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From Trainer To Owner Of 12 Burn Boot Camp Locations – Scott Tobin’s Journey

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Podcast

Franchise Masters | Scott Tobin | Burn Boot Camp

 

When Scott Tobin joined one of the early Burn Boot Camp locations as a trainer, he never dreamed that one day he would own 12 locations. Scott joins Dru Carpenito to walk us through his journey and how he has built a fitness empire with over 4,000 members and 200 employees. He also shares how he plans to grow to 20 locations. Through the highs of adding more locations under his belt to the lows brought on by different challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott paints a great picture of what it takes to be a successful multi-unit franchisee owner. Tune in now for more wisdom and insights!

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From Trainer To Owner Of 12 Burn Boot Camp Locations – Scott Tobin’s Journey

It’s been a while, but we’re getting this thing geared back up and I’m excited because we’ve got a multi-unit franchisee with Burn Boot Camp, Scott Tobin, joining us to talk about his story and journey in franchising. I was talking to Scott. It sounds like he’s gone into Burn in a big way. He opened his twelfth location up in Chesapeake, Virginia. Scott, welcome to the show.

Thanks, Drew. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be on.

We’re going to freestyle this thing. Scott’s busy living the life of a multi-unit franchise owner. He opened his twelfth location, so I think he’s driving back to Raleigh right now. We’re rolling with this thing. Scott, glad to have you here. Congratulations on the new opening. That’s massive. What the heck were you doing before you got into Burn Boot Camp? How did you get hooked up with these guys? What got you into the franchising game?

I think I’ve told this journey so many times, but it’s exciting. I love it. I call it dumb luck. I think everything’s meant to happen for a reason. I was up in Vancouver, Canada, a whole different country doing personal training and consulting. Personal training has always been my passion. That job went sour. My old VP reached out to me and offered me three other jobs into consulting. If you don’t know, personal train consulting, it’s basically you go into gyms, pocket gyms, bigger gyms like the old gyms, Crunch Fitness and you revamp their train program, hire new trainers, do sales techniques, and all that stuff. It’s a burnout job. It definitely is big-time sales.

He offered me a job in Sacramento, Bend, Oregon, and Lake Tahoe, three beautiful places. I went to him and I was like, “I don’t know if I still got it in me. Let me take a week and try to figure it out.” I ended up putting my name out on a career plug, which releases my name on the Monster and all those things. Jolene reached out to me from Devan and Morgan’s franchise. I was like, “We’re looking for a head trainer at Raleigh. What are your thoughts?” He called me in, and then I talked to Devan. This sounds good, but still, I was 28 at the time. I was a lost kid. I said, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to put four names in a hat and see what I pull out.” I pulled out Raleigh. That’s how I ended up with my first gig at Burn.

I went to the very first burn university, which was awesome. It was Devan Kline and Morgan Kline. They’re raw, like learning how to franchise. He was my age too, 28. I remember having PowerPoint like, “We misspelled that word” and doing it on the fly. It was so cool. It was such an experience that I always talk about. I look from where we were and where we’re now with the franchise and it’s crazy how fast he’s grown and matured. Also, knowing him from day one and seeing that he’s such a loyal and a good person or well-hearted person. I always call him a goer here and there, but he means the world and that’s awesome to still see how genuine he is. That’s what I’m looking for.

Genuine in the sense of being our CEO bringing on Morgan as a co-CEO and seeing all the mistakes they’ve gone through, but all the growing pain. I said in my last interview, “It’s the family I didn’t exactly want in my life, but I needed it.” I mean that in a joke away. I always say, “I didn’t want it because I never want a family like you. It’s always arguments and back and forth, but it’s a family I needed where it helped me grow so much from not only a person, but as a trainer into a multi-unit franchise owner. It’s an awesome journey.

You literally picked it out of a hat and said, “This is it, I’m going to Raleigh.” You were a trainer at that point in the Burn system. Did you own the franchise or what happened there?

