Before you jump in on the deep end, there are a few things you really must check in advance before you buy a tuition franchise
Private tuition is a huge marketplace in the UK, worth an estimated £6.5bn a year in the UK alone. With around 2.8 million pupils being tutored at any given time, it’s hardly surprising that there are a number of franchises available to someone wanting to enter the tutoring market – but how do you find the one for you? To help, here are five important questions to ask yourself before buying a tuition franchise.
(1) What do you bring to the table?
Ask yourself if you like variety in your day. A franchisee is a business owner and as such, has to deal with everything from HR, to marketing, to business admin and customer relations. Do you enjoy training people, whether it’s staff or customers? Are you able to listen and respond sympathetically to parents and children with a whole spectrum of requirements? Do you have an interest in education and the desire to keep up with it? Do you have the drive to deliver the best experience possible for your customers?
If you feel you need additional support in any of these areas – does your chosen franchise provide comprehensive training and support?
(2) Does the brand ethos attract you?
In franchising you are buying a licence to be one of the businesses in a set system. There’s a formula to every franchise system and that is what makes a brand successful. Do you agree with the ethos as explained on the franchise company’s website? Do you like the look and feel of the site, they way they phrase their emails, how they handle phone calls with you?
If you are a parent, then ask yourself whether you would be attracted to the company if you were looking for extra support for your child. Think about what makes them stand out from the other tuition providers in your area and see if you think you could sell the concept to other local parents.
Basically, can you picture yourself doing what they do?
(3) How will you be supported?
There are two aspects to this. Firstly, ask yourself if you have the full backing of your family. Will they pick up the slack at home as you spend extra hours launching and building your business? How will you manage your hours and how much time you will invest in your franchise? Can you realistically run a business that requires regular time investment?
Secondly, what training and support will your franchisor offer? As a tutoring franchise, it should be a given that they’ll provide all the materials – but how will they train you and your staff to deliver them? Will they help with building and maintaining your customer loyalty? Once you are established, what do they have in place to continue to support and build your business with you? Finally, will the other franchisees in the network help you too?
Nobody can do anything 100% alone and the whole point of buying a franchise should be that you don’t have to.
(4) Can you afford it?
Do you have financial security, especially if you are investing your savings? Examine the cost of the franchise and the potential returns and determine if now and in the future, the price of the franchise you are investing in is worth the effort and if you can get the returns back you desire. Will your franchisor help you put together a business plan? It’s really important that you do your own research and ensure that any figures provided by a franchisor are realistic and applicable in your local area.
Plus, as things rarely go to plan, how can you minimise your financial risks? If the franchise requires leases on retail premises or investment in lots of equipment, how will you get out if it if it all goes wrong? Of course, we always plan for success, but there’s no harm to know the risks of failure.
(5) Have you researched what you are getting?
Did you know that most people buy the first franchise they investigate and do little or no research into the wider industry or competition? There’s lots of information online and on company websites, so do your research into all the options available and then use this list to narrow down your options.
Once you have chosen a few to research further, then make an enquiry and see how responsive the franchise company is. If you are waiting several days for anything back – is that a company you want to work with?
Once you are involved in the process, check what you can observe before you commit. Most will offer some sort of discovery day – but will that give you time to observe the business in action? Can you take a friend or partner with you so that you can talk things through later? Will the franchisor facilitate meetings with existing franchisees so you can ask how they have found the process?
It is all too easy to get ‘lost’ when researching a new business opportunity. If the basics are there, then speak to the company – see what you think of them. Attend as many meetings as you can. It’s a two-way process – they are looking at you as much as you are looking at them. Once you have narrowed it down to your preferred choice and assuming everything appears to stack up – go with your gut feeling.
This article comes courtesy of MagiKats, the franchise specialising in out-of-school maths and English tutoring