From a young age, Ash Obhrai had been surrounded by educators. With his father as a GCSE Maths examiner, mother as an A-Level Art & Design teacher and aunt as a successful primary school teacher, it was only a matter of time before he too would venture into academia. After working as a tutor alongside his corporate career for 15 years, he decided to turn the tables and launch his own Tutor Doctor business in 2017.
“It was one day when my parents made me realise how fulfilling working in education would be,” said Ash. “They were responsible for changing the lives of students every single day, whilst I was working in the corporate world and it didn’t bring anything close to that same level of satisfaction. I knew I wanted to make a transition into something that would provide a greater sense of achievement – at Tutor Doctor, I get that every single day.”
Ash’s corporate career began when he graduated from UCL with an M.Eng in Electronic Engineering with Medical Electronics, taking him into various sectors including retail, traveller marketing and finance. It was from there that he moved into an international role, managing global luxury retailers such as Burberry, Jimmy Choo and Samsonite. This was when the conversation with his father happened.
Having also attempted to launch his own tutoring agency, Ash realised that the franchising route would give him a better chance of success. Tapping into the franchisors’ knowledge, combined with the wealth of experience that typically comes with a franchise network, he knew that his skills would allow him to truly thrive.
“I’ve always had a passion for caring for others and wanted to run my own business, meaning it was a toss-up between a care or education franchise. It came down to having past experience with tutoring and continuing with my family’s passion for children too. After thorough research of which organisations fit my personal values best, Tutor Doctor was the only one. My wife Shilpi was also very encouraging and supportive, wanting to manage the recruitment arm of the business.”
Tutor Doctor is the fastest-growing in-home tutoring franchise in the world. Franchisees manage a team of tutors and work closely with families to identify the needs of students. As successful business owners at the heart of the local community, franchisees help children to achieve their potential and change lives for the better. In today’s modern, hectic world, the tired old centre-based model lacks convenience and the personal touch. Tutors visit students at home or work with them one-to-one via an online platform for a truly bespoke, person-centred service.
Wasting no time, Ash flew to Tutor Doctor Home Office in Toronto for his initial franchisee training in August 2017. Although he was already prepared for the plethora of information he would receive during his 10 days, he was still surprised by the sheer breadth of the training material.
“The training was one of the best I could see in the market. Tutor Doctor genuinely cared about their franchisees and gave them all the skills to make it a success from the very beginning. That was evident as soon as I stepped into that training room – it was extremely thorough and set me up nicely to hit the ground running as soon as I arrived home.”
Immediately after launching, franchisees are actively supported by a business coach across all areas of business through structured training programmes, weekly coaching calls, weekly global calls and on-demand support as and when needed. Then, as the business grows, specifically designed support systems help to maintain growth, build momentum, and scale the business, allowing franchisees to achieve both financial and personal goals. Ash used this support network to bolster his own business.
Whilst in his training, Ash was already receiving leads from tutors in his Newham territory. This meant that when he had completed his 10-day programme, he was ready to put his skills into practice and start generating business almost instantly.
“The field support team were incredible during the initial stages and really put my mind at rest at the beginning. Although today I can work almost independently, knowing they’re available any time for guidance and advice is so reassuring. It’s one of the reasons why Tutor Doctor appealed so much due to the level of support that I would receive throughout the life of my business.”
Fast-forward three years and Ash has handed over the reins of the Newham franchise to another franchisee, whilst investing in an Empire licence that covers Leighton, Wanstead, Chingford and Chigwell. With the foundations set, he’s now turning his attention to an important aspect of the business.
“It’s always been a focus, but I’m now placing more emphasis on building strategies, trust and client care. I have someone trustworthy in my team who is responsible for community marketing and we are looking to extend this role into family liaison like making regular check-in phone calls, sending birthday cards, and even organising hand-delivered cake hampers. My business has helped change the trajectory of 230 students’ lives with the assistance of 110 qualified tutors on my team. It’s important that we continue to nurture those relationships as, essentially, that’s the reason why people choose our service over our competitors – we always promise to go that extra mile.
“In November 2020, I also secured a partnership with a high school in Woodford Green, delivering academic support to students who require it using their Pupil Premium Fund. Working with schools is going to be a focal point moving forward, especially as we leave the pandemic behind and children need help with getting back up to speed with their learning.”
Ash’s growing family was also a contributing factor to launching his Tutor Doctor franchise. His son was born in 2013 whilst he was working 15-hour days, meaning he wasn’t able to be around his family as much as he’d liked to have been during his childhood. Now though, he’s able to make up for it and enjoy quality time with his family.
“That’s the beauty of Tutor Doctor. Most of the student consultations happen in the evening, meaning the rest of my day is flexible to schedule family time in. I can drop my son off at school, pick him up and even put him to bed too. I was never able to do this before, but now I have the freedom to do what I like – of course, fitting in my business activities around all of that.
“The world of academia embraced me with open arms, and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to join the rest of my family in appreciating the positive impact that education can have on people.”