Making the decision to go into business for yourself by investing in a franchise is one thing. Finding the right franchise opportunity is another thing entirely. Naturally, you will likely turn to the internet and your favorite search engine to see what you can find.
Let’s say you type “best franchise” into the search bar. You’ll quickly become overwhelmed by the number of different lists full of suggestions about the franchises someone is claiming are “the best.” Some of these lists are little more than an advertising gimmick designed to sell the franchises listed. I always advise people to look at whether any criteria are explained for why the selected franchises were included on the list. Transparency is important to your research. Why? Because investing in a franchise is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your lifetime.
The difficulty of finding trustworthy franchise information, data, and analysis to help people make the most informed decision possible is why I started Franchise Chatter in the first place. And countless people have benefited from knowing the information they get here gives them an unbiased franchise comparison tool.
As you get savvier with your searching, you’ll realize what you really want to invest in is a profitable franchise. Makes sense, right? After all, you need to turn a good profit to reap the full financial benefits of owning a franchise. This is why I decided to assemble this list of The Most Profitable Franchises in the US using credible historical data to drive the selection process.
The 15 franchises you’ll find on this list are the ones with the highest profits in 2019 based on net profit data included in Item 19 of their Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). Item 19 is where the franchisor describes its financial performance, and the franchisor is not allowed to make financial representations to prospective franchisees beyond what is disclosed in it. The specific data found in Item 19 is determined by each franchisor, so what’s listed can and does differ from company to company.
Because 2020 was not a “normal” year by any stretch of the imagination, 2019 data was used for this list. There is a separate list ranking the top performing franchises of 2020 available to Franchise Chatter subscribers, and it’s an eye-opening exercise to see which franchises managed to do well in 2020 despite the extreme challenges businesses faced during the worst of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
This list of the most profitable franchises ranks them from highest to lowest in terms of 2019 net profit data. The actual dollar amounts are revealed when you sign up for a Franchise Chatter Platinum subscription. Subscribers also benefit from other lists such as America’s Most Lucrative Franchises, Franchises Ranked by Average Revenues and Profits, and Franchise Winners, Survivors and Losers Last Year. But first, here are the 15 most profitable franchises for your consideration:
Most Profitable Franchises Based on Franchisor Disclosures (Item 19, FDD)
1. Big Air Trampoline Park
Big Air Trampoline Park is a family entertainment concept with a variety of jumping surfaces and other attractions, including trampoline dodgeball courts, slam dunk courts, ninja-warrior courses, launch pads, foam pits, a massive freestyle court, climbing wall, Battlebeam combat, and Cosmic Nights where the lights go down and they fire up the lasers and strobes and crank the tunes.
Attractions vary by location and may include a mechanical bull ride called Big Bruiser, The Vortex (bouncing high or low to avoid the spinning beams), VALO (jumping game with augmented reality), Lazer Maze (players must bounce across a dark room of trampolines and its web of laser beams without breaking any of them), high flying ziplines, trapezes, ropes courses, and more. There are designated times and areas for the younger children to bounce safely.
Founded in 2012 by Greg Briggs in Laguna Hills, California and franchising since 2015, most locations also offer birthday parties and other group events.
2. Planet Fitness
Planet Fitness is marching its way to dominating the fitness franchise industry, though it has a long way to go to catch up with Anytime Fitness and Jazzercise when it comes to number of units. It does benefit from having a solid reputation as a low-cost, “judgement-free” gym for regular people, and monthly membership fees that are among the lowest in the industry.
In recent years, the company has been working with strategic partners to offer perks to members, including discounts and deals with Reebok, Petco, Blue Apron, 1-800-Flowers, Harry’s, FruitBouquets.com, Cheryl’s Cookies, Wolferman’s, Harry & David, and several others. Planet Fitness recently awarded a $200-million contract to Publicis Groupe to handle marketing strategy, centralized data and analytics, media planning and buying, creative, and brand partnerships for the fitness franchise at both the national and local levels.
Founded in 1992 and franchising since 2003, most locations feature Pizza Mondays (first Monday of the month) and Bagel Tuesdays (second Tuesday of the month). While offering snacks to people trying to get fit seems like a disconnect, a slice of pizza and a bagel aren’t going to cancel a whole month of workouts, and most customers love it.
3. Smash My Trash
Smash My Trash has set out to disrupt the way commercial waste is handled from construction and renovation projects, manufacturing sites, and other types of clients. Everyone has seen those big 50-yard metal dumpsters that get filled up with scrap wood and other debris. When the dumpster is filled, it must be hauled to a dump, and swapped for an empty container if needed.
Smash My Trash is a mobile commercial waste compaction service. A truck shows up on the job site outfitted with what looks like a kind of backhoe on the truck bed. Instead of a bucket, however, attached to the arm is a metal drum with teeth on it that rolls back and forth over the trash in the dumpster, grinding it up and compacting it.
This can reduce the waste volume in the dumpster by up to 70%, which means more trash can be put in, which in turn means fewer dumpster swaps and haul-offs to the dump. The simple act of on-site trash compaction in dumpsters saves the client a significant amount of money and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from trucks with less hauling.
