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The best child care franchises of 2024

September 15th, 2023 By Emily Norwood

Once you’ve decided to invest in a childcare franchise, how do you choose the right one? With so many options available, and more coming to market every year, determining which will meet your investment needs while providing the best experience for families and children can be a challenge.

Strong childcare franchises rely on excellent care, continuous enrichment, flexible programs for various ages and needs, and strong financials to ensure a successful business venture. 

Our top childcare franchises of 2024 exemplify this commitment to whole child support and strong business structures. Each offers unique services and advantages, while also offering a chance for franchisees to make a difference in their community while building a thriving business. 

In this post, we cover:

  • What makes an exemplary childcare franchise
  • Why investors should consider the childcare sector
  • The best childcare franchises of 2024

Let’s get started!

What makes an exemplary childcare franchise?

Modern childcare facilities go far beyond the child-minders of decades past. Contemporary childcare centers double as student enrichment programs. These facilities give parents and guardians the peace of mind of a safe, high-quality environment paired with enrichment and nurturing to foster whole-student learning from the earliest stages of development. 

When researching franchises, look for options that meet all the following criteria: 

Child-to-teacher ratio

An educational format supporting low child-to-teacher ratios creates a more focused environment and provides ample opportunity for each student to learn. This enables teachers to provide individualized instruction, foster a better understanding of the material, and create more personalized experiences for students. Smaller class sizes also allow more space for collaboration and group activities that can help children develop social skills. Look for a franchise with a reasonable ratio based on age, activities, and curriculum. 

Curriculum and technology

Many childcare franchises also offer enrichment options for the children in their care. Technology equips staff with the tools and materials needed to create rich student learning experiences during the day. The franchise should offer its owners high-quality enrichment materials with age-appropriate content and technology to support student growth. This enables personalized instruction tailored to individuals, which leads to higher client satisfaction and better growth opportunities.

Recruitment/enrichment support

Building a childcare business requires time and effort in recruitment and hiring. Marketing must meet a two-pronged need for enrollment and staff hiring. Look for a program that provides resources and training to build a thriving childcare center with caring, professional staff. Also, find a franchise that supports its owners through extensive marketing and recruitment for enrollment.

Network availability

Highly rated childcare centers are in high demand despite their seemingly plentiful options. Look for a network that offers owners room to grow their business. This means offering wide geographic areas between locations and availability to scale to multiple locations within the network. Even in areas where other childcare centers exist, partnering with a strong franchise can give owners a competitive edge and ensure a strong potential enrollment market.

Why invest in childcare centers?

Childcare centers offer a unique opportunity for business owners to provide valuable services to their communities while enjoying healthy earning potential. According to a May 2023 report from Research and Markets, the global child daycare services market grew from $289.09 billion in 2022 to $290.87 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.6%. By 2027, the child daycare services market is expected to reach $384.44 billion at a CAGR of 7.2%.

With the rising cost of childcare, families are looking for quality, reliable early childhood development and resources that they can trust. Investing in a franchise provides the extra resources necessary to ensure that children have access to a safe and nurturing environment that can help them reach their full potential. 

By investing in an established network with strong marketing and recruitment capabilities, it is easier for owners to expand their businesses and support more families. This is especially beneficial in areas with fewer childcare options available. Finally, owning a childcare center provides franchise owners with an excellent investment opportunity as demand grows for quality early learning programs.

The right franchise and location can provide plentiful growth opportunities in an industry that makes a positive impact on individual children and the community in which they live. 

The best childcare franchises of 2024

We’ve compiled a list of the best franchises serving the early childcare industry. Each of these brands brings together strong marketing, financials, curriculum, and franchisee support to create growth opportunities for owners and their enrolled students.

Lightbridge Academy

Lightbridge Academy is a leading childcare franchise providing safe and nurturing early learning environments for children from six weeks to 12 years old. Founded in 1997, Lightbridge has grown rapidly to more than 70 locations across the United States. Each of these provides safe, high-quality care that fosters each child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. Lightbridge Academy provides an educational program called the Circle of Care, which brings together staff, parents, community, and franchise owners to support child growth. The centers offer age-appropriate activities like music time, playtime, language arts, math activities, and more. Also, Lightbridge offers parents real-time access to their child’s daily activities with the innovative ParentView® Internet Monitoring app.

Fast facts:

  • Locations: 70+ open, 70+ in development
  • Founded: 1997
  • Franchised: 2011
  • Franchise fee: $40,000
  • Startup cost: $621K–$1M
  • EBITDA: $2.4M

Kiddie Academy

Kiddie Academy is a full-service educational childcare facility that provides a safe and nurturing environment for children aged six weeks to 12 years old. The facility offers year-round care, including preschool and early childhood education for grades pre-K to age 12, summer camps, and virtual learning programs. Kiddie Academy’s experienced teachers and caregivers provide personalized attention in a secure learning environment through the Life Essentials™ curriculum program. All staff members are CPR-certified and carefully selected to promote the development of every child throughout their journey. 

Fast facts:

  • Locations: 306
  • Founded:1981
  • Franchised:1992
  • Franchise fee: $65,000–$145,000
  • Startup cost: $370K–$825K
  • EBITDA: $2M

Primrose School

Primrose School childcare centers are dedicated to providing an educational and nurturing environment for children from infants to private elementary school-aged students with its Primrose Balanced Learning® approach. The centers offer a variety of programs to fit the needs of all children, from full-day programs, specialized enrichment for ages five to 12, and a part-time Go & Grow™ program. 

Fast facts:

  • Locations: 500+
  • Founded:1982
  • Franchised:1988
  • Franchise fee: $80,000
  • Startup cost: $651K–$8.4M
  • EBITDA: $2.5M

Creative World School

Creative World School daycare and enrichment centers provide quality early education for children from infants to elementary-age students. It focuses on offering a well-rounded, balanced education through its Exploratorium™ curriculum. It offers full-time care and curriculum programs, after-school programs, and summer camps that provide care and enrichment to support students and their families. The schools also offer iSTEAM science and arts specialty education to help students develop their skills as lifelong learners. 

Fast facts:

  • Locations: 29
  • Founded: 1970
  • Franchised: 2000
  • Franchise fee: $80,000
  • Startup cost: $4.8M–$9.2M
  • EBITDA: $2.2M

The Goddard School

The Goddard School provides an award-winning learning environment for children from six weeks to six years old. It focuses on developing the whole child through its proprietary Fun Learning Experience (FLEX) curriculum, which enriches each student’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Goddard’s commitment to excellence has earned it recognition as one of the top early education programs in the United States. With nearly 600 schools in 35 states and Washington D.C., the Goddard School is dedicated to providing a safe and nurturing environment for all children regardless of ability or background. 

Fast facts:

  • Locations: 598
  • Founded: 1986
  • Franchised: 1988
  • Franchise fee: $135,000 
  • Startup cost: $4.3M–$7.6M
  • EBITDA: $2.1M

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Explore More Profitable Franchise Opportunities

If you’re considering expanding your business horizons, read on to learn about the most profitable franchise opportunities in each industry. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned veteran in the franchise world, our curated selection will guide you toward making an informed decision. 

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