Retail franchises can be a straightforward and profitable option for aspiring business owners who want to be their own boss while working towards financial freedom. Combine those benefits with the convenience and flexibility of the internet, and you can earn a living while making more time to enjoy your life. Similar to how corporate jobs can have in-person, remote, or hybrid schedules, franchises also come with different business models.
Investopedia traces the transformational ability to buy and sell products and services online to 1994, when NetMarket processed the sale of a CD between friends. The success of this model took off and inspired the founding of ecommerce giants like Amazon and eBay. Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, like Walmart, have also adapted by hosting digital storefronts alongside their physical locations. The digital economy has grown exponentially since 1994, and these days, you can even order your groceries online and receive same-day delivery!
Franchises are no exception to how the internet transformed the economy. Ecommerce storefronts, remote services, and hybrid business models also work as turnkey franchises. For aspiring business owners, this is great news. Not only can you benefit from the extra guidance and proven business models that franchising offers, you can also do so from your home office, the local library, or wherever you work best!
In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of online franchising as well as different types of opportunities with specific examples to help inspire your search.
Can a Franchise Be Online?
The answer to “Are there online franchises?” is a resounding “Yes!” You can own and operate certain franchises from wherever you have a stable internet connection. The advantage of being able to earn a living from the comfort of your own home is often enough to justify investigating online franchise options. Or, if you prefer working while traveling, online franchises can provide the flexibility and the income you need. Options for online franchises include:
- Providing remote services, like with business consulting through Schooley Mitchell Consulting.
- Hybrid work models, like with tutoring through Mathnasium Learning Centers.
- Ecommerce opportunities, like with online storefronts through Uprise Automation.
In addition to offering flexibility in where you work, online franchises can also give you control over how often you work. As the business owner, you can create your own schedule. And certain industries, like ecommerce, are compatible with semi-absentee and automated management setups.
What Are Three Advantages of Franchising an Online Business?
Online franchising advantages combine the usual benefits of the franchise model with the additional perks of:
- Lower overhead costs
- Fewer restrictions
- Joining a booming digital economy
Let’s take a look at each of these benefits in detail.
Online Franchises Have Lower Overhead Costs
Online franchises are a great way for new franchisees to own their own business because they tend to be more affordable than other options. Without the need for a physical store or separate office space to pay for and maintain, you can take home a higher percentage of your revenue, or you can reinvest those savings into your business.
Online Franchises Have Fewer Restrictions
Certain online franchises, like many ecommerce opportunities, allow you to sell to anyone in the world. This contrasts with other franchise models, which set specific territories for each franchisee. Because you’re not limited by geography, you have the potential to scale more quickly.
Online Franchises Are Part of a Growing Industry
Finally, ecommerce represents a significant portion of retail product and service sales. According to Forbes, online sales are predicted to make up 30% of retail purchases in 2023. This forecast also estimates that ecommerce will grow 10 to 12% in 2023, which represents an increase of over $1.4 trillion. Buying into an online franchise is an accessible opportunity to take advantage of these trends.
How Does an Online Franchise Work?
Opportunities for home-based franchises in 2023 work with either fully- or partially-online business models. Fully-online models only require internet connection and a compatible device to function only. Setting up your business, managing your supply chain, handling billing, and interacting with your customers all take place in cyberspace. You don’t need to work from a specific location or deal with physical inventory in this franchise model. Using Franchise Gator, you can discover exciting fully-online franchises like:
- Tutoring Works: This business allows you to own and operate your own tutoring company remotely. You can feel rewarded by growing your customer base while working directly with tutees and seeing them improve. Unlike most franchises, Tutoring Works doesn’t have any royalty fees or territory limits, which allows you to expand how and when you see fit.
- American Business Systems: This medical billing franchise gives you the tools you need to earn a six-figure income with just a handful of clients. The best part? You can go through training, run your business, and perform your services from anywhere. American Business Systems uses cloud-based software, which reduces the amount of hardware required, improving flexibility even more.
- CMIT Solutions: Help small businesses get their technology to work for them rather than against them—from the comfort of your own home! This franchise comes ready-to-go with a 24/7 customer-facing helpdesk, extensive training, and support for marketing, sales, and product and service delivery.
Partially-online franchises include some of the convenience of fully-online franchises, while still retaining some physical aspects of running the business. For example, you could sell products through an ecommerce website and handle all customer interactions online, but you still receive and store physical products until you ship them to a customer. Or, you could run a service-based business from your home, only needing to leave when you have to fulfill those services. Franchise Gator can help connect you with partially-online home-based franchises, like:
- Dog Training Elite: This franchise helps you turn your love for dogs into a profitable business! While this business requires hands-on involvement to set up a physical location, once you gain momentum, you can transition to semi-absentee management. This allows you to run your business remotely a significant portion of the time.
