When people think of franchises, the first name that often comes to mind is McDonald’s, and while the fast-food titan remains one of the most successful franchise opportunities available, there are many other options in this competitive and growing market. Entrepreneurs can use this to their advantage, selecting the franchise that best aligns with their experience, budget, and local market.

Restaurant Franchises

Of course, franchises in the restaurant industry are still some of the most visible options, and, despite its ubiquity, McDonald’s remains one of the top choices in this area. Part of the company's success can be attributed to its size: with its large supply chain, brand recognition, and massive marketing resources, demand for the fast-food chain remains high. This popularity is reflected in its investment costs, which range from $1,008,000 to $2,214,080.

Dunkin’ has also proven to be a solid franchise performer, as many consumers have made the coffee purveyor a part of their daily routine. Moreover, the company seems primed for growth: after dropping the “Donuts” from its name, the company has continued to expand its offerings to compete more directly with brands like McDonald’s for a seat at America’s dining table. Initial investment costs range from $109,700-$1,637,700.

Planet Fitness

Although many of the most well-known franchises are restaurants, there are many options outside the food service industry, as well. For example, Planet Fitness has made gym memberships accessible to a much wider market with its stripped-down business model and inexpensive membership fees. Much like McDonald’s did with fast food, Planet Fitness’s business model relies on providing a reliable, no-frills service for a low price, which also makes it easier to run for the new entrepreneur. Due to equipment costs and location requirements, the initial investment costs for Planet Fitness can run high, ranging from $968,100-$4,113,000.

The UPS Store

One name that might not immediately come to mind in the franchise market is The UPS Store. With the growth of online business, demand for shipping supplies and services has grown, as well. In particular, The UPS Store has seen increasing profitability in handling returns for online retailers, a service which will likely grow as consumers continue to favor ecommerce over traditional, in-person shopping experiences. To franchise with The UPS Store, prospective entrepreneurs can expect to invest anywhere from $64,894-$566,585, depending on location and store type.

Tax Specialists

Though many might only think of their taxes every April, the need for tax specialists extends well beyond tax season. Recently, ATAX, a tax preparation service based out of New York, made the list of Franchise Business Review’s top franchises for 2020. This comprehensive tax service provider’s initial investment costs range from $59,150-$74,700, making it one of the more affordable options in this category.

Franchises for those with limited experience

While the aforementioned franchises all have proven business plans and positive projected growth within their markets, they often require considerable industry experience, and their initial costs can easily range into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. For many prospective entrepreneurs, these requirements can seem daunting; fortunately, there are still franchise opportunities available for those with limited experience or resources.

Like ATAX, Dream Vacations was also named a top franchise by Franchise Business Review. Dream Vacations specializes in vacation planning services, which include resort and cruise booking, as well as tours and guided excursions. The company, which is based out of Florida, offers franchise opportunities starting at $9,800, but discounts are available for experienced professionals.

For potential entrepreneurs with limited industry experience, Image One is a viable option. This company, which is based out of Illinois, specializes in commercial cleaning services and offers its franchisees training in both business management and basic practices in the cleaning industry; this feature makes Image One a good choice for potential entrepreneurs who might not have the requisite experience to invest in franchises from other sectors. Franchise costs for Image One range from $72,775-$216,675.