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The Hottest Industries Today

Our list of the franchises best positioned for growth, even in uncertain times.

The Hottest Industries Today

Image credit: JAMESTEOHART | Shutterstock

August 4, 2020 12 min read

This story appears in the August 2020 issue of Start Up. Subscribe »

Every December, we publish a list in Entrepreneur of what we predict will be the “hottest” categories for franchise expansion in the year ahead. And every summer we typically publish an update on that list—not updating the categories, but updating the information on the fast-growing or newly launched franchises within those categories.

But this year, as we prepared to update the list, we were faced with a question—should we change the categories from those we had listed in December, back when the world looked and felt a whole lot different? While businesses in some of these categories were deemed nonessential and were adversely affected by the COVID-19 shutdowns, many also found creative ways to keep serving customers during that time. And we believe that even those that didn’t will ultimately benefit from the fact that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s unlikely that anyone will ever again take for granted the ability to go to the gym or a family entertainment center. So in the end, we removed just a few categories (including breakfast, Mexican food, and juices/acai bowls, which you can find covered in our “Top 200 Food Franchises” list), and added one that saw a boost in popularity during the shutdowns: home improvement.

The road ahead will still hold many challenges for businesses in every industry, and different franchisors and franchisees will tackle those challenges differently. So keep in mind that this list is not an endorsement of any particular franchise company. It’s more important than ever to do your own research before investing in an opportunity. Read the FDD, consult with accountants and attorneys, and talk to existing and former franchisees to decide whether the franchise is right for you. For more information on a particular franchise, click on the company's name.

ChildcareEntertainment/RecreationFitness BusinessesHealthHome ImprovementPetsRestoration Services

Childcare

For essential workers who couldn't stay home with their little ones, childcare businesses proved even more vital than ever this year. And those parents who could stay home have likely gained a new appreciation for the work these businesses do to educate and care for their kids. As the economy opens back up and more parents head back to the office, this category should only keep growing.

Childcare/entertainment centers

Preschool/educational childcare

Early childhood education and childcare

Childcare

Nanny-placement, babysitting, tutoring

Early childhood education centers

Childcare

Preschool, daycare, public-speaking enrichment programs

Drop-in childcare, afterschool programs, summer camps

Preschool/educational childcare

Childcare and early learning

Preschool

Educational childcare

Childcare centers

Hourly childcare and preschool

Preschool/childcare

Educational childcare/preschool

Preschool/educational childcare

Childcare/early learning

Educational childcare

Early childhood education

Educational childcare

Spanish immersion daycare and preschool

In-home child care

Entertainment/Recreation

Entertainment and recreation businesses were understandably deemed nonessential during the shutdowns. And yet, more than ever, people needed things to keep them occupied and take their minds off the world—and many of these businesses found creative ways to still meet that need, like offering take-home DIY projects and online party services.

Dine-in theaters

Recreational billiard leagues

DIY workshops

Indoor axe, knife, and spear throwing

Indoor axe throwing

DIY wood-sign workshops

Educational craft brewery tours

Climbing-wall family entertainment centers

Paint-your-own-ceramics studios

Photography, DJ, video, and photo-booth services

Travel agencies

Virtual reality arcades

Adult dance classes and parties

Travel agencies

Event planner, ticket brokerage, and travel agency

Escape rooms

Retail travel agencies

Membership boat clubs

Wall-climbing and family entertainment facilities

Mobile video-game theaters

Axe throwing

Campgrounds and RV Parks

Family entertainment centers

DIY studios

Paint-and-sip studios

Escape rooms

Paint-and-sip studios

DIY studios

DIY studios

Indoor bounce houses and playgrounds

Membership boat clubs

Trampoline parks/entertainment centers

Hatchet-throwing venues

Family adventure parks

Adventure parks

Cooking classes

Paint-and-sip studios

Family camping resorts

Fitness Businesses

When the pandemic hit, many fitness franchises were able to quickly pivot and offer classes to their customers online. Nevertheless, many people were eager to get back into the gym when restrictions began to be lifted, and with health more top-of-mind than ever, this already strong category should only see more growth going forward.