- Healthy YOU Vending: This business provides your community with healthy, convenient snack options. As the owner, you can structure your business around your schedule. Once you’re done with initial setup, you only need to visit vending locations to restock machines. During the rest of your time, you can use the internet to track sales and order more supplies.
- N-Compass TV: Create streams of passive income while working a flexible schedule. This franchise connects you with a network of indoor digital billboard providers. With the backing of an award-winning graphic design team to create ads, you can help clients reach their target audience. While most of this job can be performed online, you do need to show billboard locations to prospects in-person.
Online franchises offer the highest level of convenience when it comes to owning a business. Find your balance of at-home and in-person work at Franchise Gator.
What Is Ecommerce Franchising?
An ecommerce business sells products or services online; ecommerce franchises provide franchisees with an established turnkey online business model. Web design, marketing strategy, inventory selection, and shipping methods are already worked out ahead of time.
As the franchisee, you’re in charge of executing a proven strategy to a new audience. You need to promote your business, restock products, and answer customer questions. Some ecommerce franchises have you handling physical products, while others allow you to ship directly from a warehouse to your customers. There are also opportunities to sell services through a digital storefront.
To get an idea if this model could be right for you, take a look at some ecommerce franchise examples:
- Phoenix Ecom: Start an ecommerce business with an Amazon digital storefront. Work with a team of specialists to scale and automate your business. This full-service management model helps franchisees generate monthly passive income with an average ROI of 34.44%.
- League of Ecom: This franchise enables aspiring owners to earn passive income through opening a Walmart, eBay, or Amazon digital storefront. Work with a business developer to customize your ecommerce business based on your desired income, budget, timeline, and available brand contacts. With automated processes, an established distributor network, and built-in inventory analytics, you can maximize your ROI while freeing up more of your time.
- Automated Ecom: This franchise focuses on helping franchisees create and automate an Amazon storefront. With a guided onboarding process and full-service management, franchisees can take advantage of this opportunity to diversify their income streams with minimal time investment.
For a more comprehensive ecommerce business list, visit Franchise Gator! Use our search filters for industry, investment level, and location to find the best opportunity for you.
Which Franchise Is Cheapest To Open?
Online franchises tend to be the cheapest to open because you don’t need to invest in a brick-and-mortar location. This business model saves costs related to real estate, equipment, and maintenance. If you work from home, you can also save on your commute! For first-time owners looking for low cost franchises with high profit, online businesses make for a great investment. At Franchise Gator, you can expedite your search by filtering franchises based on investment level.
When determining your budget, it’s important to account for required cash, franchise fees, and total investment.
- Required cash is the amount of liquid assets you need to start a franchise.
- Franchise fees are the payment you make to a franchisor to use their business model, marketing methods, training, and ongoing support.
- Total investment is how much you will need to invest to have your business fully functional.
Franchising fees and total investment can be financed, but required cash cannot. Here are a couple of online franchises that you could start with $10,000 or less in cash:
- Automated Ecom: Develop an automated Amazon storefront with an initial cash investment of $10,000 plus $40,000 in franchising fees.
- My Business Venture: Invest just $3,995 in liquid capital to get started with your own personalized ecommerce site.
What Franchise Is the Easiest To Own?
Automated ecommerce franchises are the easiest to own because once you set them up, the franchisor’s business developers handle many of the day-to-day operations. In these franchises, the franchisees’ primary responsibility is providing the initial investment to set up the digital storefront and acquire inventory. If you’re an aspiring business owner who wants to take a hands-off approach, the best ecommerce business to start in 2023 is one that can be automated, like the following examples:
How To Find the Best Online Franchise Business
Franchise Gator is the perfect tool to use when searching for an online franchise for sale. That’s because you can organize our database of available franchises by industry, location, and investment level. These filters make it easy to find opportunities that align with your interests, lifestyle, and budget.
To get an idea of what your opportunities are, see which industries are in the top 5 of online franchises:
- Transworld Business Advisors: Business brokerage and franchise consulting
- ActionCoach: Business coaching and consulting
- TeamLogic IT: IT services for small and medium-sized businesses
- WSI: Internet marketing
- CMIT Solutions: IT services for local businesses
Online franchises can provide you flexibility on top of a profitable business model. Use Franchise Gator to start exploring hybrid and fully-remote opportunities today!