Top Franchises For 2007 Word Count: 999 Summary: Once you’ve done your research and decided that buying a franchise is the business opportunity for you, you will, of course, have to select the franchise in which you want to invest. Your choice will undoubtedly be based on many criteria, not the least of which is potential for profitability. There are many resources available to help a potential franchisee choose the franchise that is the best fit for him. For example, entrepreneur.com ranks franchises annually in thei... Keywords: top franchises, franchise opportunities, buying a franchise, business opportunities Article Body: Once you’ve done your research and decided that buying a franchise is the business opportunity for you, you will, of course, have to select the franchise in which you want to invest. Your choice will undoubtedly be based on many criteria, not the least of which is potential for profitability. There are many resources available to help a potential franchisee choose the franchise that is the best fit for him. For example, entrepreneur.com ranks franchises annually in their Franchise 500® list. Entrepreneur.com judges all companies—regardless of size—on the same criteria. Objective and quantifiable data are used to assign each company a cumulative score, and the companies earning the highest scores then become the Franchise 500® list. Some of the factors considered include: financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the company, number of years in business as well as number of years franchising, start-up costs, litigations, percentage of terminations and whether a company provides financing. All of the financial data considered is audited by an independent CPA to ensure accuracy. The top ten of this year’s Franchise 500® included companies such as The UPS Store/Mail Boxes Etc. This is the largest franchisor of retail shipping, postal and business service centers in the world. UPS acquired Mail Boxes Etc., Inc. in 2001, and in 2003 the two companies introduced The UPS Store. This company has enjoyed massive growth that included 500 new locations in the first year alone. By 2004, the company had over 5,000 locations. The UPS Store/Mail Boxes Etc. has been designated as the number one franchise opportunity in the postal and business services category of the Franchise 500® for 16 consecutive years. Another ranked list of franchises is The Franchise 50 Awards. This list is compiled by the Franchise Business Review, which is a national franchise market research firm that conducts independent surveys measuring the satisfaction of franchisees. Since profitability is a major factor in whether or not you’ll be satisfied with a franchise, The Franchise 50 Awards list is also a good tool to use in your decision- making process. Included in The Franchise 50 Awards top ten for 2007 were companies such as FASTSIGNS, Synergy HomeCare, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, i9 Sports and CertaPro Painters. The Franchise Business Review also ranks franchises in 16 different industry categories. For example, earning top honors in the automotive category was Matco Tools. FASTSIGNS This company provides custom signs, graphics, banners, trade show exhibits and vehicle graphics using the best computer technology available. FASTSIGNS boasts nearly 500 locations worldwide, and they are continuing to grow. The average per store gross sales reported in FASTSIGNS’ 2006 UFOC was $620,000. Synergy HomeCare With more than 34 million people over the age of 65 currently residing in the U.S., the demand for non-medical, in-home care is at an all-time high. Synergy HomeCare provides comprehensive training for new franchisees to ensure success in this rapidly growing industry. New franchisees in this company are each assigned a franchise start-up representative to guide them through the start-up process. A pre-class workbook is provided to assist franchisees in completing the research necessary to successfully operate in their local areas. After this is completed, new franchisees attend a five-day training program at Synergy HomeCare’s corporate headquarters. Synergy HomeCare also provides ongoing support to their franchisees in these additional areas: staffing, marketing, software and intranet. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? This junk removal franchise has grown by over 500 percent in the past three years. This is a young company that is poised to dominate a newly developed niche market. This company is actively seeking franchisees who will adapt well to its “work hard, play hard” corporate culture. Ideal candidates should be aggressive, results-oriented people who are excited about long-term growth and who exhibit strong leadership capabilities. i9 Sports i9 Sports operates youth sports leagues, camps and after-school programs for children ages 3-14. This franchise has a low start-up cost in addition to classroom training and a franchise support coach. Franchisees in this system enjoy the freedom of dictating their own working schedules because these businesses are operated directly from franchisees’ homes. Each franchisee is granted an exclusive territory to maximize the potential for long-term growth in this huge market. Organized sports are played by over 100 million Americans, but many are disappointed in the poorly organized sports programs available to them locally. This franchise offers a great opportunity to meet a community need. CertaPro Painters Home services is a $100 billion a year industry, and this franchise offers you the opportunity to be part of that industry by providing both residential and commercial customers with full service painting. CertaPro also offers specialty painting services such as faux finishes. CertaPro has been in business since 1992, and they offer a comprehensive initial training program. This company also encourages and facilitates strong interaction between franchisees through a national convention, regional meetings and business planning groups. Matco Tools This franchise manufactures and distributes professional automotive equipment, tools and toolboxes. Their product catalogue boasts over 13,000 items including hand tools, power tools, diagnostics, tool storage, heavy-duty tools, shop equipment and OEM-specified service tools. The product offering is updated on a continual basis to ensure availability of the latest tools. This franchise differs from others you may have researched because there are no franchise fees, ongoing royalties or advertising fees. Starting the business does not require the purchase of expensive real estate, and you won’t need to hire any employees. Matco Tools offers start-up financing through an in-house department as part of a comprehensive support system that includes: Matco Distributor Business System (MDBS), Matco Customer Service Support Team, Matco Distributor Advisory Council (MDAC), national advertising and racing support. Final Comments So, you can see just by this very short list that the possibilities with franchising are virtually limitless. There are many franchises that are consistently outperforming the rest in terms of profitability and franchisee satisfaction, and you can use the tools discussed in this article to find out which ones they are. All that’s left is for you to decide which franchise is the best match to your personal business style.