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Kindergarten Meets Big Business

The growing demand for quality pre-school and daycare is creating new business opportunities. Enter Primrose, a pre-school franchise, which expects to double the number of centers in the next five years.

It’s 7 am at the Primrose school in Suwanee, Georgia. Busy parents bustle in to drop off their children. Sabrina, the director, greets her pint-sized customers at the door. Inside, kids settle in and get ready for their own busy day. Here the business of marching, eating, singing, painting and guessing the animals is pre-planned and structured. Primrose is a pre-school slash childcare franchise serving children from 6 weeks to 5 years old. There’s an after-school program for kids in grade school and s summer camps as well. Every detail of running the school, from the building, to the staffing, to the songs and games is written into a business operating system, a model similar to Jiffy Lube of McDonald’s.
早上7点钟,在佐治亚州苏莞尼的迎春花学校,行色匆匆的父母们急急忙忙来学校送孩子。校长塞布丽娜正在大门口迎接小客人们。孩子们在校内安顿下来,准备开始自己忙碌的一天。这儿所做的齐步走、饮食、唱歌、绘画和猜动物名等事情都是事先计划好的,并且井井有条。迎春花是一所一举成名的学前教育连锁学校,招收从6周到5岁的孩子。这儿还有为小学生服务的课后项目和一个暑假夏令营。学校管理的所有细节,从校舍到员工雇用,到歌曲和游戏都纳入了经营管理系统,如同Jiffy Lube(吉飞润滑油)和麦当劳的模式。

Jo Kirchner, CEO, Primrose School Franchising Co.
We are cautious about using McDonald’s as a reference, because we are talking about children, not hamburgers and pickles and onions. But yes, it’s a proven business operating model, with a system in place, a curriculum in place, marketing in place. Every aspect of the business is packaged for the franchisee. It’s like a recipe.

Primrose, an 85-million-dollar company, has opened 100 schools so far, each exactly like the other. Franchisees buy the business and real estate with about 200,000 dollars down, a total investment of 2 million dollars. They are primarily business people, who manage the schools according to a detailed curriculum and business plan. Each franchisee hires an educator to run the programs, but lesson plans, craft ideas, and menus are all available online.

Don Nelson, Franchisee, Primrose School
I feel more comfortable with that than anything else, because questions may come up, that if you need an answer, you can go and research it in there, and help find any answer to help you operate the schools.

Don Nelson has a background in corporate retails. Since 1995, he and his wife Helen have acquired 3 schools, and are about to open a fourth.

Jo Kirchner
Sixty percent of our franchisees own two or more schools. But in order to be successful, they have to follow the system as in any franchise. The franchisee can expect on that typical operating model to have approximately a 10% return. But we have many schools that will do more than that, even in the range of 15%. We are not the richest people in the world, but on the other hand, we make a comfortable living.

The Primrose curriculum was developed by founders Paul and Maxim Erwin after 20 years of trying and error. They arrived at what they call a balanced approach, a highly structured mix of learning and play.

Jo Kirchner
Children strive in structure. They love structure. They like to know what’s gonna happen next. And they like repetition. Children’s self-esteem flourishes when they repeat and repeat and repeat something and they get better and better and better at it.

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