In this exclusive Q&A, we learn more about Primrose Schools from the company’s chief development officer, Steve Fricker.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you tell us a little bit about Primrose Schools and the success the brand has seen over the years?
Steve Fricker (SF): Since 1982, Primrose Schools has been revolutionizing childcare by delivering a trusted, premier, early learning and care experience that is distinct from daycare, featuring a proven, proprietary curriculum with programs designed to promote the development of active minds, healthy bodies and happy hearts. The brand’s ongoing success has fueled consistent growth throughout our 37-year history as an industry leader, with more than 400 schools across 30 states open today.
2019 marked an incredibly successful year, with Primrose experiencing a surge in nationwide growth and franchise development, opening 28 new schools, including our milestone 400th location, and signing 38 new awards with existing and new Franchise Owners. Additionally, the company generated more than $861 million in system-wide revenue, securing our position as a leader in the early education segment and reinforcing the viability of this franchise opportunity. Overall, we’ve seen a 7 percent growth rate year-over-year and have not permanently closed a school which has opened within the past 10 years.
As a result of our rapid development and consistent delivery of service excellence to children and families, our brand has regularly received numerous industry awards including Forbes’ 2019 Best Franchises to Buy and No. 1 child care franchise in the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list for four consecutive years.
FC: What are the brand’s development plans for the future?
SF: We kicked off 2020 with more than 400 schools open and a strong pipeline in place with our Franchise Owners prepared to further Primrose’s growth in the coming year. Our aggressive development efforts in 2020 are targeted towards key markets including Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Phoenix and Seattle. Additionally, Primrose is expected to expand our footprint in several new markets before the end of 2020, including Iowa, Michigan and New York.
FC: How is the current state of the market fueling that growth (i.e. a demand for early education)?
SF: Demand for high-quality, early education and care has never been higher in the United States, with the childcare industry garnering $56 billion in revenue in 2019 and projected to grow 4.5% per annum for the next four years.
A few factors have produced this demand for early education and child care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 62 percent of families with children have two parents employed – more than ever before. Not surprisingly then, an estimated 12.5 million children under the age of 4 are enrolled in some form of child care at any given time. Additionally, about 51 percent of the United States population lives within a child care desert, meaning there is a lack of child care providers within a given area.
As a result, neighborhoods have prioritized early education, recognizing it as the final and critical piece to a thriving community. Primrose is able to leverage its history as a stand out leader in the early education space in order to provide ample opportunity for new and existing Franchise Owners to expand in areas that recognize the unique value of a Live-Work-Play-Learn development.
FC: What sets Primrose apart from other concepts in its category?
SF: Primrose’s Balanced Learning approach to education, which equips children with the skills and character traits they need to be the successful leaders of tomorrow, is what sets our brand apart from the rest in our category. Primrose is the only early education franchise company to offer the world-class, award-winning, proprietary curriculum that is developed in conjunction with top early education experts. Many of those same experts also serve on our Education Advisory Board, which is tasked with the continuous improvement of our education curriculum.
This quality education base paired with dedicated Primrose Franchise Owners committed to delivering service excellence and proven student outcomes are what has fueled our success for almost 40 years.
FC: What do you look for in your ideal franchise candidate?
SF: Primrose offers Franchise Owners the opportunity to invest in a business that is both financially rewarding and emotionally satisfying that delivers an unparalleled early learning experience for children and families. Each Franchise Owner is provided with a proven and time-tested business model, exclusive approach to early education and significant support from construction to grand opening and beyond.
Primrose Franchise Owners come from all different backgrounds: finance, tech, real estate, healthcare and sales to name a few. The characteristics they all have in common are strong relationship-building skills, a desire to do meaningful work and a passion for our family-focused brand. Entrepreneurs from other business sectors and multi-unit operators are increasingly recognizing Primrose as a proven business investment and opportunity for diversification, which is why we have multiple ownership programs that provide flexible options for those looking to become a Primrose Schools Franchise Owner.
The Primrose franchise model is also attractive to entrepreneurs seeking a flexible business opportunity that provides a work-life balance with Monday to Friday business hours. Additionally, about 1-in-4 Primrose Franchise Owners develop multiple schools once they’ve experienced the rewards of making a lasting impact on the lives of children, families and their communities. Candidates must also meet our initial financial qualifications of a liquid asset minimum of $600,000 and net worth requirement beginning at $1,500,000.
FC: How can readers learn more about franchising with Primrose?
SF: We’re always looking to grow our network of Primrose Schools throughout the United States. Interested prospects can visit www.franchise.primroseschools.com for more information.