Are you thinking about becoming a franchisee but can’t afford the millions of dollars it requires to open a big-name brand like McDonald’s, Dunkin’, or Chik-Fil-a?
If you have arrived here and don’t know precisely how franchises work, we researched for you here: How do Franchises Work
You’re in the right place, here is our list for the 20 Best Franchises under 40k
We wrote this list with uncertain financial times in Mind. We chose mainly recession-proof industries that could withstand a market pullback.
Table of Contents
- 1. Maid Simple
- 2. Java Dave’s Coffee
- 3. Claimtek Systems
- 4. Little Medical School
- 5. Coverall
- 6. Concrete Technology Incorporated
- 7. Weed Man
- 8. Showhomes Staging
- 9. Acti-Kare
- 10. TGA Premier Sports
- 11. Property Management Inc.
- 12. Blue Coast Savings Consultants
- 13. Christmas Décor
- 14. Make a Bear Mobile
- 15. Hissho Sushi
- 16. Fit4Mom
- 17. Chester’s Chicken
- 18. Ameriprise Financial
- 19. Dale Carnegie Training
- 20. USA Ninja Challenge
1. Maid Simple
Expected Investment: $9,995
Have a knack for keeping things tidy and clean? Maid Simple House Cleaning by Maid Brigade has been in business for 30 plus years and is a home-based cleaning franchise. Based on their marketing materials, Maid Simple claims that 72% of women say they work a “2nd shift” of cooking cleaning and homemaking after working all day. Cleanliness is never going out of style, and the busier people become, the more they may need help from an outside party.
Maid Simple offers two ownership models, including an Owner/Operator model and a Manager model who want to grow larger and hire/manage maids. Maid Simple does contribute $500 per month in advertising for the first six months and covers all credit card processing fees. Additionally, before opening for business, all franchisees receive 5-6 weeks of coaching and a hands-on training day from a cleaning master to ensure your skills match the Maid Simply brand. Maid Simple does ask for a 10-year contract length and will garner a 19% royalty.
We think the cleaning industry is only going to get bigger, and Maid Simple is one of the best franchises under 40k.
2. Java Dave’s Coffee
Expected Investment: $499.95
Java Dave’s Coffee offers amazing freedom and choice to the franchisee, all in the name of roasting quality beans. Java Dave’s charges no royalty, no advertising fees, no training costs, no equipment purchasing requirements. Simply find a location, chose to utilize your own branding or Java Dave’s while using their beans, and open up shop. Everything else is on an ala-carte model if you need a menu board, window clings, signage, you can buy from Java Dave’s, someone else, or simply do it yourself. Java Dave’s does offer a Licensing Package that does come with in-store training but is not a requirement of becoming a franchisee.
Java Dave’s specialty is Arabica Coffee and has won the Golden Cup Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Additionally, they offer five types of roast and several flavored coffees. The coffee industry is worth multi-billion dollars per year., as in 2020, it is $86.21 billion in the United States. The average American consumes eight pounds of raw beans per year and $260 per capita. The industry is projected to grow by a CAGR of 3.6% over the next five years from 2020-2025.
3. Claimtek Systems
Expected Investment: $21,995
Claimtek is a medical and dental billing franchising opportunity. This opportunity should be recession-proof in the health care service sector and is poised for future growth. Medical billing is a thriving industry that is a partnership between a doctor sending claims to the coder to ultimately code and send the claim to insurance on their behalf so they can be paid. A plus to Claimtek is that you can work anywhere you have an internet connection, as no in-person work is required.
Claimtek requires a franchisee to pay $21,995 to get started, and it does not shy away from features and benefits. They claim to help with everything from the name of your business, domain name, marketing, leads, scripts, and presentations. After four weeks of training that includes sales, marketing, software, and billing, without any prior medical billing experience, you are in business. Claimtek offers one-year or additional training and support.
