Primrose Schools Franchise Owners come from all walks of life, but more than a few come from the world of real estate.
Tobie Simonds and her husband, Dan, are the Franchise Owners of Primrose School of Worthington in Ohio. Prior to opening her school, Tobie worked in marketing at an engineering firm as well as a construction company. Her move to Primrose came, in part, from her job at Four Points Real Estate Development, which focused on build-to-suit leasebacks, primarily for child care centers.
We sat down with Tobie to ask how her previous careers prepared her for owning an early education franchise and what tips she can provide to current real estate professionals.
Why did you choose Primrose versus another franchise?
Simonds: We looked at all of the franchise opportunities and asked, “What’s the best business model?” We didn’t want to make it an emotional decision. As parents, we loved Primrose and our daughter went to one, but we didn’t assume it would make the most financial sense to open one.
We looked at the numbers, the locations that were available, the curriculum and the track record of the company. I also knew from working with Primrose school locations during the building phase that they are easy deals to get financed because Primrose has a proven track record of stability and success.
What has been the best part about working with Primrose Schools?
Simonds: People are very genuine at Primrose. They genuinely care. It’s very much a people-first company. They really follow through on their promises and do what they say they’re going to do.
What lessons learned from your career in real estate have benefitted you as a Franchise Owner?
Simonds: In real estate, you cannot react too quickly. When you do rush a deal, you sometimes realize that you haven’t put together the best deal because you were trying to hurry up and get it done to move on to the next one.
I think that necessary patience has carried over into how I interact with parents and teachers. I put what’s best for the children first and foremost, but I’m also thinking about how we as a school make it work for teachers and parents – keeping all of them happy – while doing what’s best for the children.
Is there anything about early childhood education that makes it especially attractive as part of a multi-tenant project?
Simonds: I have two main reasons for why I think real estate developers and banks should look into early childhood education, and specifically Primrose, as tenants:
- Early childhood education is in great demand. There are more and more dual-income families who need a quality environment for their children to be during the day. They don’t want their children to just be with a babysitter. They want them in a nurturing setting where they’re learning all day long.
- Financing becomes easier. If you’re going to get financed with a package of different tenants or prospective tenants, it will look good to a bank to have a Primrose school because of the strength of the schools in the system. My husband and I had never owned our own business prior to this, and financing was not the difficult part of getting off the ground, because banks like the child care business model, in general, but they really like Primrose.
If you could give other real estate professionals one piece of advice, what would it be?
Simonds: There are plenty of daycare options for people, but options for high-quality early childhood education may be lacking. I’ve worked with several different brands, and not all child care providers are equal. And I’m not just trying to sell you on Primrose. There are plenty of quality brands out there, but make sure you do your due diligence before signing.