Fitness programs for seniors

Aerial fitness training

Fitness studios

Group fitness classes, streaming fitness classes, nutrition coaching

Fitness centers

Sports performance training

Prenatal and postpartum fitness and nutrition

Barre fitness classes

Health and fitness centers

Gyms

Boxing and kickboxing group fitness programs

Women's fitness centers

Fitness/weight-loss services

Rowing and strength training

Kickboxing fitness classes

Reformer Pilates classes

Personal and group training, wellness services

Fitness centers

Indoor cycling classes

Personalized strength training

Fitness studios

Fitness facilities

Personal training

Fitness studios

Indoor fitness boot camps

Prenatal and postpartum fitness and wellness programs

Personal training

Fitness and nutrition programs

Health and fitness centers

Mobile personal training

Boot camp fitness programs

Group training

Yoga, meditation, teacher training, retreats

Strength training and fitness programs

Athletic-based fitness programs

Boxing studios for women

Group fitness classes, conventions, apparel, and accessories

Personal training

Gyms

Boxing fitness programs

10-week fitness and nutrition programs

Boxing group fitness

Fitness programs for women

Mobile personal training

Kickboxing fitness circuit-training centers

Mobile fitness training

Group personal training

Functional interval training fitness studios

Yoga and fitness classes

Barre fitness classes

Basketball-focused fitness clubs

Fitness clubs

Barre fitness classes and apparel

Fitness and wellness centers

Infrared fitness studios

Fitness studios

Health clubs

Indoor rowing classes

Group functional training

Private personal training and supplement sales

In-home personal training

24-hour fitness centers

Assisted stretching classes and related therapy services

Fitness studios

Group interval training

Fitness and martial arts

Fitness studios with smoothie bar and recovery services

Kickboxing circuit-training programs for women

Boxing and kickboxing fitness classes, personal training, apparel

High intensity interval training studios

Group fitness studios

Boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, high-intensity interval training, and group fitness classes

24-hour health clubs

Yoga studios

Health

Being healthy has become more important than ever, so this small but growing category probably looks more appealing than ever to prospective franchisees. And there's something here for everyone, from traditional health services to more alternative offerings like acupuncture, cryotherapy, IV therapy, and cannabis.

Physical therapy

Hormone-based weight-loss and wellness services

Hemp-derived CBD products

Neuromuscular training

CBD/THC products and accessories; virtual doctor consultations

Preventative health, wellness, and aesthetic services

CBD products and accessories

Physical therapy, balance and vestibular therapy, preventive wellness services

Arch supports, related products

Chiropractic, rehabilitation, massage, nutrition, and wellness services

Home health care and hospice care

Vitamin IV and injection therapy

Cryotherapy, wellness, and pain management services

Chiropractic services

Lice-treatment services and products

Hearing aids

Wheelchair and mobility scooter repair, cleaning, rentals, and sales

Mobility scooters, ramps, stair lifts

Acupuncture

Eye care and eyewear

Chiropractic services, massage therapy, nutritional supplements

Mobility and accessibility equipment sales and services

Eye care and eyewear

Infrared sauna studios

Over-the-counter pharmaceutical products vending

Physical therapy

Weight-loss and wellness services

Products for relief/prevention of back and neck pain

Wellness services

Weight-loss coaching and products

Salt therapy

Orthopedic wellness services

Medical rejuvenation therapy and weight-loss centers

Hospice agencies

Floatation therapy

Retail cannabis dispensaries

Vegan health and beauty stores/cafes/vitamin and supplement stores

Home Improvement

As shelter-in-place orders had people spending more time in their homes, many turned to home improvement, repair, and remodeling projects to keep themselves busy. Most home improvement stores and service business were able to stay open during this time, adjusting their services to maintain proper social distancing and sanitation, with some even pivoting to virtual consultations.

Seamless siding, soffit, fascia, gutters, windows, roofing

Garage door sales, installation, and repairs

Residential and commercial repairs, maintenance, and improvements

Hardware and home-improvement stores

Garage-door installation and repairs

Paint color consulting

Handyman services

Replacement windows

Outdoor living space design and construction

Window covering sales, installation, and repairs

Window coverings, window film, rugs, accessories

Residential and commercial painting

Holiday and event lighting

Residential/commercial closet and storage systems; Murphy beds

Custom closet and storage systems

Custom closet and home/office organization systems

Residential/commercial painting, repairs, gutter installation, power washing, holiday lighting

