If you’re considering a new business opportunity, franchising can be as close to plug and play as you can get. By paying an initial fee and a licensing fee (also called a royalty), you’re granted the rights to sell branded products or services using the franchise’s trade name, business model, intellectual property, proprietary business knowledge and processes. Learn about the top franchises to own right now and the reasons to consider investing in one.
1. The UPS Store
According to Market Reports World, the courier and local delivery services market is projected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 5% by 2023.
Needless to say, one of the best franchise businesses is United Parcel Service (UPS). You can leverage its brand name to open a brick-and-mortar UPS Store that provides shipping and printing services to local customers.
Franchisees get assistance from UPS to secure a retail location, build the store, procure permits and bids as well as order equipment and computers. You’ll also have access to web-based training on operational procedures, product knowledge and business acumen.
- Investment: Startup costs vary by store size, market and location
- Traditional locations: $240,959 – $508,472
- Rural locations: $206,423 – $459,136
- Store in store locations: $80,357 – $216,148+
- Fees: Royalty fee of 5%; ad royalty fee of 2.5%
- Financial requirements: At least $75,000 in liquid assets
- Total locations: Nearly 5,000
Is there ever a time when Chick-fil-A isn’t busy? Since 1967, this fast-casual restaurant has been wowing patrons with its excellent food and customer service.
In terms of the franchise application, it’s a highly selective process, which could take 1-2 years to complete. Additionally, there is a tiered application with multiple virtual and in-person interviews. This is a rigorous hands-on franchise opportunity focused on integrity.
- Investment: Franchise fee of $10,000 with investments estimated to be approximately $582,000-$2.25 million
- Fees: Royalty fee of 15%, plus 50% of pretax profits
- Minimum financial requirements: Specific figures are not listed, though a solid history of financial stewardship is required
- Total locations: 2,000+
3. Papa John’s
Papa John’s has been in the franchising business since the 1980s. Consider this popular pizza chain if you’re interested in owning multiple franchise units. Currently, Papa John’s is seeking to establish relationships with franchisees looking to operate at least 5 locations. The estimated cost to open a Papa John’s store is $130,120 to $844,420.
- Investment: Reportedly, one-time franchise fee of $25,000
- Fees: Royalty fees reportedly 5% of monthly net sales
- Minimum financial requirements: Minimum net worth of $750,000; minimum of $250,000 in cash or liquid assets
- Total locations: 5,000+
McDonald’s is a long-standing franchise leader that has been in operation since the 1950s. Indeed, the famous golden arches are known throughout the world. In 2021 alone, the brand reported more than $112 billion in global sales. The reputation McDonald’s has earned makes it one of the best franchises to open.
- Initial investment: $1.40-$2.5 million, with an initial franchise fee of $45,000
- Fees: 4% royalty fee; 4%+ ad royalty fee
- Minimum financial requirements: $100,000 cash
- Total locations: 40,000+
Founded in 1927, this convenience store chain has established itself as one of the best franchises to invest in. The company offers up to 65% financing on the initial franchise fee for qualifying applicants. Virtual seminars are offered periodically for those interested in buying a franchise.
Opportunities are available to convert another building into a 7-Eleven store or run a 7-Eleven that you lease from the parent company. Multi-franchise investments are also available, with one-third of franchisees operating this way.
- Initial investment: $70,000-$1.2 million, with initial franchise fee of $0-$1 million
- Fees: Royalty fee varies; ad royalty fee of 1%
- Minimum financial requirements: $50,000-$250,000 cash
- Total locations: 77,000+
6. Taco Bell
Taco Bell was founded in 1962 and is part of Yum! Brands, which includes other notable eateries, such as Pizza Hut and KFC. This Mexican fast-food chain topped Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 ranking list as the best franchise to buy in 2023. Franchising information on the company’s website is scarce. However, Entrepreneur reports the following.
- Initial investment: $575,600-$3,370,000; initial franchise fee of $25,000-$45,000
- Fees: Royalty fee of 5.5%; ad royalty fee of 4.25%
- Minimum financial requirements: $1.5 million net worth; cash requirement of $750,000
- Total U.S. locations: 7,500+
7. Firehouse Subs
Firehouse Subs has been around for almost 3 decades and operates throughout the U.S. Today, it’s a part of Restaurant Brands International, Inc., which also owns Burger King and Popeyes. If you want to be part of a franchise that gives back, consider that a portion of sales at Firehouse Subs locations goes to provide lifesaving equipment to first responders.
