Discover more about franchise opportunities with this award-winning drama franchise

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Logo for the Jigsaw Performing Arts Schools drama franchise opportunity with a jigsaw piece and the wording established 1995

Find out more about this award-winning children’s drama and performing arts franchise business that’s grown from strength to strength. Could you be their next franchisee? If you’re passionate about the performing arts then a Jigsaw drama franchise could be your perfect chance to shine.

Franchisee Case Study

Photograph of Aoife who is a franchisee with drama franchise Jigsaw Performing Arts Schools



Start Date: SEPTEMBER 2023

Meet Aoife who had various role with Jigsaw Performing Arts before making the decision to buy a franchise with the business. She offers her top tips, insights and advice for anyone thinking of buying a drama franchise.

Before I knew what franchising was, I was working in the Jigsaw Arts Head Office as their social media manager and I had also taught Drama at their weekend performing arts schools for over 5 years. Through working closely with the company director and franchise support managers at Jigsaw Arts, I learnt lots about franchising and the benefits that can come from franchising a business rather than starting a business alone.

I was in a position where I was ready to take the next step in my career. I wanted the freedom of choosing my own hours while making more money. So running a franchise of a Jigsaw Performing Arts School seemed like the perfect option for me, and it was! Jigsaw Arts holds a very special place in my heart because I actually attended as a student from the age of 5 and stayed for 12 years! The ethos of the company and family-like feel was something that really resonated with me and I wanted to create a place to belong for both the students and the staff. It is soul nourishing to know that I can become an encouraging and caring manager, and give the students at Jigsaw the same amazing experience that I had.

I spoke to my company director to learn more about the franchising opportunities at Jigsaw Arts and to see whether she thought I was ready to take the leap. The feedback was really positive and her enthusiasm and belief in me was the driving force that helped me make my decision. It was really uplifting to have that encouragement!

I met with my company director / franchisor in person to have a meeting about the next steps of moving forward with the franchise. This meeting really brought the idea of me owning a business to life and I was really excited to start setting goals and making things happen!

Jigsaw was always the place where I could truly be myself. There was never any judgement or limits on creativity, and I always felt included as both a student and as a member of staff. I was really excited to get started. I chose to franchise with Jigsaw Arts because I felt as though I had truly found my place to belong, and throughout the whole process I felt like I was in very safe hands. There is no other company that I would rather represent.

To secure finance for my franchise, I applied for a Government Start Up loan, which was recommended to me by my franchisor. I was then given a business support partner through the Government Start Up Scheme who helped me through the application process and the loan was quickly accepted and sent to my bank account within a few weeks. The process was really easy, and allowed me to pay for the initial up-front cost of buying the franchise. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who may not have the funds to pay the up-front cost of a franchise right away. The loan can be paid back monthly, at a rate that suits you and your business.

I have a strong relationship with my franchisor and not being able to trust the company was never something that crossed my mind. I feel really lucky in this respect! When receiving the contract, everything made sense to me and there weren’t any parts that I was wary over. I knew that my franchisor had my best interest at heart and wanted to help me create a successful and thriving business.

I would say to anyone thinking about running their own business that franchising is a great route to success. The support and advice from a franchisor is invaluable because there is rarely a situation that they haven’t dealt with before. It is a great safety net. I love teaching, managing a team and working in the creative industry however I am not very business minded. So having a franchisor teach me the best ways to tackle all sides of the business, especially the admin, is just fantastic.
Being a business owner gives you the freedom to earn more money doing what you love, and have control over your working environment, which being an employee does not always provide.

The training and support that I received from my franchisor prepared me to confidently run my business, and I know that should I ever need advice there is always someone on the other side of the phone to help.

My franchise fits in perfectly with my existing life because I can carry out the admin work during one / a few days out of the week remotely. Then, only working at the school for 33 days out of the year gives me freedom to travel, work on other projects and spend time with my family.

I would 100% recommend opening a franchise business.

