These are some of the least expensive franchises you can buy

The beauty of owning a franchise is that it lets you open a business without developing it from scratch, but some franchises are more expensive than others. For example, well-established franchises like McDonald's go for top dollar: The fast-food giant requires potential franchisees to have a minimum of $500,000 of cash on hand, and there are other associated fees to consider, too.

Don't be discouraged, however, if you don't have half-a-million dollars in your back pocket to invest in a business. You can still start your own business, with one of these low-cost franchises, many of which are household names. GOBankingRates rounded up franchises that cost $200,000 or less in cash, according to Franchise Direct, a company that helps potential franchisees find business opportunities.

Click through to see the franchise openings, and learn success strategies for new entrepreneurs

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Cheapest franchises to own

Lenny’s Grill & Subs

Liquid assets required: $75,000

Lenny's Grill & Subs offers authentic Philly Cheesesteaks made with fresh ingredients — even if the restaurant originated in Memphis, Tennessee. The sub shop began to franchise in 2001 and is still open to franchise opportunities across the country.

In addition to having liquid cash of $75,000, one must also have a $350,000 net worth, according to Entrepreneur. Generally, the cost to open a restaurant shop is between $188,216 and $396,146.

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Photo credit: Facebook 

Cloverleaf Pizza

Liquid assets required: $100,000

Cloverleaf — a Detroit-style square pizza business with 70 years in business — is looking to bring its pie into select markets. Currently, the business wants to expand in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Although, the business does state it is open to opportunities elsewhere.

To roll out a franchise as your own business, you must have a net worth of $500,000. Generally the cost to startup a Cloverleaf franchise is between $199,000 and $399,500 which includes a $25,000 one-time franchise fee.

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Ben and Jerry’s

Liquid assets required: $100,000

Even with the growth of frozen yogurt, ice cream continues to be an American staple. Ben and Jerry's has franchise opportunities in select markets across the country. Tasty treats include smoothies and frozen yogurt in addition to the company's popular ice cream.

Qualified franchisees must have a net worth of $350,000. Total expenses range between $174,800 and $450,800, including a $37,000 franchise fee, according to Franchise Direct.

One fun part about being a Ben and Jerry's owner: Customers get a free scoop of ice cream on their birthdays, so you'll be serving up smiles. 

Photo credit: Getty

Jamba Juice

Liquid assets required: $100,000

Jamba Juice has been around for a quarter of a century and has opened over 900 franchises worldwide since. Currently, Jamba is looking to extend its fresh blends to more than a dozen states from Arizona to Virginia.

The required net worth to franchise a Jamba Juice is $300,000. You can anticipate spending between $236,100 and $501,800 as part of the initial investment with a $35,000 franchise fee. 

Photo credit: Getty

Le Macaron French Pastries

Liquid assets required: $75,000

They're sweet, light and eye-catching. Join the trend that's spreading across the U.S. and open up your own macaron shop. In addition to the low startup costs, you won't have to sweat the baking details, either. All baking is done by French chefs at the company's central pastries commissary.

A total net worth of $250,000 is required to be considered for a Le Macaron franchise. The franchise fee is $45,000, and the total investment range for a traditional cafe is $146,000 to $373,500. An even more affordable option is to open a cart or kiosk as part of a shopping mall. The total investment requirement for a cart tops out at $127,000.

There are nearly 50 Le Macaron shops open across the country, and the company is actively looking to expand nationwide. This might be a great fit if you're looking to make more money without a traditional office job

Photo credit: Getty

Jimmy John’s

Liquid assets required: $80,000

If you've ever had a Jimmy John's gourmet sandwich, then you know they're simply delicious. Now, you can be a part of the winning franchise with as little as $80,000. You can expect to pay an initial $35,000 franchise fee, and you'll also need to have a net worth of $300,000.

Average 2016 annual sales per Jimmy John's restaurant were $1,170,866, and the average net profit was $121,961. The U.S. Entrepreneur Magazine named Jimmy John's the fifth-best franchise to own.

Related: The Most Expensive Fast Food Items Only Cost This Much 

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TCBY

Liquid assets required: $200,000

Did you know that TCBY stands for The Country's Best Yogurt? The frozen-yogurt chain has been around since 1981 and still going strong. In fact, there are franchise opportunities across the U.S.

In total, your investment will be between $319,840 and $635,812 for a stand-alone store. For a kiosk, the associated costs will be between $173,950 and $259,687. 

Photo credit: Getty

Vocelli Pizza

Liquid assets required: $100,000

Vocelli Pizza has been serving quality pizza and other classic Italian dishes for over 30 years. Now you can get a slice of the pie if you have the minimum cash required of $100,000.

The pizza shop has about 100 stores in operation around the U.S. and is currently looking to expand into Alabama, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia.

To open the pizza chain, you must have a net worth of $250,000. Typically, the total investment range is $146,000 to $397,900.

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Photo credit: Facebook

The Simple Greek

Liquid assets required: $75,000

The Simple Greek has a number of franchise locations opening in 2018 and is still looking to expand its reach across the country. The food chain offers authentic Greek food in a casual yet fast dining experience and only requires $75,000 cash on hand, but you must have a net worth of $300,000.

The total investment range is $313,700 to $598,500. There is also an initial franchise fee of $25,000, but if you're a veteran, you'll receive a 50 percent discount.

