Merrie Seiler and Rolinda Lankes of iKids U®
Before they bought their own iKids U franchise back in 2016, Rolinda Lankes and Merrie Seiler worked in the educator sector as an elementary school teacher and a substitute teacher, respectively, in Texas. Their experiences as teachers gave them firsthand insight into what parents wanted, needed and disliked when it came to after-school programs for their kids. The innovative after-school services brand offered the two teachers the chance to continue working with children via a business model that they have faith in. While they are still relatively new franchisees, they are pleased with their experience so far.
According to the two franchisees, they were drawn to the iKids U franchise opportunity because it lined up with exactly what they believe Texas families wanted: a one-stop solution in which everything is done right at the school. Their Texas location is on the grounds of the schools they service, so parents don't have worry about transportation for their children to a different location, and they are able to offer a variety of enrichment programs to the kids who are enrolled.
All businesses face challenges in the first year, and the teachers' franchise business was no exception. According to Lankes, getting all the supplies needed for the classes and confirming they would be able to implement the curriculum properly was challenging in the first year, but the second year has gone more smoothly. Seiler also added that there was naturally a learning curve for all involved, and keeping communication open with everyone involved was a key to making it all work.
They say that new franchisees should know the market well, including all of the schools and districts in the territory and what they are currently providing. Lankes also advises prospective franchisees to know the differences between the after-school programs available already and what their franchise can offer and what the fees for being on a school campus may be.
Seiler and Lankes are currently working to expand into more school districts and potentially into charter and private schools in the area. Their business is growing quickly--their location went from servicing one full-time and one part-time school to three full-time schools in just one year--and they are focusing on maintaining quality as it expands. According to the franchisees, the brand has been helpful and supportive, with website tasks handled by the corporate office and support continually available.
Currently, iKids U has territories available in several markets. The initial investment for this franchise opportunity ranges from $106,650 to $127,500.
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