Advancing or simply maintaining a career while also raising a family is a challenge faced by many parents, especially mothers. Most traditional or corporate jobs simply don’t offer the flexibility that makes it possible, enjoyable, or cost-effective to raise a family while pursuing a career. But what if parents could focus on both family and career? The good news is that they can! Today, more and more women are turning to home-based businesses in pursuit of this possibility. Home-based franchises in particular, are especially popular as the franchise model offers owners both support and flexibility — the ideal combination for stay-at-home moms.
Lindsay Verdun, owner of TSS Photography in East Peoria, IL, explained, “I have been able to work from home with my children here and can adjust my schedule as needed. I never have to worry about making class parties, field trips, or missing some of those ‘baby firsts’. I love being my own boss who can make sure my family comes first over our business.”
While purchasing and operating a franchise can be a great opportunity for many mothers looking to take control of their own career success and maintain a flexible schedule, not all franchises are created equal. There are thousands of franchise brands spanning nearly every industry, each with their own business model. If you’re excited about the chance to run your own franchise, make sure you do your research on each brand you’re considering so that you can determine which business model will offer you the flexibility and support you seek.
A franchise is a way of expanding a business through a licensing relationship, according to the International Franchise Association. In other words, a franchise is a legal and commercial relationship between the owner of a company (the franchisor) and an individual (the franchisee) who is starting a branch of that business using the business’ trademark logos and business model. The franchisee sells the product or service that the franchisor supplies.
A franchisor is a company like Dominos, for example, that allows business owners to operate under their license for a fee. The business owners operating under the company’s license are called franchisees. This is a mutually beneficial relationship where the company is able to expand their brand and gain more revenue while the franchisee is able to manage their own business with the brand recognition of the company and additional benefits of training, marketing, and support. As of 2018, the franchise industry employs 21 million people and generates $2.3 trillion of economic activity, according to a U.S. government report
One of the greatest benefits of a home-based franchise is that you are buying into a proven business model. When you purchase a franchise, the corporate company will typically provide a step-by-step handbook, full of training and support that will walk you through every aspect of running your business. You’ll also have access to an entire network of other franchisees that can provide support and guidance from their own experience with the brand. It can also be helpful to reach out to these franchisees as you research franchise brands to learn more about the challenges and successes they have experienced.
Buying a franchise can be a much safer financial endeavor than attempting to start your own business, since you are working with a proven, tested system and you have the full support of the franchisor and franchisee community.
Renee Friedman, who bought her first FASTSIGNS franchise in 1993, was the preferred signage vendor for the 1996 Olympic Village and currently owns and operates a FASTSIGNS franchise in Central Orlando, explained, “Being part of a strong franchise provides opportunities and resources that would not be available as an independent owner. If I need help, have a question about a product or budget or hiring or anything, there’s someone standing by to assist me. We have so much training at our fingertips!”
The franchise model makes it easy to build on skills you have gained from past experience or learn an entirely new business and industry. You'll have the backing of a corporate management team, as well as support from the company’s franchisee community, a major benefit of buying a franchise versus launching a startup. As the motto goes in the franchise community, “In business for yourself, not by yourself.” With franchising, you’re never on your own.
Before we dive into the list of the top franchises for stay at home moms, it’s important to understand the distinction between working remotely vs working from home.
Working remotely doesn't always mean working from home. There are many franchise businesses that require you to be on the road visiting clients throughout the day. So while, you are technically a remote worker, you are not necessarily able to work from home, which can make a big difference for stay-at-home moms.
The other distinction to be aware of is that depending on the franchise model you may be restricted to a certain territory. This helps to limit competition within the brand. Oftentimes, if you want to expand past your assigned territory, you would have to buy a second franchise territory.
If you work from home and are assigned a specific territory you will likely be restricted to living in that territory in order to successfully run your business. Examples of remote businesses with territory assignments are companies that provide pest control, cleaning services or yard maintenance. Examples of home-based businesses without assigned territories are travel agencies, cruise planning, and event planning businesses.
To help you narrow your search for the perfect home-based franchise that offers flexibility and balance we surveyed over 5,723 female franchisees representing 240 franchise brands. Each survey participant was asked 33 benchmark questions about their franchisor that focused on areas such as leadership, training, and core values as well 16 more personal questions concerning topics such as their business lifestyle and overall enjoyment of running their franchise. Through these surveys, we found the franchises that were rated highest among women franchisees and then narrowed the list to include only home-based business opportunities.
