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Buying a Cheap Franchise Can Get Expensive

5. Candy Bouquet
Start-up minimum: $8,500
Candy Bouquet prides itself not only on having gourmet chocolates in its candy arrangements, but on being a true small business with low start-up costs -- according to the IFA, as little as $8,500 to $36,000. The total initial investment ranges from $10,220 to $46,600.

Included in the franchise fee, which can start at $7,000, is training on how to create the bouquets, how to design a showroom and how to manage the storefront or home-based business, according to the company's Web site.

Chief Operations Officer Jim Benham says a few things come into play when deciding start-up costs.

"We base our franchising fees on populations of ZIP codes. ZIP codes are exclusive territory for franchisees. They own those exclusive territories for active marketing purposes. So it's a sliding scale based on populations," he says.

Another thing that comes into play: Whether a franchisee is buying a single or multiple territories. Overhead expenses will also depend on whether they are going to be home-based or a storefront (many of Candy Bouquet's franchisees already own existing stores, such as flower shops and candy shops).

New franchisees must also pay for inventory. Roughly $4,000 of inventory should make about 200 bouquets.

The company has between 350 and 400 active franchisees.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com.

To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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