Aside from Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 and AllBusiness.com’s Top 100 All Star Franchises, one of the most highly anticipated annual lists of the country’s top franchise opportunities is Franchise Business Review’s FBR50. Based entirely on the results of a comprehensive survey designed to measure franchisee satisfaction, the FBR50 is the only franchise ranking that emphasizes this critical element. Franchise Business Review’s survey includes 33 benchmark questions, relating to the franchisee’s experience and satisfaction as well as market area, business lifestyle, and other demographic characteristics.
For me, the primary weakness of this list is its small sample size — just over 300 franchises, out of more than a thousand franchise opportunities.
Franchise Business Review is essentially a market research firm and franchisors pay to have their franchisees surveyed. Some may argue that there is an inherent conflict of interest in the FBR50, but this list is still worth a look because it tells us which among the franchises in the sample performed the best. (Note: In an email to Franchise Chatter, a representative of Franchise Business Review explained that franchise brands that want to participate in the awards program can do so for free, but they don’t receive any in-depth analysis on their results – just an overall score.)
Also, I support Franchise Business Review’s focus on franchisee satisfaction because this is crucial for the long-term viability and growth of the franchise industry.
Aside from the FBR 50, Franchise Business Review awarded 155 franchises with Franchise Satisfaction Awards, grouped according to category (Food & Beverage, Child Services, etc.) and also ranked according to the size of the system (system with 200 or more units, 50 to 199 units, and less than 50 units). But the list that really matters is the FBR50, presented below.
FBR50: Franchise Business Review’s 2012 Best of the Best (Overall Top 50 Among All Franchises Regardless of Size)
2. Fitness Revolution
3. Sotheby’s International Realty
4. Heaven’s Best Carpet Cleaning
5. Cruise Planners
6. European Wax Center
8. FocalPoint Coaching
9. Precision Concrete Cutting
10. Weed Man
11. Sandler Training
12. CertaPro Painters
14. Team Logic IT
15. Computer Troubleshooters
16. American Poolplayers Association
17. Wildbirds Unlimited
18. Budget Blinds
19. DKI (Disaster Kleenup International)
20. Christian Brothers Automotive
21. FASTSIGNS International
22. ASP – America’s Swimming Pool Company
23. Aire Master of America
24. Fish Window Cleaning Services
25. Zoom Room
26. Palm Beach Tan
27. Two Men and a Truck
28. Rhea’s Lana
29. Anago Cleaning Systems (Master Franchisor)
30. Visiting Angels
31. Homewatch CareGivers
32. G.J. Gardner Homes
33. United Country Real Estate
34. Jan-Pro (Master Franchisees)
35. Firehouse Subs
36. Cruise One
38. Truly Nolen of America
39. Snap-On Tools
40. Auntie Anne’s
42. Right at Home
44. Jet’s Pizza
45. Ground Round
46. East Coast Wings & Grill
48. Baby Boot Camp
49. Miracle Method Surface Refinishing
50. Just Between Friends
I received word from my contact at Franchise Business Review that, sometime next month, they will be releasing a special report on the top companies in the FBR50 and on the state of franchising in 2012. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the data they compiled this past January from surveying more than 22,000 franchisees, representing more than 300 brands.
- In general, satisfaction is up again this year over last — by 2% overall and by 3.5% among the award-winners. This percentage increase is significantly less than last year’s, when it was up 8%, but it’s still continuing to improve with the economy.
- The most popular sectors by satisfaction are: Cleaning & Maintenance, Fitness, Health & Beauty, Pets, and Senior Care (These categories run 5-10% above the average satisfaction). Food and Hotels are running 5-10% below average.
- Franchisee profitability is also up about 2% year-over-year, which is another sign that the economy is continuing to recover. The most profitable categories (by average profitability) are Senior Care, Food, and Business Services. Compare this with the average initial investment of those categories: Senior Care ($98K), Food ($480K, not including real estate), and Business Services ($164K).
- Although profitability is up, franchisee satisfaction with local market competitiveness has dropped from a rating of 66 in 2010, to a rating of 59 in 2011 — an 11% drop in just 1 year!
Please check back in March for more details on Franchise Business Review’s report on the state of franchising in 2012.