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The Hottest Industries Today Our list of the franchises best positioned for growth, even in uncertain times.

By Tracy Stapp Herold

This story appears in the August 2020 issue of Start Up.

JAMESTEOHART | Shutterstock

Every December, we publish a list in Entrepreneur of what we predict will be the "hottest" categories for franchise expansion in the year ahead. And every summer we typically publish an update on that list—not updating the categories, but updating the information on the fast-growing or newly launched franchises within those categories.

But this year, as we prepared to update the list, we were faced with a question—should we change the categories from those we had listed in December, back when the world looked and felt a whole lot different? While businesses in some of these categories were deemed nonessential and were adversely affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns, many also found creative ways to keep serving customers during that time. And we believe that even those that didn't will ultimately benefit from the fact that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It's unlikely that anyone will ever again take for granted the ability to go to the gym or a family entertainment center. So in the end, we removed just a few categories (including breakfast, Mexican food, and juices/acai bowls, which you can find covered in our "Top 200 Food Franchises" list), and added one that saw a boost in popularity during the shutdowns: home improvement.

The road ahead will still hold many challenges for businesses in every industry, and different franchisors and franchisees will tackle those challenges differently. So keep in mind that this list is not an endorsement of any particular franchise company. It's more important than ever to do your own research before investing in an opportunity. Read the FDD, consult with accountants and attorneys, and talk to existing and former franchisees to decide whether the franchise is right for you. For more information on a particular franchise, click on the company's name.

ChildcareEntertainment/RecreationFitness BusinessesHealthHome ImprovementPetsRestoration Services


For essential workers who couldn't stay home with their little ones, childcare businesses proved even more vital than ever this year. And those parents who could stay home have likely gained a new appreciation for the work these businesses do to educate and care for their kids. As the economy opens back up and more parents head back to the office, this category should only keep growing.

Adventure Kids Playcare

Childcare/entertainment centers

Building Kidz School

Preschool/educational childcare

Celebree School

Early childhood education and childcare

College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors

Nanny-placement, babysitting, tutoring

Creative World School Franchising

Early childhood education centers

Genius Kids

Preschool, daycare, public-speaking enrichment programs

Giggles Drop-In Childcare

Drop-in childcare, afterschool programs, summer camps

Goddard Systems

Preschool/educational childcare

Ivy Kids Systems

Childcare and early learning

Kiddie Academy

Educational childcare


Hourly childcare and preschool

KLA Schools


LeafSpring Schools

Educational childcare/preschool

Lightbridge Academy

Childcare/early learning

Montessori Kids Universe

Educational childcare

Muse Global

Early childhood education

Primrose School Franchising

Educational childcare

Tierra Encantada

Spanish immersion daycare and preschool

Twinkle Toes Nanny Agency

In-home child care


Entertainment and recreation businesses were understandably deemed nonessential during the shutdowns. And yet, more than ever, people needed things to keep them occupied and take their minds off the world—and many of these businesses found creative ways to still meet that need, like offering take-home DIY projects and online party services.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Dine-in theaters

American Poolplayers Association

Recreational billiard leagues

AR Workshop

DIY workshops

Axe Monkeys

Indoor axe, knife, and spear throwing

Blue Ox Axe Throwing

Indoor axe throwing

Board & Brush Creative Studio

DIY wood-sign workshops

City Brew Tours

Educational craft brewery tours

ClimbZone Franchising

Climbing-wall family entertainment centers

Color Me Mine Enterprises

Paint-your-own-ceramics studios

Complete Weddings + Events

Photography, DJ, video, and photo-booth services

Cruise Planners

Travel agencies

Ctrl V

Virtual reality arcades


Adult dance classes and parties

Dream Vacations

Travel agencies

Elite Events & Tickets

Event planner, ticket brokerage, and travel agency


Escape rooms

Expedia CruiseShipCenters

Retail travel agencies

Freedom Boat Club

Membership boat clubs


Wall-climbing and family entertainment facilities

GameTruck Licensing

Mobile video-game theaters


Axe throwing

Kampgrounds of America

Campgrounds and RV Parks

Launch Franchising

Family entertainment centers

Nailed It DIY

DIY studios

Painting with a Twist

Paint-and-sip studios

Paniq Room

Escape rooms

Pinot's Palette

Paint-and-sip studios


DIY studios

The Rustic Brush

DIY studios

Safari Nation

Indoor bounce houses and playgrounds


Membership boat clubs

Sky Zone

Trampoline parks/entertainment centers

Stumpy's Hatchet House

Hatchet-throwing venues

urbanChef Franchising

Cooking classes

Wine & Design

Paint-and-sip studios

Fitness Businesses

When the pandemic hit, many fitness franchises were able to quickly pivot and offer classes to their customers online. Nevertheless, many people were eager to get back into the gym when restrictions began to be lifted, and with health more top-of-mind than ever, this already strong category should only see more growth going forward.

