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10 Industries You Probably Never Think of as Franchises

When you hear the word “franchise,” what image pops up? Most likely, it’s a fast-food chain; and, even more likely, it’s your favorite fast food. Is it time for lunch yet?  

If you’ve dismissed franchise ownership because you don’t want to flip burgers or make sandwiches, you’re missing out on a vast world of opportunities.

Yes, the number of franchises in quick service restaurants continues to grow, but these are by far not the only successful option. According to FRANdata, an independent research company for the franchising sector, there are more than 230 different industries represented in franchising; and, additionally, 200 new brands enter the market each year. 

You may think most of these businesses are run by small independent owners or large corporations. Not true. Let’s take a closer look at 10 out-of-the-box categories crushing it in franchising.  

  • Coworking Spaces

Responding to the increasing trends toward shared services, remote working, and short-term fractional work, more small businesses and larger companies are opting for co-working environments over traditional brick and mortar leases. Can you say, “recurring revenue?”

  • Yoga and Dance

The boutique fitness industry is exploding and now yoga and fitness dance concepts are making their mark. Drivers include the demand for fun fitness activities in a community setting coupled with the high costs of healthcare. 

  • IT Services

From cyber-security to strategic growth initiatives, managing your company’s IT services can be a huge headache. Outsourcing overseas often provides lackluster service. Businesses want trusted, local expertise they can count on for the long-term. 

  • Drug Testing

It’s hard to imagine a private or public-sector employer without a substance abuse policy. The demand for reliable, fast, accessible testing options is intensifying. 

  • Swim Lessons

When I was a kid, my parents taught me how to swim by tossing me in the neighborhood pool. Times have changed and parents are demanding more effective and healthier methods. Not just about learning to swim, the franchises in this category are addressing a safety need in underserved communities. 

  • Nail Salons

Perhaps the best example of an industry once dominated by small, independent shops is nail care. The demand for more sophisticated, experienced-based nail care is driving growth. Franchising has nailed this industry with clinically clean, semi-absentee, multi-unit opportunities.

  • Retail Resale

We’re not talking consignment shops. Franchising is transforming the resale market by offering gently used specialty items at affordable prices. The sweet spot of this niche lies between expensive retail stores and low-quality, second-hand thrift.

  • Music Instruction/Enrichment

Music is more accessible than ever; yet, traditional schools are still reducing fine arts programs, thus, driving the demand for quality music instruction and enrichment. Gone are the days of the old-lady, piano teacher. Franchising has turned up the volume on music instruction, making it fun and cool to learn.

  • Tree Removal and Care

In my neck of the woods, trees are everywhere. Care and removal of trees is no longer a business for “Chuck in a Truck” (with a chainsaw) in this $17-billion industry. This is a classic example of franchising bringing professionalism and systematization to a fragmented, high-demand service…and reaping the rewards. 

  • Digital Marketing Consulting

The majority of businesses in America are small businesses with a small marketing staff and even smaller marketing budgets. It’s no wonder B2B franchise models exist across the globe to assist businesses with their online marketing strategy and execution. 

Because there is such an abundance of profitable franchise ownership opportunities that exist outside of fast food, me and 14 of my friends got together to dispel that myth in the Amazon bestselling book, More Than Just French Fries.

You too can grow a profitable business through the franchise model and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take up all your time. Semi-passive business ownership is accelerating as families look to side-gig options for a more secure future. I recommend that anyone exploring franchise ownership keep an open mind and consider a variety of different businesses in different industries, even the ones that surprise you. 


Leslie Kuban is a nationally recognized franchise industry expert, CFE (Certified Franchise Executive) and Market President of FranNet in Atlanta; a locally owned and operated franchise consulting firm. Leslie and her team have helped close to 500 individuals and families achieve their dreams of business ownership through a no-cost, extensive educational and coaching process.

Connect with Leslie online or call 502-530-0143 to start the conversation today. 

By |2019-08-15T14:17:44+00:00August 15th, 2019|Categories: General|