Bill Kramer and Jack McAboy had known one another—both as businessmen and as friends—for years. But it wasn’t until they decided to franchise with Sylvan Learning that they found a way to combine their professional experience with their passion for education.
The pair initially met while working at the same medical equipment company but quickly realized that they were both looking for something different out of their careers. After becoming friends and recognizing that they shared a similar entrepreneurial spirit, they decided to look into potential business ownership opportunities together. The education industry stood out right away as an obvious choice—both Kramer and McAboy have strong backgrounds in the industry.
“We both have parents who were classroom teachers at one point or another. Education has always played such an important role in our lives, so we knew that it would be a great industry to break into,” said McAboy. “When it came time to decide which franchise concept we wanted to partner with, Sylvan immediately caught our eye. We contacted every tutoring and education brand in the industry to learn about their opportunities, but Sylvan was the only one that was committed to innovation. So we signed on to develop the brand in three and a half counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we haven’t looked back since.”
Since signing on with the brand at the end of 1995 and opening up their first center at the beginning of 1996, Kramer and McAboy have grown exponentially as franchisees alongside Sylvan Learning. Today, the business partners have seven traditional centers that are open for business, along with a few satellite locations and additional tutoring that’s provided to schools on a contract basis.
According to Kramer, that long-term success with the brand isn’t an accident or coincidence. Because Sylvan’s system is constantly evolving to tap into the growing demand in the supplemental education industry, the brand is actively staying ahead of the competition.
“When we first started out with Sylvan Learning over 20 years ago, the brand was mainly focused on providing tutoring assistance for students who were having trouble keeping up in school. But even then, the brand was reaching out to find the next program or class that was going to help enhance kids’ education, as well as give us a competitive edge,” said Kramer. “Now, Sylvan is so much more than traditional tutoring and remedial educational services. From our focus on STEM education and robotics to test prep and technology, we’re offering a wide variety of programs that are attractive to all different types of students and their families. There’s something for everyone at Sylvan.”
That ability to appeal to a large number of prospective students is exactly why Sylvan is planning to build off of its strong momentum in the San Francisco Bay Area by expanding across California. The state’s public education system is increasingly focused on the Common Core, which is also one of the brand’s specialties. That means that demand for Sylvan’s services is at an all-time high on the West Coast, setting future franchisees in the area up for success.
“There’s no doubt that Sylvan Learning’s programs are cutting edge. Between our focus on including technology in the classroom to supporting the Common Core, we’re able to help make a difference in students’ lives,” said Georgia Chasen, Sylvan Learning’s director of franchise development. “We’re looking forward to bringing our top tier services to even more communities in California as we focus our development efforts throughout the state.”
With more than 750 locations currently thriving across the country, it’s clear that Sylvan’s system is filled with franchisees like Kramer and McAboy who are finding success with the brand. From its supportive corporate team to its affordable initial investment that ranges from $70,980 to $159,890—including a $24,000 franchise fee—Sylvan’s system is designed to help its local owners get their businesses off the ground without a hitch. And by working together with its franchisees, Sylvan is able to ensure that day-to-day operations are running smoothly at all of its locations.
“Being a Sylvan Learning franchisee is the best of both worlds. On one hand, Jack and I are able to run our own business independently. But we know that we have a corporate team to fall back on if we ever need help,” said Kramer. “It’s incredibly clear that everyone on the Sylvan team values what we have to say. I was even in a meeting with our CEO, John McAuliffe, and he adjusted part of the brand’s planning based on feedback that we had provided three weeks prior. That’s what makes Sylvan so unique—the brand is genuinely in it together with its franchisees and clients.”