Founder Paul Green knew he had a great concept that would appeal to all kids and parents with a passion for music
After teaching music for a number of years, Paul Green, founder of Philadelphia music program School of Rock, had an epiphany. His students didn’t enjoy playing until they felt like they were good, and the best way to get good, Green reasoned, was to play with other musicians. He decided to bring his students together to play in a band and quickly saw how much more fun the kids were having. By placing students in bands, Green was giving kids their first real taste of Rock and Roll, which proved to be an enticing incentive to keep learning. Green knew he had a great concept that would appeal to all kids and parents with a passion for music, so he decided to franchise the business in the early 2000s.
Since then, the franchise has exploded.
“We just hit 200 locations in July,” said Justin Nihiser, Vice President of Franchise Operations. “Only 10% of our locations are corporately owned, everything else is a franchise business.”
After the business decided to become a franchise, they expanded throughout the east-coast and then into almost every other major city across the country.
“Initially, moving into the major cities made the most sense,” said Nihiser. “But we’ve found over the years that what matters more than location is finding the right operator. It doesn’t matter if they are in New York City or in Indiana, if the franchisee is passionate, it will succeed.”
With music programs first up on the chopping block for many schools adhering to limited budgets, independent music programs are in high demand and provide an essential resource to many communities.
“Unlike other franchise businesses that are trying to differentiate their hamburger from the next, we have an essential offering that people feel strongly about,” explained Nihiser.
School of Rock trains all their franchisees in operations and best practices to make sure they are immediately positioned for success. Each location follows a similar teaching manual. Students take lessons and then rehearse with a group that is oriented to a particular genre of rock music.
“We look for potential franchisees that have a passion for music and helping children,” said Nihiser. “A lot of franchisees are amateur or professional musicians themselves, and having that drive to pass along their knowledge and talents to the next generation is a big plus. Ideally, they are also interested in being business owners and relatively independent within a proven system.”
The company is still growing and always open to potential franchisees. Right now, they are focused on further expanding their international presence to accompany locations in Chili, Brazil, Panama, Canada, Mexico, South Africa and Australia.