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updated 5/16/2014 12:18:10 PM ET 2014-05-16T16:18:10

If you're searching for a franchise opportunity, it makes sense to start at the top.

That's why we're bringing you our Best of the Best list: the 97 franchises that ranked at the top of their industry categories in Entrepreneur's 2014 Franchise 500®.
These companies have been ranked based on objective, quantifiable criteria, including system size, growth and financial strength and stability. The list is not intended as a recommendation of any particular company. Instead, consider it a starting point in your research to find the best franchise opportunity for you. That research should also include reading the company's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to existing franchisees.

AUTOMOTIVE

Appearance Services
Maaco Franchising
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 166
maacofranchise.com
Total cost: $364.1K-$471.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 446/0

Oil-Change Services
Jiffy Lube International
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 30
jiffylube.com
Total cost: $196.5K-$376K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,098/0

Wheels & Tires
RNR Custom Wheels & Tires
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 322
rnrwheels.com
Total cost: $288.8K-$563.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 56/10

Windshield Repair
Novus Glass
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 124
novusfranchising.com
Total cost: $44.3K-$226.99K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,608/17

Miscellaneous Repair
& Maintenance Services
Midas International
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 25
midasfranchise.com
Total cost: $123.6K-$412.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,259/49

Miscellaneous Auto Products & Services
Sixt Franchise USA
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 73
sixt-franchise.com
Total cost: $614.1K-$6.7M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,141/878

BUSINESS SERVICES

Advertising Services - Publishing
Coffee News
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 93
coffeenews.com/franchise
Total cost: $9.4K-$10.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 884/4

Advertising Services - Miscellaneous
Valpak Direct Marketing Systems
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 202
valpakfranchising.com
Total cost: $82.2K-$200.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 172/2
Business Brokerages
Transworld Business Advisors
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 226
discover.tworld.com
Total cost: $57.2K-$74.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 155/5

Business Coaching & Consulting
FocalPoint Coaching
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 286
focalpointcoaching.com
Total cost: $64.6K-$115.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 125/0

Shipping Services
Unishippers Global Logistics
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 172
unishippers.com
Total cost: $40.4K-$1.8M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 247/47

Signs
Sign-A-Rama
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 74
discoversignarama.com
Total cost: $87.1K-$229.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 888/0

Staffing
Express Employment Professionals
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 71
expressfranchising.com
Total cost: $105K-$195K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 632/0

Training Programs
Sandler Training
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 186
sandler.com
Total cost: $83.2K-$100.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 235/0

Miscellaneous Business Services
Proforma
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 83
onlyproforma.com
Total cost: $19.5K-$50.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 718/0

CHILDREN'S BUSINESSES

Child Care
Goddard Systems
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 113
goddardschoolfranchise.com
Total cost: $694.4K-$739.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 413/0

Children's Enrichment Programs
Bricks 4 Kidz
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 111
bricks4kidz.com
Total cost: $33.8K-$51.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 423/1

Children's Entertainment
GameTruck Licensing
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 260
gametruckparty.com
Total cost: $122.5K-$310.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 70/1

Children's Fitness Programs
My Gym Children's Fitness Center
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 182
mygym.com
Total cost: $36K-$281.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 312/0

Children's Retail
Once Upon A Child
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 149
onceuponachild.com
Total cost: $239.7K-$336.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 272/0

Children's Safety Services
Guard-A-Kid
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 246
guardakid.com
Total cost: $21.4K-$38.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 180/1

Tutoring
Kumon Math & Reading Centers
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 18
kumonfranchise.com
Total cost: $66.5K-$140.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 25,410/27

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Business Financial Services
Padgett Business Services
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 188
smallbizpros.com
Total cost: $99.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 406/0

Insurance
Estrella Insurance
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 242
estrellainsurance.com
Total cost: $49.95K-$84K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 69/0
Tax Services
H&R Block
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 15
hrblock.com/franchise
Total cost: $31.5K-$148.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 5,059/6,256

