By Ashley Smith
When it comes to franchising, some types of businesses are more successful than others. If you’re thinking about opening a franchise, it’s important to do your homework to find out which chains have the best chance of surviving - or better yet, thriving. Here, we’ll walk you through some of the most successful and popular franchise opportunities.
A hotel chain took the No. 1 spot on the 2012 Franchise 500, Entrepreneur’s list of the most successful franchises. Hampton Inn, a mid-priced chain, has grown to more than 1,900 locations throughout the world. The franchise is fairly expensive, with an estimated $3.7 million to $13.5 million in startup costs, but the company’s ongoing support is comprehensive. Looking for a more affordable hotel opportunity? Days Inn, which ranked No. 5 on the Entrepreneur list, is attainable for an investment as low as about $200,000.
2. Cleaning services
Three of the top five fastest growing franchises were cleaning services, as were five of the top 10 lowest cost franchises. Starting a cleaning service franchise is relatively low risk because the financial barriers to entry are low and the business model has proven successful. Some of today’s top cleaning service franchises include Stratus Building Solutions, CleanNet USA Inc., Vanguard Cleaning Systems, System4 and ChemDry. However, there are many other successful and reputable cleaning franchises that are worth investigating.
3. Fast food
Fast food has long been one of the most successful franchise models. Think McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and KFC. All three of those chains continue to break Entrepreneur’s Top 20; however, they’re also expensive ventures with startups costs ranging from about $300,000 to $2.5 million. Subway is another force to be reckoned with, having claimed the No. 9 spot on the 2012 list. Coffee chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts also ranked high.
4. Convenience stores
Everyone needs to stop at a convenience store from time to time. Household name 7-Eleven Inc. was ranked the No. 4 franchise in the country, with startup costs ranging from about $30,000 to $1.64 million. Circle K ranked No. 22, but the startup costs were higher, ranging from about $176,000 to more than $1.41 million.
5. Fitness centers
In recent years, several gym franchises have skyrocketed up the Entrepreneur list. Either more people are concerned about their health or these chains have figured out a business model that works. A 24-hour, unstaffed key club called Anytime Fitness claimed the No. 11 spot in 2012, up from 18 in 2001, 43 in 2010 and 75 in 2008. Jazzercise Inc. ranked No. 13, up from 44 in 2008.