7 Best Franchises for Small Business Owners

Julie Bawden-Davis

For the entrepreneur who wants tried-and-true guidance when opening a small business, a franchise offers the support necessary for success. Some franchises are friendlier to small business owners than others, so it pays to do your homework before purchasing.

These seven franchises are strong chains with affordable startup costs. They are known for treating their franchisees well, including providing ongoing support. All of them rank high on the Entrepreneur 2015 Franchise 500 list.

Anytime Fitness

If you like exercising and want to spread the joys of keeping fit, this franchise offers the opportunity to make fitness pay. The total startup costs run from $78,700-$371,175 and include an initial franchise fee of $18,000-$22,500. Royalties cost $549 monthly. If you’re a military veteran, you get 20 percent off the franchise fee. No need to quit your day job. Absentee ownership is allowed.

Founded: 2002

H&R Block

Do you have an accounting background and enjoy saving people money on their taxes? If so, consider this franchise that has prepared more than 600 million tax returns. You’ll need to invest $31,505-$148,700 in startup costs, which include a franchise fee of $2,500. Royalties are an ongoing 30 percent. When you buy a tax preparation competitor to convert to an H&R Block, the company pays up to 70 percent of the purchase price.

Began franchising: 1956

Jiffy Lube

Are you a car buff? This leader in the quick lube business makes franchising possible for many small business owners. Total startup costs run $221,000-$400,000, and this includes a franchise fee from 0-$35,000. There’s royalty payments of 3 percent each month. If you want to be an absentee owner, that’s allowed. A majority of the company’s franchisees own more than one shop.

Founded: 1979

Kumon Math & Reading Centers

For entrepreneurs with a teaching background who want to see kids succeed with math and reading, this franchise is a perfect fit. The popular afterschool enrichment program currently has 340,000 students enrolled in North America. To start, you will need $72,187-$149,319, which includes a $1,000 franchise fee. Royalty fees are $32-$36 per student each month.

Began franchising: 1958


Become a Servpro franchisee and you’ll specialize in residential and commercial disaster restoration, including cleanup and repair after fire and water damage. The company requires a total startup investment of $138,550-$187,200 that includes the $44,000 franchise fee. Royalties run 3-10 percent.

Began franchising: 1969


In the quick service restaurant industry, Subway is by far one of the most affordable franchise options. You’ll need to invest $116,600-$263,150 to start, which includes a franchise fee of $15,000. You’ll pay royalties of 8 percent. They also offer some financial incentives to military veterans.

Began franchising: 1974


Small business owners who like expediency gravitate toward this franchise, which features a technique for inexpensive, 20-minute haircuts. This company allows absentee ownership. Startup requires $113,900-$233,800 and includes a franchise fee of $29,500. There are ongoing 6 percent royalty fees.

Began franchising: 1979

Being your own boss with a successful franchise behind you can be a satisfying and lucrative experience. Choose a strong franchisee-friendly company, and you’ll be well on your way to small business success.

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