If you’re an entrepreneur at heart but have been working for someone else for years, the pressure to just go for it is probably mounting. And, if you don’t take a chance soon, you know it’s possible that you won’t take a chance at all, leading you towards a lifetime of “what-ifs.” Before I became my own boss, that’s how I felt. Day in and day out, the pressure built up until, finally, I had an idea. That idea? That I should buy a franchise.
The truth is, the only thing that had really been holding me back from running my own business was the thought of starting one from scratch. I was comfortable taking risks and have always had a strong work ethic, but I also had a family to feed. That meant I didn’t have a lot of free time to build a startup from the ground up—or a lot of extra cash to do it. Buying a franchise would provide brand recognition, an established operating model, and at least a little training.
Of course, buying a franchise can be expensive, too. Some companies require an initial investment of over one million dollars, which was too rich for my blood. Luckily, many cost less than $100k. If you’re where I was about a decade ago, you’ll want to know what those options are to avoid any future “what-ifs.” So, I’ve listed five of the best franchises under $100k, including the one I chose, right here.
Top 5 Best Franchises Under $100k
These days, it seems that mosquitos are everywhere—and, reportedly, more dangerous than ever. As concern around deadly virus-carrying mosquitos has grown over the years, so has the U.S. pest control industry. In 2014, Mosquito Hunters jumped on board. Just a few short years later, the company expanded its mosquito, flea, and tick-control reach beyond its hometown of Chicago by offering franchises in several other markets around the U.S. Already at 55 franchisees, Mosquito Hunters is poised to add more.
To buy a franchise, you’ll need $60,000 cash, but you can expect your overall initial investment to push past $85,000. But, if you’re a first responder or disabled veteran looking for a business opportunity, Mosquito Hunters provides a $10,000 discount on its franchise fee. Regardless, you will be required to have a net worth of at least $200,000.
For that cost, you will get a good amount of support. Franchisees receive training, of course, plus access to a national sales and support call center. The corporate office helps to generate your leads and you have the flexibility—and encouragement—to work from home. The biggest potential plus that the company’s brand recognition, which may grow
There are some drawbacks to buying a Mosquito Hunters franchise, however. The first is that it doesn’t offer opportunities everywhere. So, if you live in Oregon or Vermont, you’re going to be out of luck. Also, in most regions of the U.S., mosquitos and other pests are a seasonal problem to solve, not a year-round revenue stream. And, whether you do well all or just part of the time, you will have to pay a 10% royalty fee. That can start to really add up, especially if, at least part of the year, you’re just scraping by.
PROS: Low operating costs, generating leads, discounts available for some people
CONS: Low brand recognition, high royalty fees, seasonal customer base, geographically-limited opportunities
CPR Cell Phone Repair
The more we grow dependent on our phones and other gadgets, the more often we’ll need easy and fast access to those who can repair them. And, that’s exactly what CPR Cell Phone Repair provides: local brick-and-mortar small electronics repair shops for people who love their phones, tablets, and games. Opening its doors in 2004, this Ohio-based company has brought more than 600 franchisees on board.
To get started with CPR Cell Phone Repair, you’ll need at least $50,000 and a net worth of $100,000. Your total startup costs could inch towards $200,000, however, when you factor in buying or renting retail space, purchasing equipment, hiring personnel, and marketing your services. You’ll also pay a franchise fee that’s currently set at $37,500 for the use of the CPR Cell Phone Repair name, plus an ongoing royalty fee of 6.5% and an ad fee of 2%.
What do you get in return? You will receive training and, for the first 30 days, be provided with a Store Manager and Technician. You’ll also get assistance with everything from selecting a site for your store to connecting with approved suppliers.
Unfortunately, though the cell phone repair industry is pretty hot right now, like most tech-related ideas, it could take a cool turn anytime. At the very least, you may have to constantly update your gadgetry knowledge and repair certifications, in addition to upgrading your staff’s expertise. If you’re not already tech-savvy, that’s going to be a heavy lift. And, though third-party ratings for this franchise are pretty good, they’re starting to rank lower than in years past—indicating that demand for CPR Cell Phone Repair may already be growing cold.
PROS: Current demand for service is high, across-the-board training available, in-store support for 30 days after opening
CONS: High startup costs, retail space and staff needed, limited support after opening, fast-changing industry that may make keeping up difficult
Baby Boomers still make up the largest demographic in the U.S. and continue to hold the majority of the nation’s wealth. Capitalizing on what is predicted to be one of the largest industries in the near future, Caring Transitions was founded in 2006 to help seniors and their families plan for the changes that come with aging. Since that time, the company has added nearly 190 franchisees.
