15 franchise businesses you can start from home — or a van — for less than $150,000

  • Many franchises give entrepreneurs a chance to become business owners without a physical location. 
  • Opportunities are available for a variety of skills and qualifications in sales and services.
  • Here are the best mobile and remote brands from Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 rankings for 2021.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Property costs are one of the significant expenses when starting or running a business, but many franchises offer entrepreneurs a way to operate a business without a physical location. 

Mobile and remote opportunities are available in sales and services for people with a variety of skills and qualifications, and some brands offer a path to build toward a larger operation over time.

Insider parsed through Entrepreneur’s authoritative Franchise 500 rankings for 2021 to highlight these top 15 franchise brands that can be run from home or a vehicle and have initial investments that start at less than $150,000.

Sell window blinds and dressings from home

Budget Blinds LLC

Initial investment: $125,000 – $254,000

Number of franchised units: 1,273

Additional employees needed: No

Budget Blinds sells a variety of name-brand window treatments and offers free in-home and virtual consultations, measurements, and installation. 

Website: Budget Blinds Franchising

Provide cleaning services for homes and businesses

Jan-Pro International, Inc.

Initial investment: $4,000 – $56,000

Number of franchised units: 10,118

Additional employees needed: No

Jan-Pro is one of the largest cleaning service brands in North America, and features a “Cleaning Greener” initiative that requires fewer chemicals to clean more.

Website: Franchising with Jan-Pro

Anago Cleaning Systems

Initial investment: $11,000 – $68,000

Number of franchised units: 1,711

Additional employees needed: No

Anago provides regularly-scheduled office cleanings and periodic commercial cleaning services.

Website: Anago Cleaning Systems Franchising

The Maids

Initial investment: $64,000 – $154,000

Number of franchised units: 1,299

Additional employees needed: Yes (20)

The Maids sends teams of four to clients’ homes in distinctive yellow cars to use the brand’s trademark 22-Step cleaning system.

Website: Franchising with The Maids

Stratus Building Solutions

Initial investment: $4,000 – $80,000

Number of franchised units: 2,030

Additional employees needed: Yes

Stratus Building Solutions uses proprietary chemicals and equipment to provide a “green clean” for commercial properties.

Website: Franchising with Stratus Building Solutions

 

Buy and sell houses

HomeVestors of America Inc.

Initial investment: $70,000 – $426,000

Number of franchised units: 1,122

Additional employees needed: No

HomeVestors is the company behind the “We Buy Ugly Houses” brand that specializes in flipping distressed properties.

Website: HomeVestors Franchising

NextHome Inc.

Initial investment: $15,000 – $213,000

Number of franchised units: 414

Additional employees needed: No

NextHome real estate brokers are equipped with modern tools and world-class marketing to stay relevant and attractive to consumers.

Website: Franchising with NextHome

Plan and book trips for tourists and business travelers

Cruise Planners

Initial investment: $2,000 – $24,000

Number of franchised units: 3,151

Additional employees needed: No

Cruise Planners is affiliated with American Express Travel Services and is the largest home-based travel advisor franchise in the US.

Website: Cruise Planners Franchising

Dream Vacations

Initial investment: $2,000 – $20,000

Number of franchised units: 1,553

Additional employees needed: No

Dream Vacations franchisees are certified travel agents who sell packages to tourists and business travellers.

Website: Dream Vacations Franchising

Sell auto repair tools from a truck

Matco Tools

Initial investment: $78,000 – $274,000

Number of franchised units: 1,808

Additional employees needed: No

Matco Tools franchisees bring trucks loaded with automotive tools and accessories to customers in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Canada.

Website: Matco Tools Franchising

Mac Tools

Initial investment: $132,000 – $287,00

Number of franchised units: 1,122

Additional employees needed: No

Mac Tools is a division of Stanley Black & Decker that sells automotive tools and equipment.

Website: Franchising with Mac Tools

Serve up a tasty frozen treat from a trailer

Kona Ice

Initial investment: $146,000 – $169,000

Number of franchised units: 1,286

Additional employees needed: Yes

Kona Ice is a brand of shaved ice that customers can flavor themselves, served from trucks, trailers, kiosks, and carts.

Website: Franchising with Kona

Help other entrepreneurs find their dream business

Transworld Business Advisors

Initial investment: $75,000 – $97,000

Number of franchised units: 321

Additional employees needed: No

Transworld Business Advisors help other franchise owners run, grow, and sell their businesses.

Website: Transworld Franchising

Keep the pipes flowing or the grass growing

Rooter-Man

Initial investment: $47,000 – $138,000

Number of franchised units: 732

Additional employees needed: Yes (2)

Rooter-Man provides plumbing and drain services to homes and businesses, as well as repairs and sewer cleaning.

Website: Rooter-Man Franchising

Lawn Doctor

Initial investment: $100,000 – $125,000

Number of franchised units: 592

Additional employees needed: Yes

Lawn Doctor is an all-season lawn care service, also offering fertilization, weed, and insect control.

Website: Lawn Doctor Franchising

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