21 Best Franchises Under $10K

Article Submitted by Fit Small Business, written by Benilyn Formoso-Suralta

Starting a franchise doesn’t always require a large upfront investment. In fact, there are many franchise opportunities that have minimum investment amounts starting below $10,000. This article lists 21 of the best franchise opportunities under $10,000, including travel agencies, cleaning services, sports and fitness, food services, pharmacies, and more.

If you’re looking for ways to fund your franchise, you might be able to use a Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS). A ROBS lets you use your retirement savings to purchase a franchise without paying early withdrawal fees or penalties. If you have more than $50K in a qualified retirement account, you can talk to a ROBS expert at Guidant for more information.

We spoke with FranchiseGrade.com and got data on the top 21 franchises under $10K… to read the full article:

21 Best Franchises Under $10K

Coffee News
Coffee News is the world’s largest weekly restaurant publication. Their newspapers are distributed at restaurants, providing the customers with interesting content to read while waiting for their food. Coffee News requires a total upfront investment ranging from $9,750 to $10,750.

Bottom Line – Franchises Under $10K
There are a variety of franchises under $10K. However, the total investment may vary depending on other costs, such as rent and equipment. If you are in need of franchise financing, check out our franchise financing guide for more information.

However, if you have retirement funds in a qualifying retirement account, you can use a Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS) to finance your franchise. The best part is there’s no early withdrawal fees or penalties. If you have at least $50,000 of retirement funds, you can talk to our ROBS expert at Guidant for more information.

About the Author
Benilyn Formoso – Suralta
Benilyn Formoso-Suralta is a Finance Writer at Fit Small Business. She has 12 years experience in consumer banking, real estate sales, and foreign exchange. A bookworm, fitness enthusiast, and proud mom-of-two. She loves to read, write, go to the beach, do Yoga, stay fit, and spend quality time with her family.

Disclaimer: Reviews on FitSmallBusiness.com are the product of independent research by our writers, researchers, and editorial team. User reviews and comments are contributions from independent users not affiliated with FitSmallBusiness.com’s editorial team. Banks, issuers, credit card companies, and other product & service providers are not responsible for any content posted on FitSmallBusiness.com. As such, they do not endorse or guarantee any posted comments or reviews.

Local guy makes good: From Winnipeg to the World

2017-07 Coffee News Guy photoHe doesn’t have a name—he’s just the Coffee News Guy—but you know him. His cheerful, waving self is in the front of the crowd at the top of every edition of every Coffee News, no matter the city, country, or language. He looks good in tan. He’s usually hidden someplace else on the front or back, too, and if you find him, you might win some tickets, or a gift basket, or a free oil change. At a trade show or a conference, if you find a Coffee News booth, you’ll be greeted by a 5’6” “life size” cut out of the Coffee News Guy. At other times, he’s standing in front of Coffee News home office in Bangor, Maine (US), where he presides over the largest franchise publication in the world.

The Coffee News Guy was born in the Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada), a neighborhood of St. Vital, on October 22, 1988. That’s the day Coffee News founder Jean Daum published her first small, local edition from her home typesetter.

Many years ago, when Coffee News owner Bill Buckley lived on a Bangor street called Laurel Circle, a ten-year-old boy named Robby lived next door. “He was a good kid, a neat dresser,” Bill said. His father was a music teacher and they were very strict with Robby.

“So I came home one afternoon, and there was Robby, standing at that imaginary line between our properties, and not walking on Mr. Buckley’s lawn. ‘How’re you doing, Robby?’

“ ‘Oh great, Mr. Buckley,’ he said. ‘Well, I was wondering if I could ask you if you would autograph a Coffee News for me.’

“ ‘Absolutely. I’d be thrilled,’ I said. I take out Coffee News, put it on the hood of my car, and sign it to Robby, ‘Best of luck in your studies.’ Then I say, ‘Can I ask you a question, Robby? Why do you want my autograph?’

“Robby says, ‘In my class, I tell all the kids that I live next door to the Coffee News man and they don’t believe me.’ So he wanted my autograph to show them it was true.”

