Finding the Best Franchise Opportunities for 2015

It’s a tough thing to sort out all these “top franchises” lists. They all use different metrics to determine which is the “best” franchise on the market. Some are geared toward the franchiser’s total profit, others toward the franchises with the minimum investment required to join, and still others toward more obscure metrics like ‘delta-S’ — the change-per-franchise in the brand’s total market share. But for your purposes, there needs to be only three statistics examined: franchisee satisfaction, franchisee success, and the cost-of-entry.

Fortunately, industry research firm Franchisee Business Review has already done the work and given us a list of the ‘best’ franchise opportunities. We’re going to break down three of those opportunities for you to show you what we consider ‘ideal’ opportunities in some very different industries.

National Property Inspections, Inc.

  • Cash Required to Start: $44,000 (Franchise Fee: $34,900)
  • Franchisee Satisfaction: 4.1/5
  • Unique Pros: No other employees required; work solo/from home
  • Unique Cons: Getting wrapped up in Tyvek suits and crawling through confined spaces

A franchisee with National Property Inspections is expected to come in with a modest supply of startup cash (see above), the desire to learn and work hard…and that’s about it. NPI will train you in both home and commercial building inspection and provide you with a complete step-by-step for running your business successfully. So long as you’re willing to get down and dirty (literally!), and you can follow a plan to the T, NPI is a great low-cost opportunity for people who want to fly solo.

Firehouse Subs

  • Cash Required to Start: $128,760 (Franchise Fee: $20,000)
  • Franchisee Satisfaction: 3.8/5
  • Unique Pros: Profound vetting system means if they take you on, you’re probably going to succeed.
  • Unique Cons: Your main competitor (Subway) is far-and-away the most dominant force in the industry and you have to be something special to steal their customers away

Firehouse Subs was started by a pair of firefighters who understood what their fellow public-service personnel — love (hint: meat.) They also have an intense focus on making every store successful (somewhat the opposite of Subway’s “open everywhere, see who fails” model), which on the one hand means it’s quite possible to get your application for a franchise declined — but if they do accept you, you can be assured they’ll do everything in their power to help you make it.

Payroll Vault

  • Cash Required to Start: $69,000 (Franchise Fee: $28,000)
  • Net Worth Requirement: $250,000
  • Franchisee Satisfaction: 4.2/5
  • Unique Pros: A thoroughly white-collar, B2B affair — franchising from a desktop
  • Unique Cons: Lots of legal details; most be attentive to minutia

If you’re interested in a franchise but you don’t want to deal with scheduling shifts, manual labor, or corporate uniforms — if your skillset is in financial advising or business capital — Payroll Vault might be a great fit. With a relatively modest startup fee and great training opportunities that include shadowing existing franchisees on the job, you can start a payroll outsourcing firm and start building your LinkedIn network and brushing up to your local Chamber of Commerce like any other suit-and-tie corporate professional.

These are just a few examples of the best franchise opportunities for 2015. There are hundreds of other brands that have proven successful business models with relatively low barriers to entry. A franchise broker can help you perform a more efficient search by sifting through the hundreds of possibilities and narrowing your search down to the handful of franchises that best suit your passion, tastes and budget.

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The Best Fit for an Elder Care Franchise

Elder care franchises are huge right now — the entire industry is undergoing a kind of grassroots revolution, because the formal healthcare system is failing our eldest citizens rather dramatically. New solutions are needed, and they’re coming, but they have to compete against The System using the only tool at their disposal: the free market.

That means they need to prove (in a wide variety of circumstances) that their business models are robust enough to outperform residential care systems no matter where they collide. So a startling number of elder care companies have started franchising, with remarkable success. The question is: are you the right kind of person to handle an elder care franchise?

The Attributes of a Successful Elder Care Franchisee Are:

  • A Caring Heart,
  • A Mind for Money, and
  • Serious Social Savvy.

A Caring Heart

Elder care is a business that focuses on an ideal we’ve somewhat lost in modern America: honoring and caring for the wisest and most experienced among us. Our culture is so intensely focused on youth, ambition, action, and competition that we frequently discard the stories and advice of our elders offhand. If you want to be successful in the business of elder care, you have to first recognize that the business isn’t really the point — the point is caring. If your goal is to make money and you don’t particularly worry about the people in your care, find a different franchise, plain and simple.

