With 35 open locations and 70 more under development, Lightbridge Academy is a strong regional brand expanding throughout the Mid-Atlantic with a core focus on Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The franchise is currently extending its reach into Florida, North Carolina and Ohio and actively signing qualified franchise candidates to open these new markets.
As The Solution for Working Parents®, Lightbridge Academy not only provides a high quality of care and early education programming for children, they also offer working parents with the support and services they desperately need.
“If a franchise prospect has experience in the child care or education industry, it can definitely be helpful, but it isn’t required,” said Mark Mele, senior vice president of franchise development at Lightbridge Academy. “Each location needs to hire an experienced center director to handle the daily operations, so it is more important that the franchise prospect has a managerial or business background. The home office team is here to provide all the training necessary for our franchisees to succeed in creating our unique culture of care and implementing our programs and curriculum at each location.”
The home office team assists franchisees with another important aspect of the franchise development process; identifying premium real estate locations that are a fit with the Lightbridge Academy demographic profile. The franchise team uses strict criteria for their site approval process and only approves sites that they would develop as a corporate location. Franchisees know that their best interests are always at heart. Together, they carefully analyze sites, conduct market analysis, and work with developers and landlords to produce the best prototype to bring to market.
“Our preference is to develop freestanding buildings, land parcels or multi-tenant sites in suburban or urban markets in upper to middle income neighborhoods,” Mele said. “We place our locations in convenient areas that are close to employers, business districts, transportation hubs, hospitals and universities, because we know that our families need to have easy access to our centers on their routes to work and back home.”
In addition to working closely with the development team to find the best real estate solution, franchisees also spend time learning all areas of the business, completing training and beginning community outreach. In total, Lightbridge Academy provides its franchisees with 138 hours of training that is completed in classrooms, webinars, and hands-on instruction at an operating child care center.
“Throughout our training, we place a major focus on teaching our franchisees how to provide top notch customer service to our families by truly going the extra mile in everything we do,” said Guy Falzarano, Lightbridge Academy CEO and founder. “Another major element of our training and day-to-day operations is to show franchisees how to build on Lightbridge Academy’s Circle of Care and core values to create a culture of care that will differentiate them from competitors. We, of course, care for the educational needs of the children, but in order to do that, we know that others in the child’s life must also be cared for and nurtured. This includes the parents, the teachers, the owners and the entire community.”
Lightbridge Academy also provides the support franchisees need to identify the financing option that is right for them. These options may include sourcing for loans or leveraging their retirement savings. Lightbridge connects franchisees with lenders that understand the Lightbridge Academy’s business model and believe in their processes.
The estimated initial investment for a leased center runs from $541,228 to $733,635, and the estimated initial investment for a purchased center varies from $2,546,228 to $5,020,735. For centers open for over 36 months at the end of 2017, the average gross revenue was over $2 Million and average EBITDA landed at $369,794 to $384,481 with average student occupancy ranging from 76 to 85 percent. For centers open for over 24 months at the end of 2017, the average gross revenue was between $1,643,066 to $1,991,915 and average EBITDA ranges from $239,346 to $325,846.
With the potential for franchisees to see a strong return on investment, Lightbridge is attracting owners with experience in the other sectors of the franchising industry. This includes franchise groups coming from strong systems and reputable brands including Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, Shell, 7-Eleven, Baskin Robbins and Moe’s Southwest Grill.
“The fact that we’ve been signing franchise agreements with people who have a wealth of knowledge regarding how franchising works, and understand the power in proven processes and systems, we know that our concept is going to continue to become uncovered by sophisticated franchisees,” said Mele. “They see the company’s trajectory and know that now is the right time to get in on the ground level. We are opening new prime markets and looking the right franchisees to help build the brand into untapped territories.”
To learn more about franchise opportunities, visit Lightbridge Academy Franchise.