4. Little Medical School
Expected Investment: $19,500
Little Medical School is a teaching program for children (ages 3-14) to inspire them to become a doctor, nurse, veterinarian and other careers in health and have been since in 2014. Little Medical School has empierced great growth with 56 locations in 19 states and 13 countries. During a workshop, children will dress up like doctors, use medical instruments, role-play, and get to further understand the world of medicine in a fun and engaging way.
Little Medical School does not require a brick-and-mortar location as the franchisee can travel to schools, community centers, workshops, birthday parties, pre-school centers, and more. Little Medical School offers a three-day training program in-person in St. Louis, Missouri, and waves the royalty fee for the first two months in business. The franchise fee is $19,500; a potential franchisor may incur additional costs due to supplies. The franchise fee does include all material and curriculum.
Expected Investment: $16,500
Coverall packs a punch to germs in the commercial cleaning business with 9,000 franchised businesses in 90 markets in the United States and Internationally since 1985. Coverall creates healthier work environments, which will be more important moving forward after Coronavirus. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial cleaning industry was poised for a breakout. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cleaning services industry is projected to have a job growth rate of 10% through 2026. This far exceeds the average growth rate for all industries in the United States.
A franchisee will need to invest in uniforms, cleaning supplies, and equipment. Coverall does require 12 hours of on-the-job training in addition to 40 hours of classroom training to get started. Coverall initial investment may be as little of $16,500 but may go higher in some cases. They will garner a 5% ongoing royalty fee.
6. Concrete Technology Incorporated
Expected Investment: $15,000
Concrete Technology Incorporated (CTi) was founded in 1992 and had over 100 dealers in 23 countries. CTi focuses on resurfacing existing concrete by way of polymerized acrylic cement. The install process does not require any prior construction skills and is less labor-intensive as compared to other concrete solutions. According to IBIS World, the concrete contractor industry is worth $60 Billion in the US and is projected to grow at a rate of 4.8% annually from 2015-2020.
CTi Provides support and training with a combination of videos, dealer meetings, and award-winning support. CTi is unique in its franchising model, where there are no ongoing franchise fees, royalties, or advertising costs whatsoever. The franchisee gets to keep 100% of the revenue they bring in, which is rare in the franchise world.
7. Weed Man
Expected Investment: $20,000+
According to IBIS World, the Landscaping Services Industry has annual revenues of $98 billion and is expected to grow at a rate of 3.3% from 2015-2020. This should be a somewhat recession-proof industry as the grass will continue to grow during difficult financial times. Weed Man launched in 1970 in Canada, began franchising in 1976, and entered the US market in 1996, and now has over 500 territories. The company name was ideated by neighborhood children exclaiming “Weed Man” when the founder, Desmond Rice rolled up in his pick up truck in 45 years ago.
Weed Man has an exclusive spray system and intensive training that covers areas including accounting, staffing, operations, marketing, and more. Weed Man offers franchises starting at a $20,000 franchise fee, which includes a single territory up to a 150,000 population. There are national advertising fund fee and a “declining royalty structure that rewards you for growing your business,” per their website.
8. Showhomes Staging
Expected Investment: $43,000
Now, this one is slightly above the $40,000 stated in the article title, and it’s for good reason. Showhomes Staging is a serious business with loads of potential. Gary Keller, the founder of Keller Williams, once said, “Price gets you interest, staging gets you offers.” Showhome Staging is the premier home staging option to help sell existing homes. Founded in Nashville, TN, in 1986, Showhome Staging has 60 franchisees currently. It owns numerous best franchise awards, including #2 Best Real Estate Franchise by Franchise Business Review.
Showhomes touts several revenue sources, including traditional home staging, occupied homes for sale, and even interior design work for homes not for sale. Even if the market were to shift more and more to online, which it already has, the imagery of the home is of the utmost importance. It is difficult for potential home buyers to imagine empty spaces, or spaces with subpar furniture better than pictured. In this highly digital world, we all know the importance of quality image, photography, and presentation make. Just look at your Tinder profile picture compared to real life.
