What Types of Franchises Can You Run On Your Own?

Looking to start up a business of your own? Despite having the support of the franchisor, many franchises enable you to run the business yourself with minimal - if any - staff.

Which franchises can you run by yourself?

What Types of Franchises Can You Run On Your Own?

10 Franchise Opportunities You Can Run Independently

Franchising is a great way to get into business for yourself but not by yourself. When you first think of franchising, big names like McDonalds ring loud and clear. Massive restaurant operations with many staff, but did you know there are many franchises you can run by yourself or with a partner? In this article we’ll look at 10 types of franchise opportunities you can run on your own.

What is Franchising?

Franchising is one of several methods of business expansion. Through franchising, a business’s brand, business model and trademarks are made available to a third party – the franchisee – for them to run in their own exclusive territory. Unlike starting up a business yourself, franchising grants access to training and a proven brand which you would otherwise have to build up yourself.

For many, franchising is the best choice for the first step of getting into business ownership. And for a generous handful, it is a step they haven’t looked back from. Many franchisees run their business for 10 years or more, before selling as a franchise resale and moving on to other projects. There are now more than 1,000 franchise opportunities in the UK. More are making their way to UK shores from abroad all the time, whilst many business owners look to franchise their business every day. Franchising is growing and now is a great time to become a business owner.

Can You Run a Franchise By Yourself?

Franchising isn’t exclusive to big high street units, there are many franchises you can run by yourself. In the same manner, many of these have the potential to expand so you later recruit staff when the business grows. You can run a franchise business by yourself, as a team (small handful) or as a larger business with multiple working staff. Is a franchise more profitable run on your own? Not necessarily, but cutting out a lot of the overheads like staff wages and recruitment mean you can allocate more of your own time to generating greater business. A franchise you run by yourself is called an owner-operated franchise business.

10 Types of Franchise Businesses You Can Run Yourself

So let’s take a look at some examples of the best small sized franchises for sale that can be run by a single owner-operator or as a management setup. These types of franchises can be run without having to recruit staff.

1. Gardening, Lawncare and Landscaping

Gardening and landscaping can often be run as a one person business. While some types of lawn businesses like artificial grass installation ideally need an extra pair of hands, many green franchises can be run owner-operated. If you love the outdoors and are looking for a solid income, one with unlimited earning potential, why not invest in a gardening business? Take time to explore the gardening franchise directory because some franchises include absolutely all of the tools and equipment you need, built into the business model. Franchises like Clean Cut for example, provide a 120 piece tool kit to really get your business off the ground.

Whilst ideal for someone to run on their own, gardening franchises are also a brilliant decision for parents or those with a challenging schedule. As a van based, owner operated business, you can fit clients in to meet your personal requirements either working part or full time.

2. Vending Franchises

Considered one of the most affordable types of franchises, vending is an excellent entry point for anyone new to business ownership. One of the most popular types of vending business is vending tower, but there are other options for those looking to take their passion for business further. Many vending businesses operate as a silent salesman, making you money while you sleep. You’ll position vending towers at prominent locations within your territory, making profit from the stock you sell. Scalable, how much you invest- the choice is yours. Start small with only a few towers, or go big and maximise your earnings. Ultimately, vending franchises are all fairly similar but all are a great way of getting into business for yourself but not by yourself.

Vending franchises are usually low cost, under £15K.

3. Oven Cleaning Businesses

Don’t let the growing number of oven cleaning franchises in the UK throw you. Although there may seem like fierce competition between brands, such as Oven Wizards, Oven Clean and others, the growing numbers justify the demand. But even still, demand still outgrows the availability of cleaners and this is one such sector franchisors are eager to fully tap. If you’re looking for a low overhead business that can be run on your own, with a van, oven cleaning is a great choice.

Oven cleaning franchises usually cost less than £20K for the full business package. Coming in at around £8k for a reasonable second-hand van, you can expect to fully launch your own oven cleaning business for less than £30K. Many banks are able to lend up to 70% of the franchise investment so speak to the franchisor. You may be able to get into business for less than half.

