While the coronavirus epidemic has certainly negatively impacted many businesses, it’s also opening up opportunities for people looking to start something new with more economic stability.

The education industry (of which tutoring is a lucrative niche) is one that parents will continue to prioritize over luxury expenses like dining out or shopping because nothing’s more important than their child’s preparation for the future. The industry saw 6.8% average growth from 2014 to 2019, with few signs of slowing down.

Looking for more information about how to start a tutoring business right now? Consider the fact that the majority of schools in the U.S. switched to virtual learning during lockdown, and most struggled to maintain the rigorous curriculum they otherwise would have had in the classrooms. We don’t yet know what the impact will be when children resume school in the fall, and many will likely have some catching up to do. That’s where tutoring businesses will thrive.

Now that you’re convinced that starting a tutoring business is the right move for you, the big question is whether you should start one from scratch or buy into an established franchise. There are benefits to each side, so weigh the decision carefully.

Opening an independent tutoring business means you have the ability to shape the program however you want. Know that you may be required to adhere to school curriculum or testing guidelines, and you may even need to get certified to offer tutoring for certain standardized tests. The drawback to going independent is that you aren’t a known entity the way a franchise who has a longstanding reputation in this space would be.

Opening a tutoring franchise, on the other hand, gives you a tried and true system for tutoring students. Because the groundwork has been laid, you can focus on getting your franchise up and running rather than researching requirements and certifications you need to get started. You’ll also benefit from the brand’s marketing. Most franchises do an excellent job of creating brand recognition at the national level. Your job will be to make a splash locally.

Every business owner, franchisee or otherwise, has to determine how they want to be involved with the business. Do you want to immerse yourself in tutoring students one on one? Or are you more interested in managing the administrative aspects of the business, hiring and training tutors, marketing the business, and managing your finances?

Your experience in education may help you answer whether you want to be in the trenches, so to speak, in your tutoring business. If you don’t have a great deal of background in education or tutoring, you may prefer to step away from that role and hire skilled professionals for the job.

Starting a business requires capital. In addition to covering your franchise fee and startup costs like remodeling and equipment, you’ll also need enough cash to cover three months or so of operations.

One mistake many business owners make is assuming they’ll instantly be profitable. That’s not always the case. Many overlook those unseen expenses like marketing, inventory, and advertising…oh, and you haven’t paid yourself yet! You, in addition to your staff, need to take a paycheck, even if it’s small to start with.

Consider how you could finance your tutoring franchise. Do you have money set aside to cover these expenses, or would you qualify for a small business loan? Getting a plan for how you’ll fund your business ahead of time can guide you to the right tutoring business ownership opportunity.

If you go the franchise route, you’ll want to find the franchise that resonates with you. Do you want to target a particular age group of students? Do you want to offer college test prep? Would you like a franchise with educational accreditation?

Once you narrow your list of potential franchises, spend time asking questions of each brand. Remember: they’re looking for a good fit in you as a franchisee as much as you are looking for the right brand to join, so the relationship needs to be a good one.

Ask to speak with existing franchisees so you can get a bead on what the brand is like to work with. Are they supportive of franchisees and ready to answer any questions? Are existing franchisees turning a decent profit?

Spend time reading the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) to get data on other franchisees and revenue potential, as well as to understand what your franchising relationship would look like.

To get a sense of what it’s like to work with this franchise, you may be invited to visit corporate headquarters. At Huntington, we invite all potential franchisees to Team Huntington Day, where they meet members of the Huntington management team and learn more about the brand.

Once you’ve found the perfect fit, you’ll sign the franchise agreement. Now comes the fun part!

The franchisor will guide you in building your tutoring business to its specifications, and may even help you identify the best site for your location. You’ll be trained on franchise-specific processes and learn how to hire and train the best tutors for your franchise.

The franchisor will assist you in preparing for opening day, and when it arrives, they’ll be on hand to ensure it’s ready to grow.

Huntington provides support to franchisees throughout the life of the relationship, from pre-opening support and training to marketing, field and operational support, and technology support.

Starting a tutoring business can be a lot easier—not to mention less risky—when you join forces with a franchise system that’s known in the industry.