No. Devon, Daniel, and Billy owned my first gym at Northwest and they put me in as the head trainer. The head trainer ran the gym. Basically, there was a go-to person. The owners of the gym were very hands off and that was the whole product initially, so they put faith in the kid they didn’t know. Luckily, it turned out all right for them. I still give them a hard time. After six months, They’re like, “I want to focus on franchising. Would you be open to buying my portion of shares out?” I said, “Definitely.” They came back, he’s like, “Would you want to buy out the whole gym?” I said, “Even better.” We negotiated deal. That was my first franchise with him.

To backtrack, when I talked to Jolene on the phone, I’m like, “This sounds good. I would love to open up ten of these and run with this franchise.” That was me being a kid and thinking like, “This is what I want. This is cool, but I still couldn’t decide.” I ended up buying gym number 8 or 12, they opened a whole bunch of franchises at the same time from Devon, Daniel, and Billy. That’s how I started as a franchise partner and also still the lead trainer at Northwest.

That’s awesome. You were working in the system and had the inside scoop, and then this opportunity emerged to buy them out as they started to get into the franchise transition more aggressively.

Yeah. I think everything’s meant to happen for a reason. It was awesome timing. I was super grateful for that opportunity and then ran with it.

You get into it. Were there any big transitions or any big learnings for you moving from the head trainer role into the owner role of that location?

A hundred percent. You’re talking about a kid that has no clue of anything of business except, “I’m going to train a heck of a camp and take care of my members and that’s my business.” That was basically my motto. I ended up buying another gym up in Williamsburg. Williamsburg’s my second gym and then I was like, “I need to bring on someone that does more of the backend stuff.” I didn’t partner her up. I brought her on as more of my backend stuff and she’s like, “I know you have about 500 members, but about 450 of them are being billed, so the other 50, I don’t know what’s going on with them.” That’s when I stepped back and I was like, “It was no joke.” It’s so funny and I laugh about it.

I’m like, “I got $20,000 in my bank account. All my expenses are paid for. I need $10,000, so I made $10,000 this month, I’m good.” That was my business. From a franchise standpoint, it started to come around. My backend person at the time, Jenny, she’s like, “Start listening to France. Start listening to Devon and Morgan. You have no clue what you’re doing on the backend and you’re still being arrogant.”  I’m like, “No, I’ll figure it out.” You pay royalties to a franchise, this is the whole point for them to help on the things that you have no clue what you’re doing. Please start to listen to them. When I started to, I’m like, “That’s a good move.” It was one of those a-ha moments.

Sometimes in a franchise, I think that’s a good little nugget there. I don’t want to say it like this, but I will. As long as the royalties are coming in from the franchise or perspective, sometimes they might not ask you or take a hard look at your business to help you figure some things out. I think as I’m sure it’s different now with coaches and stuff, but at the beginning of any emerging franchise, everybody’s doing a lot of different things, so it’s on you to lean into the franchise company if you feel like you need a second opinion or some guidance or some advice. Good on you for doing that. How did that change things for you from that conversation or that moment?

Franchise Masters | Scott Tobin | Burn Boot Camp

Burn Boot Camp: At the beginning of any emerging franchise, everybody’s doing a lot of different things, so it’s on you to lean into the franchise company.

 

I think there were a few big a-ha moments for me. One is being in the personal training world, I naturally had it myself. I think it was growing up. It’s the arrogance on you. There’s a little bit difference from arrogance and confidence. Confidence is you’re sure of yourself, you know what you’re doing, you’ve done the research. Arrogance is you think you know everything. At the beginning point, I was like, “I’m successful. I’m killing it. I’m doing good.” That puts a little chip on your shoulder. You then slowly realize like, “I have a franchise that supports me and I’m not the best in marketing. I’m not the best in detailed things.”

That’s where I started to lean on them on my weaknesses. I had to take a step back and say, “These are my strengths. I’m a great trainer. I love my members. I love taking care of them. I love to get results.” That’s my priority. That is my bread and butter. I’m learning. Learning what they need and what inspires them to be better themselves. That’s our business in my aspect. However, when you look at it from a business standpoint, the business is, “Are we charging these members? Are you marketing to get new members?” You’re doing all the backend stuff.

