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Franchise 500

The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

Seven inexpensive franchises you can buy for less than $5,000.
Entrepreneur Staff
Associate Editor, Contributed Content
5 min read

Starting a business isn't cheap. You have to worry about all sorts of costs, from finding a location and hiring employees to more mundane things like buying supplies and paying bills. If you're looking to start a fast-food restaurant like McDonald's, you may need more than seven figures just to get started. If you want to own your own hotel, you could need $30 million.

But, not every business comes with such a heavy price tag. Not every franchise has the same requirements to be successful.

These seven companies offer local, home-based franchises you can take advantage of to get started and make bank. 

Start the slideshow to read about the seven most affordable franchises from the Entrepreneur Franchise 500, or click here to see the full list of our available franchises.

The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

Cruise Planners

Cruise Planners franchisees work as home-based travel agents, selling full-service travel packages as well as cruises, travel insurance and car rentals. The company's low cost has helped it grow massively over the past decade, going from 766 U.S. franchises in 2008 to 2,565 units in 2017.

Cruise Planners is currently ranked 60th on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500.

CEO: Michelle Fee

Business headquarters: Coral Springs, Fla.

Franchising since: 1999

Initial investment: $2,095 to $10,495

Initial franchise fee: $495 to $10,495

New units in 2017: 132 units (5.4 percent)

Training: Ongoing training on the job, 58.5 hours in the classroom

Marketing support: Co-op advertising, ad templates, national media, regional advertising, social media, SEO, website development, email marketing

Related: The 5 Best Pizza Franchises You Can Start Today

The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

Buildingstars

Buildingstars is a commercial cleaning company founded in 1994, and at a minimum investment of just $2,245, it's very affordable. That $2,000 investment will make you what Buildingstars calls a "technician," or someone who runs a part-time cleaning business while keeping the flexibility to work another job. So, if you're just taking the first steps toward entrepreneurship, Buildingstars (ranked 224th on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500) might be right for you.

CEO: Chris Blase

Business headquarters: Maryland Heights, Mo.

Franchising since: 2000

Initial investment: $2,245 to $53,200

Initial franchise fee: $995 to $46,995

New units in 2017: 53 units (7.8 percent)

Training: 1 to 5 hours on the job, 3 to 16 hours in the classroom

Marketing support: Ad templates, regional advertising, social media, SEO, email marketing

The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

Dream Vacations

Dream Vacations is ranked 138 on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500. That makes it the lowest-ranked company on this slideshow, but still ahead in the rankings of major brands like Doubletree by Hilton. Speaking of which, a Doubletree by Hilton can sell for as much as $69.3 million -- over 21,000 times more than a Dream Vacations.

CEO: Tim Davis

Business headquarters: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Franchising since: 1992

Initial investment: $3,245 to $21,850

Initial franchise fee: $495 to $9,800

New units in 2017: 29 units (2.7 percent)

Training: 45 hours in the classroom

Marketing support: Co-op advertising, ad templates, national media, regional advertising, social media, website development, email marketing, loyalty program/app

The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

Stratus Building Solutions

Stratus Building Solutions is a cleaning service for commercial buildings like office buildings, shopping centers and more.

Like the rest of the companies on this list, Stratus has two different types of franchises available: unit and regional master. A regional master office oversees several smaller units, hence the big difference in possible investment cost. However, you can start a Stratus unit franchise with a net worth of as little as $5,000.

CEO: Afshin Cangarlu

Business headquarters: Canton, Mass.

Franchising since: 2006

Initial investment: $3,450 to $48,350

Initial franchise fee: $2,700 to $37,600

New units in 2017: 91 units (7.4 percent)

Training: 40 hours on the job, 40 hours in the classroom

Marketing support: Co-op advertising, ad templates, national media, regional advertising, social media, SEO, website development

Related: Krispy Kreme Vs. Dunkin' Donuts: Which Is the Better Franchise Investment for You?

The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

Jazzercise

Jazzercise is ranked 63 on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500, which is one of the highest rankings on the list. The female-focused fitness franchise was founded in 1969 and started franchising in 1982 -- longer than any other entrance on this list. However, the company is still growing in units -- 2017 represented a 10 year high with over 9,000 locations.

CEO: Judi Sheppard Missett

Business headquarters: Denver

Franchising since: 1982

Initial investment: $3,700 to $32,750

Initial franchise fee: $1,250

New units in 2017: 199 units (2.2 percent)

Training: Ongoing, self-directed training on the job

Marketing support: Co-op advertising, ad templates, regional advertising, social media, SEO, website development, email marketing

The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

Jan-Pro

At 51 on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list, Jan-Pro is the highest-ranked franchise in this slideshow. The commercial cleaning company is also one of the most expensive entries here -- though that isn't saying a whole lot, considering the initial franchise fee can go for as little as $2,520 and the initial investment can be less than $4,000. 

If you like to clean and you could use a little extra income, a Jan-Pro unit franchise might make sense for you.

CEO: Eddie Curry

Business headquarters: Alpharetta, Ga.

Franchising since: 1992

Initial investment: $3,985 to $51,105

Initial franchise fee: $2,520 to $44,000

New units in 2017: 262 units (3.2 percent)

Training: 15 hours on the job, 15 hours in the classroom

Marketing support: Regional advertising, social media, SEO, website development, email marketing

Related: 24 Top-Ranked, Affordable Franchises You Can Buy for $25,000 or Less

The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

Maid Right

Maid Right
Image credit: Maid Right | Facebook

Maid Right was founded in 2013, making it the youngest company on this list. Over that time, it has grown from just two U.S. franchises to 254 locations, including eight international franchises. Like the rest of the franchises on this list, Maid Right offers multiple opportunities for investing. The first is to become a maid or cleaning pro yourself, while the second is to become a manager or executive.

Maid Right is ranked 473 on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500.

CEO: Eddie Curry

Business headquarters: Alpharetta, Ga.

Franchising since: 2013

Initial investment: $4,675 to $48,755

Initial franchise fee: $3,600 to $43,800

New units in 2017: 100 units (64.9 percent)

Training: 15 hours on the job, 15 hours in the classroom

Marketing support: Regional advertising, social media, SEO, website development, email marketing

Related: Our Top 5 Franchises You Can Run From Your Own Home

Add to Queue
  • The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List
  • 1. Cruise Planners
  • 2. Buildingstars
  • 3. Dream Vacations
  • 4. Stratus Building Solutions
  • 5. Jazzercise
  • 6. Jan-Pro
  • 7. Maid Right
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