How a Couple Grew a Fitness Franchise to $100 Million in Revenue

  • Morgan and Devan Kline began Burn Boot Camp in 2012 with simply $600 in their pockets.
  • In 2017, they opened their 100th location. In 2019, they reached $100 million in whole income.
  • They attribute their success to being trainers themselves and having a distinctive franchise mannequin.
  • See extra tales on Insider’s enterprise web page.

Morgan and Devan Kline cofounded Burn Boot Camp (BBC), a boutique gymnasium franchise recognized for its difficult 45-minute exercises, in 2012 after leasing an indoor gymnastics heart and its parking zone.

They have been permitted to run camps indoors in the morning and outside on evenings and weekends. Devan, who beforehand performed in the minors for the San Francisco Giants, stated it price them their final $600 in financial savings to get off the bottom.

Since they did not have sufficient monetary historical past to get hold of a lease, the pair advised Insider they as a substitute bought a month-to-month sublease and took their “parking lot” idea all through Charlotte, North Carolina, opening 5 areas and amassing over 800 members. By the top of 2013, folks started reaching out to them to turn into a a part of their enterprise. 

When they may ultimately afford to flip their “gyms” into brick-and-mortar areas, the Klines additionally signed two license agreements, which later turned the primary franchise companions in Concord and Durham, North Carolina. By summer season of 2014, Morgan had give up her job as a senior buyer analyst at Kellogg Company to turn into a full-time accomplice in BBC.

The entrepreneurs knew they’d one thing distinctive and determined to use franchising as their automobile of development. Over 80 members from their seven gyms on the time determined to buy and open a location throughout the first six months of the providing.

By 2017, BBC had opened its one-hundredth location, and in 2019, they reached $100 million in whole income. They’re presently ranked No. 90 on the 2021 Entrepreneur “Franchise 500” checklist. 

Being trainers themselves has been a main catalyst to their success. 

“Most of our competition is owned by private equity firms who don’t understand the craft of fitness like we do,” Morgan stated, noting examples like Orangetheory, F45, and Barry’s Bootcamp.

Lifelong companions turn into enterprise companions

The pair, now each in their thirties, met after they have been simply 12 years outdated and have been experiencing important childhood challenges. Morgan’s father handed away in a automobile accident when she was 5 years outdated. Devan grew up close to the tasks.

“My mother moved me around the country for much of my childhood before I returned home,” Devan stated. “My father was in and out of the county and state penitentiary for domestic violence, drunk driving, and violating parole. My mother eventually left again, and we remain estranged.” 

In 2009, he landed a baseball scholarship at Central Michigan University earlier than being signed by the San Francisco Giants. He performed for 2 years earlier than coming again to spring coaching, the place he battled an harm after which was later launched from the crew. 

At age 23, Devan moved to Naples, Florida, to dwell with Morgan. He landed a couple “dead-end” jobs, he stated, whereas finding out for his licensed private coach credential and ending his diploma in finance. He then turned a private coach at a native field gymnasium. 

“Seeing what the industry offered and how it tended to treat its employees, I was determined to do it better,” Devan stated. 

Morgan bought a job supply in Charlotte, and Devan adopted her after ending a marketing strategy for Burn Boot Camp, however with little cash and no native connections, they stated they weren’t prepared to begin a enterprise on the time. 

What they lacked in sources, although, they made up for in sweat fairness. 

family shot

The Kline household.

Morgan and Devan Kline

“We punted the fun part of our 20s and instead of partying on Friday nights, stayed in and worked on marketing plans and business strategy,” Morgan stated. 

Devan devoted himself to creating public relations experience and in the end booked over 200 regionally, regionally, and nationally syndicated TV spots on morning exhibits and speak exhibits all around the Southeast — a transfer to which he attributes the model’s early success. 

“We once drove five hours to Alabama, did a five-minute segment, ate breakfast, and drove back to Charlotte,” he stated.

Building a completely different form of franchise mannequin

Concepts like Curves health membership — which rose to hundreds of areas earlier than its catastrophic crash — taught the pair a invaluable lesson. 

“It’s not how many locations you award, but rather who you award them to,” Devan stated. “In franchising, control is lost from franchisor to franchisee, so choosing the right model and partners is extremely important.”  

The Klines additionally studied Orangetheory, which makes use of space representatives to purchase rights to a particular territory to then promote in franchisees. 

“Neither one of these strategies from our competitors made sense to us, and we decided to direct franchises and sell locations ourselves in the early days,” Morgan stated. 

Long-time member Jolene Purchia ultimately got here on board to lead the cost as vp of growth, which the cofounders harassed has been intricate to the success of the model. 

“She felt what the brand did for her life and had to be a part of it,” Devan stated. 

In February 2018, they went on an 180-location tour, the place Devan and Morgan skilled members at every gymnasium they stopped at. 

“Over an 18-month period, we trained nearly 15,000 members, and we brought our team with us to experience the love,” Morgan stated. “This was a huge catalyst to continuing the momentum set forth in the first two years.”

Running a gymnasium franchise throughout a pandemic

In 2020, BBC continued to develop, opening 45 new gyms, and so they’ve already opened 9 extra in 2021. 

“In our initial drop, when the pandemic first hit, we retained 75% of our members,” Morgan stated.

But the yr wasn’t with out its hiccups, after all: Forced to shut all areas throughout COVID-19 lockdowns, the crew had to quickly transition to digital coaching. 

To preserve members joyful and invested, they instantly started livestreaming exercises led by Devan. 


Morgan and Devan Kline.

Morgan and Devan Kline

“I was only a few months removed from training on tour, so it was easy for me to step in and execute,” he stated. They’ve run livestreams each week since, that includes their signature exercises together with yoga classes, youngsters camps, hip-hop dances, and kempo-style kickboxing. In whole, BBC’s digital exercises have amassed over three million views on YouTube. 

Their efforts have been facilitated by the truth that the BBC crew already had plans for streaming companies that their franchise companions may promote to members and potential members. 

“We had yet to put together this package as an offering, but it made streaming into homes very easy,” Devan stated. “In 2017, we built a $250,000 production studio after we went to New York for a media tour.”

BBC’s advertising and marketing crew got here up with efficient retention methods like dwell

camps, in addition to “member love” campaigns that spanned from adorning gymnasium home windows with inspiring messages to taking it old-school again to the parking-lot days. 

“Our team came together and we used this time to go deep with each other rather than argue and separate,” Morgan stated. 

Another a part of their recreation plan was to proceed to generate curiosity amongst potential franchisees.

“People would come to us interested in owning a Burn because of what they saw us doing and implementing,” Devan stated. “We are an adaptable company who stuck to our values, and people saw the strength of that.”

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