Do you live in a college town and want to start or buy a business franchise but you lack ideas? If YES, here are 20 best franchise opportunities for college towns in 2019.

College towns are towns that are dominated by the presence of a college or university, and the presence of such institutions gets to affect/dictate the town’s way of life. In fact, college towns are mostly populated by students with only a few locals living around.

Being that college towns are mostly dominated by students, businesses or services that can thrive in such areas are businesses that are tailored to the daily needs of the students. These businesses also get to employ the students in some cases too. That said, here are 20 franchise businesses that are best suited for college towns.

20 Best Franchise ideas for College Towns in 2019

  1. Orangetheory Fitness:

Every town needs a fitness center, and so does college towns. In fact, students need gyms and fitness centers more in order to stay fit and burn up pent up energies. Orangetheory Fitness studios offer trainer-led group workout sessions which are broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training.

Equipment used in the classes includes treadmills, rowing machines and free weights. Each participant also wears a heart-rate monitor, and their heart rate is displayed on screens during the workout. The company has been franchising since 2010.

  • Initial Investment – $488,405 – $994,360
  • Net-worth Requirement – $500,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirements – $150,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $49,500 – $49,500
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee –  8%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2%
  1. Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

Freddy’s restaurant is a fast food restaurant that serves steakburgers, hot dogs and frozen custard. The restaurant is named after WWII veteran Freddy Simon, whose sons teamed up with experienced restaurateur Scott Redler to open the first Freddy’s in Wichita, Kansas, in 2002. The company began franchising in 2004. This franchise is suitable for a college town because it would provide quick lunches for students.

  • Initial Investment – $592,810 – $1,999,117
  • Net-worth Requirement – $850,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $250,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000
  • Ongoing Royalty – Fee 4.5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 0.375%
  1. Mathnasium Learning Centers

It is a fact that most students have problems solving math equations, and as such, a math center is very much needed in a college town to help out students who need the extra lessons. Mathnasium learning center is a center that tutors students on mathematics.

The founder, Larry Martinek is a consultant to public and private schools. He saw the struggles that many students had with mathematics instruction. He spent three decades developing methods and materials to help give students a better foundation in math.

His curriculum became the basis of the first Mathnasium Learning Center that was opened by Peter Markovitz and David Ullendorff in Westwood, California, in 2002. The company began expanding a year later and now has locations across North and South America, Europe and Asia.

  • Initial Investment – $102,750 – $143,610
  • Net-worth Requirement – $143,610
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $102,750
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $40,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 10%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2%
  1. Moe’s Southwest Grill

College students almost live on fast food and quick lunches, and Moe’s Southwest Grill is just the right fit for a college town. The restaurant is a fast-casual restaurant serving southwestern items such as burritos, tacos, nachos and quesadillas.

Many menu items have names inspired by popular movies and television shows. Moe’s was founded by Raving Brands in 2000 and joined Focus Brands, franchisor of Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, and Schlotzsky’s, in 2007. Franchisor is seeking new franchise units worldwide.

  • Initial Investment – $368,930 – $956,400
  • Net-worth Requirement – $1,500,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $500,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $30,000 – $30,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 4%
  1. Great Clips

What better business to start in a college town than a hair salon? Someone has to give great hairdos to ladies and guys going out on dates and the numerous college events. Established in 1982, Great Clips is a hair salon that is usually located in strip malls, but they can equally be located anywhere with the right demography and patronage. Great Clips hair salons are open evenings and weekends and do not require appointments. No hair-care experience is required for franchisees who operated 5 to 6 units after 5 years on average.

  • Initial Investment – $136,900 – $258,250
  • Net-worth Requirement – $300,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $50,000 – $150,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $20,000 – $20,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 6%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Veteran Incentives – $5,000 rebate on first-store franchise fee
  1. Express Employment Professionals

This company provides temporary and flexible staffing, evaluation and direct hire, professional/contract staffing and management consulting for individuals and businesses. This business is great for college towns because students would always seek employment when they graduate. Robert A. Funk and William H. Stoller started Express Employment Professionals in 1983. The company began franchising in 1985 and they now have locations throughout the United States and in Canada and South Africa.

