updated 1/17/2006 1:53:54 PM ET 2006-01-17T18:53:54

Over the years, we've polished and perfected our ranking procedure, giving us a formula that accurately identifies today's top franchise opportunities for you.

We consider numerous factors in our ranking: The most important ones include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. We also consider the number of years in business and length of time franchising, start-up costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing.

We have financial data audited by an independent CPA firm. Then we add up the scores--the franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500. Are you ready to begin your hunt for the perfect franchise? Get started now.

To see the rest of the 2006 Franchise 500 rankings; please visit Entrepreneur.com.

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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Data: Latest rates in the US

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Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 4.91%
$30K home equity loan FICO 5.20%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.57%
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