Can you move to Seattle? I need something like this in my life.
Not much experience in the small business department other than my dad owning his own optometry practice, and I will say it is hell. Hire someone to man the front desk and handle billing, that crap is the worst. A franchise would seem to be the better deal as long as you are ok with aligning to standards (I know some people who absolutely chafe at that). Does your wife work? Not saying to hire her (totally don't do that). Just wondering how much flexibility you have as well as a financial backup (generally can't have both).
The only other experience I have is with our son's after school program, which is at a brand new STEM preschool. I love the owner, love the program, love the staff... but I gotta admit I'm not sure her business plan was solvent. She is not charging nearly enough (although I'm not going to complain about that), and she has mentioned operating in the red, as well as looking to become a nonprofit because then she can pay herself a salary. I think part of it is she wants to stay small and isn't necessarily in it to get rich, just make enough to be comfortable. She has years of childcare experience and pays her staff $15/hour (and they are absolutely worth it, which I can't say for most of the aftercare programs and summer camps my kids have gone to over the years).
Good advice. Do you know if it is a franchise or her just going it alone. I thought about doing my own thing, and I feel I would be successful for day-to-day operations and longitudinal planning, but I would struggle with similar issues that it seems your PK is struggling with.
This franchise is a STEM based Montessori program. The owner said 30% capacity is the break even point and everything else is profit IF you follow their business model. The fail rate of daycares is less than 4% and Denver population is booming, specifically young professionals...so the numbers are there. My knowledge of PK education (this program starts at birth) and as I said, I know next to nothing about the logistics of the program (architects, contractors, payroll, etc) so I am going to follow their plan to nth degree. I agree with you, one of my emphasis is around compensation to attract strong staff.
Lyras in a Montessori school and we LOVE it. Thats all I have to contribute. Good luck!
Yes! I love the emphasis Montessori puts on whole child education, social emotional health, and community building. These are all areas students today so desperately need due to the impacts on social media or whatever.
Some things about franchise:
My experiences are totally from working in food while I went to college and beyond.
Yes, they do help with a lot of stuff but costs come with that and they'll be unwavering in where and how they want the money and payments. Read the contracts carefully. Is there additional fees you could end up paying for in the future? I used to work for Taco Bell Corporate in Georgia. And then restaurants started pushing franchises and my store was bought out by an Indian who had a degree in Nuclear Physics but came to America for a better life for his kids instead of working in a nuclear plant in some province of India. He griped when he had to pay to redo signage because Taco Bell was going through a revamp of their menu. He griped when he had to pay their vendors for food supplies and couldn't buy cheaper locally (we had to use Taco Bells supplier for a lot of stuff and it was outrageous what they charged for some things simply because they came prechopped. A bag of lettuce was $20 when I could have bought five heads of lettuce from a local supplier and chopped it for like $3.00 counting labor back in the 90s. He sold the franchise when they wanted him to pay to remodel the whole store to the new Taco Bell stuff you see now and had to use their contractors and couldn't chose his own through a bidding process.
I think you're just buying yourself a job for at least whatever the years of the contract with the franchise is. So while you're making money you're still paying money out to keep on working in an 'industry' you want to be in.
I am in conference period now but I would recommend going to Facebook or something and seeing about what others experiences are with Montessori franchises. See what they liked and what they didn't like. No one I know has gone this route and I have a lot of principal and lead teachers who are just burnt out. A good friend of mine who got burned out went into grant writing for schools to help them pay for better things and promoting STEAM instead of doing what burned her out. Me, I went to a charter school and love the hell out of it.
Great advice! The contract fee for the franchise is 61K up front (this covers a lot of start up costs) and 6% of total revenue. One of the things I like about this franchise is that after I am approved, they give me $1500 to visit any of their others franchises. They do have vendors that go along with the programming, but at the end of the day, the owner can still go somewhere else for those things.
Yes, after PK the K-6 will be a charter program. This will allow me continued flexibility, but limits my ability to compensate staff of what they deserve.