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2014 Child Education & Tutoring Report: Franchise Industry Overview

2014 Child Education & Tutoring Report Title Image

Education. Nelson Mandela once called it “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” and not just in countries working to establish themselves.

 

Developed nations around the world such as the United States, the Netherlands and England, are also busy trying to build their arsenals. Bloomberg projects the global private tutoring market to surpass $103 billion by 2018. As you can see below, while not an exhaustive list, there are many franchise systems that have opened in recent years:

 

Franchise

Year Started

Began Franchising

Above Grade Level

2009

2009

Bricks 4 Kidz

2008

2009

Back to Rock

2007

2011

Doodle Bugs! Children's Center

1992

2011

Engineering for Kids

2009

2011

Fresh Green Light

2009

2013

GradePower Learning

2011

2012

KLA Schools

2007

2009

Painting with a Twist

2007

2009

Professor Egghead Science Academy

2007

2013

STEMTech Kids

2013

2014

Recently Started Child Education Franchises

 

Academic subject tutoring is the most common franchise sector in the industry. Franchisees can offer services through a fixed location, out of their home, or by visiting clients directly (e.g. schools or summer camps).

 

The considerable overlap between child education and child care franchises is one notable feature throughout the industry. As Richard Peterson, vice president of Kiddie Academy told us in regards to the need for early childhood education, “There's great demand for quality child care right now. It used to be that a parent was just interested in daycare, but now they're interested in quality education [as well]. Also, the brain is developing at that early age and a brain peaks at age three and at the age of five, 70% of that brain is developed.”

 

“[Government budget cuts have] been terrible for what it’s doing in the school systems. Music and arts programs are getting slashed nationwide and it will only continue as you look to the future.” – Brian Gross, CEO of Bach to Rock

2014 Child Education & Tutoring Report: Franchise Industry Overview

 

Although often considered the primary focus of the industry, not all education programs include only traditional subjects like reading, writing and arithmetic. Exposing children and teens to art, music, driving, and other supplemental learning subjects is a growing desire among parents. Economic cutbacks though are forcing many to seek out adequate programs beyond their child’s regular school.

 

“[The budget cuts have] been terrible for kids and families, but it’s actually been a help to our business. Music education is such a valued part of a parent’s desire for their children that they’re going to seek out that educational experience whether the school’s going to provide it or not,” says Brian Gross, CEO of Bach to Rock. “It’s really benefited us because in the communities we service, we really stand out as the premier option.”

 

Many child education and tutoring services are used by, you guessed it, children. But what happens when kids get ready to leave high school?

 

Right now, individuals in the U.S. reaching out for acceptance into colleges and universities are facing even more competition. The leap in population size originally stemming from the baby boomer generation is placing a heavy burden on academic institutions. According to Forbes, from the late 1980s forward, the number of high school graduates steadily increased every year reaching a peak of approximately 3.3 million in 2008. And while, the rate is decreasing, it’s decreasing at a fairly slow rate which means competition will remain high for years to come.

 

Although the number of high school graduates reached its peak in 2008, the competition for college entrance will remain fierce for the foreseeable future. According to Forbes, for every 100 high school graduates there are about 95 four-year olds entering school currently—a decrease, but not a large one.

 

The market for child education and tutoring franchises may seem to be predominately focused on serving school-age kids, though that belief isn’t completely accurate.

 

According to numbers from Tutor Doctor, about 85% of their services are used by school-age kids (43% being elementary school age), but about 15% of those using education and tutoring services, particularly in the academic area, are adults of various ages looking to expand their education.

 

Outlook for the Future

Franchise

Estimated U.S. Unit Numbers 2011

Estimated U.S. Unit Numbers 2012

Estimated U.S. Unit Numbers 2013

Bricks 4 Kidz

103

238

360

GradePower Learning

N/A

12

19

Huntington Learning Center

250

258

234

Kiddie Academy

94

108

114

Kumon

1450

1503

1496

Mathnasium

286

340

417

STEMTech Kids

N/A

N/A

N/A

Sylvan Learning

769

724

618

The Goddard School

386

388

400

Tutor Doctor

121

191

237

Franchise Unit Number Comparison Over 3 Years for Sample Franchises

 

In the United States, budget cuts and reallocations make it challenging for teachers to access the necessary resources that support every child’s fullest potential. As a result, child education and tutoring franchises are well-positioned to fill in the gaps left behind by under-funded school programs. While the recession did slow growth in the industry and led to some consolidation within certain franchise systems, services in this field are expected to grow in the area of 5% annually for at least the next five years.

 

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. There are franchises that can boast an even larger growth rate than the average. For example, over the past year Mathnasium obtained a 22% growth rate and was named one of Forbes’ best franchises in America.

 

2014 Child Education & Tutoring Report: Franchise Industry OverviewAccording to business market researcher IBISWorld, the tutoring and test preparation segment will continue to lead the industry's performance through at least 2019. Demand for services is expected to increase due to funding under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program and continued competition among high school students for college admission as alluded to previously. IBISWorld focuses on competition from online entities as an area of primary concern for franchises, especially in the areas of pricing and profitability.

 

Technology growth and digital innovation helps students around the world with their studies by providing more options. But are online tutoring and other Internet education options a major cause for concern for franchises?

 

The answer appears to be no—at least for now. “Most parents want in-person tutors,” said Steve Pines, executive director at the advocacy group Education Industry Association. Not all parents can afford in-person tutor sessions though, and that’s where online services have stepped in—and some analysts believe it’s strengthened the industry.

 

According to Ravi Kumar of Wired Academic, online tutoring is doing for education what Starbucks did for coffee. “It’s creating further demand and lifting all boats,” he says. In a 2012 article, he noted that Starbucks endured a host of protests, but data showed that the company did more to help than harm the expansion of coffee shops across the U.S. The expectation from many analysts is that franchise systems will bolster their service offerings with online options to combat online-only tutors.

 

And some franchises have already started. Sylvan Learning, one of the franchises that hit a rough patch during the recession, has made a large investment in upgrading its technology in recent years, including launching SylvanSync. SylvanSync is a personalized learning program that features digital technology such as iPads.

 

It can’t be disputed that technology and education make a productive pair. 70% of higher education institutions reported online learning as critical in the most recent Online Learning Survey conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group.

 

2014 Child Education & Tutoring Report: Franchise Industry Overview

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