Founded in 2016 and franchising since 2018, this is a business-to-business service model that depends on strong relationships with client companies in a defined territory.
4. Urban Air Adventure Park
Urban Air Adventure Park is a family fun concept where birthday parties have become a core offering, along with the Friday Night Glow Party with lasers, strobes, and black lights. Like most trampoline parks, attractions may vary by location to include an Indoor Skydiving attraction (a kind of vertical wind tunnel that keeps you suspended in mid-air) and/or an Indoor Sky Rider Coaster (a kind of zip line attraction).
Most locations offer trampoline free-style open jump areas, the Apex (with trampolines on both the floor and walls), Runways (super-long trampolines great for gymnasts, tumblers, and cheerleaders), Dropzone (with giant air bag for soft landings), slam dunk track, trampoline dodgeball arenas, the Urban Warrior Obstacle Course, The TUBES indoor playground, The Warrior Battle Beam, Climbing Walls, Indoor Ropes Course, and Arcade.
Founded in 2011 and franchising since 2014, Urban Air recently formed an umbrella firm called Unleashed Brands and made its first acquisition of Snapology, a leading STEM/STEAM brand that gets kids learning through play.
5. The Goddard School
The Goddard School provides a more educational approach to daycare. Preschool programming is available to children aged six weeks to six years old. Its proprietary F.L.EX. (Fun Learning Experience) framework builds the emotional, academic, social, creative, and physical skills of children through play-based learning. It goes beyond the basics to include sign language, yoga, music, foreign languages, and more.
The philosophy at Goddard is to give teachers freedom and flexibility in teaching style and lesson plans so they can take advantage of organic “teachable moments” and customize learning experiences to fit individual interests.
Founded by Lois Goddard Haines in 1986 and franchising since 1988, parents receive daily activity reports and regular conferences during the year to discuss a child’s progress.
6. Storm Guard Roofing and Construction
Storm Guard Roofing and Construction specializes in exterior residential and commercial projects including roofing, siding, windows, gutters, and emergency tarping services. The company also offers restoration services for homes that have suffered damage from severe weather incidents.
Storm Guard can help navigate the complex insurance claim process by conducting a free/no-obligation property inspection, identifying storm damage and assisting in filing a claim with the insurance provider, working with the insurance adjuster to cover the restoration costs, and providing high-quality warrantied materials and workmanship.
Storm Guard stands by its work with an industry-leading, nationally backed, 5-year warranty on all roof replacement jobs (warranty length varies for repairs and other jobs), on top of a manufacturer warranty for all of the materials used to complete a project. If a problem or issue is the result of Storm Guard’s workmanship, it will be fixed.
Founded in 2003 and franchising since 2011, Storm Guard recently formed a partnership with The National Forest Foundation and has committed to planting 15,000+ trees each year. It was also recently named to the Culture100 list of Franchise Business Review for having one of the best franchise cultures to be a part of based on surveys of franchise owners.
7. Crunch Fitness
Crunch Fitness has made a name for itself because of its creative workout offerings such as Cardio Tai Box Loaded, Absolution (abs and stretching), Top It Off (upper body), 30 in 30 (30 exercises in 30 minutes), Band Camp (lower body workout with bands and bodyweight), SLAMMED (focus on strength, length, agility, and mobility using Hyperwear sandbells), Tread-n-Shred (calorie-burning treadmill workout), Hard Knocks (boxing moves), and its most popular recent offering: HIITZone for high-intensity interval training with four different unique, fast-paced, fiercely fun, 45-minute workouts for groups of up to 16 participants.
Crunch is now at the tail end of remodeling all its gyms for a more modern, energizing feel with distinct areas and a greater variety of workout equipment than is found at most gyms.
Founded in 2010 and franchising since then, Crunch was acquired by TPG Growth, the middle market and growth platform of private equity firm TPG, in 2019.
Culver’s restaurants was started in the 1980s when the founders converted an old A&W root beer stand into Culver’s Frozen Custard and ButterBurgers. Craig’s mother, Ruth, had always put a dab of butter on the crown of the hamburger buns before toasting them, which everyone in the family loved. Besides its frozen yogurt and signature burgers, Culver’s offers a wide-ranging menu that includes seafood, chicken, fried cheese curds, and much more.
Founded by Craig Culver and his wife Lea in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1984 and franchising since 1988, Culver’s ranked #2 in sales growth in 2020 among the 10 biggest burger chains in the US according to the Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report.
9. Nothing Bundt Cakes
Nothing Bundt Cakes locations have a distinctly “mom and pop” feel, so much so that most people are surprised to find out it’s a franchise. This is an upscale offering sold at affordable prices great for all kinds of events and celebrations. The cakes come in a variety of sizes, including 10-inch, 8-inch, Bundtlets (mini-cakes), and Bundtins (bite-sized). They can also be stacked and tiered in visually impressive displays. All cakes feature the company’s signature thick cream cheese frosting petals or a drizzle frosting if desired. There are nine different flavors of cake available.
