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How Sylvan Learning Is Winning with its New Franchise Licensing Agreements and Fee Structure

A competitive royalty fee, updated licensing agreements and other financial incentives make Sylvan Learning an exciting franchise opportunity.

For over four decades, Sylvan Learning has been the leading provider of personalized learning for students in grades K-12. The supplemental and enrichment education brand positions franchisees for success from day one with a strong support infrastructure, a proven business model and a revamped licensing agreement and fee structure. 

"By leveraging the fact that Sylvan Learning has been in business for 40 years, we’ve been able to highlight the things we've done successfully and change the things we haven’t," said Sylvan Learning CEO John McAuliffe. "As we work to provide our franchisees with the best licensing agreement and support they need to run a strong business, we have learned what works from our past experience. Our staying power in the industry proves that our brand is second to none in the segment thanks to our extremely effective marketing and the results that students see from our programs."

The start-up costs for a Sylvan Learning range from $68,680 to $159,085, which includes the initial franchise fee of $24,000. Prospective franchisees must have a minimum liquidity of $75,000, as well as a minimum net worth of $150,000.

The cost range is due, in part, to the type of license a franchisee can purchase. Sylvan Learning offers three different licenses: The Core License, which is the brand’s main product offering and comes with a protected territory. The STEM “Edge” License includes coding, robotics, engineering, science and math. The “Ace It!” License provides franchisees with the necessary resources to offer institutional or contract services to local schools. 

In addition to innovative licensing agreements, Sylvan Learning has revamped its fee structure. “In 2016 Sylvan Learning made a major change to the fee structure to attract a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs,” said Chief Franchise Operations Officer Susan Valverde. “Although we’ve been successful for 40 years, we’ve always looked for new ways to help our franchisees. We created a competitive royalty structure that only collects 16% of monthly gross revenues. This all-inclusive model allows our franchise partners to have a deeper understanding of the fees and savings.”

Sylvan Learning has worked hard to create a revenue and business model that is franchisee-focused and creates the ability to make decisions locally. “With the new license agreements, we’ve decreased the initial fee so candidates can join the brand with fewer overhead costs,” said VP of Franchise Development Georgia Chasen. “That way, they have more capital to put toward their grand opening and local marketing. The rest of the royalty structure presents access to all of the departments, support infrastructure and the innumerable benefits of being under the Sylvan Learning brand.”

While the new fee structure wasn’t mandatory, the brand experienced extremely high adoption rates from its network of passionate franchisees. “In addition to consolidating fees, franchisees still wanted an opportunity to direct their own funds toward local marketing costs,” said Chasen. “The Sylvan Learning corporate team took that feedback and created a structure to allow for local marketing generation. The intention of the new structure is to allow for more flexibility in how the franchisee chooses to allocate the marketing investment.”

“I’ve been with Sylvan Learning for nearly 30 years,” said Indiana-based, multi-unit franchisee Kent Kolbow. “During the last five years, I can confidently say that the Sylvan Learning business model and fee structure are stronger than ever. In addition, there is far more connection and communication between franchisees and the corporate team. I am excited to continue growing with the Sylvan Learning team and am proud to be a part of a franchise network that continues to develop best practices.”

With more than 750 franchise locations across North America, Sylvan Learning has no plans to slow down. Whether it be licensing agreements or fee structures, Sylvan Learning’s strong commitment to positioning franchisees for success sets the brand up for continued growth in 2020 and beyond.

The startup costs for a Sylvan Learning range from $68,680 to $159,085. The franchise fee is $24,000. The brand also offers a franchise fee discount for veterans. To learn more about franchising with Sylvan Learning, visit

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