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8 Low-Cost Franchises for Hard Times

Laid off or having trouble finding a job? Tired of working for somebody else and looking to start a business of your own?

Being one's own boss is the dream of many Americans. But few have the wherewithal to come up with a viable business plan and the start-up money needed to be successful. That's where franchises come in.

Sure, buying into a franchise with a well-known pedigree can be daunting: Many top brands require a lot of capital up front and a strong business background.

But we’ve found eight growing franchises that have relatively low start-up costs and are available to first-time business owners. All provide essential services that are likely to remain in demand through good times and bad. And most can be run from home.

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