Expected Investment: $19,500
Acti-Kare is an in-home care, family care, recovery care, and senior care franchise that is focused on non-medical care. Since 2007, Acti-Kare has been offering companionship services, personal care, housekeeping, and chores to seniors. Senior care is an exploding market, with some estimates around $740 billion annually. One reason for this growth, and it’s due to the 54 million baby boomers aging with 10,000 turning 65 every day for the next 15 years! Health care, in general, is a good bet in this day and age, especially dealing with the elderly.
Acti-Kare is home-based without the need for a physical office location. Corporate does provide a great head start with qualified, pre-screened staff, and qualified client leads. There are ongoing royalty fees of 3-5% and a 2% ad royalty fee. Acti-Kare has ranked in the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 each year for nearly a decade. The real edge that Acti-Kare offers its Acti-Vate program, which is a wellness and anti-fatigue program that combines Mind (mental stimulation), Body (physical health and alertness), and Spirit (enhancing mood). If you want to change the lives of others for the better, this may be the franchise opportunity for you.
10. TGA Premier Sports
Expected Investment: $18,750
TGA Premier Sports allows for franchises in youth sports enrichment programs, camps, and year-round leagues. Sports offered include tennis, cheerleading, flag football, lacrosse, volleyball, golf, and more. TGA focuses not only on physical development but promoting physical activity, character development, academics, and etiquette. Started in 2006, TGA commenced franchising in 2011 with Tennis. It has seen great interest with as they are up to 119 franchises, up from 90 in 2016.
The franchise fee can vary with this business due to which sports and how many sports you may want to offer. The lowest franchise fee is only $7,500, and there is about another $10,000 minimum in equipment, insurance, training, legal, and organization expenses, among others. There is an 8% royalty fee on gross revenue or $300 per month during the first year of the franchise. Many people have a passion for sports; this is an opportunity to turn your passion into a business.
11. Property Management Inc.
Expected Investment: $22,750
Property Management Inc. (PMI) was founded in 2008 in Lehi, Utah, and commenced franchising the same year. According to IBIS World, the industry growth rate from 2015-2020 was at 2.5%, now with COVID-19 they have adjusted that projection to a 2.3% in 2020 alone due to “recessionary fears and declining business activity.” Real estate is volatile during unstable economic times; in the long run, it is a profitable industry.
PMI offers full-service property solutions that cover residential, commercial, association/HOA, and vacation rentals. PMI offers a six-week training period that includes remote learning via phone, webinars, and instructional videos. There is a tiered royalty platform that ranges from 3-5% with required minimums and a 2% national advertising fee that is based on gross revenue. PMI’s initial franchise fee can range from $15,000-$50,000 depending on the desired package.
12. Blue Coast Savings Consultants
Expected Investment: $22,900
Blue Coast Savings Consultants opened in 2007 in Key West, Florida, and immediately began franchising. Blue Coast is unique in that it can be done part-time, from home, and leads are provided to the franchise. The business is to bring cost-cutting to businesses to enable more profitability. Blue Coast offers the ability to have minimal overhead and no employees. This is your chance to be Ben Wyatt in real life.
Unlike many other franchise opportunities on this list, the franchising fee and ongoing fees are fixed. It is simply $22,900 all-in and no ongoing royalty or other required fees. Blue Coast package includes digital tools and technology, robust training including in-person and live video, and the Blue Coast System. They do have former Major League Baseball player, Billy Ripken as their national spokesperson. You may have heard of Billy’s brother, Cal Ripkin, who is baseball’s iron man playing in 2,632 consecutive games!