- Initial investment: Initial single-unit franchisee fee is $20,000; the average total cost for a traditional Firehouse Subs restaurant is $412,731
- Fees: Royalty is 6% of sales; franchisees spend between 3%-5% of sales on advertising
- Minimum financial requirements: At least $100,000 to invest
- Total locations: 1,200+
SONIC’s roots go back to Oklahoma in the 1950s. Today, 95% of SONIC’s drive-ins are franchise locations. The eatery is part of the Inspire Brands line, which also includes Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’, among others.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee of $45,000, with a total investment ranging from $1.24 to $3.5 million (excluding land)
- Fees: Royalty of 5%; advertising fee of 3.25%
- Minimum financial requirements: $500,000 in liquid capital needed and a minimum net worth of $1 million to open 1-2 units
- Total locations: 3,600+
You can’t go wrong with coffee and doughnuts; these days, that’s not all Dunkin’ offers. Customers can also buy frozen drinks, teas, sandwiches, wraps, bagels and muffins. What once began as a single shop in Massachusetts in the 1950s has turned into a profitable global brand and another one of the best franchise opportunities throughout the U.S.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee of $40,000-$90,000, with an investment range of $526,900-$1.787 million for a traditional unit (1,200-2,600 square feet)
- Fees: Continuing franchise fee of 2%-6%; advertising fee of 5%
- Minimum financial requirements: $250,000 minimum in liquid assets and a net worth of $500,000 per restaurant
- Total locations: 8,500+ in U.S.
Kumon is a math and reading learning center for children ages 3 and older. The program was developed by a Japanese father in 1954 and helps kids grasp key concepts through short, incremental assignments.
If you’re interested in opening one of these franchises, the company offers up to $36,400 in incentives to help cover some of the items needed for each franchise center.
- Initial investment: Investments range from $67,428-$145,640; franchise fee is $2,000
- Fees: Royalty fee of $34-$38 per student per month
- Minimum financial requirements: $70,000 in liquid capital and $150,000 net worth
- Total locations: 26,000+
11. Fast Signs
Fast Signs has been operating since 1985 and is a leader in the $29 billion sign industry. Today, the brand is recognized in 9 countries, where it offers design and installation services, signage products and visibility strategies. Franchisees benefit from ongoing business support, protected territories, nationwide marketing initiatives and national buying power.
- Initial investment: Average franchise fee $49,750; total investment $234,317-$322,489
- Fees: 3%-6% royalty fees; 1%-2% ad fees
- Minimum financial requirements: $80,000 available capital; $300,000 net worth
- Total locations: 750+
Snap-On is a mobile tools company founded in Wisconsin in 1920 and franchised since the 1990s. U.S. manufacturing facilities are located in more than 10 states throughout the country. In 2021, Snap-On earned net sales of $4.25 billion, with more than 80,000 stock-keeping units in its product line.
Franchise financing is available through the company, and veteran franchisees are able to benefit from a $20,000 credit toward their initial tool inventory.
- Initial investment: Startup costs can range from approximately $34,000-$54,000, with total estimated investments ranging from roughly $175,000-$412,000
- Fees: No advertising fee; royalty fee reportedly $150 per month
- Minimum financial requirements: Approximately $37,500-$55,500
- Total locations: 4,800 mobile stores in more than 130 countries worldwide
13. Orangetheory Fitness
Orangetheory Fitness studios are located throughout the U.S., and the company boasts more than 500,000 members worldwide. The concept of this fitness studio is to provide members with a 1-hour, full-body workout focused on training endurance, strength and power.
Though franchise opportunities are limited, with less than 0.1% of new interested parties becoming franchisees, this is another one of the best franchises to consider owning in 2023 and beyond.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee of approximately $60,000, with initial investment of approximately $575,000-$1.5 million
- Fees: Ongoing royalty fee of 8%
- Minimum financial requirements: $500,000 in net worth; liquid cash requirement of $150,000
- Total locations: 1,400+ franchises is 27 countries
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14. School of Rock
This music education company has been in operation for over 2 decades and operates in 15 countries. Today, there are more than 35,000 students worldwide, including kids and adults. Participants can learn guitar, keyboard, drum or singing skills and hone their technique with one-on-one instruction, group sessions and live concerts.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee is $49,900; total investment on a single location ranges from $395,800-$537,400
- Fees: 8% monthly royalty fee
- Minimum financial requirements: $125,000 in liquid assets and $350,000 in net worth
- Total locations: 290+
15. Great Clips
Great Clips has been operating for over 35 years and is the official hair salon of the National Hockey League (NHL). It provides haircut and styling services to men, women and children on a walk-in basis or by appointment and is open 7 days a week.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee of $20,000, with initial investment ranging from approximately $146,000-$302,000
- Fees: 6% royalty fee and 5% ad royalty fee
- Minimum financial requirements: Liquid assets of $50,000-$75,000 and net worth of $300,000-$500,000
- Total locations: 4,200+
16. Visiting Angels
The need for senior care and elderly services is ever-present and rising with aging populations. If this top franchise opportunity sounds appealing, consider that franchisees average nearly $1 million in annual gross sales with 15%-18% in net profit, according to Visiting Angels.
