The FUN BUS franchise interview with Marty McDermott was a lot of fun. This episode of “Franchise Interviews” introduces the Franchisor of FUN BUS, Stacey Kimmins. Franchise Interviews Meets with The Fun Bus and talks about all the good things happening with this growing franchise.
Listen to FUN BUS franchisor, Stacey Kimmins interview on Franchise Interviews with Host Marty McDermott on Blog Talk Radio while you are scrolling through this post. Loads of great information if you are interested in learning more about becoming a FUN BUS Franchisee.
Franchise Interviews. From Easton, PA to Sydney Australia. You’re listening to Franchise Interviews. Hi everyone and welcome back to a very special edition of Franchise Interviews. Where for over 8 years we have be asking the frantrepreneurs who own one. I am your host Marty McDermott and I am the President of Franchise Interviews and we have a great show. We are meeting with Stacey Kimmins, the President of Fun Bus. 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, Fun Bus focuses on providing a positive environment, building self-esteem, perfecting coordination and motor skills, physical fitness, and social interaction. (Not to mention lots of FUN!).
Stacey: Hi Marty, how are you doing? Thanks for having me.
Franchise Interviews: It’s great to have you on the show. We always like to ask our guests where are you calling from today?
Stacey: I am calling from Franchisor headquarters in Somerset County, NJ.
Franchise Interviews: That’s fantastic. I think I mentioned when I met you for the first time Stacey that my wife lived in New Jersey her whole life and I spent most of my life in New Jersey. It is always great to have someone from New Jersey on the show.
Stacey. Thank you.
Franchise Interviews: I have been going to the International Franchise Expo for many years. When I attend the show, I always look for something interesting and unique and one of the concepts that particularly stood out this year was Fun Bus. You and your husband were kind enough to let my seven year old son go on the bus and play in there for a little while, so it gave me a chance to talk to you. How do you typically describe the Fun Bus to prospective franchisees Stacey?
Stacey: Sure. I will begin with a little history of the Fun Bus. The concept was really formed out of the needs and requests of some parents out of a New Jersey based daycare. Back in 2003, the owner of the daycare was really struggling with keeping the children in her program physically active. She had limited space and resources in her center. She was constantly talking to parents about different ways they could host birthday parties at the school and that’s how the concept of the Fun Bus was born. The Fun Bus is really a refitted, fully fledged school bus that’s equipped with what we call “developmentally appropriate equipment”. It’s colorful and appealing to the young child. It’s contained, safe, and padded. We heat and cool our buses through a generator so the bus is not turned on and it never moves while children are aboard the bus. With this structured equipment, we can really provide unlimited ways to entertain the child and gear them up with fun activities that can be fresh and exciting each week. We offer a weekly consistent program to schools, daycares, and childcare centers. The age groups are usually 18 months and up to about 7 or 8 years old. Our goal is to focus on the growth motor skills development of the child.
Stacey: It’s really enormous. The Fun Bus is a multiple revenue stream model. Our industry in business is not just schools and daycares for the young child in the health and fitness genre. We also do birthday parties, special events, corporate and business-to-business events. You can imagine the countless opportunities for the Fun Bus. It could include anywhere a young child is in need some sort of entertainment. We show them that fitness can be really fun.
Franchise Interviews: There are so many benefits to the Fun Bus. We have one child and we were always concerned at an early age on building his self-esteem and confidence. I think those are just some of the benefits of the Fun Bus.
Stacey: Absolutely. I am also part of that typical demographic of a parent that is looking to give their child the best opportunities. There is so much talk right now about kindergarten and elementary school readiness. One of the areas that are kind of neglected in the day care arena is growth motor skills development. We need to make sure that children have the opportunity for structure and fitness. The Fun Bus provides the opportunity for children to run and get their energy out. They learn to grow motor skills like balance. There is a ton of research suggesting the importance of developing these skills at an early age.
Franchise Interviews: You and I come from the same generation Stacey. I think it is sad my son has gym only once per week so he doesn’t get the opportunity like we had as children to be more physically active. That is another great aspect of the Fun Bus.
Stacey: Certainly. The Fun Bus gives them the opportunity to also build self-esteem as well at the opportunity for children to realize their strengths. Our instructors are trained on that notion as well as what is developmentally appropriate for children. Our franchisees develop lesson plans with countless opportunities for children. The children light up when they see the Fun Bus.
Franchise Interviews: I agree. The Fun Bus certainly stood out when we went to the show at the Javits Center. I know this is a hands on business but does technology play an important role in the Fun Bus?
Stacey: Yes, technology has continued to improve our business. Franchisees have the ability to add quality to their program aboard the bus with music and great visual activities. Technology also helps with online marketing, blogging, and videos. Technology has given our customers the opportunity to see and experience the Fun Bus before booking us for an event. We bring technology into the booking end so most parents can use our online registration. We are doing a lot of work in that area which reduces the backend paperwork for our franchise business owners so they can grow and market their business as well.
Stacey: Yes, I think technology and online opportunities have changed the horizon of marketing so we are really trying to stay ahead of the curve and provide support to our owners so that they can focus on their business. I think many individuals are using mobile features now to learn about opportunities.
Franchise Interviews: The Fun Bus business model is certainly innovative. When I was looking at the different industries, it seems like the Fun Bus is part of several big categories Stacey. What industries would Fun Bus be associated?
Stacey: The industry of the young child which is enormous. We are also part of health and fitness, education, the birthday party category, and B to B. We crossed over into many areas with the opportunity for a lot repeat business.
Franchise Interviews: That’s what stood out for me about your business model. As I was looking at this model, I noticed you were part of several big industries. What has been one of the most interesting things that have happened to you since launching the Fun Bus?
Stacey: That’s a fun question! The recognition of the brand has been the most exciting for me. When I started my due diligence, I was aware I am the typical demographic of a customer that is booking the Fun Bus. I started asking moms, looking online, and using social media. It was an eye opener because so many people recognize the brand and need for the service. What was really exciting was when I asked my three year old nephew who had been a regular on the Fun Bus. When I asked him about the Fun Bus, he started screaming and couldn’t contain his excitement and I knew I had a winner on my hands.
Franchise Interviews: My son had a similar reaction Stacey. My in-laws called up and asked my son how the franchise show was at the Javits Center and the Fun Bus was the first thing that he mentioned. In looking at the characteristics of your franchisees, this is–no pun intended–a fun business isn’t it Stacey? What characteristics do you and your husband look for in your prospective franchisees?
Stacey: One of the most important traits is to find someone who is committed to our brand and mission and really understands what we are doing. I think if we focus on our mission and beliefs on a daily basis, we do a much better job. We look for franchisees that have a philosophy of providing
this great program for kids and recognizing that every child should have the opportunity to experience the Fun Bus. We are also looking for results oriented and goal focused owners who possess that honesty and integrity that the Fun Bus is known for in our reputation. We want someone who is really looking to improve their quality of life and using that as motivation to grow their business and brand. We will train and provide the support, but we do need people who have the ability to lead, train and manage their employees because this is an employee based business. We always go back to that commitment to our brand because of our reputation and how strong it has become.
Franchise Interviews: One of the shows we have been talking about doing for years now are husband and wife franchises and I thought this was an interesting model for possibly a husband and wife to go into. What were some of your franchisees doing prior to joining Fun Bus?
Stacey: I think that because of the flexibility of the model, there is not one previous type of experience or job that someone has to have to be a successful Fun Bus franchisee. We have everyone from a veterinarian who invested in the business because it can be an investment model, but we also have people who worked at the daycares and see the excitement it brings to kids and come along for the ride with us. We also have previous business owners. One of the typical traits of franchisees is that they were leaving the hustle and bustle of the corporate life and looking for the flexibility and financial opportunities the Fun Bus has to offer. As with most franchise models, the Fun Bus doesn’t have a significant need for experience, just a willingness to learn and follow the model and system.
Stacey: We do provide bus driver training for the individual owners and trainees, but there is not a requirement for any special driver’s licenses. There is not a requirement for a CDL, for the states that we are currently operate.
Franchise Interviews: What is the training like Stacey? Once someone decides to become a franchisee, do they typically come to New Jersey for training?
Stacey: Yes. We have classes and on-the-bus training. We will schedule you to work with other franchisees to get the day-to-day experience of what owners as well as the employees are experiencing on the Fun Bus. We also offer business start-up training, website training and technology training including social media assistance and franchise operations training. Also, professional bus driving school, daily bus operations training, and marketing training. We also have regional support coaches across the country that will provide ongoing support. So there is a lot of training.
Franchise Interviews: On the surface it may look like you can get on a bus and drive it from point “A” to point “B”, but it’s not that simple is it?
