The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy

Start Your Own Business With a Low Cost Franchise

Many people looking to start a business assume that investing in a franchise is beyond their financial means. While this may be true of better known franchises such as McDonalds or Pizza Hut that require a net worth of $700,000 or more, if you're an aspiring business owner, there are still plenty of low cost franchises to buy.

Why Franchising?

Franchising is one of the best ways to start a business––you don't have to come up with a great business idea and develop a product or service from scratch––the work has already been done for you and the business model has been proven. Additionally, franchises often have a support system that helps you with marketing, branding, advertising, and other components of the business on an ongoing basis as you operate your business.

Low Cost Franchises

Low cost franchises exist in a variety of business segments, enabling almost any prospective business owner to find a franchise opportunity that suits his/her skills and experience. Note that many of these franchises offer reduced franchise fees for veterans looking to start a business. In many cases, you can get into a franchise for $50,000 or less upfront, with a total initial investment after start-up expenses, up of less than $100,000.

Where possible, links to actual vendor pricing information are provided below for some of the listed franchises. For others, the quoted costs are based on the most recent publicly available information and may vary depending on location and other factors––contact the franchisor for specific information on current pricing.

From vacation planning to property management, here are some of the best low cost franchises to invest in:

Real Property Management

Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. ejs9 / Getty Images

Highly ranked in property management by Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine, Real Property Management has been in business for decades and has received a number of awards as a top franchise.

Property managers oversee portfolios of rental properties, finding tenants, handling maintenance issues, and dealing with owners and real estate agents.

Franchise fee: $45,000

Startup Expenses: $41,795 - $68,795 

Total Initial Investment: $86,795 - $113,795 (see: costs for more information)

Training Provided: Yes

Home-Based: Options are available for home-based or physical locations 

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative

The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. Alf / Getty Images  

In business for over 20 years, Cruise Planners is the largest cruise planning agency in the U.S., with over 2500 locations. A recipient of numerous awards, Cruise Planners home-based business model is one of the best travel franchise opportunities based on owner reviews.

Cash Required: $10,995

Total Startup Investment: $2,095 - $23,367 (see: investment for more information on costs)

Training Provided: Yes

Financing Available from the Company: Yes

Home-Based: Yes

SuperGlass Windshield Repair

The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. Goodluz / Getty Images

SuperGlass is a highly-rated windshield repair franchise that has been in operation since 1993. It is the largest windshield repair franchise in the world. Franchises are operated as home-based businesses, performing windshield repair and scratch removal.

Franchise Fee: $5,00 - $17,500

Initial Investment: $18,685 - $84,205

Training Provided: Yes

Financing Available from the Company: Yes

Home-Based: Yes

Amazing Athletes

The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. Alistair Berg  / Getty Images

Amazing Athletes franchisees provide year-round educational sports programs to children aged two and a half and six years old in a non-competitive environment using a childhood expert approved curriculum. In business since 2006, Amazing Athletes has over 650 locations in 28 states and is one of the highest rated franchises based on owner satisfaction rankings.

Franchise Fee: $25,000

Total Startup Investment: $25,000 - $55,650

Training Provided: Yes 

Home-Based: Yes 

TSS Photography

The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. Digital Vision. / Getty Images

TSS Photography has been franchising since 1984 and has received numerous awards as one of the best low-cost franchises. If you enjoy taking images of youth and sports events as a hobby, TSS Photography can help you turn it into a successful business. 

Franchise Fee: $7,500

Total Startup Investment: $40,000 - $60,000

(Experienced photographers may be able to reduce investment costs)

Training Provided: Yes

Financing Available from the Company: Yes 

Home-Based: Yes 

See: TSS FAQ for more information.

Buildingstars Commercial Cleaning

The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. kadmy / Getty Images

Founded in 1994, Buildingstars is an award winning commercial cleaning franchisor that has three different franchise options (and fees) ranging from part time, do-it-yourself employment to full-time management of large accounts with multiple teams of employees.

Franchise Fee: $795 for the initial unit option, which is credited towards the higher level franchise options. This includes a starting base of customers.

Total Startup Investment: $2,000

Home-Based: Yes 

See: Buildingstars FAQ for more information.

Minuteman Press

The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. SeventyFour / Getty Images

Minuteman Press franchises have been providing design, print, marketing, and direct mail services to businesses, governments, and nonprofit groups for over 40 years. Rated #1 in printing/marketing franchises 15 years in a row, Minuteman requires more total investment but financing options can put the initial investment as low as $23,000.

Total Startup Investment: $110,000 - $160,000 (see investment required)

Training Provided: Yes

Financing Available from the Company: Yes 

Home-Based: No, requires physical location


The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. BrilliantEye / Getty Images

Another of the best franchises to buy based on owner satisfaction, MarbleLife franchisees provide certified craftsman that repair/restore stone surfaces such as marble floors, wall tiles, etc. in residential and commercial environments.

Franchise Fee: $19,900 (starting)

Total Startup Investment: $36,000 - $75,000

Training Provided: Yes

Financing Available from the Company: Yes 

Home-Based: Yes 

For further information on MarbleLife franchise pricing see: startup costs.


The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. istetiana / Getty Images

A Fruitfull franchise is a wholesale fruit bar distribution business. In business since 1991, Fruitfull health snacks are sold in convenience stores, hospitals, colleges, etc. Frozen items can be displayed in custom freezers supplied by Fruitfull. Franchisees are responsible for additional marketing and product resupply.

Total Startup Investment: $150,000 - $250,000 (there are four different franchise levels available - see: pricing)

Training Provided: Yes

Home-Based: Yes 

Wrap-Up: Start Your Franchise Search With a Plan

The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy
The Best Low Cost Franchises to Buy. Hero Images / Getty Images

Even though the franchise business model is already proven, many franchisors still require you to submit a business plan as part of the application process. Having a solid business plan demonstrates that you have done your homework––which includes researching the market and determining whether the franchise is feasible in your locale.

Having a business plan is also essential if you need startup capital such as debt financing from a bank or equity financing from investors

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