Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com

For a long time, Dr. Ming Hsu saw himself as a professor, not an entrepreneur. He taught at the University of Portland and tutored on the side. Eventually, he realized that his tutoring was more than a hobby, and turned his interest in supplementary education into a full-time job in 2001. Here's what he's learned as a Best in Class Education Center franchisee.

Name: Dr. Ming Hsu

Franchise owned (location): Four Best in Class locations in Oregon (Portland, Beaverton and Lake Oswego)

How long have you owned the franchise?

I opened my first location in 2001 in Portland, Ore.

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Why franchising? 

Though I was a professor for many years and have background in supplemental education, the business side of the operation would take too much time to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. Best in Class provided me the proper introduction to the business world. All I had to do was bring my passion for education.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner? 

I was a professor at the University of Portland from 1984 to 2003. While working, I had some family friends whose children needed a bit more assistance with schoolwork. So, I helped with some basic tutoring and I gained strong interest in supplemental education.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?  

After a few years of volunteering as a tutor, I decided to make my hobby a full time job. I looked into franchises and I was referred to Best in Class. The brand really separates itself from other tutoring centers because of its strong curriculum, the close monitoring of progress and its weekly classes. Best in Class offers strategic teaching, step-by-step, to ensure mastery before moving on to tougher topics. 

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

  • Franchise fee: $30,000 
  • Furniture: $5,000
  • Computers and printers: $10,000
  • Rental space renovation and signage: $20,000

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research? 

Best in Class has been great in my preparation and transition from professor to franchisee. Teaching is my passion, so I didn't need to much advice or research there, but for the business side I did some research online, but when it comes down to it, Best in Class helped every step of the way.

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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise? 

Finding the perfect location was a bit tough. Location is key and it has to be able to accommodate the students and staff to produce a healthy educational environment. To go along with that, it was also tough finding the right teachers. Every teacher we spoke to were great, but I really wanted to make sure they were perfect for the job.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise? 

Go for it! Especially if it is something that you believe in, are passionate about and can put your best into.

What’s next for you and your business? 

We have had some sort of meteoric rise, as there are now four locations. I would like to continue the growth of our existing locations, and possibly look into adding another branch in the future.

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