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SYLVAN LEARNING Franchise: A Great Business to Own?

Sylvan Learning  franchise owners operate a SYLVAN-branded learning center with a system designed for specialized assessment and teaching of individualized educational programs for children in the principal areas of reading mathematics writing and test preparation.   Is the Sylvan Learning franchise a great business to own?  What should those considering this investment know about Sylvan and its franchise opportunity?  See what others are saying and share your opinions below.

Sylvan Learning(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  Sylvan Learning  franchise owners operate a SYLVAN-branded learning center with a system designed for specialized assessment and teaching of individualized educational programs for children in the principal areas of reading mathematics writing and test preparation

According to Sylvan franchise marketing:

With more than 35 years of experience and more than 750 locations [no longer accurate – ADMIN] throughout North America, Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of personal learning for students in grades K-12. As the leader in supplemental education, Sylvan is transforming how students learn, inspiring them to succeed in school and in life. Sylvan’s proven tutoring approach blends amazing teachers with SylvanSync™ technology on the iPad® for an engaging learning experience. Sylvan also leads the way with Sylvan EDGE – STEM and accelerated courses and Sylvan Prep – college and test prep courses. From tutoring, to enrichment, to getting into college, Sylvan supports families throughout every stage of the academic journey.

According to the 2015 Sylvan Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), “The total investment necessary to begin operation of a Sylvan and SylvanSync business is $89,368 to $191 874 This includes $44,731 to $50,731 that must be paid” to Sylvan or an affiliate

Is a Sylvan Learning  franchise a great business to own?  Are Sylvan franchisees successful… and happy?  What are the potential pros and cons of owning a Sylvan Learning  franchise?

We invite those familiar with the Sylvan Learning franchise program (franchisees, instructors, franchise or corporate employees, parents, educators) to share their opinions – positive and negative – with a comment below.

Anonymous comments are welcome; however, please use a valid email address (won’t be publicly visible).

Sylvan Learning Franchise Advantages – Opinions Invited

What benefits can those investing in a Sylvan Learning franchise expect?  Here’s what the company claims.

Best Known Brand in Education.  Sylvan claims:

Sylvan Learning franchises enjoy 94% brand awareness — the strongest in the tutoring industry.

Digital Learning Innovation.  Sylvan’s website states:

The Sylvan brand moves easily from our physical centers and satellite locations to our online and mobile platforms. As an innovator in digital learning solutions, Sylvan is everywhere today’s families expect us to be. What does this mean for our franchisees? You have an exciting and appealing story to share with families.

Growth Opportunities.  The Sylvan website states:

Did you know that the top 20 percent of Sylvan Learning Centers grossed an average of $522,3375 in sales per center in 2012? While we can’t guarantee the ROI for any of our centers due to all the variables, we can share why our franchisees believe investing in Sylvan is an educated business decision.

Do you know of other benefits of owning a Sylvan Learning franchise? Share a comment below.

Sylvan Franchise Potential Disadvantages – And Red Flags?

Do you know of potential disadvantages of the Sylvan Learning franchise program?  Please share below.

It appears that Sylvan Learning has been through some rought times – and may have more hard times ahead.

Item 20 of the 2015 Sylvan Learning Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) reveals potential red flags regarding Sylvan Learning closings and franchisee turnover.

At the start of 2012, Sylvan had 672 U.S. franchise outlets.  By the end of 2014, there were just 552 outlets.

That’s a net loss of 120 franchise locations, and a decline of 18%.

In the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, there were a total of 802 franchise agreements.  Nearly 1/3 (31%) of those Sylvan franchise agreements were either terminated, or ended in closure or transfer to a new franchise owner.

Franchise Turnover








Closed or




599 585 552 802 250 31.17%
Centers Terminated 28
Non-renewals 0
Reacquired by franchisor 3
Ceased Operations – other reasons 163
Transferred to new owners* 56


* In some cases, a transfer could mean a franchise was sold at a profit, but it often means that an owner exited the system at a loss.

What are the disadvantages of the Sylvan franchise?

Why does it appear that a high percentage of Sylvan franchisees exit the system before completing the term of their franchise agreements?

Tutoring Franchises Average a High 25.52% Turnover Rate

Unfortunately, it appears that the entire tutoring services and supplemental education segment of the franchise industry is suffering from high franchisee turnover.

The ten largest franchises in this segment average 25.52% turnover, with several (Tutor Doctor, Sylvan, & Club Z) exceeding 30%.

Tutoring Franchise

Turnover Rates*



Closed or




Kumon 20.52% Eye Level 22.6%
Sylvan 31.17% Tutor Doctor 31.8%
Club Z 30.71% LearningRx 26.95%
Mathnasium 17% JEI Learning Centers 20.23%
Huntington 28.9% The Tutoring Center 25.33%

Are tutoring franchises – in general – not thriving in today’s marketplace?

Is the tutoring market overbuilt and saturated with tutoring franchises?

Should prospective franchisees stay away from education franchises in general?

Share your opinion below.  Company responses, clarifications and corrections are invited and encouraged.

Data Sources for Sylvan and other tutoring franchises are the 2015 Franchise Disclosure Documents, or FDDS, of the respective companies.




Is the KUMON Franchise a Great Business to Own?

HUNTINGTON Franchise: Is it a Great Business to Own?

Is the EYE LEVEL LEARNING Franchise a Great Business to Own?





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