franchises are everywhere now. First, figure out what industry you want to be in as well as the demand in your area. No sense in going into an industry you can't stand just beacuse of demand; same with getting into something you like when there are 20 of the same in your area.
Talk to the attorney general in your state. Some states' attorney general's office have franchise divisions. You'll get good information from them. Info such as how many are licensed in your state; how many have bad records, etc. The AG's office should also provide you with a copy of the laws governing franchises in your state.
Next, request franchise info from the companies you are looking at getting involved in. Most of this info should be free. Sometimes there is a small fee.