Founded by Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz in 1997 and franchising since 2006, the chain was able to nimbly get franchisees to accept a change to the standard FDD last year and this year in order to let the company consolidate marketing efforts with a national paid media buy to save money and achieve exposure efficiently by purchasing national ads in bulk. Headquarters got agreement from 100% of franchisees for the change in 2020, and 95% agreed on continuing the national media buy in 2021.
10. Two Men and a Truck
Two Men and a Truck offers both local and long-distance residential and commercial moving services, as well as storage solutions, with a company motto of “Movers Who Care” and abiding by what it calls The Grandma Rule: To treat everyone the way you would want your Grandma to be treated. Exceeding customer expectations is central to the company mission.
For long-distance moves, customers with flexibility on when items arrive at the new location can get a reduced rate through the Value Flex service because the extra time allows the company to plan its logistics for maximum efficiency. Locations offering storage services can serve college students between semesters, customers between home moves, people who are downsizing, or those undertaking home renovations.
Founded in 1985 and franchising since 1989, Two Men and a Truck was recently acquired by ServiceMaster Brands, home to other franchise brands such as ServiceMaster Restore, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, AmeriSpec, and Furniture Medic.
11. ZIPS Dry Cleaners
Founded in 1996 and franchising since 2006, ZIPS Dry Cleaners has a pricing structure people simply can’t resist. It offers same-day (in by 9 a.m. out by 5 p.m.) one-price dry cleaning, meaning a single low price per item, no matter what it is. This is a great approach for people who only have a few items needing to be dry cleaned. It also helps that this per-item price is significantly lower than the national average.
At ZIPS, dry cleaning is done on-site, unlike many places where the clothes must be transported to a plant for cleaning. ZIPS also offers laundry, wash and fold, and alteration services. While the company uses traditional dry-cleaning solvents, its eco-friendly practices include recycling hangers and using biodegradable garment bags.
12. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has strong Cajun roots the chain celebrates on the menu at every location serving up Cajun-style fried chicken, red beans and rice, Cajun fries, mashed potatoes with Cajun-style gravy, Cajun rice, chicken-and-sausage jambalaya, and po’ boy sandwiches.
Founded in 1972 and franchising since 1976, Popeyes launched its own original Chicken Sandwich a few years back and started what has become known as The Chicken Sandwich Wars, which continue to this day. For whatever reason, chicken sandwiches have become a super-hot commodity in the fast-food world. Major combatants in the wars now include Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s. But Popeyes is serving up the latest volley by launching a new Blackened Chicken Sandwich featuring a non-breaded chicken breast doused in seasoning and served with mayonnaise and pickles on a bun, available as classic or spicy.
13. The Junkluggers
The Junkluggers is a residential and commercial junk removal service but bills itself as an eco-friendly junk removal company because their commitment is to first repurpose and/or donate usable items, and then recycle the rest. To do this, it works with a variety of charities that can make use of many items. Among its more than two dozen charity partners are AAH (Alliance Against Homelessness), Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boots on the Ground, Furniture Sharehouse, Goodwill, The Salvation Army Family Stores, Savers thrift stores, and Hope for the Warriors.
Founded by Josh Cohen in Stamford, Connecticut in 2006 and franchising since 2012, specialized services vary by location but may include furniture removal, e-waste recycling, moving services (sister company Luggers Moving), appliance removal, estate cleanouts, help for hoarders, and delivery services (for furniture purchases people can’t move themselves).
14. College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving
College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving employees may or may not qualify as “hunks,” but the company uses HUNKS as an acronym that stands for Honest, Uniformed, Nice, Knowledgeable, Service. HUNKS offers local and long-distance moving assistance, storage, and junk removal for both residential and commercial customers.
Its junk hauling service includes removing all non-hazardous items from anywhere on a customer’s property, which it then disposes of responsibly by recycling and donating as much as possible (on average 70%). Customers call in for an appointment and when the company arrives, a firm estimate is given before work starts. As far as moving services, the company says it has the lowest damage claim rate in the industry.
Founded by Omar Soliman and Nick Friedman in Florida in 2003 and franchising since 2007, HUNKS recently garnered minority investments from Susquehanna Private Capital as well as David Barr and Shelly Sun, who are both former chairs of the International Franchise Association.
Maaco provides both auto painting and collision repair services, including an insurance claims/direct repair program. Its locations service more than 500,000 vehicles every year and back up their work with a nationwide guarantee or warranty that can be fulfilled at any Maaco location (with proper documentation) if you’ve moved away from where the work was originally done. The specifics of the warranty depend on the type of work done. Panel repairs come with a one-year warranty while structural repairs come with a lifetime warranty. Rust repair and surface repairs each come with a 90-day warranty.
The company also has a fleet and industrial services program to handle the ongoing needs of car rental and leasing companies, government and municipal agencies, telecommunications providers, food and beverage companies, manufacturers and corporations, national DRP insurance companies, and so on.
Founded by Anthony A. Martino (who also founded AAMCO Transmissions) in 1972 and franchising since then, in 2008 Maaco became part of the Driven Brands family of companies that includes Meineke, Econo Lube N’ Tune, AutoQual, and Aero Colours.