How was Best in Class Education originally conceived/started?
Best in Class Education first opened in Washington in 1995 and has since grown into a national franchise.
Hao Lam, our Chief Executive Officer at Best in Class, was originally a licensee for the company. He opened the first U.S. location in Washington in 1995. In 2010, Hao Lam purchased the company and began franchising the concept. Because of Hao’s seasoned business experience and his success operating his ten corporate Best in Class Education Centers, Hao understands the tools and resources that are required to run a successful center.
What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time?
We have always focused on providing the best supplemental education possible for children. Our mission is to build better teachers and successful students. Over time, we have evolved our business model to include a variety of affordable programs for families to choose from and incorporated technology to reduce overhead costs.
Many education centers have to designate an area or an entire room for the printed educational materials; today, our software helps eliminate that overhead and helps our franchisees operate more efficient centers.
With our proprietary software and tools, franchisees are able schedule current students and engage potential, current, and previous students. Our franchisees are able to automatically send invoices, updates, and emails to the parents.
What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?
All of us at Best in Class are passionate about education and helping our students thrive. Potential franchisees should choose a meaningful business they are passionate about. If they are looking for an opportunity where they can make a difference in children’s lives and make a lasting impact in their community this could be the perfect opportunity for them.
Why should someone choose Best in Class over other similar franchises?
Many of our competitors only offer one service or cater to one subject; Best in Class allows franchisees to engage with students of all ages and by offering our diverse programs they are able to benefit from several revenue streams.
What makes children’s supplementary education industry attractive?
It is an extremely rapidly growing industry. Class sizes are growing, school budgets are shrinking, and curricula are not able to be tailored to suit each student’s needs. Many students today need supplementary education just to progress, while others seek to achieve advanced personal goals. Best in Class offers a way to address these students’ needs.
What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?
We look for entrepreneurs who have a passion for the education industry. We search for franchisees who are positive, energetic, passionate, adaptable, efficient, and collaborative. We are searching for franchisees who have had previous business, management, or franchise experience. We do not require that our franchisees have teaching experience; however, for those that do we offer incentive programs.
We want to work with individuals who want to make a lasting impact on the community and operate a rewarding business.
What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?
By joining the Best in Class family, we will work with you throughout the process in market analysis, site-selection, training, and provide ongoing support. We want to ensure that you and your team are comfortable with the operations of your Best in Class center.
Prior to opening the Best in Class center, our franchisees attend the Best in Class training program at our corporate office.
The BC Training Program covers an overview of our proprietary curriculum, observations of several corporate Best in Class centers, BC software & Portal, and meetings with our marketing team to discuss grand opening and ongoing marketing campaigns. They will also meet with our Director of Human Resources who will share where we find our teachers, who we look for, and provide applications and guidelines so that they may hire the best teachers possible! Lastly, the Best in Class team will review the business & operations aspects of Best in Class. Our CEO wants to make sure that every franchisee is comfortable and understands what is required to succeed.
How do territories work for your franchisees?
The territories are based on population density as well as a physical area territory. We want to make sure each center has both a sufficient student population and a protected territory that they are able to engage.
Why has your franchise model been successful?
Hao Lam, CEO of Best in Class, is our largest franchisee. With ten corporate Best in Class centers, Hao understands the ideal market, the ideal location, and how to operate a lucrative education center.
Hao works very closely with our franchisees throughout the process as well as provides additional support once they have opened their Best in Class Centers.
Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?
We are going to have at least 100 centers in the US alone by the end of 2018. In 10 years, we will be one of the top 5 tutoring companies globally.
What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?
First of all, having a passion in the field that you are in. This makes a great difference in the daily operation of your business. You must love what you do in order to be successful. Secondly, know your competitors - everything about them including their strengths and weaknesses. Lastly, you must be willing to adapt and make changes if the market you are in shifts dramatically.
What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?
We do everything possible that we can to help our franchisees succeed. We understand that we must provide you with the appropriate tools and resources so that your center can provide the results that you are looking for. We provide training and guidance every step of the way.
Can you explain your financial assistance?
We have monthly conference calls with franchisees. During our calls, we are happy to help review our franchisees’ profit and loss statements. We help them able to analyze their figures and give advice on how to make their centers more profitable. We are also SBA approved if franchisees would like to seek a loan for their business.
On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?
It varies with every individual. It can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Typically, the site selection, lease negotiation, and construction of the center are the lengthiest parts of the process.
What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?
Hao Lam, our CEO, taught at a local college for nearly 5 years. He was also in the education field for over 15 years before he started this franchise. In addition, he was involved in real estate, mortgage, restaurants, and other business ventures prior to forming the Best in Class franchise. He has 20 plus years of experience in running successful businesses.
Do you have any franchisee testimonials or success stories that you would like to share?
Yes, we have many testimonials and success stories. One our favorites success stories if our franchise Kevin Lee. He began as a tutor with us and has since opened two franchise locations: one in San Francisco Chinatown and one in Oakland. He has made the journey from math tutor to entrepreneur and we are so happy to have him on our team.