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20 Best Franchises for Small Towns [Cost, Fees]

Do you live in a village/rural area and want to know the best franchise opportunities to buy? If YES, here are 50 best business franchise ideas for small towns. A town has been described as a human settlement that is larger than a village but smaller than a city. A small town is an even smaller settlement that may not be very larger than a village.

Smaller settlements appeal to certain kinds of people for certain reasons, but chief among them is the slower pace of life that characterizes small towns. The neighborliness, the rustic feel and the freedom from all the stresses that larger towns are known for are what adds to their appeal.

This is basically why it is more common to find seniors, retirees and new mums in small towns. So businesses that would thrive in these towns are those that appeal to these sets of people. If you just moved to a small town and are thinking of a business to start and make profit, these 20 franchises are just right for you.

  • 50 Small Business ideas for Small Towns

20 Best Franchise Opportunities for Small Towns

  1. Merry Maids

Every town, small or large, needs a cleaning service, and what better cleaning franchise to start in a small town than the popular merry maids cleaning business. This domestic and commercial cleaning company was founded by Dallen W. Peterson in 1979 in Omaha, Nebraska. The company cleans more than 300,000 homes, apartments and condominiums each month in North America. In 1988, Merry Maids joined the ServiceMaster Quality Service Network which includes franchise companies like AmeriSpec, Terminix and Furniture Medic.

  • Initial Investment – $86,750 – $123,750
  • Net-worth Requirement – $90,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $37,500
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $37,500 – $51,500
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee 5-7%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 1.3%
  1. SeekingSitters Inc.

The baby sitting industry is quite versatile as a lot of working mums are always looking for reliable sitters to take care of their children while there are at work.

SeekingSitters was founded in 2004 by Adrienne and David Kallweit who saw the need for a babysitter referral service because of their own difficulties in finding reliable caretakers for their son. As a licensed private investigator, Adrienne’s idea was to do background screenings on all prospective sitters. The Kallweits began franchising SeekingSitters in 2006.

  • Initial Investment – $59,200 to $91,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $39,500 to $46,500
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 1%
  1. Patrol Services International

Small towns need the services of a private security company to offer additional security services for those that desire it. Patrol Services International specializes in armed and unarmed security, vehicle patrol, personal executive protection, alarm response, asset transport, loss prevention, background investigations and other related services with one ultimate goal – to deter criminal activities in communities.

To be a part of Patrol Services International, you must be a professionally trained officer with law enforcement and/or military background. Not only are Patrol Services International personnel and equipment state of the art, but their standards are the highest around.

  • The total investment for single unit operation – $109,500 to $233,500.
  • Initial franchise fee – $39,000 for the first unit
  • Subsequent patrol services unit – $35,000
  1. Visiting Angels

A lot of seniors are quite strong and they prefer living alone when their birds have flown the nest. Though they are strong and prefer to live alone, but they may not be able to handle every chore at home, so they need help in that department.

Visiting Angels is an in-home assistance franchise that offers living assistance services including hygiene assistance, meal preparation, light housekeeping, running errands, shopping and companionship services to the aged and disabled. The founder of Visiting Angels was a social worker who was inspired to start the business after hearing families and caregivers lament the severe lack of alternatives to nursing facilities or assisted living centers. Jeffrey Johnson began Visiting Angels in 1992 to provide experienced in-home caregivers for seniors.

  • Initial Investment – $77,985 to $102,285
  • Net-worth Requirement – $100,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $100,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $43,950 to $67,950
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 3.5-2.5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2.5-2%
  1. NEPAT Transport (Non-Emergency transportation)

When people retire, they usually move to small towns because of the peace and quietness it provides, so small towns are likely to have more seniors who may have stopped driving due to one reason or the other. Because of this,  non-medical transportation company is a good franchise to start in a small town.

