Very informative article here from Laura Bowling, Finance Blogger that I found in Huffpost Business.

For aspiring entrepreneurs, buying a franchise may seem like a no-brainer. Being a franchise owner means being your own boss and owning your own business, all within an existing business structure with a proven formula for success- seems like a pretty great deal right? What many potential franchisers may not realize is just how many different franchises there are to choose from, and choosing the right franchise opportunity can be an intensive process that can affect the future success of the franchise itself.

So what are some of the different types of franchises available for potential owners?

1. Single Unit Franchise

While this term may seem a bit pretentious, it is the most straightforward of the lot. A single unit franchise is exactly what it sounds like – you’ll be purchasing a single “unit” of a franchise location to own and operate. This is a great option for first time franchisers because of the comparable low startup costs and the ability to manage the location yourself. These units could be anything from fast food, home service providers, tutoring and education franchises, or even extended living arrangements (such as retirement homes or elder care).

For those entrepreneurs who are looking to work for themselves and able to put in the necessary time and effort, single unit franchises can be a great way to get started, provided they have enough capital to get started.

2. Existing Franchise

Existing franchises are a bit harder to come by. Essentially, you’d be either buying out another franchiser or purchasing the franchise unit from another person. While this increases the initial cost of purchase, this can be a good option for entrepreneurs who desire to play it a little more safely. You’ll be purchasing the franchise after its establishment, after its built up a reputation, while reducing the initial costs of opening a franchise, and gaining a clearer idea of what to expect from the business itself.

3. Multi-Unit Franchise

Feeling up to a challenge and have some money to burn? A multi-unit franchise may be just the opportunity you’re looking for. Instead of just one store, an entrepreneur would be tasked to open several stores in a particular geographic region. In exchange for this undertaking, the owner would typically be given a discount on the price of the individual units. Someone planning on purchasing a multi-unit franchise should be prepared to delegate, as multiple locations means choosing reliable and trustworthy managers to oversee multiple locations. This is also a great way to increase your odds of turning a profit – with more locations comes more chances of success!

4. Area Developer

Think multi-unit franchise plus some. An area developer is entering into a franchise agreement to open up a large number of stores in a specific region. Be prepared to bring a lot of capital upfront because this is no small undertaking! Having experience in franchising or managing many locations is key for these buyers as you will be tasked with overseeing development of a large region of franchises. This is also a great opportunity for businesses to expand into a market rapidly, so choosing the correct individual franchise for the area will undoubtedly help your odds of success.

5. Master Franchise

Already a pro at franchising? Well then this is the track for you. Becoming a master franchiser means becoming the liaison between the franchisor and other potential franchisees. You are essentially buying the rights to the geographic region and manage the development of the franchise in that region. As you could expect, this comes with a hefty fee. You would collect franchise fees from other potential franchisers, yet not directly own each location in your region. For entrepreneurs not concerned about cost and willing to put in the managerial work required of a master franchiser this is the road to travel.