Revised and updated November 1, 2019.
The tutoring franchise market in the US was worth more than $1.1 billion in 2019 and will probably hit $1.2 billion in 2020. Entrepreneurs who want to ride this wave of growth should consider buying into the proven concept of one of the top 14 tutoring franchises of 2020.
With the longest post-recession economic recovery in history continuing to chug along, many families have a little more disposable income. And there are few things parents would rather spend extra money on than private tutoring to give their kids an academic edge as they look towards helping them get into a good college or university.
Another driver of this market is the perennial concern about whether or not public schools are even providing a quality education. In the digital world of the 21st century, you might also think that online tutoring would be the new wave, and while it has grown from a market worth only $467 million in 2018 to more than $608 million in 2019, it has yet to become a prominent offering among tutoring franchises.
Here are the 14 best tutoring franchises of 2020:
1. Kumon Math and Reading Centers
Kumon Math and Reading Centers focuses solely on the two primary academic subjects: math and reading. Back in the 1950s, the company’s founder developed special worksheets to help his son do better at math, and it worked so well he started a business. The secret of the worksheets is that they’re short, incremental assignments that only take around half an hour to complete. Each sheet has the information needed to solve the problems, so kids are essentially teaching themselves and reinforcing the lessons learned. Tutors simply check the work for accuracy.
Founded by high school math teacher Toru Kumon in Moriguchi City, Osaka, Japan in 1955 and franchising since 1958, there are now 26,278 Kumon Centers scattered all over the world (an increase of 397 from the previous year’s total of 25,881), with 1,537 in the US and only 22 of that are company-owned.
2. Eye Level Learning Centers
Eye Level Learning Centers is all about making sure tutors see things from the student’s perspective, finding out where they’re at, what their learning needs are, and letting students go at their own pace. Subjects covered include math and English, where incremental learning and progress is encouraged. Besides basic knowledge in these subjects, additional goals include nurturing self-confidence, interest in learning, and developing analytical skills.
Founded in 1976 in Korea and franchising since then, the number of locations has expanded in recent years from 681 in 2008 to the current total of 1,621 (a decrease of 11 from the previous year’s total of 1,632), of which 808 are company-owned and 622 are located outside the US.
3. Mathnasium Learning Centers
Mathnasium Learning Centers focuses on only one subject: mathematics. Students begin with an initial assessment in order to accurately identify their learning needs. By finding out what each student already knows, they don’t have to waste any time on what they already know. Additional assessments at key intervals help make sure the material learned is retained. The methods are based on those developed by math educator Larry Martinek more than 40 years ago that were so successful they were adopted by many schools and student test scores skyrocketed.
Founded by Peter Markovitz and David Ullendorff in Westwood, California in 2002 and franchising since 2003, the number of locations has expanded steadily in recent years from 228 in 2008 to the current total of 1,047 (an increase of 110 from the previous year’s total of 937), of which 17 are company-owned and 130 of which are located outside the US.
4. Tutor Doctor
Tutor Doctor sends its tutors into the homes of students of all grade levels to help them advance in any and all academic subjects. The one-on-one tutors first get to know the student so they can adjust their techniques to best address each student’s learning needs. The initial assessment and consultation is conducted free of charge and is also used to match the student up to the right tutor. The company’s X-skills program is a highly-customized approach that helps students develop the “executive” skills needed for sustained academic success.
Founded in Ontario, Canada in 2000 and franchising since 2003, the number of locations has increased rapidly in recent years from just 17 locations in 2008 to the current total of 662 (an increase of 107 from the previous year’s total of 555), none of which are company-owned and 307 of which are located outside the US.
5. Sylvan Learning
Sylvan Learning might be best known for its SAT and ACT test-prep services, but the chain also provides a variety of other college and career prep tutoring in advanced levels of various subjects, and K-12 tutoring in all the basic subjects (reading, math, writing, algebra, geometry, homework help, study skills, and more). It also has a new focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects including coding and robotics.
Founded in Portland, Oregon (now based in Baltimore, Maryland) in 1979 and franchising since 1980, the number of locations has steadily declined in recent years from 1,030 in 2008 to the current total of 583, of which eight are company-owned and 90 are located outside the US.
6. JEI Learning Centers
JEI Learning Centers believes every student has infinite potential. Its methods were designed to help unlock each student’s creativity and natural abilities and to focus them with self-learning programs in an optimal educational environment. Subject focuses include math, English, reading, and writing. An initial diagnostic system reveals a student’s strengths and weaknesses, and then concepts are learned through weekly workbooks.
