Scott Rubin, Mill Valley,  CA 006TFor franchisee Scott Rubin, continuous business growth throughout the 2013 summer season was a big highlight of his first year as owner of Mathnasium of Mill Valley, CA. The first installment of this series covered Scott’s well-rounded summer marketing plan. Now, we’ll share Scott’s tips for implementing Mathnasium summer offerings—including structure and pricing—that met customers’ needs while staying true to our program’s integrity.

Mill Valley Int 1

2013 Program Structure:

Duration: Three months, June 15 to September 15. “Fall semester in most Mill Valley schools starts around mid-September, but other schools have different schedules. So I figured a program running from June 15 to September 15 catches everyone,” Scott explains.

Center Hours: 10 am to 12 pm & 3 pm to 6 pm, Monday to Thursday, and 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays. While this worked well, Scott found that for his first summer, this led to confusion for customers accustomed to his regular school year hours. For 2014, “I decided to keep my hours standard all year round: 2 pm to 7 pm, Monday to Thursday, 3 pm to 5 pm on Friday, 10 am to 1 pm on Saturday, and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday. I did ask a few people what they’d prefer for summer hours and a lot of them said, ‘Whichever hours you choose… we’ll find a time to come.’ So we’ll see how it goes this year.”

Grades 1 to 8:

  • Summer: $849 for 25 sessions, $699 for 20 sessions, and $549 for 15 sessions; Assessment & registration fees included
  • Regular program: $299/mo with a 12-month contract; $349/mo with a 6-month contract; additional one-time $99 Assessment fee and $99 registration fee

Grades 9 to 12:

  • Summer: $899 for 25 sessions, $749 for 20 sessions, and $599 for 15 sessions, Assessment & registration fees included
  • Regular program: $349/mo with a 12-month contract; $399/mo with a 6-month contract; additional one-time $99 Assessment fee and $99 registration fee

All students at Mathnasium of Mill Valley complete an Assessment prior to starting the program and work through a personalized learning plan. Scott makes very few adjustments to a student’s learning plan over the summer. “I just have them start at the top and work through as many topics as they can,” he says. “The way topics are listed, they build on each other pretty well, so I don’t move it around too much unless the parent expresses a need for [emphasis on a particular concept].”

Scott incorporates Summer Power Math Workout materials into a student’s learning plan when appropriate, and found them especially effective for high school summer students. Please refer to the Power Math Workout Overview for more on using these materials.

Customer Communication and Managing Expectations

From the first point of contact, Scott speaks with parents confidently and honestly about the nature of our program: what it is, how it works best, and what it can and cannot do. Over the last year, “I learned how important it was to just get people in the door and not push too hard to sell the program initially,” Scott says. “I wanted to really let them experience Mathnasium and let the program sell itself, so I offer two free sessions.”

While the student works on the Assessment, Scott takes the time to walk parents through a sample binder and Learning Plan to acclimate them to what their child can expect once they start their program. Whether they express interest in a short-term summer program or a longer-term contract, he always impresses upon parents that the Mathnasium program yields the best results when students attend consistently. Mastery “doesn’t come with after only a handful of sessions,” Scott says. “It’s like playing a sport—you don’t become a great athlete after a few training sessions. It takes time. I always explain to parents how math concepts build on each other, starting with the most basic topics. When students attend regularly, they’ll build their math foundations, develop number sense, and improve critical thinking skills. I stress that in order to fill in the gaps, students should complete as much of the Learning Plan as possible. Most parents are agreeable with that. In some cases, they decided to continue through the fall just so their child can complete the Learning Plan.” Scott reports that between June and August, 27 new students opted to enroll under 6- or 12-month contracts instead of selecting a shorter-term summer option.

To encourage parents’ investment in their child’s success at Mathnasium, Scott always expresses enthusiasm about students’ progress when parents come in. “I’m always very energetic and excited [about what my students have accomplished.] I’ll tell them things like, ‘Oh Mary’s doing really, really great! She’s made so much progress.’” Additionally, he communicates with parents via email at key points during a student’s enrollment. “After five sessions, I send the parent an update with a blurb about the child and an attached Learning Plan so they can see the topics completed and started,” he tells us. All students receive a final progress report at the end of their enrollment. “I always ask them to do a Post-Assessment so they can see how much they’ve improved.”

Spring/Summer Transition Stats

Scott showed last year how summer can be a pinnacle of growth for a Mathnasium center. He had 58 students enrolled in April, 63 in May, 67 in June, and 80 in July. Approximately 25% of students enrolled at Mathnasium of Mill Valley through the spring took the summer off, while another 25% took a break for part of the summer. However, Scott’s summer marketing push and his appealing program offerings drew in many families excited to learn more about Mathnasium. As spring turned into summer, he not only avoided a drop in enrollment numbers, but also steadily increased them as summer progressed!

For more on Mathnasium summer programs, please refer to the Establish Programming: Summer Programs section in the Operations Manual.

Later in the spring, we’ll feature Scott’s student retention tactics for the summer-fall transition. Keep watching Mathnasium Matters for more.