1. Hair Care
Hair care is just one industry in the booming personal services sector. The number of franchise establishments in personal services is expected to grow by 1.5% this year, according to the IFA's 2013 forecast, making it the fifth fastest-growing sector (tied with lodging) among the 10 that the association tracks.
Hair salons are a particularly good bet because while consumers might decide to skip the lavish vacations or fancy meals, they always need a haircut.
"Even in our do-it-yourself culture [that] we live in, people don't want to cut their own hair," says
, CEO of
"People will always need their hair cut and, especially in a shaky economy, they're looking for a quality, convenient cut at an affordable price," she says. Consumers are also busy. They want to be able to get in and out of a salon with little wait times. Great Clips' online check-in service alleviates that issue, she says.
On the business side, the franchises are profitable and conducive to multi-unit ownership.
"Most of the time it does not require a hands-on manager and the franchisee can successfully operate multiple locations. The salons are managed by a licensed cosmetologist and the franchisee focuses on working with the manager and providing the marketing and business side. They make a great team," Olsen says.
"Once franchisees get comfortable owning one salon, they typically buy a few more. After the initial learning curve, adding more locations can be a great way to increase overall profitability," she says.