KIDDIE ACADEMY Franchise Complaints

(  Kiddie Academy is a Maryland-based daycare franchise founded in 1981 by George and Pauline Miller.  Kiddie Academy provides its franchisees with curriculum and helps them obtain all the licenses and permits necessary to build and operate their franchise daycare business.

Kiddie AcademyAccording to Entrepreneur, Kiddie Academy rose 103 franchise and 4 company-owned centers in 2010, but then fell to 90 franchise locations and 2 company-owned centers in 2011. A recent company press release states that “Kiddie Academy Domestic Franchising… has over 95 academies located in 24 states, including two company-owned locations. Approximately 70 additional academies are in development, with 15 to 20 new locations slated to open each year.”

Kiddie Academy Boasts of its Extreme Franchise Support

According to the Kiddie Academy website, “Kiddie Academy® has achieved market leadership by working closely with each of our franchisees to promote the progress and growth of each academy. We make sure that our franchisees have the tools and guidance they need to run their businesses efficiently, so that they can have time for the other priorities in their lives, as well.”

In a personal message on its franchise website, Kiddie Academy President and CEO Michael Miller states that Kiddie Academy was founded on the philosophy that the franchisor will support each franchise location as if it were their own.

Franchise Lawsuits and a Franchise Warning

Despite the upbeat growth projections, Kiddie Academy has suffered a unit decline of greater than 11%, from 107 locations to 95 locations, in the past year.  In recent years, there have been multiple lawsuits involving Kiddie Academy and its franchisees.

Additionally, a strongly worded warning to stay away from the Kiddie Academy franchise recently appeared on Rip-Off Report:

Kiddie Academy Kiddie Academy Franchising Rip off, beware of giving them any MONEY!!! Don’t fulfill their promises!!! Go with any other child care franchise!! Abingdon , Maryland

Joerg — St. Louis Missouri United States of America

Submitted: Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Beware of giving these guys your hard earned money.

They don’t fulfill promises or even contracts.

Read the fine print.

Distrust these guys.

Go with any other child care franchise if you want to really make an investment.

Go with any other child care franchise if you don’t want to lose your money.

Beware of the CEO, Beware of the sales men.

Ask to meet EVERYBODY that will be interacting with you (from start to end) and you’ll really see what they are all about.

A rebuttal post followed:

Ask Our Franchisees

AUTHOR: Kiddie Academy Domestic Franchising – Abingdon (United States of America)

SUBMITTED: Friday, August 12, 2011

POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011

It is unfortunate that you had a dissatisfying experience. I welcome you to contact me directly so we can try and resolve your concerns. With a 30 year track record of helping build successful child care facilities across the country, we are proud of the integrity of our company, the quality of our people and value of our business opportunity.

Consistently heralded by our franchisees for our commitment to their success, Kiddie Academy has demonstrated our willingness to work with franchisees in achieving their desire for business ownership. Hear directly from our franchisees by visiting Our franchisees’ feedback speaks for itself and for the Kiddie Academy business.

So, we ask our readers, franchisees, employees and those familiar with the Kiddie Academy franchise:

Is the Kiddie Academy Franchise a Scam and rip-off to be avoided at all costs?


Is the Kiddie Academy a growing franchise organization with a franchisor dedicated to the success of each location?


Email Unhappy Franchisee at UnhappyFranchisee[at]

28 thoughts on “KIDDIE ACADEMY Franchise Complaints

  • Pingback: KIDDIE ACADEMY Franchisees Under Fire : Unhappy Franchisee

  • anonymous

    I agree with the poster from rip-off report. The model does not work and most franchisees are struggling. In fact, only 10% of their franchisees are operating above 70% capacity which is generally the break even point.

  • Fran

    MEADE v. KIDDIE ACADEMY DOMESTIC FRANCHISING, LLC et al (Michael Miller Pres., Susan Wise CFO and Bill Endress COO) February 2011

  • Fran

    Kiddie Academy recently had over 20 franchised centers in New Jersey cease operating as Kiddie Academys and reopen as Bright Horizons.

  • James Inofue

    More Kiddie Academy failures coming and more franchisees forfeiting franchisee fees for centers that never open.

    Ask Mike Miller at Kiddie Academy about fees forfeited for failure to find a site?