That’s when I started to say, “I need a couple of different people. I needed Jenny to come in on the backend and fix all that and make sure we’re billing people, people are paying. We’re running a business.” I needed to lean on my franchise board to say, “This is what we’re marketing, this is our product, and this is how you continue to improve your product which will improve your membership experience.” It was one of those where you had to take a stake step back and realize, “What is my strength? This is where I don’t need them. What’s my weakness? This is what I need them for.” I’m super grateful that they were able to supply to most of my weaknesses.

I imagine that mindset shift. With the business that you had, you’d obviously been successful with 500 members even though 450 were paying you. You could probably help more people. You could buy a second gym like you did and be able to take burn to more communities and impact more customers’ lives, but you couldn’t do it all yourself. You needed to build a team and scale up a little bit to grow to be able to do that.

That’s 100% correct. I think that was the biggest moment for me too.

When you’re in the heat of the battle, like building a business and learning how to run the business, I almost think like there could be some wisdom in not getting caught in the details too much because you got to get the volume there first to almost overwhelm you. Once you have the volume and the revenue, and then it becomes a little bit easier to optimize the business to either figure out how to take it to the next level or optimize it for profitability. I think what you did makes a lot of sense which is like, “Head down. Let’s get this thing busy as possible. Let’s get maxed out, and then let’s figure out how to grow it to the next level, which involves bringing on a team of people.” Like you said, revenue solves a lot.

Once you have the volume and the revenue, then it becomes a little bit easier to optimize the business to figure out how to take it to the next level. Click To Tweet

Exactly, 100% true. That’s what Jenny basically said to me too. She’s like, “Your focus is membership and your focus is caring about your members. That is your focus and that’s always going to be your focus. My focus is to bring in money so you can open more gyms and help more people.” When she put it to me that way, I’m like, “That makes a lot of sense.” It’s like one of those common sense things, but it’s pretty funny because without revenue and without profitability you can’t open more gyms to help more lives. That’s where it flung me over. I was like, “We need to run this as a business ultimately and then continue to help people who can’t afford it and work with people as much as we can to build that community. Also, run it as a business and have a good balance of each.” I think we found that over time for sure.

Your first gym was in Raleigh. Did I hear you say that your second gym was in Williamsburg, Virginia?

Yeah, Williamsburg, Virginia.

That’s not Cary. That’s not Durham. That’s not Chapel Hill. That’s five hours away from Raleigh. What was that like opening your second gym?

It was about 2.5 hours from Raleigh or maybe about 3 hours. It’s not a horrible drive. Most of the triangular was already saturated with Burn. I wanted to do my own thing and get away. I lived in Richmond for five years. I love Williamsburg. I thought it was a unique little city. It’s like a unique town. When I hired my head trainer, Jason, he turned down the job. I still give him a hard time.

He turned down my job. I brought him down to him out to Raleigh, beyond them. He’s like, “I’m going to turn it down.” I replied to his email like, “No, you’re not. What do you need?” After that, I was like, “I’ll bring you on as a partner in time. Prove me that you’re worth it. We’ll do a partnership.” He came back to me, loved the thought of it, and definitely earned his partnership in Williamsburg. It has been amazing.

My second one was Williamsburg. I loved it. I was commuting back and forth still in that gym. It’s my second little baby for sure. The members are there. We still have members that have been there over five years. It’s always cool to see their stories, hearing about them, seeing new members join. It’s a cool community there. Everyone knows each other. As I said, it’s a smaller town so it’s more unique in that sense. That was my second one and we grew from there.

When was that? When did you open your second one? What year?

Northwest Raleigh, we had our 8-year anniversary on January 25th. Eight years, that’s 2016. I believe I opened Williamsburg 2018. We did our 5 years in 2023.

Between 2018 and 2024m you opened another 10 locations?

