Code Ninjas is an innovative company founded to teach children from 7 to 14 how to code. Coding has been called the new literacy, and with so much of our lives and work shifting to virtual, a base understanding of coding and programming is more necessary than ever. Using a game-based curriculum, Code Ninjas makes learning to code fun and innovative. Besides, who doesn’t want to earn a black belt in coding?

How much will it cost to open a Code Ninjas location? The total startup cost is between $181,367 to $457,850 for this franchise depending on the location. This includes the franchise fee of $35,000. The specifics of these investment expenses are outlined below. Spoiler alert: Numerous critics call out the fees associated with operating this business that you should understand before getting signing on the dotted line of a franchise agreement. 

Code Ninjas is a franchised company that offers franchising deals to potential business owners looking to open one of their locations. While this company has locations across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, it’s known for steep startup fees. Let’s look at what it takes to open and run a Code Ninjas franchise and if the initial investment is worth the potential profit. You can also take this 7-minute franchise quiz to be matched with an opportunity based on your interests and skills.

What Is Code Ninjas?

Founded in 2016 by Michael McNally, Code Ninjas started with the goal of teaching kids to code, but has expanded to teach classes about starting a YouTube channel and design. McNally was first a Comcast technician, but his love of programming inspired him to switch careers and get into education. 

However, the real inspiration for Code Ninjas came from McNally’s daughter, who was just as interested in technology as her father. McNally told, “My daughter, who’s 9…has[a rich] affinity for technology. When she started playing video games, I thought she was probably capable of building them, and she’s kind of developing this love for coding, too.”

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Code Ninjas teaches technological literacy using unique game learning. By tying specific accomplishments to different belt colors (similar to some martial arts), Code Ninjas inspires a generation of children to learn to code. Coding isn’t the only learning offered at the “dojo” with robotics courses also available for students. The end goal is a black belt in coding that ends with releasing an app on the App Store, a significant achievement for anyone let alone middle school children. Coding courses are not self-taught, but students can take classes at their own pace. 

With over 460 locations across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Code Ninjas is a fast-growing business in the education industry. Thankfully, knowledge of coding isn’t required to open a Code Ninja location, and with hands-on training available, you can also become knowledgable on the subject. 

What Programming Languages Does Code Ninjas Teach?

Code Ninjas spreads its program across several “belts,” similar to martial arts training. The first four belts, from the white belt to yellow, orange, and green, focus on JavaScript. Next, blue belts focus on LUA, while the final four (purple, brown, red, and black) focus on C#. 

While the different coding languages are associated with progress levels, there’s more to learning to code than just the languages. Students learn how to code in some of their favorite video games, including Minecraft and Roblox. There are also robotics programs and a wide range of STEM learning options available through Code Ninja’s programs. 

What Company Bought and Acquired Code Ninjas? 

In 2021, Eagle Merchant Partners purchased Code Ninjas. While a franchise’s new owner may signal positive growth, it may also change the franchising requirements and impact the company’s success as management shifts. However, the rapid growth shown by Code Ninjas, coupled with its survival through the health crisis signals this new acquisition could be positive for the company. 

Keep in mind that we sourced our franchise information almost entirely from 2022 documents with some information from 2020 income reports for the company. As such, the current information listed on the Code Ninjas website is post-acquisition.

Franchise Facts

Company Code Ninjas
Year Founded 2016
Total Units 462
Industry Education

Financial Requirements and Fees

Here are the base financial requirements for starting a Code Ninja location. Keep in mind that this information is United States-based, as Code Ninja does not provide UK or Canadian franchising information on its website. However, you can reach out to the company to learn more should you be interested in franchising in those locations and territories. 

It’s important to remember that the total initial investment cost in this table considers the base financial requirements and does not calculate the additional fees and expenses listed in the following table, as these vary wildly based on location and extenuating circumstances. 

As always, financial requirements are subject to change by the company and are based on the most recent information available at the time of writing.

Liquid Capital 30% of initial investment (between $100,000 and $150,000)
Net Worth Equal to or greater than the initial investment
Credit Score Above 650
Background Check Policy Required
Franchise Fee $35,000
Total Investment $181,367 to $457,850
Systemwide Annual Sales $27,250,830 as of 2020
Average Annual Sales per Unit $140,468

Additional Fees and Costs

Like any franchise location, Code Ninja has additional fees and costs to consider, including furniture, employee training, and royalty fees. Let’s look at some of the extra fees and costs to consider and what they mean for potential franchisees. 

Business Licenses & Permits $200 to $1,000
Leasehold Improvements $54,500 to $234,000
Fixtures, Furnishings & Equipment $29,000 to $55,000
Computer and POS (Point of Sale) System $3,100 to $5,050
Architect/Engineering Fees $2,500 to $10,000
Rent, Security Deposits & Utility Deposits $20,567 to $40,500
Other Professional Fees $700 to $4,000
Insurance Deposit $1,000 to $2,500
Initial Inventory of Products and Supplies $5,000 to $12,000
Training Expenses $1,500 to $5,000
Signage $5,800 to $16,300
Grand Opening Advertising $7,500
Additional Funds for 3 Months of Operations $15,000 to $30,000
Electronic Systems Fee $110/month
Business and Promotional Fees $2,000 to $10,000
Royalty Fee 6.5% of net sales or a minimum royalty fee of $500 per week
Local Advertising and Promotion 3% of net sales
Digital Marketing Services (Optional) $900 to $1,500 per month
Call Center Fees $200 to $1,000 per month
Software Licensing Fee $22 per student per year, plus $1,200 per quarter (optional)
Annual Convention Registration $499 per attendee
Additional Training and Assistance $500 per additional person
Transfer Fee $5,000
Renewal Fee $2,000
Relocation Fee $1,000
Dojo2Go Mobile (Optional)  $80,000 to $100,000

As you can see, Code Ninjas comes with a veritable secret army of fees and costs. From their proprietary licensing fees, call center fees, and a 6.5% weekly royalty (slightly higher than the industry average), it’s essential to consider these fees before signing up for a franchise. 

While a majority of Code Ninjas locations seem successful, there are many hidden fees to pay attention to, especially if you’re looking to provide mobile support to students through the Dojo2Go Mobile service. Some of these fees, like relocation and transfer fees, are situation, while others, such as employee training services, can begin to add up over time. So, before committing to a franchise, plot out estimated monthly expenses and pay all fees on time to avoid late fees from the franchisor. 

How much Does Code Ninjas Pay Employees? 

According to Zippia, the average starting salary for Code Ninjas employees is $20,000, with the average wage being over $40,000 a year, or just under $20/hour. This salary depends on the level within the company, training completed, and state or territory minimum wage. A center director can make up to $95,000 a year. However, these numbers are subject to change.

In an analysis of total corporate profits in 2020, Code Ninjas paid over $3,000,000 toward employee salaries while maintaining a net-positive profit margin. This profit margin, of course, does not consider individual franchise locations but is a good indicator of overall business success and gives a good idea of funding distribution within the company.

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In general, Code Ninjas employees are paid above minimum wage in their area as they reach higher levels of management within the business, with center directors earning the highest salary at a franchise and sales being the highest-paying department within the company as a whole. 

The average amount of employee salaries the company pays may reflect the fees expected by a franchisee. While the number of employees per location varies, you can expect a decent portion of proceeds to go toward employee salaries and other outstanding fees. Of course, this again varies depending on your area’s salary requirements and how many employees each location requires to meet customer demands. 

Is Code Ninjas Profitable?

As of their 2020 financial information, Code Ninjas turned a total profit of over $80,000 for the year, with a significant increase in their monetary holdings from the previous year. This signals that a company is profitable. On top of this, the company held this profit level during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, meaning these numbers may represent the low end of company finances.

Since its acquisition in 2021, Code Ninjas has yet to release publicly available financial information that we can find, meaning comparing overall profits after one year of new ownership is not feasible. Still, considering the company has opened 462 locations since its opening and continues to offer franchise deals, this speaks positively of its current financial standing. 

How Much Profit Do Code Ninjas Franchisees Make Per Year?

One of the hardest things to determine about a franchise is its franchisee’s average profits. Code Ninja does not release the average earnings of its franchisees, nor does it publish information on each Code Ninja location. While financial journalists estimated the average yearly sales of a Code Ninja location in 2020 at $146,000, this does not consider other costs associated with running the business. 

In short, we do not have numbers on the average profits of a Code Ninja franchisee. However, thanks to the company’s overtly positive profit margin, franchisees can expect some level of return on investment. In general, it is always a good idea to research the franchise you want to work with to determine if it is a wise financial decision. 

Advantages of Code Ninjas

Some of the advantages of opening a Code Ninjas franchise include the following:

  • No coding knowledge needed
  • Premade education programs
  • Integrated technology, including mobile apps
  • Employee training programs available
  • Large number of Code Ninjas locations across the United States, Canada, and the UK
  • Reasonable initial franchising fee compared to other franchises in the industry

Challenges of Code Ninjas 

Some of the challenges faced by Code Ninjas franchisees include the following:

  • High hidden costs
  • Higher than average (6.5%) royalty fee due weekly
  • High employee training costs
  • Lack of financial transparency about franchisee profits
  • New corporate ownership/acquisition in the last year
  • The large number of Code Ninja locations can act as competition with one another

Is Code Ninjas Right for You? 

If you’re looking to invest in the Education Industry, Code Ninjas is a growing franchise for a reason. This company serves a specialized niche and offsets a lack of funding in STEM fields across education systems. Thanks to their innovative learning programs, Code Ninja franchisees do not have to be code experts in their own right to own a franchise. With comprehensive, though costly, training programs, training a team of code experts is standardized.

However, due to a lack of financial transparency about franchisee profits, and a relatively steep starting fee, Code Ninjas may not be a good fit for those with limited capital. As always, reach out to your financial advisor before committing to a franchise or other business investment. Also, think about your personal skills and interests. Is a coding bootcamp something that you would want to operate?

If you’re interested in comparing Code Ninja to other franchises in the same industry, check out our other articles on the subject. You can also explore other franchise industries to find the right investment fit.