Identify the perfect franchise for you! Take our short quiz Take our free franchise quiz!
Identify the perfect franchise for you! Take our short quiz Take our free franchise quiz!

Top Five Least Expensive Franchises

Franchise opportunities aren’t just for the well-funded; many affordable franchises cost under $25,000. Franchises start-up costs are approximate and may change, but here are five of the cheapest franchise opportunities around:

1. Cruise Planners/American Express. This cruise and tour travel agency is a low-investment business that needs less than $10,000 in capital. Like many of the low-cost franchise opportunities, this is a home-based franchise and can be full- or part-time. Franchisees make money by selling cruises to travelers and making commissions off the sales, as well as on sales of additional features like trip insurance and shore excursions. Cruises are big business, and millions of Americans embark on them every year.

2. Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems. Jan-Pro provides commercial cleaning services, and franchises require only $1,000 in capital. The commercial cleaning industry touts itself as recession-proof, and office buildings are the top commercial cleaning clients.

3. Jazzercise. The fitness franchise that blends aerobic exercise with jazz dance, can be started with just $3,000 and offers two types of Jazzercise franchises. With an instructor franchise, entrepreneurs can enroll in a training program to become Jazzercise-certified training instructors and teach Jazzercise classes. With a business franchise, entrepreneurs own the classes and manage a team of instructors who teach these classes. Jazzercise also offers specialty junior classes for kids to attract different audiences.

4. Proforma. This business-to-business (B2B) franchise provides printing services, such as forms, business documents and promotional products. Franchisees act as salesman, explaining the different products to potential clients and showing them which would be best for their particular needs. Franchisees have the actual printing done by printers hired by the franchise. Proforma franchises can be based at home and started for under $20,000.

5. Disaster Kleenup International. DKI franchises specialize in insurance restoration services. Unlike many other relatively inexpensive franchises, Disaster Kleenup franchises are designed for existing contractors to expand their business as a franchisee. As a franchisee, contractors have access to a large network of connections to potential clients and mass marketing as well as shared resources. The total investment for the franchise is $33,000.

Chick-fil-A Wants You to Eat Less Kale?

Several other big-name corporations have been in the news recently for raising similar issues. Nike recently sent a letter to someone selling “Just Jesu It” t-shirts. Best Buy sent a letter to Geek On. Hell’s Angels sent a letter to a designer in California.

The Top 10 Most Famous Franchise Founders of All Time

Fearing the debate would never end (and with our coffee running out), the staff finally settled on the following (admittedly unscientific) criteria: size and longevity of operation, visibility of brand, and -- quite honestly -- how compelling we found the founder's success story. If our internal discussion about this list serves as any indication, many readers will feel we snubbed their favorite franchise founder (and someone on our staff will probably agree). So, if you think we missed someone, leave a comment below, and let the debate begin!