5. Car service center
Service: oil change and other auto service
Number of franchises: more than 170
Headquarters: Birmingham, Ala.
Investment costs: $300,000 to $1.5 million
Fit for 50-plus? Your staff oversees the cars; you oversee the business.
But: Investment costs are high.
Spotlight: Bill Ross, 64, Birmingham
Ross bought his first Express Oil Change franchise in 2000 as an existing business; he was able to keep his day job as a CFO for a manufacturing company. "I was looking for something to invest in, mostly for retirement," says Ross, who left his CFO position in March 2010.
He now has two centers and a third opening in April. He plans on sticking with the business for a while — "as long as my health holds out. Maybe another 10 years."
Ross now puts in 20 hours a week, much of it from his homes in Pensacola, Fla., and Birmingham.
His advice: Be patient. Most franchises are "not an overnight success, and you have to put some money into the operations."
Geoff Williams writes about business and personal finance. He lives in Loveland, Ohio.