Franchising with a Focus on Kids
When deciding upon starting a franchise, one of the biggest considerations is your target market. Who you’re looking to serve as customers can determine requirements such as location, expenses and staff training needs. When a franchise is aimed at serving the youngest of customers, how viable is a business that focuses on children’s products and services?
Over the past 20 years working as a franchise coach, I have worked with many franchise opportunities serving families with kids. With more parents working while raising a family, that means families have more disposable income to spend on each of their children. There are multiple industries and markets that serve the needs of parents and their children.
Take the daycare industry for example. Market analysts say in the U.S. alone the daycare industry is worth $61 billion. They also say the childcare market – which includes early care, daycare, early education, and backup care – is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.9% through 2027. Of course, child-focused franchises aren’t only about education and watching the kids while mom and dad are at work. The family indoor entertainment center market is also growing. Market analysts expect this global entertainment market to reach $69.55 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of 10.9%.
Room for all Sorts of Concepts
There are a wide variety of businesses that cater to children. Some successful businesses have combined two proven concepts. Ivy Brook Academy, for example, focuses on early childhood education while also providing a daycare function for a portion of the day. Another example is We Rock the Spectrum, a fitness play franchise that specializes in serving special needs children.
You can also go in the opposite direction and focus in on one kind of service or product. Code Ninjas, for example, is an education center franchise that focuses on teaching children about computer coding. Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids is a franchise specializing in kid’s haircuts. Other concepts for kid-focused franchises include children’s clothing, children’s party catering, personal tutoring, after-school activity centers and sports camps.
There’s room for both in-person and remote/virtual services among kid-focused franchises. With the rise of remote businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual learning became commonplace. Even now as the pandemic is subsiding and the restrictions are largely gone, many are continuing to use virtual classrooms to match students with tutors in a variety of subjects, as well as helping parents connect with pediatricians, nutritionists, and other experts for consultations. Meanwhile, in an effort to return to “normalcy” and ensure children get opportunities to socialize, in-person, brick-and-mortar businesses are also in demand.
Of course, all the above-mentioned concepts and sectors will normally have both new development areas as well as the possibility of franchise resales in select markets.
Costs and Challenges
Of course, there’s always challenges to tackle when you open a business, and a children-focused franchise is no exception. Costs are comparable to similar franchises. You’ll need to consider things like physical infrastructure requirements and build out requirements. Like any business, the services or goods you provide will determine your expenses a lot more than the customers you’re serving. A family entertainment center will need a lot of space and equipment, as well as staff to run and maintain it, while an at-home babysitting service can be run from home, with the biggest expenses being office-related.
One of the challenges that gets overlooked is the need to stay focused. Entrepreneurs who start a business with the goal of providing services for kids need to carefully consider that you and your staff will be dealing with children throughout your workday. Some businesspeople may think that won’t be hard, especially if they’ve got kids of their own.
However, keep in mind that your own children will be growing up and moving past early childhood while your business will remain focused the same customer base. You need to be sure you’re ready to handle that age group for longer than the average parent. You also want to make sure your staff is of a similar mindset. Since parents are trusting you with their kids, sometimes without the parents’ direct supervision, you want to be sure your staff is ready and capable of keeping up with multiple kids for the better part of the day.
Business hours are also something to consider. Many children’s concepts see a lot of business in the late afternoon, evening and on the weekend during the school year, since that’s when kids will be out of school. Some concepts are more seasonal, like summer camps. Make sure you’re prepared to handle working when your customers, i.e., the kids, are most available – evening and weekends.
As both business hours and busy seasons are a consideration, before you open a kid-focused franchise, make sure you consider where you want to focus most of your time and attention, such as at work or with your own family, friends and personal interests. You want to be sure you pick a business and/or franchise that gives you the balance that works best for you.
In summary, franchises built around a concept of catering to the needs of children and their families are viable, with good potential for profit and anticipated market growth. Like all franchises, these come with expenses dependent on the type of service or product you provide, but unique to these franchises, you should be ready to operate when the kids aren’t in school and for the challenges of handling kids of a certain age for long periods of time. If this sounds like a business you can get behind, then a children-focused franchise might be a good fit for you.
Rick Bisio is one of the country’s most respected franchise coaches and author of the Amazon best seller, The Educated Franchise – 3rd Edition. Since becoming A Franchise Coach in 2002, Bisio has assisted thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs nationwide helping them explore the dream of business ownership.