Exclusive interview: "We're named the #1 in-home tutoring franchise in the world by Entrepreneur"
Franchisors name: Frank Milner, President of Tutor Doctor
Name of franchise: Tutor Doctor
Tell us about how/when the business was started and the motivation behind establishing the company.
Tutor Doctor was founded in 2000 on the principle that every student can learn but not every student can learn the same way. We knew the answer for students struggling in school was not yet another classroom setting, but rather a 1-to-1 environment based on their unique need.
When and why did you decide to go down the franchise route?
We opened our first franchise in 2003 when we saw how successful the in-home tutoring business model was working for us. We turned to franchising to give students across the globe a fighting chance at success. . Franchising was a way to grow quickly and into more markets. It was also a way to give students across the world a chance to reap the benefits of our individualised tutoring model.
What have been the company’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?
Our biggest success is the over 200,000 people helped to date. This has come about thanks to the fact that we have over 400 franchised territories in 15 countries. We are also continuing to expand, with current plans shaping up in South Africa.
Because of our growth and our unparalleled ability to help students, we were named the #1 in-home tutoring franchise business in the world by Entrepreneur.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Tutor Doctor is experiencing unprecedented growth, and we’ve had to balance this need for urgent expansion, with the need to let the business grow organically. We’ve been very successful thus far as our franchisees around the world are thriving.
The only “challenge” we’ve faced is finding the right people to bring into the Tutor Doctor family. Our company values are the core of our business and we want to ensure every franchisee embodies these. So far, we’ve been very lucky to have the best franchisees in the business.
What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?
The brand is marketed through two primary methods - local marketing in the community and digital marketing. We've embraced digital marketing and developed a number of highly effective and innovative strategies to help franchisees cost effectively generate customers through social media, email marketing and search engine advertising and optimization.
Secondly, franchisees are very active in their local community creating awareness and educating parents and schools about Tutor Doctor's unique tutoring matching service. Our local marketing strategy is best thought of as guerilla style marketing that is very low cost and very effective.
Additionally, due to our success, we’ve had numerous franchisees featured in major entrepreneurial and franchising publication including Entrepreneur and Inc.com. We know our franchisees themselves are our best source of marketing. Their success in their own business is the best type of marketing, which is why we were named the #1 in-home education franchise business in the world by Entrepreneur.
What differentiates Tutor Doctor from the competition?
We don’t just want to make a dollar, but we also want to make a difference. Tutor Doctor was created to not just provide basic tutoring sessions that serve as another classroom, but to ensure students received personalized tutoring that takes into consideration each their unique learning style. This approach sets us apart in an educational industry that often falls into conformity.
In your opinion, what makes a successful Tutor Doctor franchisee?
We like to believe that being a Tutor Doctor Franchisee is unlike any other work/career that you have ever had. Because, as we said, our goal isn’t just to make a dollar; it’s also to make a profound difference in the lives of our students.
Our franchisees are successful because they intelligent and driven. They come from all walks of life from the corporate world as leaders, managers and executives, to the education industry to small business environments. In fact, only 17% of our franchisees have prior experience in education while 83% come from diverse business backgrounds.
Overall, a good potential franchisee is one who is willing to learn, driven, and most importantly, has a passion for people.
What changes have you seen in your industry over recent year? And how have you adapted to them?
The demand for private tutoring is increasing exponentially. According to recent data, the global tutoring market is expected to reach $123 billion by 2020. In fact, the Education Industry Association says supplemental education, like that which Tutor Doctor offers, is one of the fastest-growing franchise segments in North America.
We have adapted through expansion. In this past year alone, we have added 78 franchise units to our network. We are also looking at expanding into even more countries as the demand for tutoring across the world continues to rise.
What does the future hold for Tutor Doctor?
The future for Tutor Doctor is essentially unlimited. The private tuition market in the UK is worth 6 billion pounds, with the global tutoring market predicted to reach $123 billion by 2020.
In the UK in particular, there has been a meteoric rise in demand for tutoring services. The number of students who receive tutoring in the UK has from 1.6 million in 2001 to 2.8 million in 2014. Within this industry, Tutor Doctor is uniquely poised. We are the only company that can deliver high quality tutors who are individually matched to a student’s unique need, that allows franchisees to work from home and put their money where it will do the most use – the business itself.
What expansion plans have you got nationally and internationally?
Our expansion plans right now are quite extensive. We have just begun out foray into South Africa and that is going very well. We’d also like to make more headway into the US and Australia. We have franchises here already, but we’d like to have a dominant presence in every territory in these markets.
It’s a big job, but we’d like to have 1,000 territories in 20 countries!
What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?
The main advice is to do your research. Research is absolutely essential when looking into a franchise opportunity. Look at your local market to ensure that there is a market for the services or products on offer. And always ensure you do your research into the franchise itself to ensure it stands up to scrutiny.
And make sure you’re passionate about the business. Tutor Doctor franchisees have been so successful because they truly believe in the business and want to invest their time and energy into helping as many people as they can.
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. Tutor Doctor is experiencing unprecedented growth and has helped more the 200,000 people. Our business model means franchisees are profitable quickly, and can really make a difference in the lives of the people in their communities.