The cartoon version of the Coffee News Guy represents what Coffee News always has been about: he’s cheerful, he’s friendly, he’s funny. He offers a break from the rest of this complicated life and its difficult personal and public news, giving readers the brief distraction of interesting tidbits, quotes, jokes, and uplifting predictions about their own lives.

Next to the nameplate on every single copy of Coffee News, the Coffee News Guy stands in front of a happy crowd. At 29, he’s on the young side of our international family of publishers. Whether they’re in their 30s or their 60s, most joined Coffee News because they wanted to shift gears for their families, or as the capstone of a career that provided income but was personally draining. They like the flexibility and control that Coffee News provides. They can work with spouses and friends, be available for their kids or their aging parents, and—once a franchise is up and running—make a point of regularly scheduled time for themselves.

The Coffee News Guy knows all this. That’s why he’s smiling and waving. Welcome to the family. Enjoy.

Commitment Plus Connection Equal Success

NguyenSLate last fall was slow for Scott Nguyen’s Coffee News of Northeast Indiana. He’d started one edition in June 2016 and another in October. They weren’t as full of ads as he wanted and he knew he needed to change the game a bit. “I sat down and made some goals,” he says. While selling ads, he’d noticed flyers promoting nonprofit events by different clubs and organizations. “You’d see flyers from four or five organizations—Rotaries, a downtown business alliance.” He got the idea of donating space to boost the community value of his editions, which would help nonprofits and demonstrate that Coffee News was committed to the area.

He learned that groups needing flyers typically went to the town hall, where a woman in the marketing department made the designs for them. They gave her a small stipend, then printed the flyers and distributed them at hair salons, in restaurant windows, and other places. “I realized it would be a good thing if I could highlight the events, too,” Scott says. “And that would mean less clutter in people’s windows.” So he walked into the town hall and told the woman, “I’m starting up this paper, and I have some space available that I’d like to give to the community.” She was happy to hear it and passed along his contact information to the nonprofits.

At first, he donated just one space, to see how it would work. Then in December, he decided, “Let’s start gambling.” Now he donates four spaces in each edition for family-friendly community activities—anything geared toward making the community better. The response has been great. Since January, he says, “it’s been crazy.”

With the sudden boom, he started asking around: “Why are people buying ads?” The clear answer was that Coffee News “didn’t look like a foreign object. It looked like, ‘Wow, this guy is highlighting the local community.’ ” One big area event features the arts and hot air balloons. “They partner up with the Visitors Bureau in the county,” Scott says. “They put hundreds of balloons in the sky, hot air balloons. So I was able to highlight that.”

His third edition, which he started this May, was successful, “right off the bat.” With every edition, he learns new things and tries to do something different with each one. For his first edition, he says, “Honestly, it took about 16 or 17 weeks to get my first inquiry. For the most part, it was just me on the ground, pounding pavement.” This was in the area where he grew up but, he says, it tends to be conservative and Coffee News was completely new. “Dekalb is known for classic cars, and to introduce something new was a challenge. We knew folks, and that helped. And time. I think I probably sold out in January of this year” about seven months after starting. Last fall, he began a second edition. “And in the first week, I got two inquiries. The last edition was in the spring, just real crazy. The day I laid it out, I had three inquiries.”

Besides donating space, Scott is committed to keeping local advertisers, not chains. How to target different consumers was something else he learned. “With my first edition, I wanted to be everywhere—McDonalds, Subway—and I would get bummed if a place like that wouldn’t carry it. But with my third edition, I realized there are lots of restaurants. If McDonalds won’t carry it, that’s not a big deal. But I have to get into all the sit-down restaurants.”

Steuben County, his third edition, is in an affluent tourist area. He thought, “Let’s go where all these folks who have money are likely to spend it.” Subway carries his other two counties, but not that one. “I wasn’t stressed out about it because all the other restaurants were saying yes. When people called me, they would always say, ‘Man, I see your newspaper everywhere.’ And I never got that from the other two, not right away.”

Scott also made four months his minimum ad buy. “Three months go by so fast,” he says. “The longer the better. It gives you more time to build relationships with your clients.” He visits each client every other month. They often don’t even talk about the ad. “I just get to know them, the family. It’s never really about the paper. It’s about relationship.”

