School of Rock franchise complaints include lack of support, high management turnover, dictatorial management led by CEO Dzana Homan, poor communication and franchise relations.
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) According to complaints we’ve received, some School of Rock franchise owners are singing the blues.
The first School of Rock was opened by the musician Paul Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1997 and did business under the name “Paul Green School of Rock Music” (Since January 2010, they have conducted business under the name “School of Rock.”)
On June 26, 2009, Sterling SOR, LLC, a subsidiary of Sterling Partners, a private equity firm that owns an interest in approximately 28 other companies, acquired a controlling interest in School of Rock, LLC and its affiliates.
According to the 2017 School of Rock Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), School of Rock franchise businesses are performance-based music schools with a rock music program.
At the end of 2016, there were a total of 168 School of Rock locations, comprised of 152 franchise and 16 company-owned locations.
The total investment necessary to begin operation of a School of Rock business is stated to be $136,850 to $339,100. This includes $49,500 to 54,000 that must be paid to the franchisor.
According to the Item 19 Financial Performance Representation in the FDD, the Average Gross Sales for selected company-owned units is $513,260 (4 Company-owned Schools, or 26.7%, were at or above this figure) and Median Gross Sales are $412,952 (7 Company-owned Schools, or 46.7%, were at or above this figure).
For more information, consult the 2017 School of Rock Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).
CEO Dzana Homan is Drawing Criticism
Dzana Homan joined School of Rock as Chief Executive Officer in 2014. Ms. Homan had previous educational franchise experience with FutureKids, Goddard Early Learning and Huntington Learning Centers.
She stated “I also have enthusiasm for franchising because it allows an individual to run their own business, but in a safer way… you can still run your own business and be independent from having a boss like me [laughs]. There is this freedom of determining who you as an individual…”
CEO Homan stated that she believed communication with and respect for franchisees is critical: “One thing that I’ve learned is to engage with your franchisees, and be in communication and conversation all the time… I came to franchising as a franchisee. I know both sides of the coin. I never forgot how it felt to be a franchisee.”
Ironically, communication and respect for franchisees as business owners are areas where Ms. Homan is drawing fire from some franchisees.
We’re received complaints that Dzana Homan eliminated the School of Rock Franchise Advisory Committee (FAC) shortly after taking the helm.
She also refuses to recognize the Independent Franchisee Association (IFA), and confronts those who dare to complain about franchisee treatment – even when those complaints were voiced in private group conversations.
Are you familiar with Dzana Homan and the School of Rock franchise program? Please share your opinions and thoughts with a comment below, or email us in confidence at UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.Com.
School of Rock Franchise Complaints: Management Turnover
We’ve received complaints about the stability of the School of Rock management team since the appointment of a new CEO in 2014. According to the 2017 FDD, “Dzana Homan Chief Executive Officer Ms. Homan became our Chief Executive Officer on June 9, 2014 and is located in El Segundo, California. From December 2010 to March 2014, Ms. Homan served as the Chief Operating Officer of Goddard Systems, Inc. in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.”
An anonymous franchise owner wrote to us:
Over the course of the last 3 years, almost the entire corporate team has changed after the new CEO [Dzana Homan ] was hired, and several new hires left after a short tenure. These new hires include a COO and several Franchise Business Consultants, which are supposed to provide support at the school level.
School of Rock Franchise Complaints: Condescension, Bullying
We’ve received complaints that the School of Rock franchisor has adopted a condescending, bullying approach to its relationship with its franchisees.
CEO Dzana Homan allegedly dismantled the School of Rock Franchise Advisory Committee (FAC) and refuses to recognize the Independent Franchisee Association (IFA) formed after she took the helm.
Franchisees who have complained of unfair treatment on Facebook are reportedly “called to the Principal’s office” and admonished by Ms. Homan.
An anonymous franchise owner wrote to us:
…the focus of this management team appears to be on compliance and not in growing the business, with frequent notices of default being sent out for such things as not submitting P&L statements in a timely manner.
…the franchise advisory committee (FAC) was essentially dismantled when the new CEO took over and the Independent Franchisee Association (IFA) formed in 2015 has not been recognized by the franchisor… owners have been contacted by the CEO for speaking out on unfair practices on closed Facebook group forums as well as statements they have made to prospective franchisees, a practice we have coined as ‘being called to the principal’s office’.
Another franchisee wrote:
it’s very disappointing to have such a hostile relationship with the franchisor, especially, the CEO. She goes after franchisees who speak up instead of genuinely seeking to fix problems. We used to work together with corp to fix this stuff but now there is zero concern at the top about franchisees ability to make money.
A School of Rock commenter wrote:
The relationship with the executive management team is not a nurturing one, and is often confrontational, with considerable effort put on compliance and very little on finding ways to make the franchise owners money.
School of Rock Franchise Complaints: Lack of Transparency, Lack of Support
Other complaints received include an understatement of disclosed costs, insufficient franchisee support, and allegations of a competitive, adversarial attitude from the franchisor.
One franchisee complained:
This is a music education business with no product VP – no one in charge of music education, curriculum development or training.
The result, claims franchisee(s), is a reluctance to renew on the part of franchisees:
the franchise disclosure document leaves out a significant cost and management component related to securing copyrighted music for the music that is taught in the schools… the franchisor is pushing other licensing costs onto the franchisees, as well as risk related to securing copyrighted music.
new schools open up with very little support from the corporate team.
There is a competitive nature of corporate not sharing best practices or knowledge gained from corporate owned schools with franchisees, which was one of the reasons for the organization of the IFA.
Renewals have begun in 2015 and 2 schools have closed rather than choosing to renew and 3 have renewed. Several franchisees are looking to sell.
We will reach out as best we can to CEO Dzana Homan, School of Rock executives, franchise owners, and staff for comments, corrections, clarifications, affirmations and/or rebuttals. Please comment below or email us in confirdence at UnhappyFranchisee[at]Gmail.Com.
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