In June 2014, Ben Jones opened his first Fit Body Boot Camp franchise with no previous business ownership experience, but a passion for wellness and helping clients get fit.
Now, he owns eight franchises across the Phoenix metropolitan area, boasting 30 to 50 percent aggregate year-over-year growth since his first opening.
“I’ve always had an interest in personal training and fitness, but it was never my plan to open a gym franchise until later in my career,” Ben said.
Inspired by a family friend who worked in government surveillance, Ben initially had aspirations to become an agent with the FBI. He graduated college with a degree in dietetics, but decided to enlist in the army his first year out of school, in order to lay the groundwork for a post-military career in federal investigations.
“I was part of the military police,” Ben said. “This gave me a great deal of experience in a similar area while still letting me pursue a more diverse background.”
Setting a Strong Foundation to Open a Fitness Franchise
Ben was deployed to Iraq from 2006 to 2007, working in convoy security throughout his tour of duty. During his time overseas he became more familiar with the franchise model.
“One of my fellow unit members spent a lot of his downtime researching different business and franchise opportunities as career options for when he returned home,” Ben said. “At this point, my career goals and aspirations had changed because I realized I really wanted to own my own business.”
For Ben, owning a fitness franchise seemed like a great opportunity since he had always been interested in health and wellness.
“I worked as a personal trainer right out of high school and through college – it’s always been a passion of mine, and that didn’t stop when I was deployed,” he said. “I really enjoyed being able to help people, as well as myself, stay in shape throughout our time there.”
From Serving His Country to His Community: A Business that Gives Back
In October 2007, Ben’s military tour ended, and he returned home to the U.S. He worked in medical sales for several years before deciding to take the leap into business ownership, investing in his first Fit Body Boot Camp franchise.
“I signed the franchise agreement in March of 2014, and we held our official opening that June. It was a quick turnaround,” Ben said. “I poured my heart and soul into the business and followed the system, and the growth I started seeing was incredible.”
Since his first location, Ben has expanded his footprint and opened at least one additional Fit Body Boot Camp franchise every year. He now also manages 50 to 60 employees across his eight locations at any given time.
“As the business grows, particularly if you experience really fast growth, you have to be able to quickly adapt and account for changes,” Ben said. “I think that was my biggest takeaway and transferable skillset from the military – seeing what it means to be a leader and part of a team. You have to embrace every part of business ownership, be able to adapt and enjoy your successes.”
Ben plans to continue expanding across Arizona and even into neighboring states, but it isn’t his business’ fast growth that makes the opportunity so rewarding for him.
“Fit Body Boot Camp is an amazing concept because it’s much more than just a gym or business – it’s an avenue to directly impact peoples’ lives in a positive way,” Ben said. “It’s so fulfilling when members come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for changing my life and helping me get healthier, mentally and physically.’ We provide a community and focus on serving others to help them accomplish their goals and live better lives.”