13. Christmas Décor
Expected Investment: $19,550
Christmas Décor does exactly what their name says; they help decorate homes in preparation for Christmastime with lights, decorations, etc. Christmas Décor is known as a complementary franchise. Unlike most other franchises, this one only operates for part of the year due to the seasonality of the businesses. Most franchisees may have other endeavors during the year as the peak season is only 100 days from October to January. Started in 1986, there are now over 250 franchisees
The average established business currently has $83,976 annually, according to its website. They do claim that franchisees in their first year may make close to this figure in the short season. There is only a $9,995 franchise fee plus a territory fee that comes to the total expected investment of about $19,550. There is a 5% royalty fee and a 1% national advertising fee named Marketing Development and Assistance Fund. In addition to the decorating services, Christmas Décor franchisees can plan to delve into areas of design, installation, maintenance, and post-season removal for residential and commercial locations.
14. Make a Bear Mobile
Expected Investment: $14,500
You might be familiar with the Build-A-Bear business model. They have storefront locations where kids of all ages get to pick out their very own teddy bear, it gets stuffed and dressed in-store unique to each child’s specifications. Make a Bear Mobile is the same, but they bring the stuffing machine to birthday parties, hospitals, camps, schools, or where ever! They not only provide bears but all types of plush animals with costumes, outfits, and accessories to match any occasion.
Make a Bear franchise investment includes a state-of-art t-shirt press and the portable 6-foot studding machine; don’t worry, it comes apart to fit in your vehicle. The t-shirt press is intended to be used on teddy bear clothing, but it works on clothing for people too! Make a Bear Support includes website build, email template builds, hand-on customer support training and delivery, and also leads from hospitals, schools, and fundraiser events. Lastly, Make a Bear will help with creating a social media presence on both Facebook and Instagram to get the word out about the new business!
15. Hissho Sushi
Expected Investment: $21,050
According to IBIS World, the Sushi Restaurant space in the US is worth $22.1 Billion in 2020 and has been projected to grow 3.8% annually from 2015-2020. Hissho Sushi takes advantage of this with over 1,600 locations and has been around for over 20 years. Of those 1,600 locations, over 1,200 of those locations franchised, since 2013. That is massive growth at selling over 150 franchises per year! Hissho specialty is fast-casual sushi that can be found inside airports, medical facilities, universities, and upscale grocers. The expected Investment for Hissho Sushi can vastly vary due to if the business is a stand-alone building, in a mall, or inside of another business.
Hissho Sushi Franchise Program offers in-depth support including marketing, food and safety, and the proven Hissho method. Hissho has extensive training through Hissho University that includes 25 days in Charlotte, NC. Sushi Bar training is 10 full days and Asian Food Bar training is an additional 15 days. Hissho will nab a healthy 25% royalty fee and a 1.5% ad fee. On the plus side, the required term is shorter than most on this list at only three years.
Expected Investment: $26,385
Fit4Mom offers fitness classes for pregnant and postpartum mothers. Fit4Mom has an impressive 2,600 locations, 1,500 instructors, and 310 franchise owners. Founded in 2001 in San Diego, California, Fit4Mom started franchising in 2005. Fit4Mom franchising scratches the itch for mompreneurs to own their own business and make a difference in the lives of other women through health, wellness, fitness, and self-care. The classes offered include Run Club+, Body Ignite, Strides 360, Stroller Barre, Body Back, Fit4Baby, and Stroller Strides Classes.
Fit4Mom does offer protected territories with a minimum population of 50,000. With an extended or region franchise packages, a franchisee can purchase additional protections of 100,000 and 175,000 respectively. Before opening a location, franchisees need to complete a Foundations course even if the franchisee is not going to be a fitness instructor. Fit4Mom requires a modest 2% ongoing royalty fee, a 3% brand fund contribution requirement, and does offer 10% off franchise fees to all veterans. The royalty is low as there is both a monthly franchise fee and monthly system access fee that range from $320-$540 per month depending on the franchise package.