Decorative concrete coatings

Interior decorating services and products

Home and auto handyman services

Kitchen, bath, and interior remodeling

Kitchen refacing and remodeling

Bathroom remodeling

Residential and commercial painting

Flooring

Flooring installation and restoration

Residential and commercial painting

Furniture and wood restoration, repair, and refinishing

Garage cabinets, floor coatings, organization products

Countertop, cabinet, tub, tile, and shower resurfacing; fiberglass repair

Auto/residential/commercial glass installation, repair, and replacement

Window and glass restoration, repair, and replacement

Window treatments

Garage floor coatings

Home modifications for the disabled and aging

Home repairs, remodeling

Handyman services

Handyman and home-modification services

Smart home and electrical contracting services

Smart home and electrical contracting services

Handyman/home-improvement services

Lumber and hardware stores

Kitchen and bath remodeling and design

Residential and commercial kitchen and bath remodeling

Kitchen pantry and bathroom organization

Window coverings

Metal stores

Kitchen and bathroom surface refinishing

Residential and commercial appliance installation and repairs

Residential and commercial repair, maintenance, and improvement services

Interior and exterior sandless wood refinishing

Wood cabinet and floor refinishing

Roofing, exterior coating, vinyl windows, paving

Residential, holiday, and hospitality lighting

Painting

Drywall repair

Drywall repair

Window and door sales and installation

Pet door sales and installation

Residential garage door repair, installation, and service

Residential pool construction

Garage-door installation and repairs

Wholesale kitchen, bath, and flooring products

Bathroom remodeling

Residential renovations

Concrete flooring installation, treatment, repair, and restoration

Mobile window and door screening

Custom pull-out shelving for cabinets and pantries

Custom wall beds and cabinetry

Exterior spray painting

Fence sales and installation

Bathtub repair and refinishing, tub liners, bath remodeling

Home organization products and services

Residential and commercial painting

Construction consulting

Home insulation and energy-efficient products

Replacement windows, doors, siding, and other exterior remodeling products

One-day residential and commercial painting

Pets

Americans spent an estimated $75 billion on their furry friends last year, according to the American Pet Products Association, and while spending in other areas has decreased, people are still willing to sacrifice for their pets. Plus, most pet stores qualified as 'essential businesses' during the shutdowns, and other businesses like doggy daycares stayed open to provide care for medical workers' pets.

Dog training

Pet boarding, daycare, grooming, and products

Mobile pet grooming

Pet health-food stores

Dog daycare, boarding, training, grooming

Dog daycare and boarding

Dog dayare

Pet supplies and services

Dog care services and products

Dog training

Dog daycare, boarding, and spa services

Pet food and supplies, grooming, self-wash, training, and walking

Walk-in veterinary clinics

Pet-sitting, dog-walking

Health food for dogs and cats

Dog daycare, pet boarding, pet grooming

Pet-product delivery

Pet-sitting, dog-walking

Dog training

Dog-food delivery

Luxury dog daycare and boarding

Dog training, boarding, daycare, grooming, retail

Dog parks with bars and grills

Dog training

Pet-sitting, dog-walking

Pet funeral and cremation services and products

Retail pet supplies and services

Natural pet-food stores/delivery

Pets, pet supplies, boarding, daycare, grooming

Natural pet food and supplies; dog self-wash

Pet care in private homes

Pet daycare, boarding, grooming

Dog ice cream shops

Dog grooming

Dog training

Pet food and supplies, grooming, self wash, bakery

Bird-feeding supplies and nature gift items

Dog walking, pet sitting, mobile pet grooming

Indoor dog training and socialization, pet products

Restoration Services

Restoration service businesses have long had the reputation of being recession-proof, and they stand to prove that now. Since disasters don't stop occuring no matter the circumstances, these were obviously deemed essential businesses, and many found their services in even higher demand than usual during the shutdowns.

Restoration

Water, fire, and mold remediation

Crime-scene and trauma-scene cleaning

Restoration of textiles and electronics

Insurance/disaster restoration

Property restoration

Carpet and upholstery cleaning, disaster restoration, mold remediation

Residential and commercial property restoration

Building contents packing, cleaning, storage, and restoration

Restoration

Insurance restoration

Property damage restoration and remediation

Indoor cleaning and restoration

Water, fire, smoke, and mold restoration

Water/fire restoration, mold remediation

Commercial/residential cleaning, disaster restoration

Fire, water, and other damage cleanup and restoration

Crime-scene, meth-lab, and hoarding cleanup; mold remediation; house buying

Insurance/disaster restoration, cleaning, mold remediation, air quality control

Roofing, exterior restoration

Football news:

Conte wants to sign Inter Gervinho from Parma
Robertson and Trent contributed 33 goals in the Premier League in 3 years - the best result among defenders
In Genoa, 14 cases of coronavirus after the match with Napoli. Neapolitans play Juve on October 4
In the Premier League had identified 10 new cases of coronavirus. Players and staff isolated
Mane scored for Arsenal. Sadio has 3 goals in 3 Premier League games
Lacazette scored after a mistake by Robertson. The forward has 3 goals in 3 Premier League games
Roy Keane: for Solskjaer, the honeymoon at Manchester United is over, the pressure will grow. Need a trophy