You’ll receive comprehensive training to get started as well as ongoing corporate support. Additionally, national TV ad campaigns run on major networks, such as CNN, Fox News and HGTV, and local marketing guidance is provided.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee $49,950-$79,950, with initial investment of $84,085-$125,885
- Fees: Royalty fees start at 3.5%, with a floor royalty rate of 3% depending on revenue
- Minimum financial requirements: Not listed
- Total locations: 500+
17. Senior Care Authority
Senior Care Authority is another franchising chain of elderly care services to consider when you’re researching the best franchises to own this year. It was listed as one of the top affordable franchises you can start in your 50s by AARP. The company offers consulting to families who are considering assisted living, nursing homes or other long-term care options.
- Initial investment: Total investment is $71,095-$90,395, with an initial franchise fee of $52,500
- Fees: Not listed
- Minimum financial requirements: $50,000 in liquid capital and $150,000 in net worth
- Total locations: 70+
18. Kona Ice
Kona Ice is a brand of shaved-ice trucks popular at community, sporting and personal events. It was founded in 2007 and was recently named the third-most affordable franchise you can start in your 50s by AARP. The initial inventory pack is designed to generate approximately $50,000 in revenue. Partial franchise financing is available for 60 months at 8.99%.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee of $15,000 with a total cost of $140,350
- Fees: Annual royalty fee may be paid over 3-6 months, including $3,000 for the first 5 years, $3,500 for years 6-7 and $4,000 for 8 years or more
- Minimum financial requirements: Cash deposit of $20,000
- Total locations: 1,300+
19. Dairy Queen
Ice cream franchise Dairy Queen has been serving up sweet treats since 1938, with contemporary menus sporting burgers, fries and chicken tenders too. If this industry appeals to you, consider that franchisees benefit from support from regional marketing managers, operations business consultants, purchasing and distribution and more.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee is $45,000, with an investment range totaling $1,461,200-$2,426,990
- Fees: 4% royalty fee and 5%-6% marketing fee
- Minimum financial requirements: $400,000 in liquid capital needed for a single unit and $750,000 in net worth required
- Total locations: 6,800+ worldwide
20. Nothing Bundt Cakes
Founded in 1997 in Las Vegas, Nothing Bundt Cakes is making a name for itself with its array of specialty cakes. Currently, franchise stores are found throughout the U.S. and Canada. Entrepreneur ranked the company No. 19 among the top franchises to own in 2022.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee of $35,000, with total investment ranging from $430,200-$624,300
- Fees: 6% royalty and 5% marketing royalty collected weekly
- Minimum financial requirements: $150,000 in liquid capital and combined net worth of $600,000
- Total locations: 430+
21. Valvoline Instant Oil Change
Another of the best franchise opportunities of the year is the vehicle servicing brand Valvoline, with the average operating income per store is nearly $233,000. In operation since 1986, the company has grown to serve more than 9 million customers annually in 42 U.S. states. As a franchisee, you’ll receive training and onboarding for yourself and your employees.
- Initial investment: Development costs for a single service center can range from $200,000-$2 million depending on whether you build or buy an existing facility or purchase or lease property, equipment and signage
- Fees: Not listed
- Minimum financial requirements: Liquid assets of $300,000-$800,000 and a net worth of $1 million
- Total locations: 900+
If you’re interested in the real estate industry, consider buying into RE/MAX, which has been in operation since the 1970s. Under the RE/MAX model, real estate agents operate under a high commission structure, and each one is responsible for their own business. The brand is in more than 110 countries and employs over 140,000 agents worldwide.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee of $17,500-$37,500, with total initial investments ranging from $33,000-$236,500
- Fees: Monthly fees are reportedly $138 per sales associate, with a franchise fee of 1% gross commissions and revenue and technology fee of up to $15 per sales associate; additional fees, such as marketing fees, annual dues and renewals also apply
- Minimum financial requirements: $35,000 in cash
- Total locations: 9,000
23. Monster Tree Service
Tree care services make up a multi-billion dollar industry, one which Monster Tree Service began capitalizing on in 2008. Since then, it’s grown from a small company in the northeastern U.S. to one of the largest providers today.