Franchisor Interview

Photograph of Nicola, the franchisor behind the highly successful Jigsaw Performing Arts Schools drama franchise



We asked Nicola all about her award-winning performing arts franchise. Find out how the business has grown since it first began in 1995 to now have an impressive 39 franchise branches. Nicola tells us what makes an ideal franchisee for the Jigsaw franchise family and the sort of training and support every new franchisee can expect to receive.

I started Jigsaw Performing Arts in 1995 with my friend, Colette. We trained at Mountview Theatre School together and when we graduated, we ran Jigsaw in between our acting jobs. It was very organic, we started with one school on a Sunday morning (we had just 15 students on the first day!). I taught dance, Colette taught drama and another friend taught singing. I remember what it was like to start from scratch but with lots of hard work and determination, we were running five busy and successful schools in North London and Hertfordshire within a few years.

Colette moved away in 2000 and I continued to grow the business and by 2013 we had 22 venues, over a hundred teachers and a team of admin staff at head office. This is when I decided it was time to franchise and I haven’t looked back.

We had years of experience and systems, so it was the natural step. To do franchising well, we had to be selective and find like-minded individuals that wanted to deliver performing arts classes in the same way as we do. My mission was to grow but not to grow too quickly and forgo the high standards we had achieved over the last 18 years.

I had been running the business for a long time, so it was also really exciting to be learning something new!

We now run 39 franchise schools in England and Wales.

We are proud to be accredited members of the BFA (British Franchise Association), demonstrating our commitment to high franchising standards. We are also delighted to have received the five-star Franchisee satisfaction award every year as we know we are delivering first class support to all our franchisees.

They should be great at communicating with customers, especially the children. If they are hard-working, enthusiastic, and determined with an open mind to learning all the skills needed, this is a winning combination.

Our ideal franchisee doesn’t necessarily need to be from a performing arts background, but you definitely need a passion for theatre, performance, and an outgoing personality.

Jigsaw really is a place to belong. Not only for our students but also for our franchisees. Our core values of kindness, respect and authenticity run through the whole business. We love what we provide for our students and the impact that attending Jigsaw has on the rest of their life.

You should know that we are about quality over quantity. Finding the right franchisees and having a high level of support exceeds our need to grow and expand too quickly. We have had years of experience of running performing arts schools, so you are in really safe hands at Jigsaw.

Our initial licence fee is Β£8995 + VAT. This gives you a large territory and covers the initial training and launch. The set-up costs are Β£3750 + VAT which gives you your full kit, launch marketing, insurance, music licence, DBS, First Aid and Safeguarding training and more.

Our ongoing Management Support Fee is 10% + VAT and there is a Marketing Levy fee of 2.5% + VAT which is spent on improving marketing collateral, strategies, and campaigns for the whole network.

Our franchisees running full schools provide in excess of Β£30K profit per year running one school. You can increase your income by running additional schools, holiday workshops and parties.

Each performing arts school runs on a Saturday or Sunday morning or afternoon. Each term is 11 weeks so there are 33 half days of delivering the sessions. The administration that needs completing can easily be done during the week at whatever time fits around your family or personal situation. Our online booking and management system really makes this as easy as possible. Some of our franchisees are parents, some are teachers, some have other jobs in the week. Having a plan of how this might fit with your current life is really important to make it a successful business.

The initial training is a week at head office and is delivered by myself and the head office team. We cover all aspects of running your business including customer service, marketing, running the school, recruiting teachers, and ongoing administration and management. It’s a very full week and ends with a school visit so you can put your new skills into action.

Beyond the initial training, we will be by your side for your launch and have weekly meetings during your first term to make sure all aspects of training have been understood.

Following your first term, the franchise support is delivered by our franchise support managers and our ratio of support manager to franchisees is high, so you are always connecting with the team at head office. You will not feel alone. We have received the five-star franchise support award for the last three years scoring between 97% and 99%.

I am still very hands on with in the business and provide group coaching sessions over and above the day-to-day franchise support. The Jigsaw community is very important to me, and a lot of effort is made to make sure our franchisees feel completely supported.

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