NEPAT, Inc. is a Non-Emergency Professional Accessible Transportation that offers the most reliable non-emergency transportation services in North Carolina. Their services include providing transportation for inmates of adult day care, for accident victims, taking patients for post-surgery visits, taking patients home after discharge from hospital, inter-facility transfers, senior transportation, routine medical and dental visits. The transport agency is now expanding its system of operations in non-emergency accessible transportation services through a franchise network.

  • Initial Investment – $150,000 to $350,000
  • Initial Franchise – Fee – $30,000
  • Royalty Fee – 8%
  • Advertising Fee – 2%
  1. Dunkin Donuts

Coffee is life for most Americans, and coffee and doughnuts are the best combination for breakfast, so a small town needs to have these two offerings.

Dunkin’ Donuts is the number one retailer of baked goods but it is popularly known for its delicious glazed doughnuts. The company also serves hot and iced coffee by the cup, as well as other beverages. With nearly 10,500 locations in 31 countries, Dunkin Donuts plans to further multiply its number of restaurants in the near future, hence the franchise. This restaurant chain was founded in 1950 and it started franchising in 1955.

  • Cash Investment – $250,000
  • Net Worth – $500,000
  1. HealthSource

People routinely require the healing services of chiropractors, so a small town needs at least one chiropractor. HealthSource is about the world’s largest chiropractic and wellness franchise. After a decade of serving more than 8 million patients, the company is seeking health professionals interested in being a part of their next expansion.

  • Liquid Capital Required – $50,000
  • Total Investment – $50,000 to $200,000
  1. Discount Party Store

People would always have a need to celebrate, be it weddings, birthdays or anniversaries, so a store where one can get party supplies is necessary in a small town, throw in a discount party store and you have the right magnet for customers.

Discount party store is a store that offers party supplies at a very discounted rate. They have multiple merchandise including Balloon Bouquets, Greeting Cards, Party Decorations, Gift Wrap, Paper and Plastic Tableware, Theme Party Supplies, Wedding and Bridal Supplies and much more, all at discounted prices.

  • Liquid Capital Required – $40,000
  • Total Investment – $77,900
  1. Great Clips

What better business to start in a small town than a hair salon? Someone has to give great hairdos to the towns people. 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.

  • Initial Investment – $136,900 to $258,250
  • Net-worth Requirement – $300,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $50,000 to $150,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $20,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 6%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Veteran Incentives – $5,000 rebate on first-store franchise fee
  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 small town with school age children.

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

No town is complete without an efficient business center. Minuteman press is a complete business service provider that has been helping businesses grow for over 40 years. As a Minuteman press franchisee, you do not require prior experience in a related job position; the company provides all the required experience that would enable you succeed in the field.

  • Cash Investment – $30,000
  • Franchise Fee – $45,500
  • Total Investment – $100,000 to $150,000
  1. Plato’s Closet

Plato’s closet is in business of selling good quality used clothes, and it is a fact that certain of people in small towns 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 to $399,500
  • Net-worth Requirement – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $75,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  1. Service Corporation International (SCI)

Death is a certainty of life, so every small town needs to have funeral home that can take care of burials and cremations.

Service Corporation International is described as the leading provider of death care and services in North America. The company operates a network of more than 2,000 funeral homes and cemeteries, with more than 22,000 employees. SCI assists families celebrate the significance of the lives of their deceased loved ones while preserving their memories with dignity and honor. SCI grossed $2.4 billion in revenue in 2012. This is a very profitable franchise to have in a small town.

  • Funeral homes – 1,437
  • Cemeteries – 347
  1. Lapels Dry Cleaning

A dry cleaning service is very essential in a small town, as their services are very necessary. Lapels Dry Cleaning is an environmentally friendly dry cleaning store that offers drop off and pick up services. The franchise offers three different programs that franchisees can choose from which are, environmentally friendly dry cleaning plant, multi-unit program and satellite (drop off/pick up) store, and the company also offers extensive training support to its franchisees. The ideal franchisee for this business is one who is outgoing and has sales and management experience.

