Jacqui Walker

SmartCompany /

I searched the web and found some interesting franchise ideas that could work here.

What’s the big idea?

America is a good place to look to see what’s happening next in franchising. And it’s not a bad place to look for ideas. Here’s a few franchising ideas from US franchise blogs and websites that could get you thinking…

What about setting up a Fun Bus? It’s a full-sized and fully operational school bus with the seats removed and replaced with a padded playground for children aged two to seven. According to the franchise pundit, the bus features a trampoline, a rope swing, a punching bag, a parallel bar, a basketball net and a big slide that is attached out the back.

The idea is for the bus to visit childcare and primary schools once a week for a 10-week session, giving the children 30 minutes of learning and fitness taught in a fun way. It’s a simple business model – there is no real estate involved, it’s an easy business to operate, and it acts as its own billboard as it drives around town.

The franchisor charges a US$30,000 fee for the name in a secure territory, training, manuals, after-sale support and a list of potential customers (childcare centres) and a customised bus. Equipment runs to another $25,000. Add additional $15,000 for some advertising, working capital and miscellaneous expenses, and the total investment is approximately $65,000. They sold their first franchise in 2003 and now have 16 operating units. Would it work here?

Franchising in health and fitness is not a new idea, but this is a new take on it. It’s called Stroller Strides and it’s a small niche – new mothers. The mums meet with their baby’s prams in a park for a 45-minute exercise session.

They power walk with the prams, do body-toning exercises, lunges and stretches and a cool down at the end of the class. Blended into the exercise class are nursery rhymes, the chicken dance, and singing childhood favourites. It really offers the social opportunities of a mothers’ group as well as a chance to keep active.

This wouldn’t have to be a franchise business, but it does sound like one that could benefit from a brand and good local area marketing campaign.

Pet Waste Pickup is an idea that takes pet services to its logical conclusion – but it may or may not be a good idea to franchise. Chicago publication Crain’s profiled several pet “waste management” businesses, where the business owner will visit back yards and scoop up pet waste.

The mag reports that it’s generally a profitable, flexible services business, and can grow rapidly by word of mouth. But one wonders whether the $25,000 franchisee fee and 6-8% in total royalty and fees each year could be better spent on doing your own local area marketing. Whether this is a business better to franchise or run independently really depends on the brand.

Maybe it’s an add-on the dog grooming and washing franchises Aussie Pooch Mobile and Hydrodog should consider.


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