Your questions, answered.
FAQ – Australian Franchises
Do you only have new franchise territories available or are there any existing franchisees looking to sell their franchise businesses?
From time to time existing businesses come up for sale – please contact us if this is of interest to you and we will let you know if there are any current franchisees with plans to sell.
Yes of course. We have an open-door policy. Please get in touch with us first, so we can make the introduction and you are expected, as we do not allow strangers into our classrooms. As part of your training, you will buddy train with various teachers, which will help you build your teaching confidence. You will find your own teaching style after observing and participating in various situations.
Successful candidates will have a marketing training session with the Mini Maestros Marketing Manager who will explain what advertising and marketing resources are available and discuss and demonstrate our national marketing plans and methodologies. All franchisees have their own dedicated Facebook location page for each venue, and we have various step-by-step guides to help you with your local marketing. Flyers and posters are provided by our collective marketing fund. Full guidance is provided on how to launch your business if you are buying a new territory. All franchisees’ classes are automatically listed on our website.
We provide full guidance on this, and you will receive training on the subject at the appropriate time. A franchisee is responsible for advertising for, and the first interview of, potential teachers using our templates and interview guides Once you have found someone you like, you then send him or her to us for further assessment. Once approved, they attend regular training at Head Office. As part of your initial access and training investment when buying a Mini Maestros Franchise you can send as many (approved) employee teachers to be trained with us at no extra cost (apart form you paying them their training employee wage) so long as they attend our regular training times, which are in the school holidays and the afternoon of the 5th Friday of each term.
Mini Maestros franchisees come from all walks of life and with a variety of prior experience, and just as a formal musical education is not necessary, neither is a track record in business. When assessing candidates, we look for a good cross-section of skills. Prior experience in teaching, early childhood care, business, administration or customer service is looked on favorably. Many people come to franchising precisely because they have no prior business experience and wish to partner with a team who do have a long-established history of business success. Full training and support is given on the Mini Maestros business model. Candidates are required to demonstrate some acumen on how you will organize and manage the general and local business issues that you may face.
As well as the regular weekly classes are there other ways to generate income within the business model?
Yes – ELC sessions, student equipment sales, parties, end of year concerts and other one-off events all generate additional revenue and franchisees have the right to engage in all of these opportunities once training is completed.
The territory is a defined geographical area in which one franchisee exclusively runs classes, conducts ELC sessions and undertakes marketing. No other franchisee is allowed to do these things in your territory. You can set up as many venues and teach at as many ELC’s in your territory as you like. Our franchise territories are determined having regard to local population demographics including the number of children under the age of 5 and natural or built boundaries. Population information is based on the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Census figures, available at http://www.abs.gov.au/ Our territories generally contain between 3,000-4,000 children under the age of 5. If you are in rural or regional area, your territory may be quite large to make up the numbers you require from the smaller surrounding towns subject to what is practical in terms of commuting to classes. If the makeup of a rural or regional area is such that the normal population size cannot be practically achieved then we can discuss a reduced territory option.
Each year our four teaching terms line up with normal school terms and so regular weekly classes usually go for 39-40 weeks a year. Occasionally due to personal circumstances – such as a planned family holiday – a franchisee may run a shorter term than normal. Some franchisees also run free come and try demonstration days in the school holidays. Demonstrations in the school holidays are highly recommended as an effective way of growing one’s business but are not a mandatory for franchisees.
Yes. It is possible to run a Mini Maestros business as a joint franchisee with a partner. It can be a good thing to work with someone you know and trust where you bring complementary skills and time commitments to the table. We have had, and also currently have very successful partnerships in a variety of configurations such as two sisters or a husband and wife as joint franchisees. Also, sometimes our franchisees employ their partner or a family member as a teacher or office manager.
You do not need any form of formal musical education, although if you plan to be the teacher, you will need a tuneful signing voice, a good sense of pitch, a strong interest in music and passion for the educational and developmental benefits of music in early childhood education. Having a music degree is always looked favorably on when assessing candidates, but it is not a mandatory requirement.
Within your territory, as many as you like!
Mini Maestros do not offer finance packages but for brand new franchises we do offer an option to pay the 5 year territory fee year by year, which means that instead of paying $11,000 upfront for the 5 years (training and access fee $5500 and territory fee $5500), you can pay the training and access fee of $5,500 and just the first year of the territory fee ($1,100) reducing the initial outlay for the purchase of the franchise to $6,600 instead of $11,000. After that the territory fee is paid year by year at an indexed rate. This can make the initial start-up more achievable for some. Note that additional funds are required to cover the costs of running a franchise until revenue has built up.
