Information Circle
10 years
Is franchise term renewable? Yes
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Financing Options

Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.

Third Party Financing Wild Birds Unlimited 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.

On-The-Job Training 38 hours
Classroom Training 61.5 hours
Ongoing Support
Purchasing Co-ops
Meetings & Conventions
Toll-Free Line
Grand Opening
Online Support
Security & Safety Procedures
Lease Negotiation
Field Operations
Site Selection
Proprietary Software
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Co-op Advertising
Ad Templates
National Media
Regional Advertising
Social Media
Website Development
Email Marketing
Loyalty Program/App


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed? No
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit? Information Circle
Can this franchise be run part time? Information Circle
# of employees required to run 2-4
Are exclusive territories available? Information Circle
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Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where Wild Birds Unlimited landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.

Additional Rankings

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The information on this page is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation of any particular franchise or business opportunity by Entrepreneur Media. Our listings and rankings are solely research tools you can use to compare opportunities. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing in a franchise or business opportunity. That should include reviewing the company's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to former and current franchisees/licensees/dealers.
Updated: December 12th, 2022