Entrepreneurs

What it costs to open one of America's 10 popular franchises

Hot opportunities on Main Street

7-Eleven store
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

There's a lot of appeal in the idea of running your own business — especially when that business is part of a national chain that's supported by multimillion-dollar national ad campaigns.

Franchise growth was stronger than expected in 2015, and the International Franchise Association expects that expansion to continue this year by 1.7 percent. Assuming the group is right, that means the year will finish with 795,932 franchised businesses operating in the United States.

The industry is a key contributor to GDP, contributing $1 trillion annually, according to the IFA.

Getting started as a franchise owner isn't necessarily easy, though. Start-up costs vary wildly, depending on what sort of store you want to open, how upscale you decide to make it and where it's located.

Franchise Direct has assembled a list of the start-up costs and fees for a number of big corporate names, based on the franchise disclosure documents of those companies. Here's a look at what you can expect to pay to buy one of these iconic franchises.

— By Chris Morris, special to CNBC.com
Posted 28 June 2016

McDonald's

McDonald's worker prepares french fries to go.
Getty Images

Estimated number of franchises: 36,290

Initial franchise fee: $45,000 for a traditional stand-alone restaurant

Estimated initial investment: $989,000–$2.2 million

Service fee: 4 percent of gross sales

Advertising fee: No less than 4 percent of gross sales

Subway

A "now hiring" sign in the window of a Subway restaurant in Sarasota, Fla.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Estimated number of franchises: 42,230

Initial franchise fee: $15,000

Estimated initial investment: $117,000–$263,000

Service fee: 8 percent of gross sales

Advertising fee: 4.5 percent of gross sales

Pizza Hut

Ye Aung Thu | AFP | Getty Images

Estimated number of franchises: 15,605

Initial franchise fee: $25,000

Estimated initial investment: $852,000–$2.1 million for red roof dine-in restaurants (Delivery/carry-out locations range from $297,000–$528,000)

Service fee: 6 percent of gross sales

Advertising fee: 2.5 percent–3 percent of gross sales


7-Eleven

7-Eleven store
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Estimated number of franchises: 56,450

Initial franchise fee: $0–$1 million

Estimated initial investment: $40,000–$1.1 million

Service fee: Variable percentage of gross sales

Advertising fee: Variable percentage of gross sales, based on previous year's profit

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts

Source: Wyndham Hotels and Resorts

Estimated number of franchises: 7,760

Initial franchise fee: $90,300

Estimated initial investment: $36.7 million$70 million (excluding land acquisition costs)

Service fee: 5 percent of gross room revenues

Advertising fee: 3 percent of gross room revenues

Dunkin' Donuts

People wait in line in the morning at a Dunkin' Donuts chain restaurant in New York City.
Getty Images

Estimated number of franchises: 11,750

Initial franchise fee: $40,000–$90,000 (freestanding unit)

Estimated initial investment: $250,000–$1.7 million (freestanding unit)

Service fee: 5.9 percent of gross sales

Advertising fee: 5 percent of gross sales


Baskin-Robbins

Roberto Machado Noa | LightRocket | Getty Images

Estimated number of franchises: 7,610

Initial franchise fee: $12,500–$25,000

Estimated initial investment: $94,000–$402,000

Service fee: 5.9 percent of gross sales

Advertising fee: 5 percent of gross sales


Century 21

A Century 21 'For Sale' sign stands outside of a home in Seattle, Washington.
David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Estimated number of franchises: 6,900

Initial franchise fee: $0–$25,000

Estimated initial investment: $11,000–$605,000

Service fee: 6 percent of gross revenue

Advertising fee: N/A


The UPS Store

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Estimated number of franchises: 4,865

Initial franchise fee: $29,950

Estimated initial investment: $168,000–$536,000

Service fee: 5 percent of gross sales and commissions

Advertising fee: 2.5 percent of gross sales and commissions


Gold's Gym

Gold's Gym
Lynne Gilbert | Getty Images

Estimated number of franchises: 710

Initial franchise fee: $32,000–$40,000

Estimated initial investment: $1 million–$4 million

Service fee: Either 5 percent of gross revenue or $2,000 per month, whichever is higher

Advertising fee: N/A

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