Popular Franchise Ideas

popular franchise company ideasLook around … as you drive down the street and the signs point the way to popular franchises in the U.S. from Curves for Women to Bach to Rock to CKO Kickboxing, they’re all franchise operations available to individuals and businesses with money to invest and an interest in a franchising career.

According to the IFA Educational Foundation, here are some of the most popular franchises and ones you may wish to consider as you explore franchise opportunities:

Fast Food Franchises
Choose your favorite fast food restaurant, and it’s likely that franchise opportunities are available. McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, and Hardee’s are among the most popular franchises across the U.S.

Health & Beauty Franchises
Being fit and looking your best is a focus for owners of franchises like these — Curves for Women, Jenny Craig Weight Loss, Anytime Fitness, Great Clips, and Super Cuts. The health sector also includes companies like Pearle Vision.

Lodging Franchises
Super 8 Motel and Days Inn are among the 10 most popular franchises, based on the number of U.S. Small Business Administration loans awarded, according to CNNMoney.com. Another company, Hampton Hotels, was named the top franchise for 2012 by Entrepreneur magazine (Days Inn was fifth on the list).

Retail Franchises
This category includes everything from sporting goods and apparel retailers like Athlete’s Foot and Play It Again Sports to Ace Hardware to Matco Tools, another company on CNNMoney’s list.

Education Franchises
Some franchisees are getting smart to the potential in this sector, by selecting to be part of tutoring and training companies such as Sylvan Learning, New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, Huntington Learning Center, and Kumon Math & Reading Centers, which was on Entrepreneur magazine’s list of the top franchises.

Auto Franchises
Rev up your franchise career by buying a franchise with Budget Rent-a-Car, AAMCO, Midas, and other companies.

Restaurant Franchises
Dairy Queen, Quinzos, and Subway (second on Entrepreneur magazine’s list) are among the most popular restaurant brands for franchisees, based on SBA loans awarded. They join more pricey eateries such as Outback Steakhouse. Regional-based restaurants also have franchises available.

Maintenance Franchises
Keeping homes and businesses clean can be big business for franchises. Popular options include Vanguard Cleaning Systems, Stanley Steemer, Roto-Rooter, Monkey Bars Storage, ServiceMaster, and Stratus Building Solutions.

Business Services Franchises
This category has well-known names, such as The UPS Store, and some of the most affordable franchise opportunities. H&R Block is one of the fastest-growing franchises in America, and has the lowest startup costs, according to Entrepreneur magazine.

Jeff Elgin, CEO of FranChoice, a network of franchise referral consultants in the U.S., says the most popular franchise categories for the past two to three years have been low-investment, high-margin service businesses, due to the difficulty in attaining financing. These options range from commercial and residential cleaning services to non-medical senior care to van-based specialty service companies like HOODZ and Budget Blinds to service retailers such as hair cut franchises.

“People want franchises that work well in tough times and these types of businesses do that very well,” he says.