Oven cleaning is generally very profitable. A typical clean will cost between £50 – £75 and with 10 cleans a week (2 a day for 5 days) you’re already exceeding two grand turnover a month.

4. Internet and Home Based Franchises

If you’re a stay at home parent, or you’re someone who simply wants to keep costs to an absolute minimum, look no further than a home based franchise. Franchises that can be run from home generally require an investment of less than £15K, making them an affordable choice. There are also many different types of home based opportunities on the market. From travel and leisure through to virtual agents and call handling. Franchise consultancy to management (next section). Because all you generally need is a laptop and a phone, your main costs for opening a home based business will be marketing. The best thing about a home based business is the flexibility. If you’re looking for a franchise which enables you to fit work around your family commitments, choosing one that enables a home-based working lifestyle is a must.

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5. Management Franchises

With a management franchise, it’s not you that will be carrying out the customer facing work, it is your workforce. A team of staff. While this might not sound like a business you run by yourself, your main roll will be marketing the business and ensuring employees have enough work. When and where you do this is up to you. Management franchises carry a lot of responsibility because employees will be relying on you, but you can very much run the business by yourself if you want to, employing staff and growing the business at a pace that suits you.

One of the best examples of a management franchise is home care. You’ll manage a team of carers, marketing and recruiting whilst not doing any care work yourself. Other examples include cleaning (managing cleaners, not cleaning yourself) and haulage. Management franchises are where you manage a team of staff who deliver products and services to clients.

6. Run a Mobile Coffee Business

Around £3.5bn is spent on coffee in the UK annually by consumers, a figure on the rise year on year. What’s more, over 50% of people drink coffee at least once a day, a similar figure demonstrated this during the COVID pandemic where over 50% of people drank coffee whilst working from home.

For many, opening a coffee shop can seem financially out of reach. You’ve got the premises to think about which comes with its own costs – from store fit out to utilities and rent. Then you’ve the actual franchise fees and marketing to ongoing costs. Obviously the returns for this are enough to make the coffee shop profitable, the initial price tags can be out of reach. But with the coffee sector worth over £15bn to the UK economy, there is another way to get involved at a fraction of the cost. Running a mobile coffee franchise.

The two biggest mobile coffee shop franchises are coffee vans and coffee bikes. Usually a coffee van franchise involves purchasing a van, either from a local dealer or a converted model direct from the franchisor, before taking to the road. You can expect a total on the road investment of around £40K+VAT. That’s a typical franchise investment of around £15K, another £5-10K for a used van, £5K conversion and £10K working capital. Obviously this figure can be a lot less if you utilise franchise finance options from high-street banks, franchise partners and vehicle dealers. It is widely quoted that banks can lend up to 70% of the franchise investment.

Coffee van franchises are versatile. You can position your business prominently in an area of high footfall such as a park, shopping district or a commercial site. You can also advertise in local media and arrange for bookings to events in your area. Unlike coffee shop, you go to where the customers are. Daily turnover can easily be upwards of £200, more for exclusive use bookings for parties and events, like weddings.

The more wider known coffee van franchises are Really Awesome Coffee and Coffee Blue.

7. Photography, Virtual Tours and Drone Franchises

If you’re looking for a business that gives you a great work life balance, photography is a top choice. Not only do you get a helping of the home-based working lifestyle, you also get outside and work outdoors. What makes photography franchises so attractive is their rapidly growing demand and development within the sector. Today, the media industry has grown to cover all aspects including virtual tours, aerial photography and videography.

Some of the most profitable franchise opportunities within the photography sector – that can be run owner-operated – include:

  • Wedding and event photography
  • Commercial virtual tours and photography – e.g for estate agents, the tourism industry.
  • Aerial photography using drones – a more cost effective solution which was once only possibly using aircraft.

Typically a drone franchise costs around £15K – £25K total investment. But this doesn’t just get you the aircraft, it covers everything from marketing (leaflets, paid ads), CAA license courses, equipment and of course the drone. Obviously, as an investment, once you’ve built up the business you can later sell it.

