Thinking of buying a franchise? Well, you are jumping into a sea of endless possibilities.
There are thousands of franchises out there and choosing one can often be more confusing than starting with your own business concept.
While franchising seems like a great idea, it’s not as easy as you think.
Searching online for possible franchises to purchase only leads to endless lists from franchise directories where people pay to include their business.
So, I thought I would take the time to pull a few out of those lists to give you my unbiased opinion. I based my list on doing the research for purchasing a kid franchise. After all, that is the franchise I would purchase if I was in the market.
One thing I love about kid franchises is there is more than just a monetary reward. Yes, you get into business to make money, but it is always nice to see that business making a difference. That is why I like franchises in education and health rather than those the peddle sweets and other products.
There are hundreds of kid franchises out there to choose from, many of which could have made my list. However, these are the ones that I chose based on growth, potential to receive more than monetary rewards, and overall cost (initial fee and continued royalties).
If I had to narrow it down to five, these are the ones that would make the final list.
1. Mathnasium (Education)
- Founded - 2002
- Number of locations – 600+
- Initial Franchise Fee – $40,000
- Royalties – 10 percent
Mathnasium is basically a math tutoring center for kids, but with a little kick and a little more proficiency. Founded in Westwood, California in 2002, it teaches principles developed by a former consultant to public and private schools. The systems they use bring fun to the world of math in order to help kids better understand their curriculum. It assesses each student individually and customizes courses based on their needs.
One of the benefits of owing a Mathnasium franchise is the reviews. It is consistently praised by parents and educators, helping solidify the brand. There is also the benefit of high demand and little competition. According to the ICEF Monitor, tutoring services is listed as one of the top industries worldwide to start a business.
Mathnasium is consistently ranked among the top franchises to own, including being on the Franchise 500 and America’s Top Global Franchises. It is also a member of the Inc. 5000 based on its revenue growth.
2. i9 Sports (Fitness and Sports)
- Founded - 2003
- Number of locations – 100+
- Initial Franchise Fee – $19,900
- Royalties – 7.5 percent
i9 Sports is a youth sport league offering flag football, soccer, basketball and other organized sporting activities. It is slowly replacing the local sport leagues organized by other organizations.
One of the best things about i9 is safety, especially when it comes to football. Many parents will not allow their kids to play football due to the recent media attention given to concussions. i9 does not play contact football (only flag football), allowing kids to learn the game without the high risk of injury from contact. This opens a world of opportunity for the franchise to pick up kids who otherwise would not be allowed by their parents to play the sport.
i9 has an advantage as it does not rely on public funding. While sport programs are getting cut due to school and other public funding, i9 relies on parents who want an alternative. So far, more than 10,000 kids have taken that alternative.
Related Article: Real Talk: Is Franchising As Profitable As You Think?
3. Sky Zone (Fitness and Fun)
- Founded - 2004
- Number of locations – 100+
- Initial Franchise Fee – $60,000
- Royalties – 6 percent
Sky Zone was named in Inc. as one of the 10 Fastest Growing Franchises in 2015 and for good reason. This indoor trampoline park is sucking kids in faster than they can expand. What’s great about Sky Zone is that kids love it. Think of Chuck E Cheese but without the smell and slot machine type atmosphere.
Picture 20,000+ square feet of trampolines, all connected with safety padding and padded walls. It’s a kid’s dream. Parents are satisfied as well as kids get into shape while having fun at the same time. Each franchise location has organized activities and also has birthday party packages.
Sky Zone stands out among many kid franchises because of its awards and recognition. It was listed as one of Forbes’ America’s Most Promising Companies (2013 to 2015), Top 10 Fast-Growing Companies in L.A. by Inc., number two on Inc’s list of Fastest-Growing Franchises in America, and a member of the Inc. 5000.
4. Bricks 4 Kidz (Education)
- Founded - 2008
- Number of locations – 750+
- Initial Franchise Fee – $25,900
- Royalties – 7 percent
Bricks 4 Kidz is a learning center that uses Legos to teach kids the fundamentals of science, technology, engineering and math. Think of it as a place where kids can play with Legos and get educated without even knowing it.
A bright spot for Bricks 4 Kidz is its diversity of offerings. Parents can choose after school classes, week long summer camps, and even pre-school classes. They also host birthday parties and parents-night-out just like Sky Zone. The other thing that is attractive about this franchise is the startup costs involved and the time required to manage. While most franchises expect you to put in 40+ hours a week, Bricks 4 Kidz only has a 30 hour per week requirement.
Bricks 4 Kidz also takes its place among the fastest growing franchises. They were named one of the Fastest Growing Franchises in 2016, the number one Children’s Enrichment Franchise in 2015, and the number two Best New Franchise in 2014.
5. The Coop
- Founded - 2008
- Number of locations - 3
- Initial Franchise Fee – $35,000
- Royalties – 6 percent
Related Article: What Are the Best Options for Financing a Franchise?
The Coop is a party center with activities for kids (and a “rest” area for parents). Founded in Southern California in 2008, you may have seen it on a recent episode of ABC’s Shark Tank. In fact, it was profiled in Inc. back in 2014. Think of The Coop as a more laid back place to have birthday parties. It is your more classy location where you won’t have clowns and pizza thrown at you before being shoved out the door with a huge bill.
I love the concept of The Coop and backers on Shark Tank appeared to as well. However, it is a newer franchise so this could be one of the most risky out of the five.
With that out of the way, it is still one of the finalists based on its business concept. There are similar concepts out there (Sweet & Sassy), but The Coop is not the flashy “in your face” type atmosphere.
While The Coop has not been franchising long enough to be on any “top franchise” list (they just started in 2015), it has been recognized by numerous publications such as U.S. Weekly. With only three total locations to date, we will have to see how this one pans out.