I work with women every day who are dying to get out of their 9 to 5 straight jacket. They frequently say they have always wanted to own a business, but the time was never right… until now. The time is often right because a woman’s asset base is now large enough to give a bit of cushion, but sometimes it’s due to a layoff or she feels the universe is giving her a nudge.
Unfortunately for a woman in this situation, the investment parameter is usually tight. The most she could come up with (either out of pocket or with me helping her get a little SBA express loan) is under $200,000. No startup business is so magical that when you open your doors the cash and profits just flow. Having 200K in available capital means the total cost to launch should be well under $150,000. And ideally under $100,000 because – surprise – there are bumps in the road and marketing costs to consider.
And at that investment level, (franchises under 100k) you are priced out of trendy brick and mortar stores where you envision yourself as the hostess having fun every day. Plus, that’s a delusion. No business is fun every day.
Simply put, at this price point your options are home-based businesses with no inventory or service businesses. You will be starting out in your home office offering some sort of service to entrepreneurs or homeowners. That is what is commonly referred to as ‘B to B’ or ‘B to C’ (business to business or business to consumer).
B to Bs generally require you to get out there and do business development – that’s code for networking your rear off and/or making cold calls or scheduling appointments. B to C means you are dealing with the public who can be picky. But those businesses can be advertising driven – i.e. you throw your money into marketing campaigns and, hopefully, your phone rings with potential customers.
So, with that in mind, here are a few franchises under 100k that I think are great and maybe even fun to operate:
#1 Just Between Friends
This one gets the award for lowest investment with a franchise fee of just $17,900 and a technology fee of $1,500. Just between friends is a ‘pop-up’ consignment business. You will put on large (and I do mean large – like you need to find a space with at least 10,000 Sq Ft to stage your events) consignment sales two or three times a year. You won’t make enough income to replace your salary – but you can bring in some serious spending money with what is essentially 2 months of work a year. Learn more about this opportunity here.
#2 Spaulding Decon
Okay, admittedly this is not for everyone. As an owner of a Spaulding Decon franchise, you are offering meth lab, crime scene, and hoarding cleanup services. Some people think that’s sexy, ok? You’ll own a tremendously profitable business and as a bonus, you’ll hire EMT’s and firefighters to be your contract workers. Who wouldn’t want to work in with a bunch of physically fit guys and gals wanting to make extra money?
This type of company is a good fit for public speakers, networkers, and workers who have empathy. You will be in close contact with families on the worst days of their lives. But you will be providing a needed and valuable service to your community.
#3 Senior Placement Referral Businesses
Referral companies offer a free service to families who have an elder or disabled person who needs more assistance and are no longer capable of staying in their home. You’ll be providing value and getting paid nice commissions by the network of assisted living facilities that you refer.
Like a realtor, you’ll learn the client’s needs and budget, go into your database and generate a report with two or three local providers that are good matches. Then you’ll tour the facilities – and the client picks one. Once they have signed up the facility pays you a hefty fee. This industry entails plenty of networking and calling on the referral sources. Who are, for the most part, happy to learn about what you can provide.
#4 Patrice and Associates (Recruiting with a Niche)
Patrice and Associates is the nation’s largest and oldest hospitality recruiting firm. Talk to any restaurant or hotel chain of size and chances are they already use their services. As an owner, you can start at home and hire one recruiter to come with you to training sessions. These businesses can scale easily by hiring more recruiters and opening an office. You are recruiting management positions and calling on your local large restaurants, hotels, and casinos to land their placement business.
You will also interview and maintain resumes of folks wanting to move up the career ladder. This can be very profitable if you are willing to be on the phone for as much as eight hours per day. We’re talking headsets on and dialing for dollars.
#5 Challenge Island
This is one of the only franchises under 100k offering after-school enrichment programs that are on the cutting edge of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Challenge Island’s proprietary curriculum has earned countless accolades from schools, teachers, and parents.
You will hire teachers who are looking for extra pay to lead your classes. Many owners do not lead a class of their own. To provide additional revenue streams you can offer to hold birthday parties, summer camps, and girl scouts events through a national partnership the company has with the Girl Scouts of America. This is a fun business and you can achieve a great return in short order. The investment is low and the profit margins are high with little to no inventory or overhead.
There are many other franchises under 100k to consider. Make sure to fully explore the alternatives with an expert, like me, to identify the right one that will incorporate your interests and transferable skills.