Franchising isn’t for everyone. Some entrepreneurs prefer to have complete creative control over every aspect of their companies, while others enjoy the structure of having an established business model and proven processes that come with a franchise. Ongoing corporate support and opportunities like co-op advertising make it possible for franchisees to achieve profitability more quickly than they may by building a brand-new business model on their own.
Some of the world’s best-known brands are franchises, such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut, and 7-Eleven — all of which landed a spot on TheRichest’s list of 10 Fastest-Growing Franchises of 2014. But being among the fastest-growing franchises doesn’t necessarily make a particular business a good investment for. In fact, many of the franchises on the list have startup costs in the millions.
Instead of focusing on businesses with massive brand recognition, some entrepreneurs opt for newer franchises, bringing a fresh brand into unchartered territory. This provides the security and established framework of the franchise model without the massive startup costs and saturated markets that come with big-name brands.
Here are a few up-and-coming franchises worth a look. While initial startup costs are listed, some also have ongoing requirements, royalties, and fees, so be sure to investigate the upfront and ongoing costs in full.
1. Yogo Factory
With an initial franchise fee of $25,000, Yogo Factory is one option for entrepreneurs interested in the food services industry. Not quite a restaurant, Yogo Factory offers premium frozen yogurt in a variety of flavors and a multitude of topping options, along with other frozen treats.
2. 101 Mobility
Tapping into the growing senior population, 101 Mobility is a “home mobility products seller, installer, and service provider,” offering mobility products such as stair lifts and ramps. No startup costs are noted on its website, but Franchise.org estimates costs between $98,000 and $128,000.
Pet lovers interested in starting their own businesses might consider a pet day care service such as Dogtopia. The pet industry is booming, with U.S. consumers spending $52.8 billion on pets in 2012, marking a 30 percent increase within the previous five years. With a $42,500 initial franchise fee, starting a Dogtopia franchise costs an estimated $318,350 to $496,750.
4. Medi-Weightloss Clinics
If you’re looking to capitalize on the $60.5 billion weight-loss industry, Medi-Weightloss Clinics is one franchise to investigate. While the overall weight-loss market has slowed in recent years due to a shift to a do-it-yourself approach among consumers, Medi-Weightloss Clinics appeal to doctors and have potential to tap into a profitable niche created by the Affordable Care Act. Franchise.org estimates startup costs range between $180,084 and $286,084.
5. Professor Egghead Science Academy
“The education space has been recognized as an up and coming industry,” says Shaun Tuch, co-founder of Professor Egghead Science Academy (pictured), who notes that education is also recession-proof. Professor Egghead promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education through year-round programming. “We’re hoping to re-innovate science and engineering education for kids,” Tuch says. Because the franchise does not require a storefront, overhead costs are lower than many franchises. The franchise fee is just $19,500.
Speaking of the recession-proof education industry, JumpBunch is another franchise worth a look in this area. The franchise “brings sports and fitness classes to existing daycare, preschool, and school age classrooms.” Basically, it’s outsourced physical education, which has the potential to tap the trend of schools cutting P.E. from their curricula due to budget constraints.
Is the Franchise Business Model Right for You?
A franchise is like “a business with training wheels,” according to franchise consultant Tom Scarda, one of only 1,004 Certified Franchise Executives (CFEs) designated by the International Franchise Association. “If you’re the type of person who thinks you’re going to lose weight just because you joined a gym, please know that just because you buy a franchise does not mean you’re going to make money.”
According to Scarda, there are more than 3,000 franchise concepts spanning 90 industries. “It’s not so much what the business is or does, but more about whether it will fit with the owner’s lifestyle and personality,” he explains. “Most of all, will it get him or her to the goals that they have not been able to attain through other methods?”