  • Kiddie Academy Franchisee Meade loses –

    MEADE v. KIDDIE ACADEMY DOMESTIC FRANCHISING, LLC et al (Michael Miller Pres., Susan Wise CFO and Bill Endress COO) February 2011

  • 53 STATE VIOLATIONS and counting in just over a year of being open, including 7 SERIOUS RISK VIOLATIONS and 5 complaints! If considering having your child attend Kiddie Academy of Reynoldsburg or working for this company please DO NOT! What a disgrace to our community as well as the Reynoldsburg City Schools. Please log on to ODJFS and view the continuous state violations this center has received in just over a year of operating. My children no longer attend this daycare due to poor quality of staff, constant turn over, repeated state violations including teacher to child ratio, ownership greed, inconsistent policies and dishonesty. Recent state violations include leaving an infant in a dark room alone in a crib, leaving hazardous substances in reach of children, not enough staff, improper supervision, improper paperwork, unsafe equipment and programming, several incident report violations, first aid supply violations, administration of medication violations and more. When enrolled at Kiddie Academy I was informed that my registration fee would go toward materials and equipment. No such equipment was purchased for either of my children’s rooms in fact the staff complained about not getting supplies or equipment from the owner Carol Haynes until recently added due to their Kiddie Academy Headquarter visit. I have witnessed staff having too many children, upset staff over leadership, staff and parents storming out of the building and a lack of organization in management. Several staff have stated that the Wage and Hour Division have inspected this company and found them in violation. If you are looking for child care in the Reynoldsburg area stay away from this one.

  • Kiddie Academy corporate should be grouped with Monsanto, Comcast and Walmart as one of the most evil companies in the US. They owned 2 Kiddie Academies in the town which their HQ’s are located. Out of the blue, 4 weeks before school is supposed to start, they sold both schools to a completely different type of school system. No warning, no implementation period, no explanation, NOTHING. The close proximity to the upcoming school year left the parents and children with almost no options. These kids and their school were treated like a cash voucher at a casino. They were sold without any consideration for the children and staff at the schools. DISGUSTING. KA Corporate should be ashamed. WILL NEVER STEP IN A KIDDIE ACADEMY AGAIN.

    This comment has been re-posted here:

    KIDDIE ACADEMY is Evil, Critic Claims


  • DiscoveryPointFraud

    Dan, These childcare franchises have no ethics and treat children as commodity. Interestingly, the Discovery Point franchiser Cliff Clark does not have any child of his own and did not adopt any. He and his wife operated their franchise operations just to milk money from the franchisees and nothing else. No support or moral whatsoever. They destroyed not only franchisees, but people worked with them. Very mean.

    One Franchisee in this board mentioned 70% occupancy to break even. Note that such type of analysis is not correct. It all depends on how much loan you have. If the building is paid for, you can break even at 25% occupancy. If you are owning a new center and let the franchise have half a Million profit on that building sale, you perhaps need 75% occupancy to break even. As far as Discovery Point goes, only the older centers are comfortably making money in GA because loan is less. We know of only one new center in south of Atlanta that got lucky and breaking even, others went bankrupt and there has not been any scratch on Cliff, only the franchisees were doomed along with their loved ones and their kids.

    Any lawyers to represent these bankrupt franchisees on contingency? None. So, these franchises keep on doing their roaring business and doomed franchisees cannot be found in any documents they publish. This fraud is allowed in the US and some have the same flavor as slavery.

  • Kiddie Academy has to report to Maryland all the people who buy franchises and don’t open a school. Why because Kiddie Academy keeps the fee when franchisees fail to get a site approved. Kiddie Academy makes some money with this.

  • DiscoveryPointFraud

    The same with Discovery Point. Not a little sum, but Cliff collects $60K by playing this trick. One of the Florida franchisees got some of it back by litigation/arbitration, but litigation fees ate most of the refund away.

  • Don’t know for sure but Michael Miller seems to like the slush fund created by franchise fees for schools that never open.

  • It is the time to join together Kiddie Academy’s all franchise victims. Because this company eat poor American’s hard working money through Franchise fees. They don’t help to identify the locations and they make you fools through meetings and teleconferences. They pretend that they are helping and at the end of 18 months they keep the all Franchise money you have invested. They fail to help us identifying the locations. If we like a site, they say they don’t approve that location. These people make a report of millions of sites available and make it as history of what they did. But none of them turn to be real locations and a bull shit. This is cruel business and eating our money as shit.

  • Hancock

    Robert –

    You need to have your lawyer request a list going back ten years of all the franchisees who never opened a site and lost their money.

  • According to the 2014 Kiddie Academy FDD, as of September 29, 2013 Kiddie Academy has 37 franchises that were “Sold but not opened” With a $20K “preliminary” franchise fee, that is $740,000 in franchise fees. The FULL franchise fee is a whopping $120,000.

    Kiddie Academy projects that it will open 18 franchise centers in the 12 months following September 20. That leaves a surplus of $380,000 carried over from the 19 franchises (of the 37) that were sold but not opened (assuming the $20K franchise fees).

    Robert (and others): The Kiddie Academy FDD states that they will refund half of the franchise fee ($10K) if franchisees under the preliminary agreement don’t find a location. Did you try to get this partial refund? What was Kiddie Academy’s response? Or did you pay the full $120,000 franchise fee?

    Here’s an excerpt from ITEM 5: INITIAL FEES of the 2014 FDD:

    “Before entering into a Franchise Agreement, you and Kiddie Academy will enter into a Preliminary Agreement. At that time, you must pay us an initial fee of $20,000. This payment is non-refundable; except as described below.