Stacey: It is not that simple. We often say to people, you can’t pay enough for the mistakes that people have made in the past. This is part of why people buy into a franchise. So they don’t have to make the same mistakes and reap the same rewards.
The FUN BUS franchise interview with Marty McDermott highlights all the proponents for potential business owners to learn the ins and outs of becoming a FUN BUS franchisee.
Franchise Interviews: What is the typical day like for franchisees?
Stacey: What’s fun about our model is that there isn’t a typical day. Because there are so many revenue streams, there are many different types of jobs owners are doing on a daily basis. However, there are some things that we would prefer franchise owners are focusing on to help grow their business. The typical Fun Bus franchisee works from home; it’s a home based office. Their primary goal is marketing their business and growing their brand in their area. They have to focus a lot of attention on their staffing and scheduling, and optimizing the use of their bus. These are the typical managerial type roles of focusing on the day-to-day operations of the bus. The owners are working on their bus day-to-day, but as they grow and become more successful, they’re managing people, retraining staff, providing exceptional customer service and following up with their customers to make sure and being sure every customer gets the best Fun Bus experience.
Stacey: It does and it provides for low overhead and investment. The investment is minimal and any fixed cost associated with office space is gone.
Franchise Interviews: The Fun Bus is a great form of advertising too as far as driving the bus from point “A” to point “B”. It’s an advertising vehicle as well.
Stacey: It is a driving billboard.
Franchise Interviews: It sure is. You attended the franchise show in New York and I am sure you had hundreds of conversations with prospective franchisees and we find that a lot of people that are new to franchising don’t know where to begin because there is just so much information out there today. What advice would give to our listeners in their quest to buy a franchise?
Stacey: First I would say good for you for looking at the franchising model. It’s an outstanding way that allows people to be in business for yourself but not by yourself. I would also recommend proper due diligence and understanding the depths of the business you are considering. It is most important to choose a business that aligns with your beliefs. It’s a lot easier to grow your business when you are proud of what you are doing every day.
Franchise Interviews: I saw this business as a means to do something good. The children are at an age where you are providing a valuable service while having this tremendous opportunity to make a nice amount of money at the same time.
Stacey: It is a beautiful age, full of exploratory time and a need for structure. There are so many positive elements that can come out of a child hopping on the Fun Bus.
Franchise Interviews: Where do you see the Fun Bus in maybe three to five years down the road?
Stacey: Our primary goal is to help our current franchisees grow, there’s lots of room within our current markets and every child should be able to experience the Fun Bus in each of the 11 markets we have a Fun Bus. We are looking at national growth, not quite international yet. There is a lot of opportunity to grow nationally. Currently we are running in 11 states with 37 buses on the road and are looking to double that in the next three to four years.
Franchise Interviews: It must be interesting for you every time a new franchise opens up.
Franchise Interviews: What is the best way Stacey for our listeners to get more information on becoming a franchisee?
Stacey: They can go to our website which is mobile friendly. I would recommend that someone visit our website, www.funbuses.com. They can also contact our franchise development team, the email address would be firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can reach out to our franchisor headquarters the phone number there is 732-578-1bus.
Franchise Interviews: I want to thank you again Stacey for coming on the show. One other question, how did you get that bus into the Jacob Javits Center?
Stacey: That was very interesting maneuvering it.
Franchise Interviews: Thank you for coming on the show and you have been an incredible guest. I love this concept and I am going to keep my eye on Fun Bus and hopefully I can have you back next year as you continue to grow. I think this is wonderful.
Franchise Interviews: It’s my pleasure Stacey and we’ll be right back with more Franchise Interviews.
The FUN BUS franchise interview with Marty McDermott highlights the various proponents of what the FUN BUS franchise encompasses. A special thank you to Marty McDermott for hosting such a great show and the FUN BUS is excited to be a part of the Franchise Interviews show.
Mission Statement: Mission Statement: The mission of the FUN BUS is to enhance the lives of young children by providing a fun and safe environment where kids can build their self-esteem, while improving coordination and gross motor skills through physical fitness and social interaction. Most importantly, our goal is make fitness FUN!
If you are interested in booking your upcoming birthday party, special event or school program, contact the FUN BUS or visit our locations page to reserve a FUN BUS nearest you. If you are interested in learning more about the FUN BUS business, we encourage you to contact us or visit our Franchise Opportunities page. You can also like us on Facebook to see all the FUN we are having.