Miscellaneous Financial Services
ACFN-The ATM Franchise Business
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 493
acfnfranchised.com
Total cost: $40.1K-$67K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 212/0

FOOD/FULL-SERVICE

RESTAURANTS
Denny's
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 8
dennysfranchising.com
Total cost: $1.2M-$2.4M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,518/165
FOOD/QUICK SERVICE

Baked Goods - Bagels
Bruegger's Bagels
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 203
brueggers.com
Total cost: $389.6K-$591.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 103/190

Baked Goods - Cookies
Great American Cookies
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 143
greatamericancookies.com
Total cost: $178.4K-$280.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 343/3

Baked Goods - Pretzels
Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 37
auntieannes.com
Total cost: $194.9K-$367.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,437/17

Baked Goods - Miscellaneous
Cinnabon
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 64
cinnabonfranchising.com
Total cost: $142.3K-$365.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,102/1
Chicken - Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 62
buffalowildwings.com
Total cost: $1.2M-$3.3M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 529/409

Chicken - Miscellaneous
KFC
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 14
kfcfranchise.com
Total cost: $1.3M-$2.5M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 13,539/4,659

Coffee
Dunkin' Donuts
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 10
dunkinfranchising.com
Total cost: $294K-$1.5M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 10,833/0

Frozen Desserts - Frozen Yogurt
Menchie's
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 116
menchies.com
Total cost: $218.3K-$385.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 388/1

Frozen Desserts - Ice Cream
Baskin-Robbins USA
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 41
baskinrobbins.com
Total cost: $100.7K-$390.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 7,391/7

Frozen Desserts - Miscellaneous
Rita's Italian Ice
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 81
ritasice.com
Total cost: $140.2K-$379.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 552/0

Hamburgers
Hardee's
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 11
ckefranchise.com
Total cost: $1.1M-$1.5M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,492/468

Mexican Food
Taco Bell
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 20
yumfranchises.com
Total cost: $1.2M-$2.5M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,933/1,047

Pizza
Pizza Hut
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 9
pizzahutfranchise.com
Total cost: $297K-$2.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 12,700/1,657

Sandwiches - Philly Cheesesteak
Charleys Philly Steaks
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 108
charleys.com
Total cost: $101.6K-$465.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 479/37

Sandwiches - Submarine
Subway
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 3
subway.com
Total cost: $85.7K-$262.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 39,767/0

Sandwiches - Miscellaneous
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 5
jimmyjohns.com
Total cost: $300.5K-$489.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,814/28

Smoothies
Smoothie King
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 86
smoothiekingfranchise.com
Total cost: $144.4K-$336.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 651/6

Miscellaneous Quick Service
Nathan's Famous
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 144
nathansfamous.com
Total cost: $276.4K-$1.1M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 314/5

FOOD/RETAIL SALES

Vending
HUMAN Healthy Vending
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 281
healthyvending.com
Total cost: $71.5K-$108.99K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 89/2

Miscellaneous Food Businesses
Edible Arrangements International
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 43
ediblearrangements.com
Total cost: $154.3K-$279.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,126/2

HEALTH

Health Products
Miracle-Ear
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 36
miracle-ear.com
Total cost: $119K-$287.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,290/9

Health Services
HealthSource Chiropractic
and Progressive Rehab
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 107
healthsourcechiro.com
Total cost: $52.7K-$249.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 395/0

HOME IMPROVEMENT

Building & Remodeling
Kitchen Tune-Up
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 211
kitchentuneup.com
Total cost: $45.8K-$55.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 162/0

Painting
CertaPro Painters
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 103
ownacertapro.com
Total cost: $129K-$158.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 442/0

Wood Refinishing
N-Hance
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 134
nhancefranchise.com
Total cost: $30.5K-$130.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 287/0

Miscellaneous Home Improvement
Budget Blinds
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 55
budget-blinds-franchise.com
Total cost: $89.2K-$187.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 905/0

