Starting a franchise with less than 10,000 euros in capital expenditure

9 March 2023

It’s common knowledge that franchising can be quite costly. This can vary from several tens of thousands to several hundreds of thousands of euros.

According to the 15th edition of the annual franchise survey provided by the Fédération Française de la Franchise and Banque Populaire, in 2020, the average investment amounted to 157,000 euros. Logically enough, this investment is greater in the retail sector than in the service sector.

However, still according to this source, 33% of entrepreneurs surveyed invested less than €50,000 to open their franchise. Is it possible to get started with even less capital? The answer is yes, and L’Express Franchise has investigated to bring you a selection of brands that allow you to start up with less than 10,000 euros in capital outlay.

Franchising: an entrepreneurial model accessible to all budgets

The franchise model can be found in a wide variety of sectors, offering entrepreneurs and investors a wide range of activities. From catering and taxation to body care, food and drink, industry and digital technology, there’s something to suit every taste and every budget.

On average, the equity contribution is around 30% for retail activities and 40% for service activities, where investments are mainly intangible in nature, i.e. everything that is not physical (e.g. research costs, various fees, purchase of patents and licenses, registrations, key money, leasehold rights, business goodwill).

It should also be noted that contributions may be limited to 20% in the case of a takeover or the creation of a second outlet in the case of a multi-franchise. There are several aspects to the overall investment in a franchise project: entry fee, premises, goodwill, leasehold rights, equipment and energy. These different points can have an impact on your personal contribution requirements.

To finance their business start-up or takeover project, franchisees generally rely on both their own resources and a bank loan. This is where the diversity of franchise activities comes into its own. Some activities don’t require premises, either at the outset or later on. Other franchises offer the option of taking no premises at all at the outset, and waiting until you have a solid, regular clientele before taking the step of a physical location. There’s another possibility, with premises but little input. Still others have low capital requirements. All of these solutions are based on the variety of this business model, and help reduce the initial capital outlay.

Get started with no downpayment with Heytens and Court EA Crédits

Heytens: window decoration specialist

The Heytens franchise was established in 1974, and offers a tailor-made solution that adapts to the needs and desires of each customer, with personalized services ranging from in-home advice to product installation. No personal contribution is required, and the entry fee is 10,000 euros.

This sector is fundamentally based on in-store sales. The Heytens brand’s stores are between 60 and 200m2 in size, which means they consume relatively little in terms of utilities and energy. A total investment of around €150,000 is required, for sales of around €600,000 excluding VAT after 2 years. It has to be said that the French are quite fond of interior design and decoration. According to Les Echos, the sector generates between €16 and €24 billion in annual sales.

Profiles sought: people with a passion for interior design, a commercial spirit and a desire to get involved in store team management. What’s more, Heytens offers 6 to 8 weeks’ training before you take up your new position.

Court’EA Crédits network of loan and credit insurance brokers

Founded in 2009, Court’EA is a service franchise that helps customers find the best credit solution for real estate purchases, business financing, credit restructuring and consumer credit. This concept is best suited to people who want to work independently and run their own agency.

Here too, no personal contribution is required, and the entry fee is just €5,000 for estimated sales of €150,000 excluding VAT after 2 years. The company boasts a business model with several different formulas. The brand also offers compulsory training hours via its e-learning platform, which suggests an internal training policy to ensure that each franchisee is systematically up to date with his or her knowledge and skills in the field.

While the network primarily targets prospective franchisees with brokerage, banking or insurance backgrounds, motivated project initiators undergoing retraining are also welcome.

Repar’Stores and YourHostHelper help you get started with between €0 and €5,000 in start-up capital

Repar’Stores: specialist in the repair and modernisation of blinds and shutters

The Répar’ Stores franchise, launched in 2009, is a change of scene, and requires a love of DIY. Specializing in the repair and modernization of awnings and roller shutters, this network has very high growth potential. It’s a growth sector that’s under-exploited, with an estimated annual turnover of just under 900 million euros.

Its strengths? A low personal contribution of €5,000, with no need for commercial premises, making this a very affordable franchise despite an entry fee of €24,000. The network claims to pay particular attention to its franchisees, and this seems to be bearing fruit, since a satisfaction survey among them revealed an overall satisfaction rate, unprecedented for a network of this size, of 96%, 10% higher than in 2014.

Other assets include a 6-week initial training course and numerous training courses available throughout the year to ensure that skills levels are always optimal and up to date; there’s even a course on happiness at work.

Finally, support services such as the planning department are available to franchisees to make their day-to-day business as simple as possible. The overall investment is around €50,000 for potential sales of around €140,000 excluding VAT after 2 years. His “ideal” franchisee? Commercial skills and a taste for manual work.

YourHostHelper : vacation rental specialist

The YourHostHelper concierge service was born in 2017 and launched as a franchise in 2021. It is the specialist in vacation rentals in France, a market that is doing well and growing at double-digit annual rates, with estimated sales of €200,000 excluding VAT after 2 years. With a personal contribution of just €2,000, and identical entry fees and overall investment, this is a franchise opportunity worth exploring.

What kind of franchisee are you looking for? No particular points, but “positive” indicators such as a desire to get involved, a sense of initiative and a taste for a challenge, validated training in real estate and any experience in property management, service, tourism or concierge services.

Getting started with between €5,000 and €10,000 with Véha Conseil and CosmetiBoat

Véha Conseil: support for professionals

A short tour of the quality field with Véha Conseil, founded in 2016, which supports food industry professionals in the areas of food safety, pest control and occupational hazards in the workplace. Most restaurants and catering businesses are afraid of health checks, and often cannot afford to invest in a full-time quality manager.

With this in mind, Véha Conseil has developed a range of tailor-made services to provide companies with cost-effective security. With a personal contribution of €7,000, an entry fee of €18,000 and an identical overall investment, this franchise network is a reasonable entrepreneurial solution for starting out, with estimated sales of €70,000 excluding VAT after 2 years.

CosmetiBoat: boat cleaning and renovation

The CosmetiBoat franchise is a concept born in 2012 and dedicated to boat cleaning, renovation, polishing and operational maintenance. Sensitive to ecological issues, CosmetiBoat takes an eco-responsible approach, using marine-approved products and minimizing the amount of water it uses. This ambitious franchise network has nine locations and aims to become the market leader.

With a personal contribution of €5,000, an entry fee of €5,500 and an overall investment of €17,260 for potential sales of between €60,000 and €185,000 (excluding VAT) after 2 years, joining this adventure could prove to be an extremely interesting opportunity without breaking the bank. No particular profile is required to join this network, apart from motivation, a winning spirit and sales skills.

Telling the truth

It’s sometimes said that a franchise requiring little or no capital outlay is unprofitable, or that it’s a risky business. But is there really a correlation? As we have seen, some franchises have an excellent return on investment in terms of potential sales. But the real question is to question our own objectives.

Do you want to work solo or as part of a team? In the case of a team, this can sometimes mean hiring and therefore paying salaries. Are you more comfortable in a professional office, or do you like to be on the move a lot? In reality, the question of personal contribution will depend above all on the nature of the business, the objectives and the professional lifestyle expected. Whatever the case, you can succeed with little input.

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