by Beverly Rice
Office life just doesn't work for some people. So what keeps countless Americans in jobs they hate instead of at the helm of businesses they love? Most of the time, it's the fear of leaving a secure paycheck for an uncertain future. But what these would-be entrepreneurs don't realize is that there are some low-risk business options out there that don't require a six-figure investment. For those who are ready to ditch their 9-5 jobs, franchises offer a tested and affordable business model. In fact, many franchises can be started for less than $50,000.
Dry Cleaning Gopher
Keep former office mates looking dapper by owning PRESSED4TIME, a mobile dry cleaning service. With this business, all you need to do is pick up and deliver dry cleaning and shoes for repair from businesses and office buildings. A local plant does the dry cleaning; a repair shop fixes the shoes. Your job is simply to acquire customers and pick up and deliver their clothes.
The investment costs for PRESSED4TIME range from $20,000 to $30,000 with a $21,000 franchise fee. You can keep overhead costs low by working from home. You can go solo with one van or acquire additional vans and staff to expand your business. No previous dry cleaning experience is needed; the PRESSED4TIME home office provides training, arrangements with a local dry cleaning plant, and is available for ongoing advice and assistance.
Mobile Pet Groomer
Animal lovers should check out the Hydro-Groom Mobile Pet Wash franchise. With dogs and cats in 60 percent of U.S. households, there is no shortage of four-footed clients in need of grooming. This service is in especially high demand for busy families, senior citizens, and people who are housebound due to illness or a handicap.
The Hydro-Groom mobile unit is a small trailer that is hitched to your personal vehicle. The unit contains all necessary equipment for grooming and washing pets. No grooming experience? No problem. Hydro-Groom provides comprehensive on-site/on-the-job training for all new franchisees and 24/7 support to help you grow your business.
Investment costs for Hydro-Groom run from $15,000-$37,000 and you can run a single or multi-unit operation. Your income level depends on your ability to obtain and retain customers and how well you can keep their furry friends looking great.
Crime can pay—especially if your business involves protecting homes and offices from the bad guys. ACE/Security Laminates is the world leader in security window laminate protection and safety window film. ACE/Security Laminates' protective coatings make glass more resistant to rocks, sledgehammers, baseball bats, and even a bomb blast with over 2500 pounds of explosives.
With rising crime rates and the threat of terrorism, this business can be quite lucrative for a dedicated and determined entrepreneur. Dealership packages start at $25,000; investment costs scale up according to the size of your territory. New owners receive equipment and training as well as ongoing support from company headquarters.
ÀHabla espa–ol? Like to teach? You may want to consider a SpanishFUN franchise. SpanishFUN is a teaching franchise offering children ages 2-10 introductory second language skills with activities in a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere. Your customer base includes individual kids, youth groups, pre-schools, and childcare centers. Given that Latinos are the fastest growing group in the U.S., fluency in Spanish will be vital to anyone entering the working world.
The best part is that SpanishFUN is one of the more affordable businesses to start. Investment costs run about $12,500 and include an exclusive territory, teaching aids, and in-home training. Classes can be taught in your home or on location. You don't have to be fluent in Spanish to own the business either. You can work alone or hire additional instructors to increase your ability to grow the business.
You can leave your office job behind
With some courage and a modest cash investment, you too can leave your cubicle behind. If you're serious about going into business for yourself but don't know where or how to begin, franchises may offer the perfect opportunity to unleash your inner entrepreneur. To find a franchise opportunity that fits your needs, the International Franchise Association is a great place to start. You may also want to attend a trade show such as the West Coast Franchise Expo and the International Franchise Expo in Washington D.C. for more information on how to start your own franchise.
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