Five franchises under $100k

Australia is the world’s most franchised nation on a per-person basis, with three times as many franchises per head compared with the United States, IBISWorld research shows.

The appeal of a franchise is clear. On paper, investing in one brings you turnkey convenience twinned with recognition. Still, you need not bust the budget – the industry has its share of low-cost opportunities that could prove to be bargains if you are canny and lucky and you do your homework: the more the better.

Here, two industry insiders assess five proven low-cost franchises that it is possible to buy for under $100,000, and explain what you get for your money.

1. Mortgage Choice

Concept: Mortgage brokerage.

Available territories: Australia-wide.

Training: Mortgage Choice’s two-year course gives franchisees “a personalised, needs-based learning and development pathway” meant to make them proficient and productive fast.

If you are tempted to buy a slice of this mortgage brokerage offering a range of client funding sources, you should have a fiscal, white-collar background, advises franchising strategist Brian Keen. Experience in sales, marketing or finance helps – a banking background might be handy, says Keen.

Once you sign up, you represent “a proven system” boasting great recognition. “You’ve got a brand of course that’s very, very well-known.”

“Ideal” for solo entrepreneurs, according to Keen, Mortgage Choice offers a vast, supportive buddy network: members talk shop over coffee or via Skype.

2. Keen To Clean

Concept: Mobile cleaning service.

Available territories: Australia-wide.

Training: “Comprehensive training and support,” according to the company website.

Since its 2003 launch, the mobile cleaning franchise Keen To Clean has flourished, says Keen, who is not affiliated with the business. Keen To Clean concentrates on domestic and business cleaning and carpet cleaning.

“So, basic stuff, but there’s a growing demand,” Keen says, adding that the business he paints as youthfully dynamic is wedded to modern gadgetry and web-driven marketing. Just be sure you can handle the servitude.

“To a degree you’re subservient, working for people domestically – not everyone’s comfortable.”

But, peacefully removed from the maddening crowd, you should find that cash flow “ticks over” because you may well start with a client base, Keen says.

3. PoolWerx

Concept: Pool maintenance.

Available territories: Australia-wide.

Training: PoolWerx runs an in-house “pool school” supported by field visits designed to sharpen students’ practical grasp of pool maintenance, according to the company website.

The booming “man-in-a-van” pool maintenance franchise PoolWerx will suit practical, independent, outdoorsy types fond of driving.

“You’re out and about,” Keen says.

He describes PoolWerx work, based around changing pumps, as “not exceedingly challenging”. Still, because you are running a personal service, you must present and communicate well.

Get your clients “on-side” – build a trust-based, long-term dialogue – and you will remove much of the hassle, according to Keen.

4. Fifo Capital

Concept: invoice finance.

Available territories: Australia and New Zealand.

Training: After an initial three-month intensive course, training including refresher courses continues.

The fiscal franchise Fifo Capital buys invoices from firms with accounts to be paid: assets minus cash.

According to analyst Glenn Walford, who has written widely about the franchising sector, Fifo offers broad and solid opportunity.

Think a proven system, training, support and expertise, letting you tap a rich market: Australia has hundreds of thousands of small-to-medium businesses, Walford says. For them, access to growth building capital is tighter than it has been for a long time, he adds.

Fifo may suit self-starters who demand freedom because the work is “highly flexible”. You decide how you manage your time, on average serving just 10 clients. Work from home and you have “very low ongoing costs”.

5. TermiCam

Available territories: Australia and global.

Concept: High-tech pest detection.

Training: Schooled in the latest pest detection developments, TermiCam franchise buyers get certificates of competency on graduation.

The pest inspection firm TermiCam arms franchisees with eco-friendly thermal bug-detection cameras. TermiCam’s field holds strong promise because, Walford says, over 35 per cent of households sold in Australia have a termite or destructive timber problem.

TermiCam franchisees are backed by a consumer-friendly $250,000 timber replacement warranty covering every household serviced. Another draw for franchisees is that TermiCam’s cutting edge gadgetry offers unrivalled detection accuracy, Walford says.

Like Fifo, he adds, TermiCam is much more than a “me too” clone. Offering a “unique twist” on a vital service, TermiCam solves a “sizeable” consumer market’s problems and so underpins its franchisees’ future. To succeed, you just need a strong desire to be a thriving owner-operator, he says.

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