Franchises That Fit - Page 2 of 6

Franchises That Fit

typically fall within the 4% to 8% range, although some are higher depending on the level of service offered by the franchisor.

To help prospective franchisees identify the right business, each year BLACK ENTERPRISE compiles a list of hot and affordable franchises for African Americans. This year’s list of 15 accessible franchises is based on a national survey of more than 80 franchisors who are members of the IFA and included such criteria as the current number of African American franchise units. We also broke down the listing by identifying the best franchisors that fall into three categories: those under $50,000, $50,000 — $200,000, and $200,000 — $500,000. Our survey was conducted by BE Research.

Some franchisors offer products such as doughnuts and tires, while others sell services like computer consulting and tax preparation. Some can be operated by a sole entrepreneur from home, while others require several employees in a separate outside facility. “There’s really a franchise for every budget out there,” says Don DeBolt, president of the IFA. “You can invest a few thousand dollars and obtain a commercial or residential cleaning service or you can invest up to millions of dollars for a Ritz Carlton Hotel. And then there is everything in between.”

No matter the type, size, or location, franchises are very popular business opportunities — some, of course, are more popular than others. But figuring out which ones are hot and which ones are not can be a challenge. To help make choosing a little easier, the IFA has identified six industries it calls “hot sectors.” These sectors include automotive (Meineke), business-to-business (Mini-Tankers-USA), marketing and advertising (ValPak Direct Marketing Systems Inc.), executive recruiting and staffing (Express Personnel Services), business services (Geeks on Call), and food (Ben & Jerry’s).

The IFA Website ( lists a variety of franchises in each of these industries. The list includes detailed information about each company, such as start-up cost, franchise fees, support services, and financing opportunities. Prospective franchisees can also take free courses offering instruction on how to investigate franchises, as well as information about the pitfalls of the industry and the terminology involved.

DeBolt says each of these sectors has certain dynamics that make them popular picks. “Take the automotive industry, for example,” he says. “There are just a lot of possibilities in that area because people are not buying a new car every year. They’re servicing their car and maintaining it in whatever manner necessary to run that car a few more miles, and that includes all the things that go with a car.”

Since many people are leaving corporate America to start their own businesses, DeBolt adds that the growing number of start-ups and the services that are required to keep them in operation create more opportunities in the business-to-business, marketing and advertising, staffing, and business sectors.

“Many people are starting their own consulting businesses or whatever niche they have found, which is helping the business-to-business sector grow. Then there are a lot of new small businesses that can’t afford to have their own