Services include commercial and residential tree removal, pruning, trimming and plant health care. Interested franchisees who are veterans, women or minorities are eligible for financial incentives.
- Initial investment: Single territory franchise fee of $49,500, with a total investment of $422,166-$568,358
- Fees: For each royalty period, the royalty fee is calculated using the greater of: (a) the applicable percentage; or (b) the minimum royalty fee, as determined here:
- 6.5% of sales collected for the first $1 million in annual sales
- 5% of sales collected for annual sales from $1,000,001-$2 million
- 4.25% of sales collected for annual sales from $2,000,001-$3 million
- 3.5% of sales collected for annual sales over $3 million
- Minimum financial requirements: $150,000 in liquid capital and $500,000 net worth
- Total locations: Not listed
24. Jan-Pro Cleaning & Disinfecting
MarketResearch.com reported that the multi-billion dollar commercial cleaning services industry will experience 5.4% annual gains through 2025.
The fast-growing international commercial cleaning franchise Jan-Pro offers the opportunities to get long-term and steady contracts with clients in industries such as auto dealerships, daycare and preschools, banks, government, property management, retail, fitness centers, business offices, medical facilities, restaurants, manufacturing and more. Additionally, the company has a dedicated team of sales professionals who find guaranteed clients for franchisees, so you don’t have to worry about selling.
- Initial investment: $1,250-$50,000
- Fees: 10% royalty fee and 1% ad fee
- Minimum financial requirements: $50,000 in liquid capital and $150,000 net worth
- Total locations: 8,500+
Another popular cleaning service brand is MaidPro, named among the top 10 low-investment franchises to buy in 2022 by Forbes, which noted its 5-year growth rate as 9.65%. The average annual revenue for franchisees with a single territory is $489,433, according to MaidPro. The company offers up to $100,000 in low-interest loans for qualified franchisee applicants as well as discounted franchise packages for veterans.
- Initial investment: Franchise fee of $35,000, with a total estimated initial investment of $94,560-$119,800
- Fees: 4%-7% monthly royalty fee and 2% marketing fee
- Minimum financial requirements: $100,000 net worth and $25,000 in cash
- Total locations: 250+
Why Buy Into One of the Best Franchises Opportunities of 2023
The endurance of the franchising industry and new technologies that allow business owners to work effectively from home will attract young entrepreneurs to franchise opportunities in various verticals.
Here are some reasons to consider investing in one of the top franchises of 2023.
According to the International Franchise Association, the industry has a long history with modern franchising dating back to the 1850s. It has survived many economic recessions, adapted to new market conditions and proven to be very resilient.
Franchising opportunities are attractive to people who have saved substantial amounts of money and have the capital to invest. Industry veterans predict that high unemployment and low interest rates will lead to an increase in franchise sales.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most people adapted to using various online tools to work and communicate. With the aid of technology and a new remote working mindset, many franchise owners are now running their businesses virtually. They also recognize the advantage of being able to work from home.
Even legacy franchises have made strides to adopt technologies that will keep them relevant. For example, many are supporting franchisees with digital platforms to connect with customers and operate cost-efficiently when in-person interactions aren’t possible.
Focus on Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship has become an attractive option to many. Many younger generations, for example, are turning to franchising to build a legacy while leveraging the support of an established brand. These entrepreneurs are also bringing with them innovative ideas that will help franchisors adapt to new consumer demands and behaviors so they can become more relevant.
Tried-and-True Business System
There’s no time to reinvent the wheel in today’s fast-changing market. Becoming a franchisee allows you to leverage an established brand name already trusted by consumers as well as a proven business system and infrastructure, so you don’t have to start everything from scratch.
You can get support from franchisors in different areas to run your business cost-effectively while meeting changing consumer expectations. These can include site selection and development, research and development of new products or services, technical and field support, marketing and advertising and training for your management team.
Choosing the Best Franchise Business for You
By balancing market conditions, consumer trends, your area of interest or expertise and the amount of capital you have available to invest, it’s not a far-fetched dream to own a successful franchise. Use the insights we’ve provided to identify the best franchising opportunities for you in 2023 and beyond.