As an entrepreneur, I’m always on the lookout for any new business opportunities, especially right here in Chicago. While I enjoy the idea of starting a new business from the ground up, it can be overwhelming—especially without a network of personal and professional support. That’s why I, along with so many other entrepreneurs, chose to invest in a franchise for my first business.
A franchise lets independent entrepreneurs like us use the rights to a larger company’s brand while operating our own individual location. You get the benefits of name recognition, training, and professional support, while still working for yourself and owning your own business. If this sounds appealing to you, then you should consider investing in a franchise. Luckily, there are dozens of franchise opportunities in Chicago, you just need to know what to look for when choosing one.
Franchise Opportunities in Chicago
Before you choose a franchise, you should evaluate the opportunity to make sure it’s the right investment for you. Most franchise agreements run for at least ten years, so this is a long-term investment you should feel confident about. Here are a few things to look into when trying to choose a franchise.
- Investment Cost: Most franchises will require you to pay an upfront franchise fee to get started, which can be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as monthly franchise royalties and marketing fees. In addition to making sure you can afford these fees, you also want to fully understand what’s included so you can ensure you’re making a worthwhile investment and have enough capital left over to actually run your business.
- Profitability: Before you sign a franchise agreement, you should analyze the franchise disclosure document that provides the average sales per franchise unit, the number of new franchise locations opening each year, and the success rates of these new locations.
- Training and Support: The best franchise opportunities in Chicago will provide you with comprehensive training, the mentorship of an experienced franchisee, and a support team available to answer any questions you have while running your business.
Now that you know what to look for, here are some of the best franchise opportunities in Chicago.
Ace Hardware is a locally founded retail franchise that’s headquartered in Oak Brook. The company has been franchising since 1928 and has over 5,000 locations in North America alone. While there isn’t a franchise fee or any royalty fees, you are required to invest around $600,000 – $1,000,000 toward opening your franchise. However, the company does offer in-house financing that can cover up to 90% of your startup costs. As a new franchisee, you’ll attend an in-person training course at the Ace Hardware headquarters, and then you have the option to attend twice-yearly training sessions and seminars.
Ace Hardware has a proven track record of success and enormous brand recognition, so you might think joining their network is a safe bet. However, the large up-front investment cost—which is somewhat typical of retail businesses—makes Ace Hardware a somewhat riskier choice unless you have experience running this type of establishment or you have a lot of available capital in reserve. If you’re looking to start your first business and you don’t have any retail management experience, you might be biting off more than you can chew.
In addition to the Cubs and deep-dish pizza, Chicago is known for its legendary mosquito problem. That’s why Mosquito Joe has become so popular in the region. Mosquito Joe provides preventative mosquito treatments to homes across the country, with 319 franchise locations in the US. Getting started requires a $40,000 franchise fee and an estimated $64,500 in additional costs for things like marketing, tools, and vehicles. New franchisees must attend in-person training at the Mosquito Joe headquarters in Virginia Beach, and then you’ll get access to a 24/7 call center whenever you need support.
Mosquito Joe has been rapidly expanding in the Chicago region, so you’ll have the benefit of name recognition and a thriving market. You don’t need any experience in the field, and the startup costs are low, which means pretty much anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit could potentially do well with this franchise. However, the work is seasonal, which means you’ll either need to earn enough money during the Spring and Summer to last the whole year or have other work lined up during the off-season.
Dogtopia is a doggy daycare franchise with over 150 locations in the United States. You’ll need to pay a franchise fee of $49,500, plus around $600,000 in startup costs for construction, equipment, and training. Dogtopia offers a highly structured training program that includes four weeks of classroom and field instruction, 10 days of on-site grand opening assistance, and weekly calls with a mentor.
Dogtopia is currently the fastest growing franchise in the pet industry, and the doggy daycare market is expected to keep rising, especially in urban areas with a lot of apartment dwellers. However, you’ll need to make a hefty up-front investment just to purchase or construct a specialized facility, plus there are special licenses your staff needs to have in order to care for animals in Chicago. Also, it should go without saying that you have to really, really like dogs and be committed to providing top-quality care and enrichment.
HomeVestors is a national real estate investment franchise with over 1,000 independently owned and operated locations in 47 states and D.C. Franchise fees depend on your business model—part-time Associate Franchises cost $34,000, and full-time Full Franchises cost $75,000. Your other startup costs start at $40,000 and include marketing, training, software, and the purchase and repair of properties. HomeVestors® provides new franchisees with a week-long comprehensive training program and the one-on-one mentorship of a Development Agent.
HomeVestors® provides franchisees with a lot of value, including access to a large network of established real estate professionals and a proprietary software platform to help secure financing, find and develop motivated seller leads, and manage payments and accounting. The real estate market in Chicago is red-hot and interest rates are at historic lows, so there’s never been a better time to start a real estate investment business.
The Best Franchise Opportunity in Chicago
Becoming a HomeVestors® independently owned and operated franchise in Chicago was the best business decision I could have made as a new entrepreneur. The low up-front costs meant I had more money to invest in properties to flip, and with the support of my Development Agent, I was able to confidently make real estate deals even though I didn’t have any prior experience. If you’re not ready for a full-time commitment, you can start out as a part-time Associate Franchise to get experience in the real estate investment field. That’s why HomeVestors® is one of the best franchise opportunities in Chicago.
Are you ready to join the HomeVestors® network of independently owned and operated real estate franchises? Contact us today to learn more about how HomeVestors can make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.