Huntington Learning Center


Brian Riddick of Huntington Learning Center
Source: Julian Michael Photography
Brian Riddick of Huntington Learning Center
Description: Tutoring franchise
Owner: Brian Riddick
Years in business: 12
No. of franchises owned: 2
Start-up costs: $22,000; $60,000 cash; net worth of at least $150,000
Franchisor fees: Royalties 9.5% of annual revenues; advertising fee 2% of annual revenues
2015 revenue, 2016 projection: $1 million; $1.4 million
2016 projected annual growth rate: 20-25%

Few people would know their way around a $35 billion-dollar balance sheet, let alone one that's for a huge Pentagon project. For Brian Riddick, that was a typical day's work while at the Pentagon in the 1990s, working as a weapons systems cost analyst on the Joint Strike Fighter project and being a budget hawk for planes like the Stealth Bomber.

But Riddick also learned the more frustrating side of government work: delays. He would work on something for years with no tangible payoff. The corporate sector couldn't hold his interest for long either: after working his way up to CFO for Capital One's high-risk credit card business line, Riddick found big banking becoming as bureaucratic as the government.

Riddick explored a number of franchise concepts — dry cleaners and automotive repair among them — before selecting Huntington Learning Center in 2004, first in Boise, Idaho, then in Beaverton, Oregon, and now with locations in Washington State and a brand new location in San Antonio, Texas.

Riddick cashed in his Capital One options to help buy the franchise with Huntington Learning Center, which offers subject tutoring and test prep to students. "It doesn't matter if it's a weapons system or credit card or student who wants 10 points on the ACT, let's figure it out," Riddick said. His first Huntington franchise reached profitability in six months; since then, he's gotten the timeline to profitability down to as little as two months for newer centers.

Additional franchisee resources

"The opportunity to help kids succeed in school, while still allowing me to run my own business, made buying a Huntington franchise an easy decision," he said.

When he was younger, Riddick spent a good deal of time coaching youth soccer. The parallels he discovered — identifying a weakness and developing a personalized plan to help a child succeed — resonated with him. "My motto is super simple: Take care of the kids, and the rest takes care of itself," he said.

The business has been growing 20- 25 percent a year (40 percent this year). Most important: watching student scores on a daily basis provides the kind of tangible results that had been the most frustrating part of Riddick's previous, successful career. His next goal is to catch up to the Manhattan, New York, Huntington Learning franchise, the only in the entire system that has over $2 million in revenue annually.

Of course, it helps to have an involved and supportive franchisor, and Riddick said he found that in Huntington Learning Center. "The development of the Exam Prep (SAT/ACT) program is just one of the newer offerings that has allowed Huntington to remain the leader in the tutoring space," he added. The long hours required in running a business don't seem to bother Riddick "because I love what I do," he said.

"There are thousands of franchise opportunities to choose from, so I would advise anyone considering buying one to find something that inspires them. It makes the hours fly by and makes the experience a lot more enriching."

Note: Riddick sold his Oregon Huntington Learning Center location in December 2015, shortly after the cut-off for the America's Star Franchisees' research gathering process. He sold the Oregon franchise so he can focus more time on his franchise locations in Washington State and expanding to a new location in San Antonio, Texas.

"There are thousands of franchise opportunities to choose from, so I would advise anyone considering buying one to find something that inspires them. It makes the hours fly by and makes the experience a lot more enriching." -Brian Riddick

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