Is there a fee for ongoing training once the initial training is finished? Are training manuals included in this initial fee or are they extra?
No there is no fee for ongoing training. The upfront fee covers initial and ongoing training and also includes training for any employee teachers attending our normal scheduled training sessions you take on during the life of your franchise. Training manuals are provided to any franchisee or employee teacher who undertakes our training at no extra cost. Training manuals must be returned at the end of a franchise term or upon a teacher ceasing employment.
Yes, royalties are paid on a franchisee’s gross revenue – ie all revenue related to Mini Maestros such as enrolment fees, student equipment sales, early learning centre fees, concert tickets, birthday party bookings (less the GST in that revenue for franchisees who are registered for GST). Royalties are 10% plus GST of gross revenue excluding GST. If a franchisee runs non-Mini Maestros classes, such as piano tuition or singing lessons for older children, that is separate and not considered Mini Maestros related income, even if the students are previous Mini Maestros students.
You don’t need an ABN before signing, but you’ll need it before trading.
As much as you like in order to feel comfortable before running your own classes. It is advisable to buddy train with 2 or 3 different teachers, so you can see different styles, and find your own way within our supportive environment, before taking your own classes.
We expect that the franchisees we take on have a long-term view of their business. Like any new business the first 18 months are the hardest as you need to build up your numbers and become familiar with and skilled in the service you are offering; the right effort will lead to a successful and rewarding franchise. Franchisees need to come on board with a mindset to succeed rather than simply “giving it a try”. That being said, if your circumstances change and you wish to cease being a franchisee, there is no refund of territory fee, but the sale of your franchise to another is possible subject to finding a purchaser and us approving the purchaser. If you opted in for the “pay by the year” option, you would be required to pay out the remaining years on your territory upon selling. You would include the territory fee paid for the remaining years of your franchise in your sale price. For example, if selling after 3 years there would be 2 years left on the franchise agreement to sell. The sale prices achieved for established franchises reflect the size of the income stream that has been built up in the franchise. For example, a franchisee in its fifth year that has 190 students will be worth more than a franchisee in its fifth year with 150 students. When selling a franchisee, the selling franchisee must pay the franchisor’s costs. There are currently $770 for preparation of documentation and assessment of the suitability of the buyer, and if the Franchisor has found the buyer of the franchise, a commission of $1,100. In addition to the purchase price, the incoming franchisee must pay the franchisor’s $5,500 training and access fee.
A Mini Maestros franchise opportunity should be evaluated on the basis of the 5-year term. Continuation after the 5 years is a matter for negotiation between the franchisor and the franchisee. If the franchisee doesn’t want to continue at the end of their term there is no obligation to do so. If they wish to continue then they need to purchase a further term from the franchisor. If the franchisee has been successful and the franchisor and franchisee have enjoyed a sound relationship, then it is likely that the franchise will be renewed. The cost of a further term is currently $1,100 a year.
We have a set and sequential program and each teacher can choose their activities for each lesson based on our lesson guides. The teacher will then use their skills and experience to extend our set activities where appropriate and according to the needs of each class. It’s like purchasing a curriculum that you then deliver in your best way possible. You have freedom to best apply your skills and style within our framework.
To maximise financial return we recommend our franchisees aim to teach at least 5 mornings a week and conduct some afternoon ELC sessions. 5 mornings a week with all age groups and reasonably full classes equates to around 150 students. A franchisee teaching around 150 students, conducting 4 ELC sessions a week and incurring the normal costs associated with a well-established franchise can expect an income before tax of around $70,000 for 39 teaching weeks a year (this is for part time hours, around 30 hours of work per week). Some marketing and enrolment administration is required during the school holidays between terms.
One-off extra costs:
- Around $2,000 for the complete teacher’s kit for each age group. The kit is built up over the first year of teaching. Some teachers save money by making up some of the kit by hand.
- Around $250 for signage for each venue (recommended).
- Around $250 for car signage (recommended).
Ongoing costs include:
- Approximately $700 a year for public liability insurance.
- Royalties of 10% (plus GST) of gross receipts (gross receipts does not include any GST collected by the franchisee).
- The upfront wholesale cost of student equipment (on-sold by franchisees at retail prices to students).
- $233 per month for collective marketing.
- Local marketing costs.
- Venue rental for classes typically $20-30 per hour, for various community halls. Alternatively, you may consider using one dedicated location for all your classes.
The training package comprises the following:
- New and ongoing teacher training (Mini Maestros philosophy, musical skills, classroom management).
- Program training (learning the repertoire, three training sessions per term for the first 12 months).