A Mind for Money

That said, while the business isn’t really the point, if you’re not quick with a leger and aware of the bottom line, you’ll handily spend yourself out of existence. Elder care is a world with an infinite amount of goods and services you could buy, a goodly amount that you’ll want to buy, especially if you have the aforementioned caring heart. But it’s crucial that you balance your desire to do good by your patients with your desire to stay in business.

Serious Social Savvy

Finally, if you want to start a senior care franchise, you have to be able to teach others why your service matters. It’s more than just marketing, because you have to educate the many community groups and online resources used by seniors and their families — as well as the seniors and families themselves. Depending on the franchise, you may even be able to turn those skills toward wealthy philanthropic donors and use those donations to further your services.

The Backup Plan

If you love the idea of a senior care franchise, but you’re leery of your skillset, there is one other option you should ponder: hiring the talent you lack. If you’re not a perfect money manager, hiring someone to watch the leger is definitely a solid move. If your relationship-building skills aren’t top-tier, you could hire someone to take on that role as well. Just beware, there is always a chance your new hire could leave and take their critical know-how with you — so it’s a risk you’ll have to bear.

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Franchise Consulting vs. Sales vs. Brokerage

There’s no single ‘type’ of person who comes to the realization that they’re interested in starting a franchise. There are not even a few categories of such folks — they come in all attitudes, shapes, sizes, and abilities. If you’re talking to the folks who get people into franchises, however, there are exactly three categories: you have the people who do franchise consulting, the ones who do franchise sales, and the ones who do franchise brokerage.

Notice I don’t say “franchise consultants, franchise salespeople, and franchise brokers.” That’s deliberate, because a surprising number of people in this arena manage to completely mis-use those terms. You’ll find people doing franchise consulting but labeled “Franchise Broker,” and so on. So let’s talk about the difference between these activities categories.

Franchise Consulting: Pay Money, Get Tough Love

Franchise consulting is “getting paid by a person to determine whether that person would make a good franchisee and, if so, which franchise their abilities are most appropriate for.” Franchise consultants tend to focus the vast majority of their time and attention on that first part: on assessing their clients’ ability to handle a franchise. If a client of theirs goes into business and fails, they ‘lose face’ (so to speak).

Unfortunately, this creates a harsh dynamic, because they’re incentivized to tell most people that they won’t succeed as franchisees — and the people they say this to are the ones paying their bills. So talking to someone who is consulting with you on your ability to franchise is often like giving someone money to kick your dreams into the gutter.

Franchise Sales: Everything Looks Like a Nail

On the other extreme, you have franchise salespeople. Franchise salespeople will put you in a franchise if you can afford it — because they work for a franchiser, and they get paid for each person they sign up as a franchisee. It doesn’t matter what you did for a living or what you love to do with your life, they have the same suggestion: hand over a pile of money, because being a franchisee for their particular company is great!

Needless to say, if you’ve been a car parts salesman for years, and the franchise recruiter for Subway is selling Subway, they’ll pitch you Subway, end of story. They have no other options, and they have no income if you don’t sign up — so they have no incentive to do anything other than ‘whatever it takes to get you to sign up.’

Franchise Brokerage: Matchmaker

In between the two, combining the best aspects of both, you have the franchise broker. These folks work for large groups — as many as ‘several hundred’ — franchisers, and they get paid by those collectives to match your skills and circumstances to the franchise that you are the most likely to succeed at.

A franchise broker won’t kick your dreams, but they also won’t try to wedge you into a mold that you don’t fit. If you believe that a franchise is in your future, a broker is usually the best person to talk to.

Getting hooked up with a franchise broker is easier than most people think. Franchise City offers free unlimited services from brokers who are under contract with nearly 600 of the top brands across a wide range of industries. Through a unique and proven 20 step process, we help clients find the best franchise business to fit your passion, interests and budget. To get started, go here or fill out our contact form at the bottom of this page.

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