HOTELS & MOTELS

Hampton Hotels
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 2
hamptonfranchise.com
Total cost: $3.7M-$13.5M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,941/1

MAINTENANCE

Carpet, Upholstery & Drapery Services
Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 61
chemdryfranchise.com
Total cost: $29.95K-$131K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 3,522/0

Commercial Cleaning
Jan-Pro Franchising International
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 12
jan-pro.com
Total cost: $3.1K-$50.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 11,532/0

Electrical Services
Mister Sparky
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 299
mistersparky.com
Total cost: $56.2K-$271.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 96/8

Handyman Services
HandyPro Handyman Services
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 410
handypro.com
Total cost: $68.5K-$107.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 31/0

Home Repairs - Miscellaneous
The Glass Guru
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 244
theglassguru.com
Total cost: $30K-$130K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 82/1

HVAC Services
One Hour Heating & Air
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 150
onehourheatandair.com
Total cost: $74.8K-$354.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 272/49

Lawn Care
Weed Man
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 98
weedmanfranchise.com
Total cost: $67.1K-$84.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 457/0
Plumbing
Rooter-Man
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 102
rooterman.com
Total cost: $46.8K-$137.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 476/21

Pool Maintenance
ASP-America's Swimming Pool Company
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 197
asppoolco.com
Total cost: $48.9K-$89.96K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 129/1

Residential Cleaning
The Maids
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 39
maids.com
Total cost: $95.6K-$123.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,085/33

Restoration Services
Servpro
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 7
servpro.com
Total cost: $134.8K-$183.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,614/0

Restroom Maintenance
Aire-Master of America
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 269
airemaster.com
Total cost: $35.6K-$126.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 100/4

Window Cleaning
Fish Window Cleaning Services
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 148
fishwindowcleaning.com
Total cost: $76.2K-$136.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 295/1

Miscellaneous Maintenance Businesses
American Leak Detection
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 123
americanleakdetection.com
Total cost: $76.8K-$259.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 377/15

PERSONAL CARE

Fitness Businesses
Anytime Fitness
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 1
anytimefitness.com
Total cost: $56.3K-$353.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,397/28

Hair Care
Supercuts
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 4
regisfranchise.com
Total cost: $108.8K-$203.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,138/1,186
Massage Services
Massage Envy
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 54
massageenvyfranchise.com
Total cost: $331.5K-$825.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 957/1

Senior Care
Comfort Keepers
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 59
comfortkeepersfranchise.com
Total cost: $77.6K-$109.96K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 783/0

Miscellaneous Personal Care Businesses
Palm Beach Tan
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 159
palmbeachtan.com
Total cost: $554.6K-$821.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 215/173

PETS

Pet Care
Dogtopia
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 390
dogdaycare.com
Total cost: $253.4K-$478.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 25/5

Pet Services - Miscellaneous
Sit Means Sit Dog Training
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 313
sitmeanssit.com
Total cost: $21.1K-$93.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 74/1

Pet Stores
Wild Birds Unlimited
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 151
wbu.com
Total cost: $95.3K-$161.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 283/0

RECREATION

Sports Businesses
American Poolplayers Association
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 255
poolplayers.com
Total cost: $16.7K-$19.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 307/6

Sports Equipment & Apparel
Fleet Feet Sports
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 272
fleetfeetsports.com
Total cost: $173K-$335K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 100/17

Travel Agencies - Cruise-Only
Cruise Planners-American Express Travel
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 19
cruiseplannersfranchise.com
Total cost: $2.1K-$21.99K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,500/1

Travel Agencies - Miscellaneous
Results! Travel
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 70
resultstravel.com
Total cost: $25-$8.9K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 655/0
RETAIL

Apparel & Accessories
Plato's Closet
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 115
platoscloset.com
Total cost: $230.7K-$389.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 376/0

