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.

4 Signs a Franchisor May Not Be Around for the Long Haul

A critical part of the due diligence process for prospective franchisees is trying to discern (to the extent reasonably possible) whether the franchisor will be around for the long haul. After all, much of what you pay for in a franchise opportunity is the right to be associated with the franchisor’s brand and system, the right to use the franchisor’s proprietary materials, and in some cases, the right to an exclusive territory. If the franchisor goes out of business, all of these rights go up in the air (if not out the window), and you may well be left in a worse position than if you had just gone into business on your own in the first place.

How Much Money Can My Franchise Make?

With a basic grasp of accounting, a willingness to read through FDDs, and the ability to perform some simple arithmetic, you can build a basic set of financial projections (your mini business plan in numerical form) to estimate the potential profit of your franchise investment.