Your initial cash investment will only be $50,000. To get your business up and running, however, you should plan to pay a little over $80,000. You’ll also be responsible for a variety of other costs—like royalty, branding, ad, and licensing fees—which will vary each year depending on how much money you make.
But, you don’t have to have any previous experience with relocation services or estate sales since Caring Transitions will train you. After your training, you’ll get three months of help setting up everything from your website to your office space, plus a designated coach should you run into any snags.
But, there are a few issues with this franchise that may make you reconsider—if the potentially high fees to operate your business aren’t reason enough. The terms of your agreement will have to be renewed, even renegotiated, every few years. That’s not necessarily unusual, but it means your costs to operate may go higher. Your fees will go up if your territory’s population increases. Millennials are poised to take over in a few years as the country’s largest demographic, too. So, it’s conceivable that industry priorities may need to shift, possibly dramatically, to meet their expectations in only a decade.
PROS: Large customer base with the funds to hire transition services, can work from home, comprehensive training and ongoing support
CONS: High fees that are designed to go higher, potential for high emotional toll, may be unstable for the long-term
With every kind of food truck currently all the rage, it should come as no surprise that there is a franchise for roasted snacks. Totally Nutz, which started in 1990, uses a simple recipe of cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar for roasting a variety of nuts on-site at farmers’ markets, sporting events, and even large arenas. The company began franchising in 2014 and has grown to about 50 franchises since.
On the low end, your franchise will cost about $60,000 once you tally all the fees, insurance, and equipment. On the high end, however, you could push well past $150,000 if you go with a semi-permanent kiosk and need more inventory.
Training can take anywhere from one day to one week, but the roasting machine itself is very easy to use. Your territory may vary, depending on which franchise model you buy. But, you can usually set up anywhere, except at another franchisee’s “protected event.”
Of course, with nut allergies on the rise in both children and adults, your customer base may not be all that wide. You certainly run the risk of being sued if someone gets sick, or paying through the nose for enough insurance to ensure your bottom line doesn’t get hurt. Being a food vendor is a tough business, anyway, and abiding by state and local laws can make it even harder to survive. That may be why in thirty years they’ve only grown to 50 franchisees.
PROS: Growing industry, minimal staff required, larger territory than other franchises, good ratings from third parties
CONS: Local licensing and permits may be required to serve food, growing incidence of nut allergies may dampen sales, fees for additional training
Making it into the top 20 of Entrepreneur’s annual list of fastest-growing franchises again this year, HomeVestors is hands down one of the best franchises available for under $100k. Started in Dallas back in 1996, this was one of the first full-fledged professional real estate investing franchise. And, now, more than 1100 franchisees across 48 states have bought or wholesaled, rehabbed and sold over 100,000 homes.
HomeVestors gives you two options for becoming an independently owned and operated franchisee, depending on whether you want to start investing in real estate full-time or part-time. Both options are affordable. The Full Franchise is for the investor who can focus 100% of their time and energy on buying investment properties as their new career and is priced at only $70k. The Associate Franchise, on the other hand, is for those who want to build the business more slowly. At $30k, it’s a great deal—and you can upgrade to the Full Franchise when you are ready.
No matter which franchise option you choose, you get set up to start your business fast. After your initial comprehensive week-long training, you receive free mentoring from your Development Agent for as long as you need. You gain access to the nationally-recognized and trusted “We Buy Ugly Houses®” brand and marketing campaign, and are granted territorial rights as well. Plus, you are poised to receive qualified leads on motivated home sellers in addition to tools, like the proprietary house valuation tool, ValueChek®, the moment you open your doors.
As an owner of one of the longest-running and most trusted franchises in the nation, you get something else by joining the HomeVestors® team: the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. The national positive social impact of investing in real estate ethically can be seen from Chicago to Portland. Whether it’s one distressed homeowner being unburdened from a house they can no longer afford or an entire neighborhood seeing property values going up, HomeVestors® franchisees are often at the helm.
Your Best Entrepreneurial Franchise Option
When I set out to research which of the best franchises under $100k were actually best for me, HomeVestors was the clear winner. Since the demand for housing will never go out of style, the chance to make a living as a professional real estate investor will always be present—as will the opportunity to improve the lives of others. And, that’s what turns a good business idea into a great company: ensuring every life you touch profits in some way.
No franchise sets you up to do this better than HomeVestors of America. So, when it’s time for you to take a chance on your future, consider becoming an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, like me.
To get started on a new and rewarding career, request more information about the HomeVestors® franchise opportunities in your area today!