  • Initial Investment – $130,000 – $206,000
  • Net-worth Requirement – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $50,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $35,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 7.5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 0.6%
  • Veteran Incentives – 50% off franchise fee
  1. Pearle Vision

It is almost normal to observe a lot of eye defects in a university or college, because of the strain students put in their eyes due to their studies. Pearle Vision is just an apt business to locate in a college town. This eye clinic offers complete eye exams with an extensive selection of eyewear. In 1961, Dr. Stanley Pearle began the concept of one-stop, total eye care with the opening of the Pearle Vision Center in Savannah, Georgia. Then, in 1981, Pearle Vision began offering franchises to select doctors and opticians.

  • Initial Investment – $400,324 – $605,230
  • Net-worth Requirement – $300,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $100,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $30,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 7%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 8%
  • Veteran Incentives – 20% off franchise fee
  1. RE/MAX LLC

A real estate firm would always do well in a college town because students who don’t want to live on campus need to find accommodation outside and around the school. Founded by Dave and Gail Liniger in Denver in 1973, RE/MAX is now a global network of more than 97,000 real estate agents in over 95 countries. The Linigers introduced an agent-centric model with high commission splits. In the RE/MAX system, agents are in charge of their own business, share office expenses and operate under a high commission concept.

  • Initial Investment – $37,500 – $225,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $35,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee -$15,000 – $32,000
  1. 7-Eleven Inc.

Everybody needs groceries to survive, so a convenience store is one business that would do well in a college town. Throw in one that stays open for 24 hours and then you have a winner. 7-Eleven is a convenience store that sells groceries and baked goods. Originating back in 1927, the company has served the needs of consumers for decades. Although 7-Eleven stores are now open 24 hours a day, the 7-eleven name stuck from when the company only opened from 7 am to 11 pm.

  • Initial Investment – $370,550 – $1,149,900
  • Net-worth Requirement -$100,000 – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $50,000 – $150,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $10,000 – $1,000,000
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 1.5-0.5%
  1. The UPS Store

With the ongoing ease of online buying, a mail and parcel delivery business is an apt business to start in a college town where students are always buying things online. UPS Store locations provide packaging, shipping, copy and print services, mailbox services, computer time rentals and more for small businesses and individuals. The first Mail Boxes Etc. store was opened in Carlsbad, California by Gerald Aul, Pat Senn and Robert Diaz, who designed it as an alternative to the U.S. Postal Service. In 2001, Mail Boxes Etc. became a subsidiary of UPS and began re-branding as The UPS Store in 2003.

  • Initial Investment – $177,955 – $402,595
  • Net-worth Requirement – $150,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $60,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $29,950
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2.5%
  1. College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors

College nannies, sitters and tutors are in business to find babysitting jobs for reliable college students who need the extra cash. They connect baby sitters and mothers together. Business school student, Joseph Keeley took a job as a nanny in Edina, Minnesota when he was in school.

His experience made him recognize the need for a service to connect parents with safe, reliable nannies and tutors, so he created College Nannies and Tutors in 2001 to help match families with college students, graduates and teachers who need babysitting jobs. Based in Wayzata, Minnesota, the company began franchising in 2005.

  • Initial Investment – $151,500 – $228,000
  • Net-worth Requirement – $500,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $60,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $45,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2%
  1. Plato’s Closet

Plato’s closet is in business of selling good quality used clothes, and it is a fact that the majority of college students do not have the money to fund band new clothing. Stores in the chain only buy current fashions that are in good condition and sell same at cheaper rates. Plato’s Closet also sells used accessories, books, CDs, games, picture frames and other items. Since 1998, Plato’s Closet locations have sold the latest in gently used, name-brand teen fashions.

  • Initial Investment – $253,100 – $399,500
  • Net-worth Requirement – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $75,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  1. Kilwins Chocolates Franchise Inc.

Majority of college and university students are youths, and this is the age they indulge their sweet tooth. Any business that fulfills this need would definitely find market. Kilwin’s Chocolates, now owned by Don and Robin McCarty, sells chocolates, fudge and ice cream. Kilwin’s started as a bakery in 1947 and it was owned by Don and Katy Kilwin.

