significant increase of this group between 2010 and 2030 due, in large part, to the aging baby boomer population. In fact, the first set of boomers will turn 65 in 2011. As a result, the older population is expected to be twice as large in 2030 as it was in 2000, growing from 35 million to 72 million or nearly 20% of the total U.S. population.
The development of in-home medical technologies, substantial cost savings, and patients’ preference for in-residence care has turned this small segment of the healthcare industry into “one of the fastest growing parts of the economy,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
According to the IFA, franchises to watch in this category include Comfort Keepers (www.comfortkeepers.com), Home Instead Senior Care (www.home instead.com), and Homewatch Caregivers (www.homewatchcaregivers.com).
Fitness Centers(Health and Fitness)
Experts assert that as more Americans become knowledgeable about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and find ways to reduce a myriad of mental and physical aliments, the fitness boom will continue. And legions of franchisees will be able to bulk up revenues. Based on the increase in the number of units, three fitness centers ranked in the top 20 of FRANdata’s listing last year; eight centers ranked in the top 100 based on percentage growth.
And with nearly 40 different fitness franchi
se brands currently available to choose from, health and fitness will continue to demonstrate its strength in the marketplace. In fact, the general health sector realized franchise unit growth of a muscular 23.5%.
According to the IFA, franchises to watch in this sector include Gold’s Gym (www.goldsgym.com), Kinderdance (www.kinderdance.com), and Liberty Fitness (www.libertyfitness.com).
Computer Repair (Computer Products and Services)
Growing numbers of franchisees have become wired into information technology–from computer troubleshooting to network support. And these operations, which serve businesses of varying sizes as well as residential customers, can be found in shopping malls, electronic stores, or through catchy toll-free numbers.
Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst with the Enderle Group, a San Jose, California-based tech consulting firm, says the packaging and franchising of computer support has provided entrepreneurs with a phenomenal opportunity. Exposure, high quality, and customer satisfaction will be the factors that drive the longevity of these franchised operations.
Another advantage for prospective franchisees: Startup costs for some of these ventures can run as low as $18,000. And not every franchisor recruits a “geek.” However, those deficient in tech skills may want to partner with an IT-savvy professional to run the day-to-day operations.
Enderle credits the trend of IT franchises (such as the Geek Squad) joining forces with large chain stores (such as Best Buy) with boosting popularity among consumers. “There has been an increasing need for consumers to get all of this wonderful stuff they bought to actually work and, in some cases, work together,” he says.
According to the IFA, franchises to watch in this category include 1-800-905-GEEK (www.1800905geek.com), Concerto Networks (www.concertonetworks.com), and Geeks in a Flash (www.geeksinaflash.com).
Automotive Repair/Parts/ Service (Automotive)
Some franchisees have gained a solid foothold through the automotive repairs arena. For one, it’s a fertile environment. Large numbers