Founded in South Korea in 1977 and franchising since 1992, there are currently 545 locations (an increase of 21 from the previous year’s total of 524), of which 276 are company-owned and 183 of which are located outside the US.
7. Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services
Club Z! In-Home Tutoring Services started out as an in-home tutoring service, but has since added online tutoring to its mix of services. It is focused on helping students learn in all the current subjects they are taking in school, and the tutors maintain close contact with the students’ classroom teachers to track progress and make adjustments along the way. This approach gets impressive results. Students improve, on average, by two letter-grades in a surprisingly short amount of time (a couple months).
Founded in Tampa, Florida in 1995 and franchising since 1998, the number of locations has declined slightly in recent years from a high of 433 in 2009 to the current total of 388, none of which are company-owned and 17 of which are located outside the US.
8. Huntington Learning Centers
Huntington Learning Centers take a comprehensive approach to evaluating where each student is at academically so they can tailor learning plans to meet learning needs. The company took the bold step of submitting each learning center to the same accreditation organizations for schools, which you won’t find to be the case with most tutoring franchises. Student results often improve by 2+ grade levels, and SAT scores improve by an average of 200 points.
Founded by Dr. Raymond J. Huntington and his wife Eileen in 1977 and franchising since 1985, there are currently 298 locations (an increase of nine from the previous year’s total of 289), 24 of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
9. GradePower Learning
GradePower Learning serves students of all ages and abilities from preschool to college, creating a customized learning plan for each student. Service areas include English, enrichment, ESL, homework help, learning difficulties, math, science, study skills, summer learning, SAT prep, and ACT prep. It uses its Dynamic Diagnostic Assessment process to understand how each student learns best, then develops a tailored learning plan.
Founded in 1984 and franchising since 1991, the number of locations has grown in recent years from 119 in 2012 to the current total of 157, of which three are company-owned and 126 are located outside the US.
10. The Tutoring Center
The Tutoring Center gives every potential customer the opportunity to undergo a free diagnostic assessment, which is how the company identifies a student’s strengths and areas where improvement is needed. One-on-one instruction is delivered in its unique Rotational Approach to Learning because students who learn in 30-minute and two 15-minute increments in different locations with different sets of materials and two instructors see dramatic improvements.
Founded by Dr. Edward Thalheimer in Ventura County, California in 1994 and franchising since 2005, the number of locations has steadily climbed upward in recent years from 26 in 2009 to the current total of 100, none of which are company-owned and two of which are located outside the US.
11. Best in Class Education Center
Best in Class Education Center gives students individual attention in small-group classes to boost their math, English, reading, and writing skills in weekly sessions lasting 60-75 minutes. One-on-one tutoring is also available for all subjects, as well as test-prep services. Even preschool kids can get a leg up on math and English. Other services include college prep, writing skills assessment, and TOEFL/IELTS instruction.
Founded by Hao and Lisa Lam in Seattle, Washington in 1988 but franchising only since 2011, the number of locations has grown from 12 in 2011 to the current total of 65 (an increase of 10 from the previous year’s total of 55), none of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
12. Above Grade Level In-Home Tutoring
Above Grade Level In-Home Tutoring goes out on a limb and guarantees that students receiving their services who are diligent in completing their work (35 individualized tutoring sessions) will improve by a full grade level or 10 percentage points in math and English, and backs it up with an offer of an additional 15 free hours of tutoring if goals aren’t met.
Founded in 2009 and franchising since then, there are currently 17 locations in 11 states, down from a high of 23 in 2016.
13. Elite Tutoring Place
Elite Tutoring Place offers a wide range of tutoring and test-prep services for students of all grade levels, including preschool. Tests covered include ACT, SAT, CogAT, PSAT, AP tests, and PARCC. Subjects covered by tutoring include mathematics, algebra, geometry, algebra II, trigonometry, precalculus, calculus, statistics, science, chemistry, biology, physics, and foreign languages. Students begin with a free diagnostic and consultation.
Founded in 2014 and franchising since 2015, the number of locations currently stands at nine, one of which is company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
14. Omega Learning Center
Omega Learning Center offers both tutoring and test-prep services to cover reading, math, SAT/ACT test prep, study skills, kindergarten success, specialized test prep, state test prep, and ESOL/ Spanish. It also offers a variety of K-12 online courses, and even an alternative private school. And it is unique in having achieved AdavncED accreditation.
Founded by Kimberly Smith, Kathy Keeton, and Joyce Smith in Acworth, Georgia in 2005 and franchising since 2007, the number of locations has declined from a recent high of 16 in 2016 to nine in 2018, none of which are company-owned and all of which are located in the US.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.