Anatomy of a Franchise: Tutor Doctor

Anatomy of a franchise: TutorDoctor

By Gary Bégin
Kathleen McNalty owns the local Wenatchee franchise of Tutor Doctor.  She began her business in October.
Tutor Doctor education franchises allow a work from home schedule and working from home means little or no overhead. No need to employ staff ...unless you wish to grow.
While other franchisee investment opportunities cost hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, a Tutor Doctor franchise can be started with as little as $50,000, according to McNalty. She offers tutoring services to all ages, K through 12 and college students.
She, however is not the teacher, but the facilitator of teachers who specialize in math, science, languages and assorted other courses.
This is one-on-one tutoring done in your home. The average cost is $43 to $52 per hour, but she offers a better deal on package contracts, which may involve more than one student or subjects or both.
In January, she started classes to help students study for the ACT and SAT tests. According to the official franchise website, it is the "fastest growing education franchise opportunity" with "seven out of 10 consultations closing with an average enrollment value of $2,346 and a 59 percent profit margin," states the promotional material.
The franchise's success is "because we don’t build brick and mortar classrooms for students to sit in." Tutoring is on track to becoming a $128 billion industry by 2020.  Private tutoring franchise is one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide and Tutor Doctor was rated the number one in-home tutoring franchise worldwide by Entrepreneur magazine.
"We believe that every student can learn, but they may learn differently. We help each student discover their learning style and work with them one-to-one to find a solution," states the Tutor Doctor website. The franchise offers "both formal and informal mentorship programs."
"Owning a small business is something I have wanted to do for almost 20 years. I found the corporate world tedious and business ownership appealed to me as an adventure. In 2004 I had a short-lived, very small food business where I produced frozen ready-to-bake scones and cookies. I sold them at farmers’ markets on weekends in Cedar Hills and Tigard, Oregon. That experience taught me how hard it is to start a business from scratch and led me to look at franchises when I turned back to the idea of small business ownership. It’s also where I learned how to create an LLC, write a business plan, comply with regulations (food safety in this case), explore various channels for marketing a product, and develop financial statements. This was a very small venture and there was no capital expense or loans. I simple went back to my day job when I recognized the food industry was extremely competitive with low margins. The good news is I still make the cookie dough and there is always a batch in my freezer ready to bake," McNalty said.
Part of her success so far has been role models in the business world and elsewhere.
"I admire several local women who have created successful businesses. Nancy Grette and Alatheia Riding Center is one. She operates a non-profit, but I like how she has a vision and strategic plan and she is quite accomplished at managing her employees and the large number of volunteers. I admire her unwavering commitment to her cause of enhancing the lives of the disabled through horseback riding. JC Baldwin who created GTC Technical Support, working adeptly in a business dominated by technology geeks when she was not one herself. I don’t personally know these owners, but admire the businesses: Dilly Deli and Tastebuds. As I understand it, neither woman had the background in the food or restaurant industry and both have successful locations. I know how hard that is after my experience in the food industry," McNalty said.
McNalty is a member of the WBPW (Wenatchee Business and Professional Women) and Rotary. She is also a member of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber and is a volunteer coordinator for the Cashmere High School Booster club. She also volunteers two hours a week at the Alatheia Riding Center and is also a mentor to a junior at Westside High School who is one of our Sunrise Rotary scholars. She and her husband Steve have three kids. "Our daughter is 24 and is severely disabled with cerebral palsy. She lives in a nearby group home and rides at Alatheia. We have a 19-year-old who lives and works in Ohio and a 16-year-old who attends Cashmere High School. He is optioned into Cashmere because he wanted to attend a small school," she said.
McNalty wants to give shout-outs to others in town who helped her get started such as Wendy Dal Pez from The Entrepreneur Source, who helped her find the franchise. Gene Sharratt who helped her understand the status of education in Washington State. Gil Sparks who gave her encouragement and shared his vast network of contacts. Sid Morrison, her former boss when she worked on Capitol Hill, who gave her advice on the importance of finding the right tutors. JC Baldwin who gave her advice on staying the course and encouragement to jump into business despite her risk averse nature.
"I have offered services through 10 tutors (up from the original five) and am always looking for more tutors." She will be at Pybus Market Wednesday, Feb. 15 at noon for the Wenatchee Business and Professional Women meeting if you'd like to meet with her. McNalty said she is looking for math and science tutors at this time. Email her at or call 509-886-5599 for more information on helping your student(s) become future Rhodes Scholars ...or at least get closer to that academic pinnacle.

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