Owning a profitable business is the American dream, but being your own boss comes with some challenges. Mainly, it’s impossible to know if you’ll succeed. Market research can help you make some fairly accurate predictions, but you won’t know anything for certain until you just take the leap and try it out. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll make enough profit to pay your employees, risking not only your own finances, but the paychecks of others. The answer to these challenges isn’t to abandon your dreams altogether. Instead, why not find a way to make it happen while mitigating some of the risk? To do this, you can either start a business on the side to make sure it turns a profit before giving up your steady paycheck. Or you can do what millions of other successful Americans do and open a franchise. 

As a franchise owner, you are taking a lot less risk than someone opening a business from scratch. As long as you franchise with a trustworthy and established company, they will do everything they can to help you succeed. Most of them offer training, marketing, and market data for every franchisee, and they make it easy to grow your business as large as you’d like. They’ll also typically only allow franchises in certain areas to avoid excessive competition among their branches. If all of this appeals to you, check out this list of the top five most profitable franchises in the US.


McDonald’s takes the lead in profitable franchises with nearly 40,000 locations and $37.5 billion a year in US sales. Opening a location varies in costs, depending on land, buildings, and other variables that go into starting a business. But as far as the actual franchise requirements, McDonald’s charges $45,000. They also require every applicant to have at least $500,000 of liquid assets available for investment in the business. This ensures that the franchisee can build the location meeting McDonald’s standards and requirements. To begin the application process, you’ll simply visit their website and fill out the initial forms online. 

Sport Clips

Sport Clips is a haircut facility that started out in Texas in the early 1990s. Their initial franchise fees are between $25,000 and $59,500 with an ongoing royalty fee of six percent. They also require you to have a net worth of $400,000 and liquid assets of at least $200,000.


UPS is one of the most affordable, as well as one of the most profitable, franchise opportunities available. The cost to open a UPS location varies, depending on the type of store, but range from $161,657 to $470,031. This includes all the predicted expenses in addition to the franchise fee. In addition, they require you to have at least $60,000 in liquid assets. However, the company does have some programs to help with finances. For example, they will waive the franchise fee for veterans who apply and qualify to become franchisees. And they charge lower fees to people opening smaller rural UPS stores. 

Taco Bell

A Taco Bell franchise will cost you a little more than some of the others listed here, but your earning potential is huge. It’s the number one Mexican fast food chain in the world, bringing in more than $4 billion in sales a year. In order to qualify for a franchise for this company, you’ll need to apply with Yum! Brands, Inc and have at least $360,000 in liquid assets, along with having a net worth of a million dollars. 

Hampton by Hilton

A Hampton by Hilton franchise is one of the most difficult to acquire. Designed to fend off the average investor, their application process is lengthy and their startup fees outrageous. Franchise fees for these facilities vary greatly, depending on the size of the property and other factors, but they start at $75,000. New developments will also have to pay an additional $400 per guest room if there are more than 150. In addition to that, there are also processing, product improvement, construction extension, and other fees you might encounter.