Tutoring service aims for title

Priya Mani studies a book, at the Reno Best in Class franchise, she co-manages with her husband, Mani.

Priya Mani studies a book, at the Reno Best in Class franchise, she co-manages with her husband, Mani.

A few years ago, Priya Mani was looking for a job, but what she found was a chance to manage her own business.

Mani had emigrated from her native India with her family after her husband, , found a job in the United States. They eventually took up residence in the Carson City area, where they lived for the past decade.

For a time, Mani served as homemaker and tended to the couple’s young children while her husband tended to his career. Eventually, she decided it was time to find her own place in the workforce and set out to find a job of her own, with a desire to work in the education field.

So Mani looked at various career avenues including Internet sites. While perusing the Web, she came across an advertisement offering a franchising opportunity for Best in Class, a national K-12 tutoring service that was looking to expand into the northern Nevada market.

Mani thought it was a good opportunity; particularly because she wanted to find a way to supplement her own children’s education. Mani herself has a bachelor’s degree in commerce from a university in her native India, and felt education was important to pass along for her kids.

“We emailed them and got some info on how (the franchise) works and went from there,” Mani said. “They really guided us along.”

Mani noted that Best in Class assisted in walking them through the details of owning a franchise, including the financial commitments involved. According to information provided by Best in Class, the franchise fee is about $30,000 with an investment commitment from the franchisee ranging from $56,700 to $96,800.

Once they nailed down the Reno franchise, the corporate office helped the Manis find a location in 748 South Meadows Parkway, Suite A3 in Reno.

Mani and her husband serve as co-general managers of the Reno location.

Best in Class provides tutoring in math and English in both classroom-style atmosphere as well as private one-on-one lessons with instructors. The program is set forth as a part of the enrichment program administered by Best in Class’s guidelines.

Mani says instructors are experienced teachers who conduct both group and private sessions. There are four teachers-two in-class math and English instructors and two private tutors employed on staff part-time.

“We have good instructors teaching math and English concepts,” Mani said.

The service provides an enrichment program that offers lessons in reading, writing, spelling and math. It also provides enrichment programs as well as assistance in prepping for SAT tests. They can even find out if a child is a gifted student.

Once students enroll in the program, they are given a placement test to determine their aptitude level.

Sessions are available on Wednesdays and in the mornings on Saturdays. Classes are limited to six students per session.

To attract students, Best in Class reaches to the area school to reach out to students who may need help, while its public relations arm also assists in that area.

“We post flyers but mostly the corporate offices take care of most of the marketing,” Mani said, although she noted it’s often up to parents to decide whether or not a tutoring service is right for their children, and to determine which one suits their needs. But Mani feels the Reno’s Best in Class location compares favorably to other tutoring services.

The first Best in Class location was started in 1995 in Seattle by Hao and Lisa Lam. The company has 32 existing centers in other states including Washington, Oregon, California, Ohio, Texas and New Jersey. It is currently exploring options to expand to as many as 46 states. According to Sharon Peterson of Best in Class, it is also looking at more locations in the Truckee Meadows and surrounding areas, possibly in the Sparks/Spanish Springs region. Statistics provided by Best in Class indicate the average revenue for a franchise is $185,121 with 37.5 percent of franchises nationwide exceeding that figure.


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