  • Minimum cash required – $50,000
  • Total investment – $80,000 to $343,000
  • Estimated startup costs – plant $400,000, satellite $100,000
  1. Cash America

People get strapped for cash from time to time and may need to exchange some of their items for cash or may need to purchase fairly used items at a reduced cost, so a pawn shop is essential in a small town.

Cash America is a local store that provides a convenient way for people to exchange their items for cash. Here, customers can sell thousands of different categories of products and items. Cash America has more than 500 locations throughout the nation, and the company is still growing and expanding. Cash America is an established and recognized franchise in the pawn shop industry. The cost of acquiring the franchise varies depending on the size and location of the store.

  • Startup cost – $200,000 to $300,000
  1. Anytime Fitness

Nearly one million people register in a gym every year, and for good reasons. A lot of Americans are very health conscious and this reflects in the high acceptance of fitness centers. So, a fitness and wellness center is a necessity for a small town.

Anytime Fitness is the world leader in the 24/7 fitness market, offering convenient and affordable fitness options in friendly, well maintained facilities with state-of-the-art equipment.

  • Cash Investment – $80,000
  • Net Worth – $250,000
  • Franchise Fee – $26,999
  • Total Investment – $71,599 to $353,900
  • Royalty Fee – 549 per month
  • Advertising Fee – 300 per month
  1. uBreakiFix

Almost everyone owns a smartphone and an electronic device or two, and these devices tend to develop problems regularly, so a smartphone and electronics fixing franchise is essential for a small town.

uBreakiFix is a consumer electronics repair company based out of Orlando, FL that specializes in refurbishing and restoring smartphones, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles in a fast and friendly manner. The company was founded in 2009 by two friends in their living room as an online based mail-in repair business. Within six years, they have blossomed to 400 stores currently in operation and in development across the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.

  • Cash Investment – $125,000
  • Net Worth – $200,000
  • Franchise Fee – $40,000
  • Total Investment – $44,600 to $197,950
  1. Pearle Vision

Eye defects are quite common both in young and aged persons so an eye clinic is quite essential in a small town.

Pearle Vision eye clinic offers complete eye exams with an extensive selection of eye wear. 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 to $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. The Flying Locksmiths

Doors need to be locked no matter where they are located, so the services of locksmiths are always in demand. The Flying Locksmiths Inc., is an all-inclusive security provider that encompasses services ranging from locks and keys, all the way to card access systems, full door replacements, panic devices, door closers and fully integrated master key systems. The Flying Locksmiths is a white collar business management franchise opportunity in the commercial locksmith industry. Their high profit margins and low overhead make them a great opportunity for any franchisee.

  • Initial Investment – $121,596 to $366,396
  • Net-worth Requirement – $200,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $90,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $15,000 to $240,000
  1. Critter Control Inc.

Pests are a nuisance and they destroy things. Any business that would help keep them under control is welcome anytime and anywhere whether in a big or small town.

Critter Control started when the founder, Kelvin Clark, was always asked to help remove pests from chimneys when he cleaned them. Seeing the need for such services, Clark formed Critter Control in 1982 to remove animals from chimneys, attics, decks and other areas for home owners and businesses. Critter Control began franchising in 1987.

Today Critter Control franchisees provide environmentally-sound wildlife and pest management solutions. The company also specializes in pest and animal exclusion services, animal and pest damage repair, attic restoration and insulation. In 2011, the company introduced Critter Control Home Services, offering environmentally-safe roof, patio and siding cleaning services.

  • Initial Investment – $23,725 to $94,575
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $11,000 to $47,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 7%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 1%

In conclusion, there are a lot of other franchises that can do great in small towns, these ones mentioned above are just scratching the surface. But you have to note that before setting up a business in a small town, you have to know the population of the town, their demographics, mannerisms, and most importantly the businesses already in existence in the town.

Research has found that people living in small towns are fiercely loyal to brands and may not take it lightly with a new entrant, so you need to look for services that are not already being offered in the town, or services that are offered but are not adequate.