Yeah, 3 in 2023. That’s an adventure

Obviously, the plan was to own ten. That’s what you told Jolene during the first interview. As you got your second one open, were you like, “I’ve got a formula here that I feel like I can rinse and repeat.” Was it always truly like, “I’m going to own 10 of these or 12 of these things eventually.” Where did this idea of this growth and scale that you’re on right now emerge from?

Northwest was awesome. I love the feeling of seeing people change. Physical standpoint’s awesome. Everyone can have a six-pack, everyone can look great, but from that mental and emotional level, it’s something phenomenal. You see that person change from the inside out. I then started to see that again at Williamsburg and I’m like, “This is something that’s special and this is something that I definitely was talking about they want. I need to do this at a great scale, but I have no clue what I’m doing from a business standpoint.”

I finally got an accountant. I was like, “I need one of these.” He’s like, “Do you have receipts?” I’m like, “Receipts.” He’s like, “Yeah, anything you purchase, you need a receipt for.” I’m like, “Alright, cool.” I was like, “Let me start to learn and tucker down on that.” I then brought on a controller to help me scale it at a faster level. He was all business-oriented and straight-up business. He is like, “You need to get this and this together.” I was like, “I hate you but I love you at the same time.” They mentored me in a lot of different areas and a lot of different senses of business. I was like, “I got a business to run.” That’s when we started to scale from two. We ended up building in Newport News, which is a little bit east of Williamsburg, about twenty minutes east, and then to Raleigh.

I’ll do a quick recap. As a good entrepreneur should be, Scott’s not behind his desk, he’s on the road making stuff happen. We’re going to make this thing work because Scott’s got a cool story to tell. Scott, your third one was in Newport News, Virginia. Your fourth one was in Briar Creek, which is in the Raleigh area. Were those new locations that you opened or were any of these acquisitions?

Yeah, they were all new locations. My fifth one was Virginia Beach and High Point. High Point, I bought out, sold, and then re-bought out. We can circle around that in a minute. Virginia Beach, Red Mill was my fifth location that we ended up buying out. When I talked with Jolene, I said, “What are my options here when I’m buying this out?” She said, “You can build this whole area. Do it, get situated, and then start to build it up.” I said, “This is an awesome opportunity.” My running joke is we own the gyms from Chester, Richmond area all the way to the Virginia Beach area, so to follow James River down.

I started to build out the Virginia Beach ones and then we ended up buying and building Chester. Chester was number six. We then planned on opening Norfolk, Virginia Beach Hilltop, and Kempville around Virginia Beach area all in 2020. We know what happened in 2020. That pushed everything back. That was a crazy time. I think that’s when it was a realization that I was growing superfast. I was super successful, which I’m grateful for. Got super lucky, and then got hit by a wall. That wall was more of a realization wall of, “Scott, you need to figure out what the heck you’re doing now because now it’s business time, now you’re building these and you’re getting successful and lucky. You need to figure out how to stay alive and afloat.” That’s something.

Franchise Masters | Scott Tobin | Burn Boot Camp

Burn Boot Camp: You need to figure out what you’re doing now because it’s business time. Now, you’re building these franchises and you’re getting successful. You need to figure out how to stay alive and afloat.

 

It feels like 40 years ago, doesn’t it, not 4 years ago? Isn’t that crazy?

I lost 6 years of my life with 1 year. I think we all did.

Was Virginia tough? Were they as strict as North Carolina was on the restrictions and stuff?

Yeah. Basically, Virginia and North Carolina ran a line. We got hammered across the board. Luckily, very modest lifestyle in that sense and I was able to pull out a lot of my personal funds. We had some PPP loans which helped us for the first few months, but a lot of my personal funds went into keeping the gyms afloat, keeping my main employees fully paid for about nine months before anything could open up and run again. Everyone was afraid, confused, lost. Gyms got hit, one of the worst.

You’re powerless, literally nothing you could do. You’re told what you can and can’t do at that point but you made it. You were in growth mode when the pandemic hit. You had to obviously work through that. What happened coming out of COVID?