The women surveyed are like you, working hard to build their businesses and their future and provide for their families. The options below range from companies that require full-time work to brands with part-time requirements, as well as remote and home-office opportunities.
Dream Vacations is a travel agency franchise, helping clients plan their own unique vacations that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
Cruise Planners is also a travel agency, ready with their trademark Cruisitude to help vacationers plan for land or sea trips.
ShelfGenie is a low-cost/low-overhead business that you can easily manage from your home office. Because they manufacture custom storage solutions based on specifications clients provide, you don’t need a workshop or a warehouse.
Senior Care Authority helps families make the tough decision of how to care for aging loved ones. Work from home is available but you will sometimes need to travel to clients within a local territory.
Just Between Friends is a local consignment service that holds events where children’s clothing is bought and sold.
High Touch-High Tech: Science Made Fun!
High Touch-High Tech coordinates STEM experiment programs that help children get excited about science. You’ll have a home office but you may need to commute to program locations such as schools or childcare facilities.
TSS Photography offers photography services for children’s events. You will need to travel to the scheduled photography sessions but you can complete all your editing at home.
Supporting Strategies lends a hand to growing businesses by providing bookkeeping services and operational support.
Payroll Vault acts as an “internal” payroll department for businesses of all kinds. You may choose to have a store front or work remotely from a home office.
Drama Kids is an acting program that helps kids gain confidence and improve their communication skills.
When considering if a franchise is the right choice for you, you'll want to weigh the pros and cons of franchising and be honest with yourself about your strengths, challenges and goals. Ask yourself the following questions:
Will I be able to manage my time well enough when running this business? How much of a time commitment am I able to make? As a parent or stay-at-home mom, time is precious. Like a child, a franchise will need the most attention and care when it's young. While many franchises can offer flexibility and the opportunity to work from home, in the beginning you may need to dedicate a lot of time to getting your business and customer base up and running. At first, you may not be able to operate your franchise solely at nap times and after bedtime, so it’s important to make sure you’ll be able to dedicate the initial time and resources required to successfully launch your franchise.
How will I be able to fund a franchise? Kids are expensive! So is running a business. Keeping a budget in mind for what you can afford when starting a new business is key. While some franchises can have startup fees up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, those that allow you to work remotely or with a home office tend to be more affordable, some only requiring a couple thousand to get going. There are lots of financing options available and some franchise brands will even provide financial incentives for new buyers.
How much money am I trying to make? Franchises are not a get-rich-quick kind of business. There are franchise startup fees, which can eat up a lot of a beginning business’s budget. There is also the chance that the business will not turn a profit immediately. You’ll want to make sure you have allocated your finances appropriately so that you are able to survive the first couple years, if you aren't able to immediately turn a profit.
What am I looking for in a franchise? There are so many different kinds of franchises: Cleaning businesses, travel agencies, elderly care, and so many others that you may never have thought of. While some of these businesses require you to be on site or to travel, others are designed so that you can work from home.
Conducting research on the kinds of franchises that will work for you is important, but finding a franchise that you really want to work for is what will keep you going. Finding a franchise in an industry you’re interested in, with a company culture that you appreciate, and a proven successful track record can make all the difference as to whether your business will sink or swim.
Why do I want to buy a franchise? What kind of franchise do I want to buy? Think of what is motivating you. It could be your children, providing them a good future and having the chance to be there for them while they’re growing up. It could be providing yourself with a solid financial foundation, such as saving for retirement. Understanding what motivates you and what you’re passionate about can help you determine what franchise is best for you.
If running a home-based franchise sounds exciting, the next step is researching different brands. While the 10 listed above are all great options, there are many more! You can check out the complete list of Top Rated Franchises for Women . Or you can check out the full list of this year’s highest rated franchises.
Franchise Business Review CEO Eric Stites sits down with franchise owners from FirstLight Home Care, Wild Birds Unlimited, and FastSigns International to learn their stories of how they got started in franchising, what it is like to be part of an award-winning top franchise brand, and the secrets to their franchise business success.