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Why Sylvan Learning Changed Its Licensing Model to Provide Flexibility in Real Estate

The supplemental and enrichment education brand substantially reduced its minimum square footage requirement, allowing franchisees to have multiple locations within their territories that suit individual market needs.

Sylvan Learning knows how difficult it can be for children to sit down and focus on a difficult subject. What’s more, some parents prefer to have their children get needed tutoring in a neutral zone outside of the home if it helps a student focus better. 

For this reason, the supplemental and enrichment education brand provides flexibility in its real estate model. Not all parents need or want to send their children to a full-fledged tutoring center. Sometimes, for example, it’s more convenient for them to have their children get tutoring at school or at another location closer to home. Simply being in a professional learning environment is key, and Sylvan Learning can absolutely deliver on that front. 

Real estate flexibility is also important for franchisees, especially those who operate centers in markets with high real estate costs. For these reasons, the brand reduced the minimum square footage requirement for centers, which used to be 2,400 square feet. Now, centers can be as small as 1,000 square feet and franchisees can have multiple locations, including satellite locations, in their territories. Significantly, franchisees who pursue a center with smaller square footage are able to better manage the fixed costs for a brick-and-mortar location. 

“The licensing model was changed so that franchisees could pay less for real estate, with the idea that they could have smaller locations but also have satellites in community centers, schools, churches, etc.,” Vice President of Franchise Development Georgia Chasen said. “This allowed for a cheaper monthly rent. So now franchisees can have a network of both brick-and-mortar locations and satellite locations to offer the greatest convenience possible to parents while managing fixed costs with real estate.” 

Chasen noted that satellite locations, for example, also allow franchisees to try out new areas in a given market and respond to community-driven requests for a Sylvan Learning without having any immediate fixed costs. 

“We have worked with vendors to identify the best possible floor plan to maximize revenue-generating instruction space and minimize any potentially wasted space in a center so that 1,000 square feet, depending on what’s available in the particular community, is more than sufficient to meet a franchisee’s revenue goals,” Chasen said. “All of the specific changes for the licensing model were designed to increase the franchisee’s ability to make decisions to benefit their business based on their local knowledge alongside our specific demographic information.”

One franchisee who appreciates Sylvan Learning’s flexible real estate model is Amber Castillo, who opened the doors to her Hermosa Beach, California center in September 2019. She also opened a temporary satellite location out of a local school. Sylvan Learning’s real estate flexibility was important to Castillo, as her center is located in an area with high real estate costs, and proved to be the clincher for her to franchise with the education brand. 

“At first, I knew that they had reduced the square footage requirement for centers and also that they were open to centers working out of office spaces as opposed to retail locations,” Castillo said. “That was important for me to know from the beginning because real estate rental rates are expensive.”

“For our satellite that is at the local school, with the school’s agreement, we give parents of the students the option of coming to the center to do tutoring or of staying on campus.  Families are choosing the option that is more convenient for them,” Castillo said. 

By allowing for flexibility with real estate, Sylvan Learning ensures its business model works for franchisees and families in all types of markets. 

The startup costs for a Sylvan Learning franchise range from $70,270-$163,625. The franchise fee is $24,000. 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.