17. Chester’s Chicken
Expected Investment: $12,385
Chester’s International has a long, storied history as it was founded in 1952 in Birmingham, Alabama. Chester’s model is to sell their awe-inspiring fried chicken inside existing locations, known as store-in-store, which includes supermarkets, and convenience stores, and colleges. Due to the store-in-store model, it allows a potential franchisee to get into the fast-food business without the overhead of opening up a standalone location. Up until 2004, Chester’s followed a licensing model and has since switched to franchising and has ballooned to over 1,700 locations. Chicken consumption has gone up 17% in the last decade and expected to rise another 10% over the next ten years.
Chester’s Chicken is very flexible and offers many different storefront models, including take-out only, dine-in, and Chester’s Chicken express. They offer a one-week training at Chester’s University in Birmingham that covers everything one needs to know about starting and managing a location. Chester’s Chicken franchise fee is only $3,500, has no royalty fees, and no advertising or other fees as well. The initial term is ten years. Other investments may need to be made around equipment, signage, inventory, and other startup costs.
18. Ameriprise Financial
Expected Investment: $8,769
This franchise, you will need some background or additional training in the subject, which is finance and particularly financial advising. Due to regulations of becoming a financial advisor, one has to prove they know a thing or two about the topic, and thus the FINRA Series 7 and Series 63 or 66 licenses are required to start a franchise. Ameriprise is also the largest brand on this list; it is 249 on the 2019 Fortune 500 list, not the franchise list, Ameriprise is the 249 largest company in the US by revenue ($12.9 billion in 2019). In 2012, there were 5,095 Ameriprise franchises, and in 2017 it was down 10.3% to only 4,570 franchises.
Ameriprise offers payouts up to 91% with deferred compensation based on revenues and assets under management. Most franchisees are those who are breaking away from their existing investment firm. This may franchise may be enticing for a franchisee who recently graduated college and wants to be their own boss by starting a business with a trusted brand name. The initial franchise fee is $1,500 and the monthly franchise fee, which they call an association fee is $290.
19. Dale Carnegie Training
Expected Investment: $25,000
Dale Carnegie was born in 1888 on a farm in Missouri and is most known for writing the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. The late Carnegie was known as a writer, lecturer, and the developer of self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, interpersonal, and public speaking courses. This legacy carries on today as at the age of 34; Dale Carnegie Training was opened in 1922. Dale Carnegie Training now has 275 franchises since commencing franchise sales in 1999. The business is offering Carnegie Programs related to consulting, needs assessments, evaluations, and more mainly to organizations.
Dale Carnegie Training grants protected territories, normally one million minimum population size. Before becoming an operator, Carnegie hopefuls must complete the Franchise Academy training that consists of 12 days in Hauppauge, New York. Additionally, franchise hopefuls need to complete the Apprenticeship Program, which consists of five days of training by an existing franchisee. Lastly, a franchisee needs to attend an in-person convention at once every two years. There is a sliding scale for monthly royalties between 4.5%-12% of gross revenues and a 3% marketing contribution fee as well. The Dale Carnegie Training franchise fee can be anywhere from $1,000-$50,000; a franchisee can expect to spend a minimum of $25,000 all-in, including computer software, training costs, travel, and legal and accounting fees.
20. USA Ninja Challenge
Expected Investment: $40,000+
Have you seen American Ninja Warrior, it’s awesome! If you haven’t, look it up, and think climbing walls, ropes, cargo nets, jumping on platforms, barrel rolling, and more! USA Ninja Challenge is a ninja obstacle course for kids ages 4 to 17. The main focus is teaching gymnastics, climbing, cross-training, and track and field skills. This is an opportunity for someone who loves being active, is adventurous, and loves teaching kids.
USA Ninja Challenge offers exclusive territories from 50,000-100,000 population. USA Ninja Challenge has a $40,000 franchise fee; there are additional costs for opening a location that can range up to $300,000. Beginning expenses will include equipment, facility build-out and improvements, and marketing.