Franchising is such a perfect business model, one could almost say that every aspiring entrepreneur should try out a franchise at least once. Franchises don’t have to be forever, since you can always sell an established franchise location to another buyer. Franchises give you the opportunity to test out your business smarts without having the question be about your business idea or model. Instead, you take a proven brand and manage it, seeing how the day-to-day business goes, which then gives you experience for opening your own business.

Here’s a quick list of top opportunities in franchising, according to the latest surveys:



It should come as no surprise that Ronald McDonald comes out at the top of the franchisee list. Arguably the most successful restaurant chain in world history, McDonald’s is the front-runner for anyone who can afford the up-front fee. A McDonald’s franchise costs between $1M and $2.2M to open, but after that, it’s just selling like hamburgers.


Dunkin’ Donuts

Even though Starbucks steals a lot of the spotlight for their coffee, Dunkin’ brews just as much and offers everyone’s favorite pastry too. Dunkin’ was flagging in sales briefly after competition from Krispy Kreme and Starbucks, but they’ve rebranded and come back stronger than ever. Start-up is $228K to $1.7M.


Sonic Drive-In

Hearkening back to the 1950s aesthetic of roller-skating carhops and wood-paneled convertibles, Sonic has managed to produce a tight and efficient business model that takes a bite out of the competition’s territory. They’ve capitalized on small unit footprints and drive-through services far more than McDonald’s. Opening is $865K to $3.6M.


Taco Bell

Mexican food is the next most popular dining in America after the almighty hamburger. Taco Bell may seem a small cultural niche, but they’ve innovated locations quite a bit even up to opening cantina shops that can serve alcohol as well. Opening the franchise runs $525K to $2.6M.


The UPS Store

If all you thought UPS did was deliver packages, you’re in for a surprise. The UPS Store has taken over the niche of not just packaging and shipping, but printing, office supplies, and small business utilities rolled into one. It’s a smart, hip, high-tech environment with opening costs of $168K to $398K.


Planet Fitness

More people are turning to gym memberships than ever before, thanks to our advanced health education and a growing need to find new social connection points. Planet Fitness has an unbeatable business model that’s put it on top of the gym craze. License one for between $969K and $4.2M.


Great Clips

It may not be the first business you think of, but just about everybody needs barber services at the least and possibly beauty and styling too. Great Clips is a social-media-savvy company that’s found ways to connect with an Instagram audience of influencers. Considering the reasonable start-up cost of $136K to $258K, their price tag is influential too.



Convenience stores are the one Internet-proof form of retail because nobody is going to bother ordering a pack of cigarettes and a corndog online. 7-Eleven stays ahead of the competition by listening to its customers and innovating an evolving floor plan while paying attention to regional culture so it blends in anywhere. Start-ups run from $47K to $1.2M.