His advice is common among publishers. “You’re a brand. People are going to look at you first, and then buy. First you have to sell yourself.” Over the years, he’s worked in many different fields, from coaching college soccer to owning a truck-cleaning business, and he has acquired lots of people skills. “I always try to find a way to connect. That’s just really key. You have to find a way to connect.” Another piece of advice is to get involved in groups that have “spheres of influence.” He says, “This is important and will help you get noticed much more quickly.” But he suggests first doing your homework to assess each group’s impact on the community. Scott is a Chamber of Commerce member in each county he serves, and is involved with a Downtown Coalition, and Rotary and Elks clubs.

So far, Scott’s commitment to his communities and his ability to connect are working just fine.

How to Handle Skepticism

Coffee News® and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore: Part 2

In the initial sales call, after you have had a chance to exchange basic introductions, potential advertisers will want to know the answer to some basic questions and may offer some of their views or experiences on advertising, in general. This is a key opportunity to learn past experiences and personal successes or failures of advertising for them. This client asked two questions and made one statement. The first question was about the effect of digital and social media on Coffee News® advertising, and the second question was how could Coffee News® help her business. But, before I could answer, the client stated emphatically that she has never advertised and does not have an advertising budget. She said that the current sales volume is enough to remain profitable, but sales had been trending downward in the past three years. At some point, the operation could begin to lose money. But, she was, at least, open to ideas on how to reverse the annual sales trend. She added that she did not believe in advertising!

download-2The client is skeptical that advertising works and is even more skeptical that Coffee News® can work for her. The classic response in sales when confronted with skepticism, is to offer proof. What did I have for proof that Coffee News® works?

Without any attempt to change her mind, I responded slowly and carefully to her two questions, much as a college professor of advertising might respond. I could see some acceptance in her facial expressions and comments, but stopped short of trying to influence her mind about advertising. The best source of proof that Coffee News® works is to show her copies of our local editions, filled with lots of local advertisers, all containing phone numbers for the businesses. I encouraged her to call each one for a testimonial. Then I showed her ads from clients who had advertised, continuously, in Coffee News® for many years, even one who started in our very first edition 22 years ago!

We ended our first meeting after an hour and a half and returned to my office. As I paused to debrief the sales call in my mind, I suddenly realized I had made a huge mistake. Why had I not taken some ad samples from around the country from publishers who had sold ads to Habitat for Humanity or ReStore? I called our print shop and immediately received 15 ads currently running in our publishers’ editions. Had I done this before the meeting, I could have given her 15 examples of great ads purchased by her own associates in other communities in other states. What a positive message it would have given her! Not only that, but it would have eliminated the need to answer her two questions or respond to her negative feelings about advertising. I could have said, “Don’t take my word for how advertising works, check with your associates around the country. Ask them why they are advertising in Coffee News® and if they feel it is working for them.

downloadI emailed her the 15 ads to review and will catch up with her again at Rotary, soon.

Selling advertising is a process of building a long-term relationship and building trust.


Bill Buckley, President
Coffee News®

Networking at the Rotary Club

download-1Coffee News® and Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Recently, while attending a Rotary luncheon, I noticed a member of our chapter who I had never taken the time to get to know. Unless you arrive early and stay late, you continually miss these people on the way in or out. The same goes for members of your church and parents at sporting events. You see people you would like to meet, but never can quite connect.

I was determined to meet this person, so when the chapter president “rang the bell” ending our Rotary meeting, I directly approached her and reached out to shake her hand. My opening line was, “I have seen you many times at our meetings but have never gotten to know you or understand what you do.  She got it, and said, “So, you just want to meet and learn what we do!”

“Yes! What does your schedule look like for later in the week,” I asked?

downloadWe met on Friday at 9AM in her office. It turns out she is the general manager of the local Habitat for Humanity and a ReStore recycling operation. For the next 45 minutes, she told me about her education, dreams, life philosophies, places she had worked and how she ended up in this position in Bangor, Maine. She should write a book.

The core of her operation is raising money to build modest homes for families who struggle to own their own home or need remodeling funds, that local financial companies will not finance. Her market is very thin. The inventory for ReStore comes from local community donors looking to replace household items during remodeling or decluttering, as we call it. It’s like shopping in a second-hand shop where you can find everything from artwork to microwaves to grandma’s mittens! I was thinking, second-hand Rose got her start here!

