Kumon’s Affordability Keeps Focus on Education

In a world of skyrocketing prices, rising interest rates and stagnant income, Kumon remains one of the most affordable and low-cost ways to enter the franchising world as a small business owner.

Learning centre franchisee standing in classroom with Entreprenuer Franchise 500 top low-cost franchise badge in foreground

The company has been named No. 1 on Entrepreneur’s Top Low-Cost Franchises ranking for franchises that cost less than $100,000 for four years in a row. That’s no easy feat, given the current economic climate.

Entrepreneur’s low-cost ranking is based on startup costs as well as inclusion in the magazine’s prestigious Franchise 500®, which reflects outstanding performance in areas such as costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength and financial strength and stability. 2023 is the 22nd consecutive year that Kumon has been ranked No. 1 in the education category and the third consecutive year that Kumon has ranked sixth overall on the Franchise 500 listing.

“We work hard to keep our fees affordable,” says Vice President for Centre Network Development John Collins. “In a world with ever rising costs, we know every dollar counts. Starting your own business is never easy, and we want our owners to be in the best financial shape when they open their Centre. That way, they can focus on what is most important – educating children.”

If you want to own your own franchise but are put off by the cost of upfront franchise fees, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find at Kumon.

That was the case with Paulo Alanes, who opened his new Kumon Centre in March. Alanes, whose Centre is in Victoria, British Columbia, had researched other education companies but didn’t find them suitable for what he was looking for. He didn’t want to own just any franchise.

“From a general consumer perspective, it’s quite an investment if you are getting into any chain franchise,” he says. “If you’re getting into a McDonald’s or a Tim Hortons, you’re talking lots of money upfront.

“But Kumon isn’t like that,” he adds. “It’s low-cost. Besides the rental space, there’s little to invest. They have the reimbursement for flooring and paint. That’s about 95 percent of what I paid. And then there’s your rent and the franchise fee. That’s about it.”

Alanes is currently building up his clientele and is hopeful the Centre will have a significant impact in his community. And while the cost savings was beneficial, it wasn’t the only aspect that attracted him to the franchise.

“For me it was the line of work. The community needs it,” he says. “It will improve my life and the life of others for the better.”

Investment starts at less than $60,000, but as the instructor you aren’t shouldering all of that alone. Instructors opening new Centres in Canada are eligible to receive up to $31,600 in incentives to help cover the costs of your Centre, like tables, chairs, paint, carpet and signage. The $1,000 cost of your training kit can also be applied to the $2,000 franchise fee, which is one of the lowest in the industry.

“We want our Instructors to have their energy and focus on educating children and running a successful business that helps the community,” Collins says. “There are going to be unavoidable upfront costs when starting any business. But we want to minimize their worry about having to keep up with large fees and put the focus back on making their Centre the best it can be.”