For entrepreneurs looking to invest in their own franchised business, now is an excellent time to invest in the childcare industry. With more parents in the workforce than ever before and more and more studies evidencing the developmental benefits children receive from early childhood education, the need for high-quality childcare has never been higher.
The learning that takes place from infancy to age four plays a major role in shaping the future of a child’s education. “Researchers have shown that early childhood experiences powerfully impact the young brain’s growth” (Pruett, 1999). These early years, when children are highly curious and excited about learning, present an amazing opportunity for a positive, long-term impact. Early childhood education programs that use a play-based learning approach are particularly effective because children experience the deepest, most genuine learning when they are having fun. According to Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, “Play is essential to the development of your child’s brain, triggering trillions of neural connections that form the basis of healthy cognitive function and mastery of your child’s physical world.” While developing a curriculum that maximizes the learning potential during these crucial early years is an intimidating and costly task, taking advantage of the experience, resources and proven track record of a successful franchised school system presents a tremendous opportunity to hit the ground running, providing a quality education from the start.
With 8.4 million children in the U.S. coming from two-parent families with both parents in the workforce (Child Care Aware of America, 2016), there is an ever-increasing demand for high-quality childcare. Working parents understand the value of high-quality childcare, and they’re willing to invest in their children’s future by enrolling them in early childhood education programs. Because of this, the childcare industry continues to experience tremendous growth. This growth not only accounts for the number of locations, but also the industry’s overall revenue. Children’s daycare services in the U.S. generated a total of $47.8 billion in revenue in 2016 and is projected to generate $52.5 billion in revenue by 2021 (Diment, 2016). Nearly 15 million children under the age of six require childcare (Child Care Aware of America, 2016), and indicators show the demand for childcare will increase.
While parents are highly motivated to find weekday childcare services, they’re also very selective when choosing a childcare facility. Reputation is everything, and the ability to demonstrate a proven track record of success and a history of high-quality care and education can mean the difference between having a waiting list and having empty seats for a new school. Joining a proven, successful early childhood education franchise gives new childcare business owners a distinct advantage in attracting families.
The many incentives for becoming part of a franchised business prove themselves. In recent years, the franchise sector has grown faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. In 2016, The Franchised Business Outlook Report released by the International Franchise Association showed the franchise sector growing at a nearly two percent faster rate than the rest of the economy over the past five years. The ability to become a franchisee takes much of the research and development out of the process of owning a business. A thriving franchise system can demonstrate the viability of its business model, prove it can run efficiently and show the potential to generate reliable revenue for its franchisees, meaning a new franchisee can enter the business confident in their ability to succeed by following the business model. This makes franchising a great option for millennials looking for the opportunity to be their own boss, but perhaps lacking in the experience necessary to grow a business from scratch. The same is true for baby boomers looking for a second career with more flexibility, namely those who aren’t quite ready to retire, but don’t want to work the kind of hours often required of traditional entrepreneurs.
Becoming a part of a thriving franchised business doesn’t take all of the challenge out of entrepreneurship, though, especially in the early childhood education industry. New franchisees in this field have many important decisions to make before they can get their business off the ground successfully. It’s essential for new franchisees to study conditions in the local real estate market carefully. Areas experiencing a housing boom are likely to include families in need of quality childcare. Likewise, areas with new commercial development, particularly commercial properties built to support the growing tech sector, are likely to draw young families with working parents. This type of real estate can be fertile ground for a childcare franchise that caters to families with a busy lifestyle. An experienced franchisor will help in identifying the right location, but ultimately the decision is the franchisee’s.
Franchisees are also responsible for day-to-day business operations, operating costs, local marketing and hiring the right teachers and staff. While this can be challenging, an experienced franchisor will provide an extensive support structure to ensure consistency of programs and services for the customers as well as to offer guidance to franchisees as they achieve their personal goals as business owners. Many owners of franchised preschools have said that the most important things a franchisor can provide are quality assurance support, educational standards support and operational support in the field.
The current opportunity in the franchised childcare industry is undeniable, and indicators for the industry’s continued growth are everywhere. Making a positive difference in the lives of children provides tremendous personal and professional satisfaction, and the advantages of joining a thriving franchised business are numerous. The combination of these factors makes now the right time to invest, whether you’re a millennial hungry for the challenge of entrepreneurship and eager to make an impact in the local community, an experienced professional ready to become your own boss or a baby boomer looking to wind down your career on your own terms.
By Joe Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc.