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Fitness Fun - Franchise Interview with The Fun Bus Franchise

Fun Bus
Franchise Interviews meets with Stacey Kimmins, the President of the Fun Bus

We had an opportunity to meet with Fun Bus at the International Franchise Expo in NYC. It's more than a bus.... It's an experience! FUN BUS Fitness FUN on Wheels® is THE Children's "FUN Fitness Program", with a low-cost, multiple revenue streams, and profitable operating system offering a FUN time, FUN talk and a FUN experience for everyone. The Company's foundation is solid and based on our experienced and dedicated people. We are the first to make this type of business affordable, the ONLY franchise doing this, and for that reason, our group of Franchisees will be at the forefront of an industry that just now is coming into its own!!

The Fun Bus has brought to life the philosophy to enhance children's lives by using FUN as a tool to their learning while providing a structured environment to teach FITNESS to the young child. At the same time, we are focusing on providing a positive environment, building self-esteem, perfecting coordination and motor skills, physical fitness, and social interaction. (Not to mention lots of FUN!)

We are meeting with Stacey Kimmins, the President of Fun Bus.  Click the play button below to listen to the show.

Franchise Interivews Welcome Back the FUN BUS franchise opportunity.

We are meeting with Stacey Kimmins of the FUN BUS franchise opportunit. FUN BUS is a fully climate controlled mobile fitness "gym on wheels" which serves children ages 2-7 years. At FUN BUS, their mission is to "drive the love of fitness to the young child" and they do this by bringing weekly fitness FUN classes/sessions to daycares and preschools, as well as birthday parties and special events.
FUN BUS kids are always beyond excited to see the BIG GREEN BUS roll up! Two trained "Fun Instructors" teach professionally designed lesson plans for our structured ½ hour classes, which typically run 6 to 10 weeks. A birthday party is a 1+hour event, with the same elements as a class but longer and geared towards the birthday child.  Click the link below to listen to the show.  


funbusowners1.jpgHi everyone and welcome to a very special edition of Franchise Interviews, where for over 12 years we have been asking the frantrepreneur who owns one.  I am your host Marty McDermott and I am the president of Franchise Interviews.

We have a great show today. We are meeting with Stacey Kimmins, the founder of FUN BUS.  FUN BUS is a fully climate controlled mobile fitness “gym on wheels” which serves children ages 2–7 years. At FUN BUS, their mission is to “drive the love of fitness to the young child” and they do this by bringing weekly fitness FUN classes/sessions to daycares and preschools, as well as birthday parties and special events. 

Franchise Interviews - Can you describe the history of FUN BUS?

Stacey Kimmins:  FUN BUS was launched in the early 2000’s in NJ by a creative daycare director.  She was looking to provide a higher level of physical activities to her student’s daily program.  So, by removing all of the seats, painting a bus, and adding some mini fitness equipment to a retired school bus, she created a 35-foot mini gym for young children and it took off.  She started traveling all over New Jersey to other daycares, getting calls for events, and birthday parties, and she actually at that time, added a second bus with additional staff.  When both buses were really busy, she realized that she was on to something and that’s when she began franchising the concept.  She really grew it early on at that time too, adding a lot of owners in a single bus, an owner model style all along the east coast. 

Franchise Interviews: The bus really stands out.  It’s very colorful and I can imagine the kids eyes light up as soon as they see the bus.  They know something great is going to happen.  It’s entertaining for the kids but it’s also educational.  What I’ve always loved about the FUN BUS is the multiple revenue streams.  You have birthday parties; you have corporate events.  Maybe you could talk a little about that as I thought it was interesting.  Did that happen at the beginning or was it something that kind of evolved over the course of time?

Stacey Kimmins: I think it’s something that evolved.  There’s a lot of people in our country and other countries talking about the need of keeping kids physical active.  The obesity rates are off the charts; Michelle Obama talked about this.  As the FUN BUS evolved, realizing that going weekly would provide kids with an opportunity to continuously build on skills that they learned the previous week, almost like a mini gym membership for children.  What parents don’t want their children to be physically active?  Honestly, working out is going to be part of their lives probably for the rest of their lives. 

Thumbnailprofile.jpgFranchise Interviews: I remember the first time I met you and your husband; you were talking about how growth motor skill is important at an early age.  We talked about preschool and kindergarten readiness.  I think that’s a big part of the need that FUN BUS is satisfying, isn’t it?

Stacey Kimmins: Gross motor skills are skills that children need.  For example, to stay in the lines and to keep a good distance between the child in front of them and to be engaged.  Developing and continually building on these skills really add to the learning going on in the classroom and that’s kind of what FUN BUS has evolved into.  We are really an enrichment program with professionally designed lesson plans and music created by a music therapist, that is really providing a level of education and support to the children while they are attending preschool.

Franchise Interviews: I think it’s a feel-good business too, isn’t it Stacey?  Your franchisees really get a chance to put a smile on their customer’s faces and that must be equally rewarding in addition to making money with the business as well.

Stacey Kimmins: Agreed; it really is a feel-good business.  We say that we are providing passion and purpose along with profitability.  Each day is incredibly rewarding.  The growth that children experience as being part of our program is just fabulous. 

Franchise Interviews:  The bus is certainly a moving billboard, isn’t it Stacey?  As you are going from point A to point B, I imagine thousands of people see it going from the location where it is parked to the next destination.  It certainly stands out, doesn’t it?

Stacey Kimmins: Yes, it does.  We get many calls and lots of visits to our website from people just trying to discover what this big, shiny green bus is, that is driving down the road next to them.  It is certainly its own moving billboard as you said.

Franchise Interviews: How do you describe the FUN BUS franchise to a prospective franchisee?

Stacey Kimmins: Purpose, passion, and profitability—a fabulous mission for making fitness fun for children at a young age.  We like to say that we are a recession resistant business with multiple reoccurring revenue streams because parents will always spend money on their children, even if they have no money.  We have become a household name in a lot of these concentrated areas, especially in New Jersey.  It’s been really hard to find a child who hasn’t experienced a FUN BUS and what has really come out over the last few years is that it is not just an enrichment program, we are really part of their childhood experience.  We like to say building muscles and mile stones; we are at their birthday party; we are at their school consistently.  We see them as they grow.  We see them when they are older.  We are really a community-based childhood memory and part of their journey as they grow up. 

Franchise Interviews: How has technology played a role in your business?

Stacey Kimmins – Technology has been a game changer.  Over the years, we are evolving to much more of an owner-style model than an owner-operator model.  Technology has allowed us to get off or our busses and work on our business and not in our business.  We introduced a customer management platform for parent online registration and communication, which eliminated the need for paper registration and tedious payment processing.  It also made reenrollment quicker and more efficient for our revenue stream.  Our customer management platform also has access to class information that we put on to iPads, allowing our employees to take on more responsibility of the day to day tasks, which frees up our owners to market more business.  We also have added what we call “FUN BUS University”, which is an online training platform that allows our owners access information to train their employees on site.  With this platform, they can learn anything from running a FUN BUS class to teaching fitness skills, as well as access to our lesson plans and our professional music making.  Our hiring of employees is less tedious allowing our owners to focus more on growing the business.  Technology has been the right fit to our growth.

We are a very visual brand so social media has been another game changer for us and a great review platform because a lot of parents choose our program because they are referred by other parents, so we have loved the reputation building that is associated with social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram

Segment Two

You are listening to Franchise Interviews and we are speaking with Stacey Kimmins, the founder of FUN BUS.  FUN BUS is a fully climate controlled mobile fitness “gym on wheels” which serves children ages 2–7 years. At FUN BUS, their mission is to “drive the love of fitness to the young child” and they do this by bringing weekly fitness FUN classes/sessions to daycares and preschools, as well as birthday parties and special events. 

Franchise Interviews – You are part of several industries. How big is your industry or industries?

funbusowners1.jpgStacey – We like to say we are part of the 414 million-dollar children’s fitness industry and we are in it at a time when childhood obesity is at an all-time high.  It is essential that children learn early on to be physically active, so we meet all of the checkmarks, everything a parent would want to invest money for their children.  We like to say we are the anti-app program.  Many times, at the end of our session’s, children don’t even realize they were exercising.  They were working up a sweat having a fabulous time with professional lesson plans that are theme based about pirates and monkeys, yet they just spent a half an hour working on their young bodies, and going home to tell their parents what they participated in for that week.  We also hired a master of curriculum and development to create our lesson plans and a music therapist to create our music.

Franchise Interviews - What has been the most interesting thing that has happened to you since launching FUN BUS?

Stacey – I think the relationships with the franchisees, vendors, and people in the franchisee world.  It has been a joy to watch the franchisees in each of their new successes and have them grow, and be successful in our model.  Franchising as a model has opened my world to meet so many amazing people.  I learn from them and continue to want to learn more. 

