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5 Hot Franchises for 2014

Contributed by Franchise Financing Partner Guidant Financial Group.

Looking ahead to 2014, quick service food and cleaning services are perennially popular and lucrative franchise opportunities. Here are five white-hot franchises that may surprise you.

Painting with a Twist

Art, friends, and wine. Painting with a Twist is burning up our Facebook feeds and growing at a tremendous rate. Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney began franchising their Corks N Canvas business as “Painting with a Twist” in 2009 and there are now 106 locations to enjoy social art instruction.

School of Rock

Good times or bad, people will always spend money on their children, making kid-centric businesses virtually recession-proof. School of Rock combines music education and rock n roll with the added benefit of an unofficial tie-in movie (2003’s The School of Rock starring Jack Black). Franchising since 2005, there are over 100 schools worldwide with more than 10,000 little rockers enrolled.

Liberty Tax Service

Taxes may not be sexy, but they’re unavoidable. What makes Liberty hot? It’s on both the Entrepreneur list of Fastest Growing Franchises (#5) and the Forbes list of Top Ten Franchises for the Buck (#7). There are over 4,000 franchise locations in the U.S.

ShelfGenie

The company was founded in 2000 in Richmond, Va. and began franchising in 2008. Currently there are 123 franchise units in the U.S. ShelfGenie franchisees design and install custom shelving featuring the trademarked Glide-Out shelves. This business can be run from home and is an Entrepreneur Top 10 New Franchise for 2013.

HUMAN Healthy Vending

Everyone from the media to educators to the First Lady of the United States are waging a war against fatty, nutrient-poor food. There’s never been a better time to jump into the health food business, and this company does it in an innovative way: through vending machines. Founded in 2008, HUMAN Healthy Vending has been lauded in the press as one of “America’s Most Promising Companies” (Forbes) and Entrepreneur Magazine’s “100 Brilliant Companies” of 2011.

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Why I Have an Issue with the Forbes Franchise Rankings

The 5-Year Growth Rate and 5-Year Franchise Continuity are both great independent metrics of how a franchise is doing on average. As a potential franchisee both of these statistics are vital for selecting a franchise - you want to select a franchise that will provide you with a high return on investment and which will survive in the long run. I think these are, as FRANdata and Forbes suggested, two of the biggest (if not the two biggest) and most obvious metrics for whether or not a franchise is a “good” opportunity for a franchisee. But how do you use these to determine which franchise is BEST? This is the fundamental difficulty in coming up with a ranking system - it isn’t the difficulty in separating the good from the meh from the bad - it’s separating the great from the good and the best from the great. In the case of these rankings I found it to be pretty difficult to comprehend how they differentiated between the top ranked franchises. For instance, if you look at the difference between Discover Map (Forbes #4), Just Between Friends (Forbes #5), & Seniors Helping Seniors (Forbes #6) they all have extremely close continuity ratings and substantially different growth rates. In fact, in the case of these three, the overall rankings are opposite the growth rate rankings. Seniors Helping Seniors is ranked at the bottom of these three franchises despite having a growth rate that is 31 percentage points higher than Discovery Map and a continuity that is only 2 percentage points lower. This suggested to me that continuity was viewed as the dominant factor. But that logic didn’t hold for the rest on the “Economy Class” Top 10, as BrightStar Care (Forbes #7) had the same growth rate as Pop-a-Lock (Forbes #8) but a continuity rate that was 12 percentage points lower. These comparisons show that these were not the only two factors that went into the rankings, which is understandable, but no other factors that are explicitly listed in their results seem to be major factors.

Franchises for the Summer

I hope everybody had a great 4th of July. We’re now officially two weeks into summer and that means that it’s the perfect time for you to start a summer franchise. Here are five great franchise choices that will position you for success this summer and beyond.