Ageless Fitness

Fitness programs for seniors

Air Aerial Fitness

Aerial fitness training

AKT Franchise

Fitness studios

Alkalign Studios

Group fitness classes, streaming fitness classes, nutrition coaching

Anytime Fitness

Fitness centers

Athletic Republic

Sports performance training

Baby Boot Camp

Prenatal and postpartum fitness and nutrition

The Barre Code

Barre fitness classes

Blink Fitness

Health and fitness centers

Brooklyn Fitboxing USA

Boxing and kickboxing group fitness programs

Burn Boot Camp

Women's fitness centers

The Camp Transformation Center

Fitness/weight-loss services

Cityrow Franchise

Rowing and strength training

CKO Kickboxing

Kickboxing fitness classes

Club Pilates Franchise

Reformer Pilates classes

Core Progression Elite Personal Training

Personal and group training, wellness services

Crunch Franchise

Fitness centers


Indoor cycling classes

Discover Strength

Personalized strength training

Eat The Frog Fitness

Fitness studios


Fitness facilities

The Exercise Coach

Personal training

F45 Training

Fitness studios

Fit Body Boot Camp

Indoor fitness boot camps


Prenatal and postpartum fitness and wellness programs

Fitness Together

Personal training

FitPro Franchising

Fitness and nutrition programs

Gold's Gym

Health and fitness centers


Mobile personal training

Hard Exercise Works

Boot camp fitness programs

Honor Yoga

Yoga, meditation, teacher training, retreats

Iron Legion Franchise

Strength training and fitness programs

ISI Elite Training

Athletic-based fitness programs

Jabz Franchising

Boxing studios for women


Group fitness classes, conventions, apparel, and accessories

Just You Fitness

Personal training

Legends Boxing

Boxing fitness programs

The Max Challenge

10-week fitness and nutrition programs

Mayweather Boxing + Fitness

Boxing group fitness

Moms on the Run

Fitness programs for women

MyFitness Butler

Mobile personal training


Kickboxing fitness circuit-training centers

On The Marc Training

Mobile fitness training

Orangetheory Fitness

Group personal training

Outlaw FitCamp Fitness Studios

Functional interval training fitness studios

Oxygen Yoga & Fitness

Yoga and fitness classes

Physique 57

Barre fitness classes

PickUp USA Fitness

Basketball-focused fitness clubs

Planet Fitness

Fitness clubs

Pure Barre

Barre fitness classes and apparel

Pure Physique

Fitness and wellness centers

Red Effect International Franchise

Infrared fitness studios

Regymen Fitness

Fitness studios

Retro Fitness

Health clubs

Row House

Indoor rowing classes

Sasquatch Strength

Group functional training

Self Made Training Facility

Private personal training and supplement sales

Send Me A Trainer

In-home personal training

Snap Fitness

24-hour fitness centers


Assisted stretching classes and related therapy services


Fitness studios

Sudore Wellness

Group interval training

Tapout Fitness

Fitness and martial arts

The8Block Fitness Studio

Fitness studios with smoothie bar and recovery services

30 Minute Hit

Kickboxing circuit-training programs for women

Title Boxing Club

Boxing and kickboxing fitness classes, personal training, apparel

Tough Mudder Bootcamp

High intensity interval training studios


Group fitness studios


Boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, high-intensity interval training, and group fitness classes

Workout Anytime 24/7

24-hour health clubs


Yoga studios


Being healthy has become more important than ever, so this small but growing category probably looks more appealing than ever to prospective franchisees. And there's something here for everyone, from traditional health services to more alternative offerings like acupuncture, cryotherapy, IV therapy, and cannabis.

BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers

Hormone-based weight-loss and wellness services

Discover CBD

Hemp-derived CBD products

Eufloria Franchising

CBD/THC products and accessories; virtual doctor consultations

4ever Young

Preventative health, wellness, and aesthetic services

Franny's Franchising

CBD products and accessories

Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers

Physical therapy, balance and vestibular therapy, preventive wellness services

Good Feet Worldwide

Arch supports, related products

HealthSource Chiropractic

Chiropractic, rehabilitation, massage, nutrition, and wellness services

Home Care for the 21st Century

Home health care and hospice care

The Hydration Room

Vitamin IV and injection therapy


Cryotherapy, wellness, and pain management services

The Joint

Chiropractic services

Lice Clinics of America

Lice-treatment services and products


Hearing aids

Mobility City Holdings

Wheelchair and mobility scooter repair, cleaning, rentals, and sales

Mobility Plus

Mobility scooters, ramps, stair lifts

My Eyelab

Eye care and eyewear

100% Chiropractic

Chiropractic services, massage therapy, nutritional supplements

101 Mobility

Mobility and accessibility equipment sales and services

Pearle Vision

Eye care and eyewear

Perspire Sauna Studio

Infrared sauna studios


Over-the-counter pharmaceutical products vending

Profile by Sanford

Weight-loss and wellness services

Relax The Back

Products for relief/prevention of back and neck pain

Results Inc. Weight Loss Centers

Weight-loss coaching and products

The Salt Suite

Salt therapy

Structural Elements

Orthopedic wellness services

Titan Medical Center

Medical rejuvenation therapy and weight-loss centers

Transcend Hospice

Hospice agencies

True Rest Franchising

Floatation therapy

Unity Rd.

Retail cannabis dispensaries

Vegan Fine Foods

Vegan health and beauty stores/cafes/vitamin and supplement stores

Home Improvement

As shelter-in-place orders had people spending more time in their homes, many turned to home improvement, repair, and remodeling projects to keep themselves busy. Most home improvement stores and service business were able to stay open during this time, adjusting their services to maintain proper social distancing and sanitation, with some even pivoting to virtual consultations.

ABC Seamless

Seamless siding, soffit, fascia, gutters, windows, roofing

Access Garage Doors

Garage door sales, installation, and repairs

Ace Handyman Services

Residential and commercial repairs, maintenance, and improvements

Ace Hardware

Hardware and home-improvement stores

Aladdin Doors Franchising

Garage-door installation and repairs

America's Color Consultants

Paint color consulting

Andy OnCall

Handyman services

Apex Energy Solutions

Replacement windows

Archadeck Outdoor Living

Outdoor living space design and construction

Bloomin' Blinds

Window covering sales, installation, and repairs

Budget Blinds

Window coverings, window film, rugs, accessories

CertaPro Painters

Residential and commercial painting

Christmas Decor

Holiday and event lighting

Closet & Storage Concepts/More Space Place

Residential/commercial closet and storage systems; Murphy beds

Closet Factory

Custom closet and storage systems

Closets By Design Franchising

Custom closet and home/office organization systems

Color World House Painting

Residential/commercial painting, repairs, gutter installation, power washing, holiday lighting

