Everyone says that starting a business is expensive and risky, but it doesn’t have to be. One approach, which some consider safer, is owning a franchise. It has a proven business model, a brand built in and corporate support. And not every franchise will cost you millions. In fact, you can start some franchises for less than five figures — and not just random, bargain-bin franchises, but companies that made our 2017 Franchise 500 List.
Check out this list of five franchises you can start in your area for less than $10,000.
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 170
Initial investment: $8,639 to $296,598
New units in 2016: 375 units (+4.8 percent)
W.O. Giles started Chester’s in 1952, and though he started out frying doughnuts with his patented fryers, it was fried chicken that became the focus of his business. His son, Ted Giles, is the current CEO of the company, which began franchising in 2004, after previously following a licensing business model. Chester’s has locations in college campuses, airports, convenience stores, truck stops and supermarkets.
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 298
Initial investment: $2,245 to $53,200
New units in 2016: 41 units (+6.4 percent)
Buildingstars, a commercial cleaning company founded in 1994, is headquartered in St. Louis. The company began franchising in 2000 and now has regional offices in Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and New York, Charlotte, N.C., Tampa Bay, Fla. and Austin, Texas. Services include nightly cleaning, green cleaning and consulting, and carpet and floor care.
SuperGlass Windshield Repair
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 336
Initial investment: $9,910 to $31,000
New units in 2016: 6 units (+1.9 percent)
SuperGlass Windshield Repair was founded in 1992 by David Casey, Bill Costello and Bill Mitchell in Atlanta. The company began franchising in 1993 and has locations throughout the world, including South Africa, Spain, France and Germany. The private company is based in Orlando, Florida.
Town Money Saver
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 429
Initial investment: $5,700 to $17,000
New units in 2016: 0 units (+0 percent)
Town Money Saver is a monthly direct-mail advertising flyer distributed to homes and businesses. The concept began in 1992 and was franchised in 2005.
Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 476
Initial investment: $4,730 to $50,195
New units in 2016: -27 units (-3.8 percent)
Founded by Greg Muzzillo in 1978, Proforma provides medium-sized businesses and large corporations with business documents, forms, promotional products, printing and other services.
Proforma franchisees act as sales agents, helping its clients select the best business forms, promotional products, multimedia and ecommerce solutions for their advertising and business needs. Franchisees then contract the work with a network of preferred wholesale printers and materials suppliers.