Kumon is the world's largest after-school math and reading academic enrichment program. With more than 50 years of experience, the Kumon franchise system offers a time-tested model for success. Franchisees benefit from joining a network of 26,000 individually owned and operated centers in 47 countries - more than 2,100 in North America alone.
Kumon's personalized approach helps children learn math and reading concepts based on their ability rather than their age or grade. Since the curriculum is individualized for each child, it allows students to comprehend the new material fully before moving ahead. With Kumon's emphasis on self-learning, preschool through high school students become self-reliant and gain confidence to learn new materials at their own pace.
Owning a Kumon Center is an opportunity for entrepreneurs who enjoy working with children and want to contribute to their community. In just the last year, Kumon grew by 12 percent in the United States.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Savio Rebelo, Chief Operating Officer of Kumon, about what makes this supplemental education franchise one of the leaders in its category.
Franchise Help (FH): Can you describe the current state of the supplemental education industry, in terms of demand and level of competition?
Savio Rebelo (SR): As many businesses continue to struggle, the demand for tutoring continues to grow. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are more than 62 million children under the age of fourteen in the United States alone. When combined with Kumon's proven business model, these figures predict an enormous market potential.
FH: What sets Kumon apart from other supplemental education franchises?
SR: The awards we've received from the franchise community. For the 11th consecutive year, Entrepreneur magazine has named Kumon the "No. 1 Franchise" in the tutoring industry and ranked Kumon No.18 in the "Franchise 500" category.
Kumon was named "No. 3 Franchise for the Money" by Forbes magazine and a top "AllStar Franchise" for AllBusiness.com in 2011. Together these accolades make Kumon one of the most lauded after-school enrichment companies in the country.
Kumon aims for students to study above their grade level. Kumon continues to thrive as more parents seek resources to give their children an edge in today's competitive environment. This approach provides students with the academic skills needed to excel.
FH: What do you look for in a prospective Kumon franchisee?
SR: Kumon seeks highly motivated entrepreneurs with strong business acumen, sales experience, and a belief in our product. Our franchisees are fueled by a passion for education and truly want to help all children reach their greatest potential.
FH: What are the characteristics of an ideal location for a Kumon center? What kind of assistance do you extend to help franchisees find a suitable location?
SR: Ideally, Kumon Centers are located in retail spaces with at least 1,200 square feet. Potential franchisees are provided with site evaluation material and a consultation during the site selection and approval process. Currently, Kumon also offers a rental subsidy program that assists franchisees with their rent for up to 24 months. During this period, as much as $18,000 is available to help defer startup costs and help the business grow before incurring the entire monthly rent cost.
FH: What are the main day-to-day responsibilities of Kumon franchisees during their first few years in the business?
SR: Day-to-day responsibilities of Kumon franchisees include lesson planning, instructing students, and overall center management. This includes hiring and training employees, communicating with customers, bookkeeping, and ongoing marketing activities.
FH: How difficult is it to find qualified assistants? What kind of support can franchisees expect when it comes to staffing?
SR: It is extremely difficult to find individuals who have the skills and qualities necessary to be qualified Kumon assistants.
Finding qualified Kumon assistants is imperative to the success of the center. Typically, assistants are cultivated from the local community - high schools, colleges, and even Kumon parents. The support assistants provide include grading students' work and helping to maintain center management.
Once assistants are selected, extensive training begins. Initial training modules are provided, followed by further development via online courses. To help assistants fully perform their duties, Kumon branch employees travel onsite for in-person training.
FH: What can you tell us about the estimated initial investment, royalty fees, and profit potential for a Kumon franchise?
SR: Kumon has one of the lowest franchise and materials fees in the industry at only $2,000. The initial investment cost ranges from $69,943 to $147,050. Kumon's startup cost is much lower than our competitors'.
FH: What is Kumon doing at the corporate level to help franchisees achieve profitability within a reasonable period of time?
SR: Kumon branch office staff members take an active role in supporting franchisees with program administration, as well as center growth and development. In addition, continued training meetings and seminars are frequently offered to help franchisees effectively market their business. Upon opening a new center, Kumon offers candidates up to $27,500 in incentives. We're fully invested in helping new franchisees succeed.
FH: What are your top franchisees doing to grow their business that new franchisees can emulate?
SR: Our most successful franchisees maximize their product knowledge through continual professional development in the Kumon Curriculum and instructional practices. Our top franchisees continually market their centers in their local community and participate in national campaigns.
FH: What are your growth plans for Kumon in 2012, and beyond? Which geographic regions are you targeting for expansion?
SR: Kumon North America is expanding nationwide in all regions of the U.S. Please visit our Kumon page to get more information.