    We will provide you a refund of your initial fee (as described below) if your Preliminary Agreement expires or if you request that your Preliminary Agreement be terminated before you sign a lease or purchase contract for your Kiddie Academy Franchise. This request must be submitted to us in writing.

    We will agree to your request if you sign a Mutual General Release Agreement prepared by us which contains non-compete and non-disclosure covenants, {See Exhibit B-lc) and you return all documents provided to you by us in connection with the Preliminary Agreement. If the Preliminary Agreement is terminated in this manner, we will retain $10,000 of your initial payment of $20,000 and will refund to you a portion of the remaining $10,000 after deducting all expenses we incurred in connection with the Preliminary Agreement and assisting you in your site selection process.

    We also have the right to terminate the Preliminary Agreement in our sole discretion and at any time before you sign a lease or purchase contract for your Kiddie Academy site and your Franchise Agreement. If we do so, we will refund to you your entire initial payment of $20,000 and you agree to release us.”

    This “Preliminary Agreement” step is out of the ordinary. Can you explain it? Did you sign the PA or full agreement?

  • According to Item 20 of the Kiddie Academy FDD, there were 145 franchises active between 2011-2013 (not necessarily all at once).

    Of the 145, 33 (22.75%) were terminated, not renewed, transferred or “ceased operation for other reasons.”

    21 left the system all at once: “On March 14, 2011, the franchise agreements for 21 franchised academies in central New Jersey, which had been developed by the System’s sole area developer, were voluntarily terminated by us and the franchisees. Accordingly, as of March 14, 2011, those locations were no longer part of the Kiddie Academy franchise system.”

  • Hancock

    Kiddie Academy keeps the preliminary agreement fees. Over half the franchise sales each year at KA never open.

  • Common Sense

    If you buy a Kiddie Academy you’ll likely never open.

    Ask Mike Miller what he does with all those non-refundable fees he collects and keeps.

  • Jack Knows

    Ask Kiddie Academy how much money they made from franchise fees from people who bought and never opened their franchise.

    In the last 5 years it is a staggering amount of money.

  • DiscoveryPoint_fraud

    The same happens with Discovery Point Franchising. The same horrible story of snatching money from innocent families. Cliff Clark pockets the franchise fee and does not refund it. Be very careful before giving any money to these childcare franchises. You would assume child related businesses are designed not to hurt families and kids. You will be so wrong. Cliff does not have a kid or family and would enjoy very much to destroy yours as he has done for so many.

  • WOW! What a bunch of mis-informed folks! I am a KA Franchisee (have been for the past 3 years). We have followed the path that KA HQ has carefully laid out and we’ve been successful! When my bank had concerns, KA HQ was there to help me. When I needed business guidance, KA HQ was there for me. It seems that when potential franchisees fail to listen to or follow the PROVEN steps that a franchisor suggests, then they fail. But then it’s the franchisor’s fault, right? Get real people! Take accountability!

  • T. James –

    Good for you.

    Now get Kiddie Academy to explain the hundreds of people who signed agreements and paid millions of dollars only to never get a site?

    Oh you don’t know about that do you?

    Ask for the terminated franchisee while in development list for the past 15 years from Mike Miller.

  • DiscoveryPointFraudToo

    T. James,
    Perhaps you lucked out. Can you give details of your help that you got from the franchisor? The help they give is, do more marketing, hire director, hire help. If there is no cash flow, how to do all those. Moreover, those are common sense and no one needs to pay thousand of Dollars each month to hear them. You would have been successful at that location with any name. Just lucked out- a chance of probability.

    Do you hold the kids a special patented way or clean diapers in a proprietary PROVEN method?

    We are curious to know. Discovery Point is another big fraud player in the world of franchising. Please do not mislead.

  • I’ve had a great experience with Kiddie Academy so far. I have operated a successful location for the last 6 years and I ‘m in the process of opening my second location. I have a close relationship with several KA franchisees in my area as well as in other States who are all very satisfied with the services they received. Most of those franchisees have multiple locations or are in the process of opening their second location. In my opinion the franchiser’s job is to guide the franchise and offer assistance but it is ultimately the franchisee job to make the business succeed.

  • CSP

    Have you counted all the people who paid a franchise fee and never opened?

    How about them?

  • Phillip Hinds


  • STAY AWAY!! 15year franchise contract with no escape clause. Meaning owners are on the hook for 15years of franchise fees, even if the daycare is closed. Also no refund on any initial fees.

    Also I strongly believe the franchise system does not work in the daycare industry. The daycare industry is now becoming highly competitive and success largely depends on the how well the owner can operate the day care, location (population and current competition), facility, and staff. Daycare franchises are not like food franchises like subway or Dunkin Donuts where there is a unique taste that customers love and come back for. Any mom and pop daycare can easily compete with a kiddie academy. Being a name brand in the daycare industry carries very little competitive edge.

    -Daycare owner 10yrs

  • Connie Duvalier

    Kiddie Academy has collected and kept 100s of thousands of dollars in franchise fees from franchisees who never get open.

    Ask them for 10 year list and see for yourself.

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