Jilaine Anderson purchased her JumpBunch franchise in Central Ohio in October 2008 and had it open and operating in November 2008. Anderson shared with Franchise Business Review how purchasing a low-cost franchise that she runs out of her home has been advantageous and more.
How did you find your franchise? I used an outside consultant and did my own research. The consultant was very helpful in helping me to narrow down what I really wanted in a franchise. I, however, found JumpBunch on my own through various franchise listing services.
How did you fund your franchise? I was able to pay for it outright because the cost to start it up was relatively low since it isn’t a brick and mortar concern.
What was it about the franchise that led you to purchase it? I liked several things about the model including that it was a home-based business and had a low start-up cost. In addition, I was already familiar with sports and fitness for kids. I also connected very well with the leadership during discovery day, which is what really made up my mind. They are very genuine and honest.
Why did you decide to go into franchising? I knew I wanted to open my own business, however, all of my experience was working in the public sector, so I really didn’t know how to go about doing so on my own. When I started researching franchising, I discovered that there were so many more options than I every imagined there would be and found several that I thought I could do successfully. I liked that with franchising there is already a proven business model and that things like licenses, insurance, accounting, marketing, sales, etc. was already figured out. Knowing this was much more comfortable for me than starting a business from scratch.
What experience did you have prior to becoming a franchisee that you have found particularly helpful when it comes to successfully running your franchise? I had a MA in Sport and Exercise Management and over 20 years of experience in operating sports and fitness programs for kids, which meant I was familiar with hiring, training and managing part-time employees who will be working with children.
How long did it take to break even and make a profit? Other than the franchise fee and start up costs, we broke even almost immediately. It’s hard to take a loss on this business since your costs are directly proportional to revenue. I would say about year three I started making enough profit that I could live off the revenue from the business. My spouse worked while I was building the business.
What advice would you share with people considering purchasing a franchise? Do your due diligence! Be sure to talk to several franchise owners and take notes prior to investing. Also, once you join a franchise, be sure to work the system that is presented to you by the franchisor. They have a proven model. If you invest in a JumpBunch business, I recommend that you treat it as as a full time job in order to be highly successful.
What is your work/life balance? I work about 30 to 40 hours a week now. It was probably more like 40 to 50 hours in the initial years since I was getting things going. I feel I have a good work life balance in terms of vacation, family, etc. Since I work from home, I am able to flex my schedule to attend to personal needs. Occasionally I will have to work an evening or Saturday either teaching a JumpBunch class or attending an event at one of my locations. This is typically not a big deal for me and is not a frequent occurrence.
What is it that you like best about owning your franchise? From a business perspective, I like that we have so much support from our franchise leadership and that JumpBunch has a good system in place for you to be successful. From a personal perspective, I am just so proud to have opened my own business and be successful at it. I also like that JumpBunch really touches children and that we are rock stars among the children we reach.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a franchisee? Due to the nature of our business, a key part of your success depends on hiring and keeping high quality instructors. It is difficult at times to strike the balance between finding and keeping part-time employees who teach our classes and keeping a high profit margin.
What kind of support did you most appreciate from your franchisor? When I first opened, I appreciated so much that I could just call JumpBunch corporate at anytime to get answer to my questions and help. They have always been this way and it makes it really nice. In addition, I believe I received two to three support visits by franchise leaders in the first few years I was open, which I found this very helpful. Now, I really like that they continue to be so supportive of my franchise and continue their interest in seeing me succeed. I also like that they listen to all their franchisees’ comments and are open to change, new ideas and more.
What kind of support do you get from fellow franchisees? I was assigned a mentor who was a franchisee when I first opened who was exceedingly helpful. We had a support meeting about once a month or more if needed for me to talk about how it was going, what I needed help with, etc. In addition, we have an internal message board, and I’ve found that whenever I ask questions, there is always plenty of people willing to help.
Where do you see your business in the next five years? I am up for renewal of my franchise in 2018 and I anticipate that I will do so and continue to grow it until I retire.
To see how JumpBunch’s franchisees, including Jilaine, rate it in a variety of crucial areas including leadership, culture, training and support, financial outlook, and franchisee community, click here.