Batteries
Batteries Plus Bulbs
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 79
batteriesplus.com
Total cost: $193.6K-$410.1K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 529/40

Convenience Stores
7-Eleven
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 6
7-eleven.com
Total cost: $30.8K-$1.6M
Total franchises/co.-owned: 50,460/484

Electronics Stores
RadioShack
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 48
radioshack.com
Total cost: $144.9K-$607.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 1,306/4,395
Tools Distribution
Snap-on Tools
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 24
snapon.com
Total cost: $143.7K-$307.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,538/242

Vitamins
GNC Franchising
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 28
gncfranchising.com
Total cost: $167.7K-$281.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 2,876/3,270

Miscellaneous Retail Businesses
Aaron's
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 17
aaronsfranchise.com
Total cost: $275.6K-$707.4K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 763/1,335

SERVICES

Dry Cleaning & Delivery Services
Certified Restoration DryCleaning Network
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 278
crdn.com
Total cost: $45.6K-$235.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 150/0
Home Inspections
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 118
pillartopost.com
Total cost: $30.9K-$36.8K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 389/0

Moving/Junk-Removal Services
Two Men and a Truck International
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 167
twomenandatruckfranchising.com
Total cost: $178K-$548.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 229/1

Paint-&-Sip Studios
Painting with a Twist
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 276
paintingwithatwist.com
Total cost: $93.5K-$131.5K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 82/0

Postal & Business Centers
The UPS Store
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 22
theupsstore.com
Total cost: $148.7K-$347.2K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 4,776/0

Printing
Minuteman Press International
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 75
minutemanpress.com
Total cost: $66.2K-$221.3K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 931/0

Real Estate
RE/MAX
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 76
remax.com
Total cost: $35K-$250K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 6,374/24

Miscellaneous Services
Pop-A-Lock Franchise System
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 105
popalock.com/franchising.php
Total cost: $75K-$133K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 389/0

TECH

Electronics Repairs
CPR-Cell Phone Repair Franchise Systems
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 180
cpr-franchise.com
Total cost: $115.5K-$244.6K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 138/4

Miscellaneous Tech Services
WSI Digital Marketing
2014 Franchise 500 rank: 184
wsiworld.com
Total cost: $64.4K-$171.7K
Total franchises/co.-owned: 998/2

------

New concepts are
being introduced to
franchising all the time.
These categories joined
the Franchise 500®
in 2014:

Children's
Entertainment

Electronics
Repairs

Frozen
Yogurt*

Paint-&-Sip Studios

Pool
Maintenance

Vending

Wood
Refinishing

--

Average age
of a Best of the Best franchise:
26 years

Oldest
franchise on the list:
Baskin-Robbins
(franchising since 1948)

Youngest
franchise on the list:
HUMAN Healthy Vending
(franchising since 2012)

--

The 10 largest companies on
this list, based on number
of franchise units worldwide:

7-Eleven:
50,460

Subway:
39,767

Kumon Math & Reading Centers: 25,410

KFC:
13,539

Pizza Hut:
12,700

Jan-Pro:
11,532

Dunkin' Donuts:
10,833

Baskin-Robbins:
7,391

RE/MAX:
6,374

H&R Block:
5,059

--

A surprising
17 of the 97
Best of the Best companies ranked at the top of their categories for the first time this year. For two,
Sixt and Dogtopia,
it's also their first time ever
ranking on the Franchise 500®—
not a bad way to start.

--

We took a look back at the
Best of the Best from
the first Franchise 500®,
in 1980, and found a few familiar faces: Dunkin' Donuts,
7-Eleven and Midas.
Subway didn't rank at the top
of its category in that first
Franchise 500® or even the first few. But once it did claim the No. 1 spot in the Submarine Sandwiches category (in 1983), it held on
tight and never let go.
At 32 years and counting, Subway holds the
record for the longest consecutive stay on
the Best of the Best list.

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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Data: Latest rates in the US

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