- Buddy training in first classes.
- Administration training.
- Marketing training.
- Ongoing refresher training (highly recommended but not compulsory unless particular issues have been identified), (held once a term).
- Annual workshop for all teachers and franchisees.
Yes. In essence, the Marketing Fund is for marketing campaigns and resources that benefit all franchisees (such as Facebook ads, Google AdWords, kids directory listings, advertising templates and web upgrades). Franchisees must also conduct their own local marketing. Local marketing is more of an investment in time (ie doing free demonstration classes and promoting the demos) rather than a financial investment, although buying signage (with artwork provided by the Marketing Fund) and running local paid advertising is a recommended option. We give guidance and support in such matters.
This varies from year to year based on trends and requirements. The Marketing Manager will make suggestions but ultimately the Fund spend is decided by the franchisees. Expenditure includes: back-end systems (web maintenance and customer relationship management software) social media management, tools and advertising, printing of flyers and posters for franchisees, design work, magazine print advertising, Google AdWords, digital directory partner listings, banner ads, video production, TV and radio advertising and customer app development and maintenance. Every dollar spent is aimed to equally benefit all franchisees.
While some new customers will be generated by simply listing your classes on our website and your classes being part of our Marketing Fund campaigns, the total amount of new leads will be very much influenced by the amount of effort you put into your local marketing. It also depends on the time of year with the start of the year and the start of each term being the periods when potential customer interest is greatest.
Our territories are big enough that franchisees (and the franchisor through its own classes) do not compete for customers. Customers will make their choice from all classes on offer based on location, day and time. Franchisees actively cooperate to refer customers to each other and generally we find that the more classes there are in a region, the greater our brand awareness and the more all franchisees benefit from their collective efforts.
You can schedule your classes to meet your requirements, so normally a franchisee will not schedule classes at a time when they want to go away unless they have an employee teacher to run their classes for them. For example, they may cut a teaching term short by one week so they have a 3-week break between terms, rather than a 2-week break. Head Office generally does not supply fill in teachers for planned time off. Occasionally Head Office may be able to supply an emergency teacher but only if there is an existing teacher available who does not have any regular scheduled work at the relevant time and is otherwise available.
No, but we recommend building to a point where classes are 5 mornings a week with around 30 or more students a morning in order to maximise the sustainability of the franchise through word of mouth and to be at a point where a good income is earned after payment of all costs.
Who owns the intellectual property? What if I develop my own processes and teaching materials? Who will own the IP to my developments?
The franchisor owns the intellectual property. A franchisee may develop their own teaching skills and techniques in the teaching of our program but is obliged to follow our processes and teaching materials. Additional teaching materials may not be introduced to our classes.
Please see https://www.minimaestros.com.au/find/all-class-locations/ for a listing of all locations.
Failure is subjective. Our franchisees come from different walks of life and have different aspirations for the teaching of music to young children. While some actively work every day to grow their franchises and teach in excess of 200 students, others will be happy with less than 50 students. As a business proposition, having less than 100 students is not a successful long-term business outcome. Our Franchise Disclosure Document sets out movement in franchises over the last few years.
We provide the disclosure document once a franchisee candidate has attended our office and met with our Managing Director and/or Music Director and we have determined that the candidate appears to have the attributes necessary to be an effective franchisee. The candidate is then presented with the disclosure document, form of Franchise Agreement, indicative financial model and proposed territory map.
Not physically, but we will give you guidelines and suggestions as to what to look for and would be happy to review photos/maps/description of any location to discuss its suitability with you.
Will you help to negotiate my lease for the venues where I wish to run classes? Who will hold head lease?
Franchisees are responsible for directly securing leases or licences of the venues they use for classes. The franchisor will offer advice on location and appropriate terms and individual issues, but will not get involved in negotiating these.
A teaching kit will need to be replenished over time as instruments get damaged or look tired. We recommend a well-established franchisee allows up to $500 a year for maintenance/enhancement of their teaching kit.
Public liability insurance for $20,000,000. The cost of this is around $700 a year.
Yes, for 1 year after ceasing to be a franchisee. It applies within 5km of the territory and restricts soliciting former employees or customers.
What is the fee structure for each student? Are there different schemes or is it one amount across the board?
The franchisor recommends pricing which is followed by all franchisees with the occasional difference only. The price varies according to age group and the number of classes to be attended. Fees for a student on first enrolling are higher as they acquire their starter pack, which is then used in subsequent terms in the same age group level. We will take you through the price list at our interview – meanwhile refer to https://www.minimaestros.com.au/pricing/