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Low Cost Home Based Franchises for Solo Operators

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/28/2011

Which low-cost home based franchises are one-person operations? Find out how an owner/operator home based franchise makes it possible to market information and still keep the entrepreneur working from a home office rather than a store front.

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    Common Home Based Franchises

    A quick perusal of Entrepreneur’s top home based business opportunities(1) shows that cleaning services rank consistently high. Jani-King, ServPro, Jan-Pro, Status Building Solutions, Vanguard Cleaning Systems, ServiceMaster Clean and Bonus Building Care are among the top 10 home based opportunities for would-be franchise owners.

    Not surprisingly, competition is stiff and it is not always easy to find suitable territories – or clients within these territories. What makes these home based business franchises so popular is the generally low cost for the initial startup. A good example is Stratus Building Solutions that might allow for startup costs to be as low as $3,450; Bonus Building Care lets franchisees get off the ground with as little as $9,000.

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    The Non-Cleaning Home Based Franchise

    The entrepreneur, who is not enamored with the idea of cleaning commercial buildings (or doing disaster restoration) and who might have a little more seed money to spend, has other options to consider. It is interesting to note that a good many home based franchises now thrive on information as much as they require hands-on business savvy.

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    Coffee News (Home Based Printing and Publishing)

    A good example of a home based franchise opportunity that capitalizes on information and home based printing is Coffee News(2). The product is a restaurant publication that comes out weekly. As of 2009, the company operates 724 American, 164 Canadian and 184 foreign franchises. The total investment falls between $8,925 and $9,250.

    An ongoing royalty fee costs $75 per week. The contractual obligation lasts for four years, after which it is renewable. Since Coffee News franchises are a solo operation, this is a suitable opportunity for the entrepreneur who does not want to deal with contractors or employees.

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    WSI Internet (Marketing Consultant/Sales)

    The home business idea behind WSI Internet(3) dates back to 1995. Its customer base consists of small businesses and also mid-sized companies. As of 2009, the company maintains 699 American, 83 Canadian and 686 foreign franchises. Two are company owned. It is noteworthy that over the last three years there has been a steady drop in American franchises.

    The total investment for the would-be entrepreneur ranges from $60,350 to $166,650. Ongoing royalties cost 10 percent; agreement terms last five years, after which the contract is renewable. Franchisees should have general business experience and must be the owners and operators of the business. This is a one person operation.

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    Pros and Cons of Home Based Franchises

    As outlined by Joli Ballew in her article, The Top 7 Advantages to Buying a Franchise, the basic idea behind marketing or selling an existing product or service is the proven viability of the item. When combined with the franchisee’s sales acumen, the name recognition of the product clearly works to the entrepreneur’s advantage.

    On the downside, the ongoing royalty payments potentially cut into the net profits, especially when they are not percentage based. Adding insult to injury, strict limitations on advertising and business practices may leave unsuccessful franchisees feeling like their hands are tied.

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    Sources

    1. Entrepreneur. “2010 Homebased Franchise Rankings" (accessed March 27, 2010)
    2. Coffee News; accessed March 27, 2010
    3. WSI Internet; accessed March 27, 2010

    Photo Credit: "Home office" by Mattes/Wikimedia Commons at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Home_office_with_computers.JPG