Kiddie Academy Helps Franchisees Find Their Inner Kid
Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Franchise Development, Greg White, shared with the Baltimore Business Journal (BBJ) how he helps franchisees find their inner kid! His interview with Associate Editor, Jonathan Munshaw was featured in the March 18, 2016 print edition of the BBJ. Greg talked about his passion to make a difference and make a change in people’s lives with his work. He also shared information about what the process is like for franchisees to develop a new Academy, and what the benefits are of franchising versus starting a child care business independently.
Excerpts from the article are also below.
What’s the process like when someone comes to you to become a franchisee?
The first thing we do is you have to complete a background questionnaire. We use that as a qualifier. Then we take you through our discovery process, which is a process that’s unique to us. At the end of that process we have an orientation, and at the end of orientation, you sign the preliminary agreement to move forward. It’s about developing a relationship with the candidate, giving them the information they need to be comfortable moving forward.
What, exactly, are the things you look for in that background questionnaire?
We look for a net worth requirement. We make sure you have a good standing as a credit rating. If you meet those requirements, you move forward. We look for at least $200,000 of liquidity, a net worth of at least $550,000 and a credit score of 650 or higher. Then we do our due diligence. We see that they’ll be a good fit for our franchise community.
If someone wanted to open up their own daycare independently, what’s your pitch to become a franchisee over going out on their own?
We have a very comprehensive support system here in place. One of the things that’s a differentiator is the support that we give in all aspects in terms of financing, business plans and marketing help. We help with the site selection and construction. And we have a support system starting the day that you open — it’s quite comprehensive. I think the industry is such a heavily regulated industry. There’s a lot of moving parts with it. To do it on your own is something you’d need some expert help with. The services that we offer as a franchisor, whether it be marketing or finance and experience, they’re all things an individual just can’t have starting from scratch.
How to do you plan to hit your goal of opening up more locations?
We have a fairly aggressive marketing approach. We do marketing [on the Internet], through print advertising, some radio advertising and we have an excellent website. We just want to get the word out, and those outlets are working well for us.
How have Kiddie Academy’s offerings changed over time — in terms of what parents are looking for at a daycare?
Parents are recognizing the need for the educational component. We’re the gold standard for educational child care. And as we’ve progressed, we’ve developed a comprehensive curriculum. The curriculum that we have is unique to Kiddie Academy, it’s unique to this industry. That’s the largest differentiator for us. And we’re constantly updating it.
Has there been one state or area of the country where you’ve seen the most growth?
Over the past year or year and a half it’s been the state of Texas. There’s a large amount of commercial real estate available, and it’s been a great place for us to grow.
When potentially approving a franchisee, what do you look for in a potential location?
One of the things that we do, and it’s unique to us, is the way we search for real estate. We have computer programs that can pull in demographics. We look for school-aged children in a 1-, 3- and 5-mile radius. We look at median income. And we evaluate each site in great detail. So we look at everything from traffic patterns and other finite details to see what would be a good place to set up.
The interview and article were compiled by Associate Editor, Jonathan Munshaw of the Baltimore Business Journal. The photo was taken by photographer, Kaitlin Newman.