Start a STEM CLUB
Download Our Free Guides
How much money will it cost? You can launch a STEM program for $500 or less.
How much money can I make? It’s entirely up to you. Will you teach classes, or summer camps, or both? Will you also do birthday parties? Will you bring your programs into schools, or rent space, or teach in your kitchen? You could offer a STEM class at your house for six neighborhood kids, charge $10/student and make $60/class. You could teach classes afterschool at your local elementary or preschool and charge $15/student/week. You could rent space in a church, hold summer camps for 20+ kids, charge $150/student and make $3000+/week. Or you could open a full-blown science center with hundreds of students and earn $10,000+/week. Anything is possible.
Are you offering to sell me a franchise? No. Curiosity Zone is a content, curriculum and training company. You can leverage our curriculum and training to power your company, but you will name, build and run your own program as you see fit.
But shouldn't I just buy a franchise? Perhaps you should. Buying a franchise means you buy into an existing system where much of the business has already been created for you. The franchisor will provide the business name and system to you, and provide training and ongoing support as you build out your franchise according to their specifications. The upside is that you don't have to figure out as much by yourself. The downside is that a franchise requires a large investment of time and money, and you will have far less freedom to set your own schedule, pursue your own interests or be creative. Want to take the summer off? Probably not. Want to stop working on your business while you have a baby? Probably not. Want to focus only on robotics, or summer camps, or birthday parties? Probably not. Also, there is also no guarantee that the business will work, so there is a fair amount of risk.
For one of the larger STEM franchises, you will pay an upfront franchise fee of $20,000-50,000+, then be required to invest another large sum to get your business off the ground, because you have to build it the way they say to build it. After that, you will be required to pay royalties every year to the franchisor in the 6-8% range. These royalties are almost always calculated on “gross” income – which means you will pay a percentage of the total amount of money you take in, not the amount left over after you pay for expenses. For example, if you have $100,000 in revenues, you will have to write a check for $6000+ to your franchisor at the end of the year, regardless of whether you had any actual profits after expenses are subtracted. In other words, you could lose money and still owe money to the franchisor.
Why are franchises so much more expensive than what you say the startup costs are? That is a good question, and one we've aked ourselves. We really don't know. Our best guess is that you are paying for a lot of ongoing hand-holding and support, and the draw of a brand name. It is true that you could spend tens of thousands of dollars starting a science program even if you don't buy a franchise -- it's really up to you and your business plan. But after working in this space for 14+ years, we have come to the conclusion that no one really cares about fancy brands. In fact, when Curiosity Zone first opened, we had lots of calls looking for "something new" because that big intermational science brand wasn't doing such a great job. What parents are looking for is a high-quality program taught by enthusiastic teachers that will get their kids excited. If you can do this, the rest will fall into place, regardless of how much money you spend on getting it going. That's why we have adopted our model -- we like to think of it as franchising deconstructed. We believe most people just need a bit of guidance and some proven programming, and they can take it to the finish line. And we'd much rather see 100 programs get started for $500 than a single program get started for $50,000.