We were full steam ahead. It was wild. March 2020, before Covid hit, I’ll never forget. I always joke, I always say like, “Money doesn’t excite me.” Obviously, it makes the world go around and people know that. Early March, you have that feeling that you’re like, “I finally made it and I finally was killing it. Doing great, doing everything I want to do. It’s not an 8:00 to 5:00 job. I have a passion for what I do changing lives. I sat there like, “This is amazing. I’m going to open another two gyms in the next couple of months. I have a third one that I signed for.” COVID hit and everyone’s like, “I don’t know what’s going to go on.”

I remember I always tell a story, I think it was April, I went on a bike ride. I was about twenty miles into my bike ride. The summer was rising. I sat there and I was like, “I’m either going to make it out of COVID great or I’m going to declare bankruptcy. Either which way. I can’t stress about it. I have to enjoy the moment and live.”

That’s what I did in COVID. I was like, “What is in my control and what can I do better?” That’s when I sat down that week and said, “I need to learn business. I need to understand what I can do to handle things.” Anything in my control, I decided I was going to take power and earn it and own it. Whatever was out of my control was out of my control. That’s where it was.

Did that moment and that shift, you had to have to survive through that crazy time? Has that mindset continued forward and has it helped you in any way? Have you noticed anything different about yourself coming out of fighting through that crazy time to survive and keep it all still going the best you could? Anything you can look back and be like, “In a weird way, I got through it and I wouldn’t be where I am now because of going through that crazy time.”

A hundred percent. One of the biggest things that I’ve learned from it is you always want to try to find the best and the worst of times. I think COVID was one of the worst times that we’ve experienced in our lifespan. I know there are a lot of other horrible times too, but I think COVID was a disaster. I think it split so many people up. Many people had different opinions and arguments besides the death count and everyone. It’s a sad and awful two years of our lives ruined.

You always want to try to find the best in the worst of times. Click To Tweet

I try to find the best in them. The best is it gave us a chance to society for myself to take a step back in life. I was going at 110 miles per hour on a school zone. No joke. It was like, what are all my flaws? These are all my flaws. It was realizing, these are the flaws I need to fix to enhance my employees lives better and to be able to help them grow themselves. At that point in my life, I have to start shifting from a trainer to an employer and focus on my employees and how it can trickle down to the membership.

Devon and Morgan came up with a great plan to keep us afloat, keep us alive throughout COVID, which was awesome too. It also took a realization. What is important? Money’s not important to me. What’s important? My important part was, how can I keep my main employees paid? My other employees, let’s furlough them, they’re going to get more from the government than I can pay them. This is a win-win for all of us and we can hire them right back when it’s time to hire them back.

What do I need to live on and what do I not need to live on? I always say towards October, it was the first check I wrote. I don’t want to say I was doing 60-hour work weeks, but I was studying for 40 to 60 hours a week on work. We had a phenomenal team that held it together and was side by side with me on that. More or less, you would do these 40 to 60-hour weeks study. I feel so much smarter. I feel better. I’m more confident in the business end. Here’s a $15,000 check to cover all the expenses.

Other than that loss of about 15,000 to 20,000 a month, I started to do well for myself beforehand. I was like, “That bank account went down and down.” That’s something definitely humbling, but it’s great because as I said, you want to find the best at everything. It keeps you grounded. I feel like sometimes when you make it and you feel good, you need to be knocked down once in a while and say, “I’m still here. I’m still grounded. I’m still there.”

That’s something I know I’m rambling for a second, but that’s something I always love about Devan and Morgan. Devan has that confidence about him and that leadership. When you talk to him from a genuine person in that genuine level, you’re like, “I know this guy. He’s grounded. He knows where he is coming from. He’s humble enough. He wants that confidence and that leadership to help lead others too.” That is why I do lobe Burn.

I heard you say two things that stood out to me. You mentioned that you shifted from a trainer to an employer. That’s a big jump mindset-wise. There are books written about it. Kiyosaki wrote about the cashflow quadrant, moving from self-employed to business owner to an investor. You can’t skip the steps, you have to go through it. You had a crazy situation forced upon you that was out of your control. That sounds like maybe it was one of those defining moments of growth.

