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How Sylvan Learning Became a Top Tutor Franchise

Sylvan Learning has continued evolving to remain a premier enrichment and supplemental education service, and the brand is making sure it stays on top of its game.

Sylvan Learning has seen great success in its 40-year history, and thanks to innovative and adaptive measures, the brand still continues to grow.

With more than 750 points of presence across the United States and beyond, Sylvan Learning is considered an industry leader and a go-to for parents who are seeking further enrichment for their children’s education. With decades of experience, Sylvan has even been able to prove that its personalized learning and 3:1 teacher to student ratio gets exceptional results.

This past year was an excellent one for the Maryland-based education brand. Sylvan sold 18 new territories in the U.S. and expanded into Vietnam with a 32-location deal and into China with a 200-center deal. As Sylvan Learning continues to evolve its course offerings, the programs have been embraced by students near and far, truly having the ability to resonate across all communities, regardless of where someone is located in the world.

Sylvan Learning CEO John McAuliffe, who has been in his current role since January of 2016, credits the brand’s successful expansion to a passionate corporate team, a solid franchise agreement and being adaptive in the evolving world of education.

“It’s really a three-prong story,” McAuliffe said. “My team and I went out and did competitive research to make sure we have the strongest business model. We have the lowest royalty fee structure in the industry, low startup costs and a variable business model. When franchisees make money, we make money and it’s a successful partnership.”

Through research, McAuliffe and his team discovered it would be beneficial to lower the royalty fee structure.

“Historically, we always had a royalty fee and a series of other fees,” McAuliffe said. “We compiled all of the fees into one variable fee for franchisees, which includes royalty, marketing and other fees, and this has been hugely beneficial in terms of franchisee recruitment. We wanted to attract the next generation of entrepreneurs; leaders in their local communities who want to build a legacy for their neighborhood and their family.”

The brand also decided to reduce the square footage requirement for Sylvan centers. Combined with Sylvan’s educational technology, this brick & mortar size flexibility has allowed franchisees to work outside of a Sylvan center and allows them to have additional locations outside of their centers, such as satellite locations in schools, libraries and community centers. This convenient location adaptiveness plays a major role in both franchisee and family recruitment.

“When prospective franchisees come to us on Discovery Days, we encourage them to explore all business models,” McAuliffe said. “We would rather bring in franchisees who did their due diligence and know what it takes to be a Sylvan franchisee. Additionally, we are an appealing franchise because we are continulously investing in content and technology, and I think that’s what makes us a key player and keeps us at the forefront. Technology is around every corner and when we use it effectively in education, it can help accomplish great things.”

McAuliffe is thrilled with what the brand accomplished in 2018 and plans to keep that momentum going.

“Our brand awareness is very strong,” McAuliffe said. “As a team, we’re very excited about what we’ve done and we believe we have the best business model in the supplermental education franchise sector. As we continue to expand not only across the country, but around the world, we’re able to make an even bigger impact on students’ academic success.”

The startup cost for a Sylvan Learning franchise ranges from $70,980 to $159,885. The franchise fee is $24,000. For more information on owning a Sylvan Learning franchise, visit

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.