8. Mobile Automotive Repair

The automotive sector is driving forward, at a faster pace now than ever before. The widely varied response to the move to electric cars has prompted faster acceleration in the rollout of infrastructure to support new vehicles. And whilst petrol and diesel cars remain widely available, new opportunities are arising within the automotive sector. Franchise opportunities.

There are many popular automotive franchises within the sector, and while garages etc will generally require multiple staff, many mobile businesses can be run owner operated. Some of the existing top choices include:

  • Misfuelling repair businesses like Fuel Doctor
  • Probably the most obvious, breakdown and mobile tyre franchises
  • One you probably didn’t know was a franchise, there are a number of petrol station franchises out there (more on that next).

The franchising sector is keeping up with the trend in automotive developments. Many businesses in the UK are harnessing the developments and leading the way in delivering a sustainable future for the automotive sector. Whilst there are several petrol station franchises in the UK, you can expect to see electric car charging forecourts as the future of this. Businesses like Mr Electric and Mr Charger are already well underway and franchising. Could you lead the way with a future-proof franchise business like EV charging?

9. Van Based and Home Services Opportunities

From plumbing to drainage, window cleaning to chimney sweeping, there are many opportunities for those looking to run a business with a van. Whether or not you already own a van, the franchisor will be able to help you get the business up and running. With a range of finance options available from many banks, most van based franchises can be launched from less than £20K.

Some of the examples above are van based, but there are so many more businesses for sale out there. Assuming a van can be bought for less than £10K used, the below franchises can be run – by yourself – for less than £20K, total investment.

  • Access For Lofts – Loft ladder installation franchise that costs £10,000 investment. Utilise the funding opportunities many banks offer in the UK and this can be less than £5K.
  • Husse – A leading pet franchise in the UK. Around 50-60% of households own a pet, which means 50-60% of your territory are already prospective customers! This is a franchise you really can’t go wrong with. Packages start from less than £8K.
  • Windscreen Repair with Optic-Kleer – A £10K investment franchise that already has more than 40 franchisees trading across the UK.
  • Massage and Mobile Salon – The mobile beauty industry has boomed in recent years and is still a great way to run a business for yourself at a fraction of the cost of a premises based salon. Along with hairdressing, massage franchises are a top mobile franchise opportunity.

These are just some top van based franchises you can run yourself. Why not explore one of the below?

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10. Franchise Consultancy

If you’ve owned a franchise before, or you’ve got experience working within the franchising sector, why not become a franchise consultant?

To keep up with demand, many franchise consultancy businesses are becoming franchises themselves. There is a constant demand by franchisors to grow their franchise networks. Therefore, endless demand for marketing and lead generation by franchise consultants is a market that constantly needs filling. There are now well over 1,000 franchises in the UK. Because franchising is a great entry point into business ownership, more and more people are choosing this route to entrepreneurship. What’s more, thanks to master franchising, many global brands established outside of the UK are looking for entrepreneurs to launch units within the UK.

Franchisors are looking for consultants who take the time to really understand their business. Consultants who take the time to speak to leads, understand them and what their requirements are. If you’ve got experience within franchising then why not look at franchise consultancy? Usually a home based business, all you need is a laptop and a phone.

Should You Run a Franchise By Yourself?

Running a business by yourself is a great way to keep overheads low. There are many business models intended for the franchisee to run themselves, like coffee vans, plumbing, home based and oven cleaning. Most franchises also offer scalability in that once the business is established and off the ground, it is possible to employ additional staff, purchase more vans and serve more of your territory. The biggest put off for most people is the investment and the time to make the money back (break even), but provided you put the effort in, the franchisor provides you with a recipe for success. Details of profits and losses will be shared with you, including support on marketing so you can profitability attract business.

Should you run a franchise by yourself? If you like independence, and can see yourself running a business, go for it! Many franchisees haven’t looked back from their step into franchising. It’s usually better to start off with a franchise you can run yourself. You don’t need to worry about employees etc, and cuts out a lot of admin otherwise. Take your first steps into business ownership with franchising.

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