Franchises are becoming increasingly popular, but for every Subway or Dunkin' Donuts there are hundreds of smaller franchises whose names are not as familiar.
That doesn't mean to say that the right person can't make a great living from buying one of these lesser concerns, and with the industry branching out into increasingly diverse sectors, you will likely find the right one for you.
We have a look at some of the quirkier franchise opportunities out there.
As you can probably tell, this is a gardening-related franchise.
Established in 1986, with its head office in Wales and operations throughout the UK, this business deals specifically with lawn maintenance and has a good record of high returns for previous and existing franchisees.
With franchises available from less than £40,000, even those whose fingers remain distinctly pink can invest: Green Thumb is an opportunity for management-minded individuals who will take on staff within a designated territory, rather than attending to the lawns themselves.
Founded by a long-term martial artist, bodyguard and personal trainer, Combat Academy allows individuals with an interest in fitness the chance to deliver self-defence training.
With a military air to everything about it, from the logo to the uniforms, Combat Academy works on a boot-camp style of delivery, but with a healthy injection of fun.
The existing franchises have had no difficulty recruiting customers and a comprehensive programme of courses has been created to cover a variety of needs, including anti-bullying and anxiety control.
The franchise fee, which can be as little as £3000, includes training to the required standard.
Oscar Pet Foods
If you're mad about animals, you may be interested in becoming a franchisee for Oscar Pet Foods, which is a delivery service but also offers a range of pet care.
The franchise package includes the provision of an exclusive area within which to work, workshops and training for required skills - such as marketing or micro-chipping pets - and a supply of stock to start you off.
Priced at £14,995 plus VAT, Oscar's franchise is at the cheaper end of the market, and could provide a good income for a dedicated franchisee.
The Seasons art class
A great deal more of us are starting to work from home these days and the franchising industry is taking that into account.
One lesser-known franchise that allows the franchisee to do this is The Seasons Art Class.
Claiming a rapid return of up to a hundred per cent after six months, and with art classes booked up 6 months in advance, The Seasons requires the franchisee to operate in a managerial role – no artistic talent needed!
Franchisees are required visit a teaching venue to oversee a 3 hour lesson (taught by one of the company’s own sourced tutors) on just one day each week. All the other administrative work can be completed at home.
With full training and a very supportive marketing programme, the investment price of £13,995 offers a way into a potentially very lucrative, as well as flexible, enterprise.
Window to the Womb
This unique franchise has been made possible through impressive advances in technology.
Window to the Womb is a company that specialises in 3D and 4D scanning, allowing parents to get an intimate and much clearer (than the standard ultrasound) view of their baby before birth.
The safe and non-diagnostic techniques have been used on over 25,000 babies to date and the franchisor is looking for either managers or ultrasound technicians to take over the franchises throughout the UK.
The package costs £40,000.
With a little bit of research and the right advice, the franchise world can be the perfect way to become a business owner.
These five businesses show that it isn't all about making sandwiches, doughnuts or the best cup of coffee; for any interest that you may have, there is probably a franchise out there to suit you.