Low-cost niche franchises to explore

Runningboards marketing

Here are 7 unique opportunities, each in a category all to itself

Aspiring franchisees often think in terms of restaurants, home repair, beauty, fitness or some other high-profile industry. Nothing wrong with that, but a deeper dive into niche franchises, those that specialize in one or a very few products or services, could steer them toward a passion project. You know that old proverb – find a job you enjoy doing and you’ll never work a day in your life? Well, it’s one to take to the bank literally and figuratively. 

Following are seven low-cost niche franchises to consider. All of them can be home-based, which translates into low overhead and work-from-anywhere appeal. Like all franchises, these companies provide training, continuing education, ongoing advice. And of course they also offer the allure of being your own boss (no dress code, set your own hours, etc.). 

Runningboards Marketing: Franchisees take digital marketing messages to potential customers on mobile billboard trucks with a Ford Transit chassis and three high-resolution LED screens. Runningboards Marketing (RBM), founded by Calvin McNeely and Zach Yelle in 2018, dubbed these mobile billboards DAV (pronounced Dave). Customers say RBM ads generate much more attention than static options, and they love the flexibility of changing the verbiage without needing to go to a printer or recording studio – franchisees can update ads from anywhere. Franchisees appreciate that their work is interesting, generates recurring revenue, and has 24/7 support. Another plus: RBM software automatically logs what ads play and when.

Blue Moon Estate Sales: Franchise owners organize and run estate sales in an ethical, professional way. Deb, Ken and David Blue founded Blue Moon in 2009 and after five years in the Raleigh, N.C., market, they began franchising. Investors in this niche franchise are educated about all aspects of the business, from marketing to pricing specialty items. That means they’re poised for success in a thriving industry that makes a difference in people’s lives as they move, downsize or liquidate a loved one’s possessions. A nice bonus: You don’t have to deal with any accounts receivable.

Boulder Designs: Engraved boulders make, well, a BOLD statement at properties such as restaurants and tourist attractions, government facilities, farms and ranches, and even in-town residences. Boulder Designs’ engraved stone signage is created from natural materials and formed into any shape or size. Franchisees, who need minimal inventory, can indulge their creativity while designing everything from fire pits to mailboxes to benches as well as signs. Other advantages: turnkey operation, protected territories, low-cost materials, and co-op advertising.

DoodyCalls franchise owners can take advantage of the booming pet industry with a low-cost investment.

DoodyCalls: Since 2000, DoodyCalls clients have saved time by scheduling pet-waste removal. Services are arranged online or via telephone. Clientele includes individual homeowners as well as commercial property owners and community managers. Owners of this niche franchise also provide yard deodorizing and pet waste station installation and maintenance. In addition to excellent income potential, franchisees who are environmentally sensitive derive satisfaction from the cleanup that eradicates unsanitary situations and enhances community health and water quality. DoodyCalls is part of the Authority Brands Family of home-service companies.

Fibrenew: Owners of these niche franchises keep leather, plastic and vinyl items out of landfills and end consumer angst (arising from rips, tears, stains and wear) while earning a healthy living. The franchisor pledges excellent work-life balance because owners set up the appointments. And how about job security – Fibrenew services can’t be outsourced or done by robots. Ideal franchisees enjoy working with their hands, can distinguish colors effectively, and possess customer service skills. Fibrenew technicians are trained to repair residential, restaurant, and medical furnishings; interior materials in vehicles, planes, and boats (dashboards to door panels); and vinyl siding. Franchising since 1987, Fibrenew has 260-plus locations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Chile, and New Zealand.

Let Mommy Sleep: Three revenue streams make this affordable niche franchise tantalizing: postpartum visits and overnight newborn care; online and in-person newborn care lessons using government-approved curriculum; and corporate care, with companies providing new parents with the perk of Let Mommy Sleep’s services. The franchise also offers a registry and gift certificates. Since 2010, the company’s Registered Nurses and Newborn Care Providers have provided overnight care to newborns and education to parents. A typical 10 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift consists of feeding, changing, soothing and monitoring; Let Mommy Sleep clients don’t have to get up unless they wish to. Franchisees, who have a week of training plus a range of ongoing support, derive satisfaction from providing a respite and valuable parenting information to clients.

Network Lead Exchange: This franchise simplifies the process of networking and eliminates the need to pony up big fees to other organizations (chambers of commerce, for instance) in hopes of finding customers.  Individual Network Lead Exchange (NLX) franchises are sold as “chapters,” and franchisees invite nearby businesses to join their chapter with one participating business per industry, which means members don’t compete. NLX chapters supplement franchisees’ other businesses. NLX members earn commissions for referrals they pass along and also obtain valuable leads from businesses they trust. Members can track referrals sent and received, plus sales generated. Chapter owners can customize membership toward their needs, courting businesses whose products and services mesh well with their enterprises.  

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning writer who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. A seasoned journalist, Mary covers the latest industry news in her role as staff writer for FranchiseWire
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