Tutor Doctor

Tutor Doctor

Tutor Doctor continues to expand its reach worldwide while preparing for a future with virtual reality

and other technological advancements to remain the industry leader.

By Janice Hoppe

Tutor Doctor is working to take in-home tutoring to the next level with state-of-the-art technology that it expects will make the brand a household name worldwide. “The marketplace and our society is changing so rapidly; technology is evolving so rapidly, and we know that will have a big impact on our business,” President Frank Milner says. “We are making sure we are on the leading-edge so we invest a lot in technology. We really keep our pulse on what’s happening in the way of technological advances and how we as an organization can capitalize on those things.”

The Toronto-based company began as an innovator in the industry by offering something no other tutoring service did at the time: in-home tutoring. Ten years ago, parents were expected to chauffeur their children across town to sit in another classroom-type setting, which was not convenient for parents nor did the environment help the students learn.Tutor Doctor fact box

“It occurred to us that the biggest way we could help these struggling students was to make it as easy on them as we made it on their parents,” the company says. “We met students in their homes, on their schedules and priced it so that not only wealthy families could afford the educational advantage tutoring offered.”

Tutor Doctor began franchising in 2003 after its business model became a success. Milner saw great potential in the company and acquired Tutor Doctor in 2007, making improvements in training, operations and technology along the way. “We relaunched in 2008, sold our first franchise under the ‘new 2008 model’ and haven’t looked back since,” he says. “We have enjoyed some stellar growth since that time.”

Today, Tutor Doctor has 232 franchisees that operate more than 450 territories in 16 countries. “We have come a long way since those early days in 2008 and it’s been terrific,” Milner adds. “And we are just getting started.”

Key Differentiators

Tutor Doctor was named the No. 1 in-home tutoring franchise worldwide by Entrepreneur Magazine. Its low-cost startup with low overhead model requires no build-out, leases, equipment or inventory and a franchisee can be up and running in fewer than 60 days. “It’s also a great lifestyle business,” Milner says. “We attract people to our system that perhaps want to build a lifestyle business because they have a young family and want a good work/life balance. Because of the way the business is structured, it’s not 9 to 5 and really allows them to enjoy the lifestyle they want.”

In addition to the operational benefits, Milner says Tutor Doctor is a rewarding business because it truly helps students and makes a difference in their lives. “The biggest gift that students come away from the program with is the confidence that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to,” he explains. “Kids come in struggling and suffering in silence, thinking they aren’t smart enough and won’t amount to anything. Working with Tutor Doctor, they come out with new confidence that they can learn, grow and achieve. To see that kind of change take place in a child is amazing.”

Tutor Doctor achieves these results through its “magical match” process that pairs the student with the right tutor. The company’s matching process takes into consideration not only what subject the student is struggling with, but also their learning style and personality. “It’s one thing to have the subject matter knowledge but it’s quite another thing to have the ability to connect with that student,” Milner says. “If tutors really connect with the students, that’s when real learning can take place. That’s a very big differentiator for us. We have a saying: ‘It is one thing to make a dollar but another thing to also make a difference.’”

All tutors are vetted by franchisees, undergoing an extensive background check. Although the company does attract a lot of franchisees and tutors from the education industry, it is not a requirement. “We will teach them everything they need to know to run a great business,” Milner adds. “We have a great culture at Tutor Doctor. We enjoy a really great community of franchisees who work very closely together, collaborate together and share resources with one another. We want to attract franchisees that fit into this kind of environment so we can grow our individual businesses and grow the Tutor Doctor brand at the same time. It’s an exciting opportunity that can help a lot of students.”

Rapidly Evolving

Tutor Doctor has big goals as an organization and is focused on integrating the latest technology that will allow it to expand even further. Virtual reality is rapidly evolving and Tutor Doctor sees it playing a big role in the future of the company. “Imagine a time when we can have a student sitting at a desk in their bedroom and a tutor sitting at their desk in their home and them meeting in a virtual classroom,” Milner says. “Years ago that was a pipe dream; today it is a reality.”

The company will be adopting virtual reality technology as it becomes mainstream and affordable. Today, the company is developing Tutor Doctor On Call, an app that will bring on-demand tutoring to the marketplace. “We are developing our version of an ‘Uber tutor’ application right now,” Milner says. “We don’t see this replacing our core business, but see there being significant opportunity with our network of more than 20,000 tutors. This is the sort of technology we see playing into Tutor Doctor’s future.”



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