Who said you need to spend big to start a franchise? We put together a list of the 20 best franchise opportunities with minimum total investments below $10,000. Below we share our list of the Best Franchises Under $10k, divided up by industry, including food services, fitness, travel agencies, cleaning services and more opportunities.
The total initial investment includes all startup costs, from franchise fees to equipment, property lease, training, etc. Just note that because costs vary a lot depending on location, you’ll see that some fees can range above $10k.
Did you know? If you have more than $50,000 in your retirement account you can use this money to start or buy a business without paying early withdrawal penalties. Click here to learn more.
Finding financing for a low-cost franchise can be difficult, as most banks do not want to consider a business loan which is less than a few hundred thousand dollars. For many, the best option for financing a franchise will be using personal money, including using money from retirement accounts. Borrowing is still an option, but will most likely come in the form of a personal loan, however you’ll need to have a credit score above 680. To check your credit score for free, go here.
Our Best Franchises Under $10k Initial Investment
$3.1k - $50.9k
$2.2k - $52.4k
$4.9k - $45.4k
$9.8k - $98k
$9k - $72k
Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
$900 to $2.1k
Six of the top 20 franchises under $10k were cleaning services – 5 of those 6 were commercial cleaning services. This means businesses that clean offices, retail spaces, schools, etc. It costs less than residential cleaning because you tend to have fewer clients and they sign on for long-term contracts, which means you don’t have to put as much effort into marketing and customer service.
The one exception was Von Schrader, a franchise that specializes in carpet and upholstery cleaning. Their investment costs are also significantly lower than the other services, in part because they’re not technically a franchise. While your money goes towards training, equipment and supplies, you don’t sign a long-term agreement or pay franchise royalties. On the flip side, this means you don’t get as much ongoing support as you would from a franchise proper, such as a protected territory where it’s ensured other franchisees won’t open business.
For even more options, check out our full list of Top Cleaning Franchises, some of which are over $10k.
Fitness & Recreation
prenatal and postnatal fitness
$5k - $10k
$3.5k - $75.8k
Moonjump & Inflatable Rentals
$3k to 3.5k
The next biggest category on our list was fitness and recreation services. Baby Boot Camp is a fitness service that specializes in workout routines for new & expecting mothers. Jazzercise specializes in dance aerobics classes and Space Walk is a rental service for inflatable activities like moonjumps and slip ‘n slides.
Baby Boot Camp and Jazzercise both had a wide range of investment costs, in part because the space you rent will vary a lot in cost depending on the location. Space Walk, on the other hand, is fairly low since your biggest cost is the equipment itself.
On that note, I heard some debate on online forums as to whether it’s better to start an independent rental business or start a franchise like Space Walk. The arguments go that while you keep more money on your own (Space Walk takes about 40% of profits) you don’t get any help with licensing, training, repairs, insurance, website building and obtaining equipment. So it all depends how much work you’re willing to put in on your own.
$25 - $10.4k
$3.2k - $21.9k
$1.95k - $15.6k
Another popular set of franchises below $10,000 was travel agencies. Many of these are work-from-home businesses that require low overhead to get started. Results! Travel, in fact, advertises their initial investment fee to be as low as $25. However, they require an existing travel agency location.
Many people start these businesses to sell discounted trips to friends and families and to earn discounts on their own vacations. While it’s possible to start a travel agency as one’s main source of income, it takes a lot of time to build a customer base. Likewise, for web-based services, it can take a lot of time and effort to boost your traffic through SEO and web marketing efforts.
For more information, see a review of Cruise One by Franchise Chatter.
Food Service (Chicken)
$4.6k - $303.1k
Coffee Vending Machine
$5.5k to $75k
Food services tend to be much more expensive franchises. A fast food chain costs around $200,000 and a sit-down restaurant can cost over $1 million. There are two, however that made it into our list of Franchises below $10,000: Chester’s Chicken and Coffee Machine Business.
Chester’s has a wide range of franchise options, from full scale sit-down restaurants to food kiosks you’d find at a mall or airport. For $10,000, however, you’ll have to expect one of the smaller operations. Coffee Machine Business, likewise, is a smaller food service that involves setting up and maintaining coffee vending machines.
Home and Yard Care
Outdoor Wood Fence Sealing
$8.6k to $150k
Outdoor Pest Control
$8k to $10.1k
While most home and yard care business tend to start at around $40,000, we found two that start for as little as $8,000. Wood Defender specializes in sealing outdoor wood fences and Mosquito Minus removes outdoor pests, which is especially important for clients who are planning big events like weddings.
Like Von Schrader, Wood Defender is not technically a franchise in that there isn’t a longterm agreement or franchise royalty fees. So likewise, you get the benefit of keeping more of your money, but less ongoing support from the franchisor and no exclusive territory rights.
$4.7k - $50.2k
$9k - $10k
Sell & Deliver Moving Boxes
Social Media Reputation Management
Closing out our list is a unique set of franchises that cost under $10,000. Proforma is a franchise that provides printing services for medium and large businesses and Coffee News publishes a newspaper and uses their franchises to distribute it to places like restaurants, hotels, waiting rooms and libraries.
Get Moving Supplies and Social Owl are two businesses on the very low end of the cost spectrum, at $99 and $149 respectively. Get Moving Supplies gives you a fully functioning ecommerce website (albeit somewhat dated) to sell and deliver boxes and other moving supplies. Social Owl is a reputation management program you’ll be trained to use and sell to local businesses.
The Bottom Line
As you can see above, there’s a lot of great franchise opportunities out there for under $10,000. Bear in mind, however, with a low interest SBA loan, you might be able a higher initial investment. Check out our Franchise Financing guide for more information. Also, for more inspiration, take a look at our Top Franchises For Under $25k.
If you’re ready to open your own franchise and have more than $50,000 in your retirement account click here to learn more about ROBS. A ROBS allows you to use retirement funds with no early withdrawal taxes or penalties, to start a business. Or speak with a ROBS professional a Guidant.