It was fascinating to learn so much about a place we had driven by for years! I felt guilty for not knowing. Up to this point, the subject of Coffee News® had not come up, and I was determined not to bring it up unless she asked about Coffee News®. After all, I had asked for a chance to meet her and learn about her business. She finally did ask for my Coffee News® elevator speech and I obliged with the usual history and our worldwide growth, etc.

It was a great first meeting!
Bill Buckley, President
Coffee News®

Let’s Make a Deal: New Ideas on the Path to Success

Steven_HermanBefore becoming a Coffee News publisher ten years ago, Steve Herman worked in television broadcast, production, and sales for 25 years. And he learned a thing or two about how to approach reluctant advertisers. Many people have declared print a dead medium for quite a long time. When potential advertisers tell him this, Steve offers them a deal: “Can I prove to you that print works?” he asks. They’re intrigued. “I would like to offer you a free ad,” he says. “Absolutely free. But there is one catch: I get to write the ad.”

“What are you going to say?” they want to know.

“I’m going to say that you’re out of business”

That alarms them. “You can’t say that!”

“So I tell them, ‘Well, if nobody reads it, what are you worried about?’ Nobody’s taken me up on that offer so far,” Steve says, laughing.

He owns six editions in and around Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plus one seasonal and one he calls a mini-edition of only 400 copies. When a friend moved to Brandon, just outside of Sioux Falls, the friend asked him to start an edition there. Steve objected. “My key operating statistics say I need 50 locations and 1,500 papers. I don’t think you come close to that over in Brandon.” But Steve offered his friend a deal. “If you’ll help me and if we can get to 25 locations, I’ll print it.” His friend agreed and they got started. “Lo and behold, I now have 40-plus locations in Brandon. It doesn’t support a large print run, only 450 copies.” But it’s a small community of about 6,000 people. So, to Steve’s way of thinking, 450 papers in an area that small is comparable to 1,500 in a larger area. “They like it and they support it. It’s a little bit less advertising than I get in my other editions. But people are interested in it. And now it’s been around a long time.”

In nearby Okoboji, Iowa, he runs a seasonal paper for fifteen weeks every summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The lakeside town has a full-time population of 6,000 people that swells to 100,000 in the summer.

When he started his first Sioux Falls edition in December 2007, the nearest Coffee News was 237 miles away in Minneapolis. “Most people in Sioux Falls had no idea what it was,” he says. They embraced it. Steve decided to put his early energy into distribution, rather than sales. “I say you’re selling an empty bag if you don’t have distribution. Put all your efforts into distribution and, if you do, eventually people will come around.”

From the start, he was making deals. “I basically found some—I’ll call them ‘strategic advertisers’—and I offered them free space in the first couple of editions. My hope was that if other advertisers saw these people, they’d say, ‘Wow, they’re pretty smart. Maybe I should be there, too.’ And that’s how it worked. My very first advertiser, who was in my very first edition in December 2007, is still in my paper.” But they’re paying now.

Here’s a deal he offers to continuous advertisers: if they come into Coffee News and never leave, their rate will never go up. “Now that first advertiser is probably paying about half the rate of anybody else, but that was my promise and you’ve got to honor it, so I did.”

As a Coffee News publisher, he loves working for himself. Steve’s wife handles the distribution and he has five part-time delivery drivers. He loves the flexibility of having a home office. “I tend to be a night owl. The other night, I put my editions together and sent them out at 2 in the morning. I have a home office. I can go down there to do it and nobody bothers me.” Mondays, he says, are his office days. “Sometimes I don’t get out of my pajamas.” But discipline is important. “I can go down there after dinner and spend three or four hours. It takes a lot of discipline, and I don’t always have it, to be firm about saying what is office time and what is family time.” And that’s the deal he is making with himself.




How a Conversation at a Dinner Party Led this Mom to Her Coffee News Career

Lori Danielson (left), Leah Hickman (right)

NEW Coffee News® Publisher – Leah Hickman of Longview, Texas

It was at a dinner party in the summer of 2015 when Leah Hickman found … Read More