Franchise Interviews - What types of characteristics do you look for in a franchisee?

Stacey – We look for franchisees who have a passion for children and a passion for fitness.  The key is a self-starter, someone with a strong business acumen who is focusing on growth.  It is someone who can develop the culture of their team locally and also develop strong business relationships locally.  People who can follow the proven model and brand standards, but they need a certain level of creativity to make it work for them locally.  We have so many different types of successful FUN BUS Owners.  We have an absent tee owner who is a veterinarian.  We also have day care owners who have added FUN BUS as a complementary business.  We have a lot of husband and wife teams who bring different skill sets to the table and have become very successful.  We also have people who have left the daily grind of corporate life and they appreciate the flexibility of the model but also the wealth creating opportunity when you scale the business opportunity because we now have two bus, three bus, four bus, and five bus owners.  We have many owners that have multiple territories as well.  I think the flexibility is what attracted me to the system because I was a young mom at the time and since then have another child, I got the flexibility and opportunity to make it as big as I want to make it and I think on the franchisee level, it is very similar.  We have a lot of moms with a lot of young children who appreciate the value of what we do and are also very good and growing the business and scale up to their next bus or their next territory so there is certainly a ton of opportunity.  One hundred percent of our owners have a home office.  Some of our franchisees have employees that report to their home office to do some of their administrative and clerical work.  We typically park our busses in safe storage units or a lot where you can get some exposure.

Franchise Interviews - What is the training like for new franchisees?

Stacey Kimmins – Our training is quite extensive.  It is focused on both new business development and brand standard program requirements.  We have a forty-hour training curriculum that includes both in class learning as well as an on the bus program training.  Our franchisees are expected to know our branded FUN BUS music and the skills necessary to provide a safe environment that we expect, so new franchisees will participate in live FUN BUS classes, events, and parties as part of their on-boarding. 


martinjmcdermott77.jpgFranchise Interviews: You are listening to Franchise Interviews and we are speaking with Stacey Kimmins, the founder of FUN BUS.  FUN BUS is a fully climate controlled mobile fitness “gym on wheels” which serves children ages 2–7 years. At FUN BUS, their mission is to “drive the love of fitness to the young child” and they do this by bringing weekly fitness FUN classes/sessions to daycares and preschools, as well as birthday parties and special events.  What is a typical day like for FUN BUS franchisees?

Stacey Kimmins – Typically on Monday through Fridays, our days start with getting the busses rolling out to each of the schools that we have scheduled for that day for the weekly fitness sessions that begin around 9 or 9:30AM based on the day care schedule.  Staff arrive early to warm up or cool down the bus and get the busses set up for the lesson plans and theme.  Once all the busses are dispatched, the franchisees are out marketing and developing new business.  They are following up on leads but they are also providing quality checks to their existing schools to maintain their relationships with the directors and staffs of the schools.  They are also networking and participating in community-based events, which typically lead to a lot of our new business.  They are always looking to fill their calendar a season ahead.  In addition, they are booking birthday parties to fill their weekend calendars which we like to call, our “Weekend Warrior Staff”.  Sessions typically end in the late afternoon.  We do sometimes have evening events.


Franchise Interviews - What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to buy a franchise?

Stacey Kimmins – That is a great question.  I would say to look for a business that you could not only feel good about but that you see yourself doing every day.  Business ownership is hard and comes with ups and downs but I think if you love what you do, it makes the ups and downs a lot easier to ride out.  Also, find a business that fits your family’s goals and that makes it a lot easier to continue to be excited about it every day.


Franchise Interviews - What is FUN BUS’s plans for the future?

Stacey – Well, short-term and leading up to the three to five-year mark, our goal is brand awareness because once people experience the FUN BUS, they just love the FUN BUS!  Our long-term goal is to expand across the United States and to try and reach 100 units in the next seven years.  We know have a multi-unit development opportunity to support this and we also have a new bus leasing program, which has been making it much easier to get franchisees into business but also help owners add more busses to grow and scale more efficiently.  I am pumped for the future.  We are positioned for some strong solid growth in bringing the FUN BUS to many kids across the country. 


Franchise Interviews - How can our listeners get more information on FUN BUS?

Stacey – We have brand new consumer website that just rolled out in April and that is  We also rolled out a new franchise development website and that is!