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Can You Buy a Franchise for Less Than $10K?

Franchising can be a great financial opportunity, but the initial investment is a hurdle for many less-established entrepreneurs. But what if you could get started for less than $10,000?

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
Updated 3:15PM 01/10/23

What if you could start a business for less than $10,000? Thanks to low-cost franchise models, you can. Whether you’re interested in food, exercise, or cleaning concepts, it is possible to break into high-demand industries for a relatively small initial investment, given you choose the right franchisor.

While these brands can be launched with $10,000 or less, this benchmark does not necessarily consider any financing necessary. Rather, the new franchisee will only need $10,000 of liquid capital as opposed to the tens of thousands — or more — of liquid capital that other brands require.


JAN-PRO is a commercial cleaning concept that services auto dealerships, fitness centers, restaurants and more. The beauty of JAN-PRO is that revenues rely on the initial investment, so you are in control of how much you make. JAN-PRO franchisees can start for as little as $2,150.

“At a minimum, you’ll need $1,250 for the down payment and $900 for JAN-PRO Franchise Development’s starter kit,” the website says. “JAN-PRO Franchise Development also recommends having at least $1,000 in savings to cover emergencies.”


Jazzercise offers two different franchise models: Instructor Franchisee and Class Owner Franchisee. Instructor Franchisees do not have to worry about the business side of things; they teach for a Class Owner Franchisee. Class Owner Franchisees select their instructors and build their businesses accordingly. At the start of the business, the upfront investment for either model is quite low.

Instructor Franchisees should expect to pay an initial franchise fee of $1,250, general liability insurance at a rate of approximately $275 per year and the annual instructor franchise fee of $120. These franchisees will also need to invest in any equipment and music necessary to teach. 

Class Owner Franchisees pay the initial franchise fee, general liability insurance and any equipment and music costs. They should also budget for a monthly continuing franchise fee (20% of gross with a $250 minimum), music royalty fees which, on average, cost $325 per year at most and any facility expenses, including rent, promotional materials and necessary electronics.

Steak ‘n Shake

Steak ‘n Shake offers a franchise partnership program that allows single-unit operators to franchise with an initial investment of just $10,000. The franchisor builds the site and pays for equipment in full. While this is an affordable way to break into a widely-known name, there is a catch. For franchisees who participate in the franchise partnership program, Steak ‘n Shake requires a fee of up to 15% of sales and 50% of profits.