Soon after opening the bakery, the Kilwins began making candy. Six years later the Kilwins sold their bakery to focus on candy making full-time, and in 1978 sold the candy business to Wayne and Lorene Rose. The Roses began offering Kilwin’s franchises in 1982.

  • Initial Investment – $392,523 – $591,517
  • Net-worth Requirement – $500,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $125,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $40,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 1%
  1. Dryclean USA

Students are ever so busy, and they are more likely to use dry cleaners instead of doing their laundry. Dryclean USA franchisees use the company’s proprietary line of dry cleaning equipment to offer dry cleaning services for clothing and household items, heirlooming, water repellent treatment and alterations. This franchise would thrive richly in a college town.

  • Initial Investment – $261,500 – $606,500
  • Net-worth Requirement – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $100,000 – $125,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $30,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – $6,900 per year
  1. Mr. Appliance LLC

An average college student totes and average of two devices, and these devices would require repairs from time to time, so this business is just right for a college town. Established in 1996, Mr. Appliance provides full-service appliance service and repair to both commercial and residential clients at more than 150 locations worldwide.

  • Initial Investment – $60,800 – $139,515
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $35,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 7%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2%
  1. Hooters

Hooters is a casual restaurant, and for students who live most of their student lives on jeans and t-shirts, this would be the ideal hang out for them. Add in a beach theme and sports display, then you have a profitable business. The first Hooters Restaurant opened in Clearwater, Florida, in 1983. The company known for its Hooters Girls waitresses, began franchising in 1986. The beach-theme restaurants feature sports displayed on flat-screen TVs and a menu offering seafood, sandwiches, burgers, salads, chicken wings and alcohol.

  • Initial Investment – $956,500 – $4,275,000
  • Net-worth Requirement – $2,500,000 – $3,000,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $1,500,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $75,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2%
  1. Fleet Feet Sports

Being that sports is something that is common with schools especially colleges and some students even gained admission on a sports scholarship, then any sports themed business is set to thrive around colleges. Fleet Feet stores offer measurement, gait analysis and fitting services to help customers find the right athletic shoes, inserts, socks, sports bras and other athletic apparel. Sally Edwards and Elizabeth Jansen opened the first Fleet Feet Sports in Sacramento, California, in 1976, but Tom Raynor purchased the company in 1993.

  • Initial Investment – $180,000 – $338,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $38,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 4%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 0.25%
  1. Tutor Doctor

Tutor Doctor franchises offer in-home, one-on-one tutoring for students from kindergarten through college. Tutors tailor their teaching to each student’s homework and sometimes work collaboratively with the students’ teachers. The Ontario-based company was founded in 2000 and began franchising in 2003. What better town to locate this kind of business than a college town.

  • Initial Investment – $68,500 – $101,700
  • Net-worth Requirement – $100,000 – $300,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $62,500 – $107,200
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $44,700 – $49,700
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 8%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2%
  1. Merle Norman Cosmetics

Merle Norman is a cosmetics studio that not only sells cosmetics, but offers its clients free trials before they buy. College students are always experimenting with things especially makeup which is common with the ladies. In addition to a full line of cosmetics, Merle Norman also offers skin cleansers, toners to sun defense and others. Merle Norman’s philosophy of “Try Before You Buy” was what helped to push the business.

  • Initial Investment – $34,803 – $186,500
  • Net-worth Requirement – $100,000 – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $25,000 – $100,000
  • Veteran Incentives – $5,000 in inventory
  1. Cell Phone Repair

This is an important business for a college town as students value their cell phones a lot. CPR-Cell Phone Repair was founded in 2004 and began franchising in 2007. CPR cell phone repair offer walk-in, drop-off and mail-in repair services for cell phones and other electronic devices. They also sell smartphones, game systems, music players, parts and accessories.

  • Initial Investment – $58,150 – $176,000
  • Net-worth Requirement – $150,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $50,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $37,500
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5.8-8%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 1%