Photo credit: Facebook 

Classic Rock Coffee Company

Liquid assets required: $100,000

Forget about quiet coffee shops that invite reading or studying. Classic Rock Coffee Company offers an alternative experience — a coffee house that delivers top-notch caffeinated beverages with rock music ambiance.

The coffee chain franchise has been in business since 2011 and is looking to expand domestically and globally. The average single-unit store with a drive-thru runs about $375,000, including the franchise fee. The chain does, however, require a higher net worth — $400,000 to be exact.

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Photo credit: Reuters

Uncle Willie’s Smokehouse

Liquid assets required: $150,000

Uncle Willie's Smokehouse is a popular barbecue joint and has been serving up finger-licking food since 1995. Currently, there are franchise opportunities in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

The typical startup investment for an Uncle Willie's restaurant averages $250,000 to $450,000. That includes an initial franchise fee for the first restaurant of $35,000. In addition to in-store food sales, revenue sources include takeout, catering and sales of bottled sauces.

Photo credit: Facebook

KEO Restaurant

Liquid assets required: $80,000

This Asian food chain includes authentic recipes from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia. Currently, there are franchise opportunities in 30 states, ranging from California to Massachusetts.

A $200,000 net worth required to be considered as a franchisee. The overall startup costs for a KEO Restaurant typically run from $221,500 on the low end to $425,000 on the high end. An initial franchise fee of $25,000 is also required.

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Photo credit: KEO Restaurant 

Lee’s Hoagie House

Liquid assets required: $125,000

There's nothing quite like a specialty sub and famous Philly cheesesteaks franchise. Lee's Hoagie House has been in business since 1953 but only began franchising in 2014, with Temple University as the first franchise location. With continued success, the restaurant is looking to expand to Delaware, D.C., Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Virginia.

The initial cash requirement is $125,000, and a franchisee candidate must have a net worth of $500,000. There's also an initial franchise fee of $30,000. Total upfront investment costs typically run between $125,000 and $375,000.

Photo credit: Facebook

Robek’s Fresh Juices & Smoothies

Liquid assets required: $100,000

Robeks has expanded to more than 90 locations across the country since it was founded in 1996. The on-the-go fresh smoothie and juice franchise appeals to those who want a nutritious food choice — and currently, the business is looking to expand its reach. Markets include Arizona, California, Connecticut, D.C., Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The required net worth is $300,000, and there's a franchise fee of $25,000. The initial investment range ranges from $245,000 to $329,500.

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Photo credit: Facebook

Wayback Burgers

Liquid assets required: $100,000

Wayback Burgers operates in 28 states and has over 145 franchises operating currently worldwide. The business also has hundreds of active contracts to continue its growth.

You too can be part of the success of Wayback Burgers — a burger joint that's been in operation since 1991. Generally, the operating costs to start a franchise are between $300,000 and $400,000. 

Photo credit: Getty

Firenza Pizza

Liquid assets required: $150,000

The pizza business launched in 2015 and operates under the tagline "Pizza like never before." Currently, Firenza Pizza has franchise opportunities in over half the country.

The initial cash you'll have to have on hand is $150,000, and a $500,000 net worth is required. Generally, startup costs are between $256,450 and $546,000, which includes a one-time $40,000 franchise fee.

Photo credit: Facebook

Miami Grill

Liquid assets required: $150,000

The South Beach casual dining place has come a long way since its debut in 1988. Miami Grill originated as a sub place, but its menu has evolved to offer everything. The restaurant received a key equity partner — Armando Christian "Pitbull" Pérez in 2012.

Currently, there are over 200 Miami Grill restaurants under contract, but the business is determined to grow both domestically and internationally. Right now, however, the restaurant appears to be looking for new business ventures in Florida. The total investment range for this franchise is $267,00 to $488,000, and a $700,000 net worth is required.

Photo credit: Facebook

Teriyaki Madness

Liquid assets required: $200,000

Another Asian food franchise opportunity worth considering is Teriyaki Madness. The business has had exceptional growth in recent years — including in new markets. Franchise opportunities currently exist throughout the U.S.

The total investment range to start a Teriyaki Madness business varies between $270,699 and $596,850, which includes a $45,000 franchise fee.

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Mora Iced Creamery

Liquid assets required: $75,000

Mora Iced Creamery began in the Pacific Northwest with its first shop in 2005. The business operates on revamping traditional ice cream flavors with "foodie favorites" such as goat cheese & fig. The shop even offers a twist to its ice cream on holidays. For example, there's rose petal ice cream for Valentine's Day and a stout beer flavor for St. Patrick's Day.

Ideally, the company is looking for franchisees who are interested in opening multiple units. In addition to the minimum cash required, a potential franchisee must have a net worth of $300,000 and can expect to pay $94,500 to $427,150 per shop. The franchise fee is $20,000 for the first location but does decrease for each additional shop.

Photo credit: Facebook

Fajita Pete’s

Liquid assets required: $80,000

If you're in the Texas area, currently Fajita Pete's has franchise opportunities for single and multiple-units. The restaurant follows a streamlined business model that has proven successful for the last 12 years. The concept is simple: fresh off the grill menu items available for pick up, dine-in or delivery. Take out orders account for 90 percent of the business's revenue, however.

Although the available cash you'll need is $80,000, your net worth has to be much greater — at least $250,000. The highest amount one might need to invest is $325,000 with a franchise fee of $25,000.

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