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I'm looking into starting a franchise with KM and was wondering if anyone could offer advice. Particularly of interest is where you set up, the size of territories by population in terms of what seems a reasonable/workable size and whether 60 - 80 studentds in the first year is an achievable target as this is suggested by the master franchisee.
How were experiences of starting up? Such as how straight forward it all was (I have no business experience to date) and how quickly/many students you were able to get in the early days.
Was it worthwhile financially and as a career switch?
I started my Kip centre nearly 7 years ago. The master was selling 3 franschises in my town and their formula was roughly one territry for every 50,000 houses. I bought the rights for 2 territories and opened up one centre, but 2 years later gave up the second territory as it was difficult finding premises.
I got to 30 students within 2 months and may have hit 70 students briefly for one week or so in the first year. But can't remember exactly. And without sounding as if I'm boasting, I am one of the most successful franchisees. The top 10% in terms of student numbers.
It's hard work and it will absorb every minute of your day. My advice is to give up work if you are working and do this as solo project. If you are working, then you wont take it seriously because you still have an income. However, if Kip is the only source of income, then you will work that much harder to make it a success.
The most difficult part was finding a good location, so don't rush into this. You are lucky now because property prices are cheap and there is lots of choice. I didn't have much business experience either. I did run my own tutoring business from home for three years prior to opening the centre and I had about 6 months of sales experience.
I didn't do it for the money. I enjoyed teaching but didnt want to teach in a school. I wanted to be my own boss as well and this suited my needs. I didn't take money out of the business for 2 years.
The formula is simple, find out what works in your territory to get students through the door. In some territories, leaflet advertising works, in others they get a lot of leads through the internet, in others its newspaper or magasine advertising. I do a little bit of leaflet advertising, but have found innovative ways to get free publicity. I write blogs, i use facebook, and twitter and I even have my own programme on a local community radio station. It helps if you are a local as people trust you more. It helps if you know the local community and what makes them tick.
It was worthwhile for me, but I am still working hard at it.
Thanks for the info/advice. I've been to look at a couple of centres and found the people running them to also be very open. It certainly seems that with some hard work (as with any business start up I guess) they can be successful and perhaps more importantly rewarding in terms of personal satisfaction.
Having looked through some materials I'm now wondering whether I would be better off running with the franchise, with the benefits that come with the name and the support, or take longer and try to set up independently.
I was wondering whereabouts are you located? I have a franchise with another company and a friend does which is ten miles away, near Preston, we opened from scratch and have found it pretty hard going, the more successful centres seem to be in the south.
Hi Steve, I run two Kip centres. Came straight from teaching, no business experience but was taught much of what I needed to know in training. Would agree with previous posts, you need to find good premises and watch your overheads in the first year or two and be prepared to work hard at it, but if you do the maths you'll see you can make good money out of it and be your own boss at the same time - there are a lot of big centres with 200+ students attending per week. Get the local master to put you in touch with some franchisees in your area, they'll be pretty open and honest about it all. Good luck.
Hi Steve. I am Master Franchisee for Scotland and opened my first Kip McGrath centre 12 years ago which I have never regretted. Although it is a busy job being a Master, I still love to teach and still run my own centre.
I would agree with the previous comments and would recommend you visit a few centres to see them in operation. I find that the most successful centres are those run by great teachers who very quickly build up a local reputation via word of mouth. However it is also very important to be proactive and it does take some effort in the early stages.
We are finding in Scotland that the internet and social media, combined with targeted advertising is starting to make a big difference in brand awareness and we have some very successful centres.
Being able to teach small groups of children and seeing notable improvements very quickly is very rewarding personally to me as is the freedom of running my own business.
Good luck with everything and if you decide to join the Kip fold, hoperfully we will meet at conference next year. Margaret.
I'm in the south east
I'm suspicious about the amount of first time posters replying... just me?
i set up a centre in London, massive o/heads and did not make any money after 3 years even with 90+ students. I ended up selling it on. on the plus side I am young and can make that money back - it also made me realise that I am not a business person!
with hindsight I wished I had bought an ongoing concern, it would've cost the same as a start-up, been less hassle and I could've seen a return from day one but you live and learn.
my overwhelming opinion of KM is save your money and invest it elsewhere.
There are many centres making very good profits from the franchise. It depends on a lot of factors. In order to find out if you can make it work for you, you would have to give it a go yourself. If you are adverse to taking risks then business is possibly not your thing.
Another first time poster.
I see most of the comments on here are fairly negative. I suspect some centres must do fairly well as they are dotted all over the country. They obviously supply a demand in the market. Teachers are hardly opening up new centres and investing their money in a Franchise that does not work. I suspect it depends on the person, the area you are located in and how willing you are to work hard at it.
I do notice a trend though...a lot of ex Kip McGrath Franchisees have obviously learned the business and are leaving the Franchise umbrella and setting up their own Tuition centres. They no longer need the support, have established themselves in the market and can now run the business on their own. There is obviously a need/demand there so they are probably doing well.
For anyone that is interested, I've been to look at a few centres and been able to go through some of their materials. I've decided to try going it alone and will be opening an independent centre over the next few months. My main conclusions are that the franchise model does actually look pretty good and from speaking to people running them they have been guided into the world of business very well by Kip McGrath.
But as mentioned earlier once up and running then the need to be part of a franchise becomes less important once you know the ropes and are well established. So although Kip do their job well to get you there, the bottom line is finances and whether you see value in having the brand name, their support in getting off the ground, resources and expert advice (the guys I spoke with really did seem to know their stuff).
At a cost of 20k+ up front and about 8k every year forever I've decided to take longer, have more stress in the early days but hopefully be earning more and have greater independence to do things as I see best in the end.
With the franchise over 5 years I would have to hand over in the region of 60k.
Thanks for the advice people.
I worked for Kip for 18 months and left to work for myself - my best ever decision. I can't speak for all Kip McGraths of course but I gather my branch is now in big financial trouble and I'm really not surprised. The English teaching was poor (and I was one of the English teachers!) - parents were promised no more than five pupils in a group and quite often there were eight or nine. Since they were all ages, from five to eighteen, this was less effective than anything they were getting in their state schools. Parents were also promised fully qualified teachers and again the children were frequently taught by clerical staff or by the owner (who was only qualified by virtue of having been trained in the 'Kip method'). Workbooks were awful, the computer programs were just tests and if the parents had had any idea how they were spoken about by the owners they'd have been shocked!
I now have 20 pupils of my own, including six former Kip pupils (I didn't tell parents why I was leaving - they found me via an internet advert). They all say that they don't miss the Kip prices - double mine - and that they appreciate my personal touch. Admittedly I don't entirely depend on this for my income and of course the personal touch is easier for only a few families, but I wouldn't recommend the Kip approach to anyone who cares about effective teaching (or indeed money-making, by the sound of it).
From what I understand, Kumon seems to be about doing loads of worksheets and Kip seems to be computer based. Correct me if I'm wrong.
I really like doing my own tutoring as I spend time 1-1 working with children on maths. Works for me.
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