Concrete Craft

Decorative concrete coatings

Decorating Den Interiors

Interior decorating services and products

Dr. Auto & Casa

Home and auto handyman services

DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen

Kitchen, bath, and interior remodeling


Kitchen refacing and remodeling

Five Star Bath Solutions

Bathroom remodeling

Five Star Painting

Residential and commercial painting

Footprints Floors

Flooring installation and restoration

Fresh Coat

Residential and commercial painting

Furniture Medic

Furniture and wood restoration, repair, and refinishing


Garage cabinets, floor coatings, organization products

Get A Grip Franchising

Countertop, cabinet, tub, tile, and shower resurfacing; fiberglass repair

Glass Doctor

Auto/residential/commercial glass installation, repair, and replacement

The Glass Guru

Window and glass restoration, repair, and replacement

Gotcha Covered

Window treatments

Granite Garage Floors

Garage floor coatings

GreenLight Mobility

Home modifications for the disabled and aging

Handyman Connection

Home repairs, remodeling

Handyman Pro

Handyman services

HandyPro International

Handyman and home-modification services

Home Technology Handyman

Smart home and electrical contracting services

Home Technology Pros

Smart home and electrical contracting services

The Honey Do Service

Handyman/home-improvement services


Lumber and hardware stores

Kitchen Solvers

Kitchen and bath remodeling and design

Kitchen Tune-Up

Residential and commercial kitchen and bath remodeling

Kitchen Wise

Kitchen pantry and bathroom organization

Metal Supermarkets

Metal stores

Miracle Method Surface Refinishing

Kitchen and bathroom surface refinishing

Mr. Appliance

Residential and commercial appliance installation and repairs

Mr. Handyman

Residential and commercial repair, maintenance, and improvement services

Mr. Sandless/Dr. DecknFence

Interior and exterior sandless wood refinishing

N-Hance Wood Refinishing

Wood cabinet and floor refinishing

Ocean Exteriors

Roofing, exterior coating, vinyl windows, paving

Outdoor Lighting Perspectives

Residential, holiday, and hospitality lighting



The Patch Boys

Drywall repair


Drywall repair

Paul Ryan Windows

Window and door sales and installation

Pet Door USA

Pet door sales and installation

Precision Door Service

Residential garage door repair, installation, and service

Premier Pools & Spas

Residential pool construction

Pro-Lift Garage Doors

Garage-door installation and repairs

ProSource Wholesale

Wholesale kitchen, bath, and flooring products


Bathroom remodeling

Refresh Renovations

Residential renovations


Concrete flooring installation, treatment, repair, and restoration


Mobile window and door screening

ShelfGenie Franchise Systems

Custom pull-out shelving for cabinets and pantries


Custom wall beds and cabinetry


Exterior spray painting

Superior Fence & Rail

Fence sales and installation

Surface Specialists

Bathtub repair and refinishing, tub liners, bath remodeling

Tailored Living

Home organization products and services

360 Painting

Residential and commercial painting

UBuildIt Holdings

Construction consulting

USA Insulation

Home insulation and energy-efficient products

Window World

Replacement windows, doors, siding, and other exterior remodeling products

Wow 1 Day Painting

One-day residential and commercial painting


Americans spent an estimated $75 billion on their furry friends last year, according to the American Pet Products Association, and while spending in other areas has decreased, people are still willing to sacrifice for their pets. Plus, most pet stores qualified as 'essential businesses' during the shutdowns, and other businesses like doggy daycares stayed open to provide care for medical workers' pets.

The Ark Pet Spa & Hotel

Pet boarding, daycare, grooming, and products

Aussie Pet Mobile

Mobile pet grooming

Ben's Barketplace

Pet health-food stores

Camp Bow Wow

Dog daycare, boarding, training, grooming

Camp Run-A-Mutt

Dog daycare and boarding

Central Bark

Dog dayare


Pet supplies and services

The Dog Stop

Dog care services and products


Dog daycare, boarding, and spa services

EarthWise Pet

Pet food and supplies, grooming, self-wash, training, and walking


Walk-in veterinary clinics

Fetch! Pet Care

Pet-sitting, dog-walking

The Healthy Animal

Health food for dogs and cats

Hounds Town USA

Dog daycare, pet boarding, pet grooming


Pet-product delivery

In Home Pet Services

Pet-sitting, dog-walking


Dog-food delivery

K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel

Luxury dog daycare and boarding

Leader of the Pack Canine Institute

Dog training, boarding, daycare, grooming, retail

Mutts Canine Cantina

Dog parks with bars and grills

Paw & Order

Dog training

Paws Pet Care

Pet-sitting, dog-walking

Pet Passages

Pet funeral and cremation services and products

Pet Supplies Plus

Retail pet supplies and services

Pet Wants

Natural pet-food stores/delivery


Pets, pet supplies, boarding, daycare, grooming


Natural pet food and supplies; dog self-wash

Pets Are Inn

Pet care in private homes

Preppy Pet

Pet daycare, boarding, grooming

Salty Paws

Dog ice cream shops


Dog grooming

Wag N' Wash Natural Pet Food & Grooming

Pet food and supplies, grooming, self wash, bakery

Wild Birds Unlimited

Bird-feeding supplies and nature gift items


Dog walking, pet sitting, mobile pet grooming

Zoom Room

Indoor dog training and socialization, pet products

Restoration Services

Restoration service businesses have long had the reputation of being recession-proof, and they stand to prove that now. Since disasters don't stop occuring no matter the circumstances, these were obviously deemed essential businesses, and many found their services in even higher demand than usual during the shutdowns.



American Veterans Restoration

Water, fire, and mold remediation


Crime-scene and trauma-scene cleaning

Certified Restoration DryCleaning Network

Restoration of textiles and electronics

Delta Restoration Services

Insurance/disaster restoration


Property restoration


Carpet and upholstery cleaning, disaster restoration, mold remediation

911 Restoration

Residential and commercial property restoration


Building contents packing, cleaning, storage, and restoration

Paul Davis Restoration

Insurance restoration


Property damage restoration and remediation

Rainbow International Restoration

Indoor cleaning and restoration

Restoration 1

Water, fire, smoke, and mold restoration

Service Team of Professionals (STOP)

Water/fire restoration, mold remediation

ServiceMaster Clean/ServiceMaster Restore

Commercial/residential cleaning, disaster restoration


Fire, water, and other damage cleanup and restoration

Spaulding Decon

Crime-scene, meth-lab, and hoarding cleanup; mold remediation; house buying


Insurance/disaster restoration, cleaning, mold remediation, air quality control

Storm Guard Roofing & Construction

Roofing, exterior restoration
Tracy Stapp Herold

Entrepreneur Staff

Tracy Stapp Herold is the special projects editor at Entrepreneur magazine. She works on franchise and business opportunity stories and listings, including the annual Franchise 500.

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