There’s a humbling. I think a lot of good entrepreneurs, there is humility about it especially at the path that you were on and what you’ve built. It can’t be about you in order to scale. It has to be about other people. You’ve said it many times, it’s your employees and it’s your customers. You’re leading the charge, but you got to have a good team of people underneath you to carry forward your vision. With that comes success. It’s not about the money, but the money follows the success that you achieve by building that team of people who can operate the business for you and do it the way you want. Not easy.

It can't be about you in order to scale. It has to be about other people. Click To Tweet

No, I 100% agree. One of my favorite quotes and saying is, you have to have the confidence to hire people that are better than you. I finally created a team that a lot of my teams are way better than me in what they do. From HR department to retail to marketing, that’s their focus. They’re better and I’m fine with that. Those are the people that I want behind me because if they’re not better than me and I’m not good at it, then we’re failing at that thing.

It’s definitely building a team throughout COVID and realigning with what my weakness is and what my strength is. Focusing on the strength and taking my strength to a better level, and then knowing that this is my weakness, I don’t need to be good at it, I need to hire someone who’s way better than me at it. That was a huge growing step for me from going from that trainer to employer standpoint.

Hiring is an art. It comes with experience. It comes from getting burned a couple times. I think a lot of people who tune in to this show, that’s one of the things that they get overwhelmed with and they struggle with sometimes. It’s hiring good people and maybe being afraid to make that first hire. As you’ve looked back and as you’ve grown, are there any tricks or tactics you use to hire people? How do you go about it? How do you size somebody up to know if you want to make them an offer when you’re going through the interview process?

That was such a big learning curve for me because I’ve made so many mistakes. I always look at in two ways. When an employee doesn’t work out and you have to fire them or they quit, you always put the blame on the employee. It’s almost easier to blame someone else than take blame yourself. I think the first learning curve is, when you’re hiring people you’re always going to make those mistakes. It’s impossible to hire the perfect person or hire a perfect fit one way or another.

Whenever I fire someone or we part ways or the political correctness is part ways with someone more they leave, they put in their two weeks, I sit back and it’s easy to say, “She or he could have done this and this different.” I like to take a day completely meditate on it and sit on it, not even think about it. The next day, I sit back and say, “What could I have an employer do different or have done different?”

At the end of the day, it’s the relationship. Relationships takes two to mingle. When I run through everything, sometimes you have some bad employees. That’s not been a world, but why were they bad? Why didn’t they work in your system? They might not have been a good fit for your system, that’s fine. fixing your system and slowly improving helps.

When I go through hiring, I said, “What does my system need and what can I work with?” I forgot the stat but you work with your employees, you work 60% of your life or 70% of your life or 70% out of the day. I forgot the percentage, but you want to work with people that you like to work with. You don’t have to be best friends with them but you have to get along with them, you have to be able to talk to them and have regular conversations outside of work, so you get to know them on a personal level.

Franchise Masters | Scott Tobin | Burn Boot Camp

Burn Boot Camp: You want to work with people that you like to work with. You don’t have to be best friends with them, but you have to get along with them.

 

You also have to hire people that you know that you need weakness. If I was a phenomenal person at marketing, I probably wouldn’t have a marketing person because I could do it myself, but because I’m not and I’m good but I can hire someone great, that’s what I need. I also need to understand what they do and get that.

I think that’s a big trick with hiring is, you have to be able to get along with the person. You want to be like, “I can go grab a drink.” Whatever you want to do with that person, have lunch or coffee with that person, be fine and have a conversation with them because if you can’t have an open conversation with them, how is that relationship ever going to work out in a work atmosphere if something’s difficult and you can’t see eye to eye?

Also, you have to know your weaknesses. When you’re hiring someone, why am I hiring this person? Where do they go bring the table that’s going to improve my company? That’s my thought process of hiring people. We’re still improving in our system but you have to do reviews. One of my HR person brought the good points like, “We got to do three-day reviews. We got to sit down and say what do you like about us and what do you not like about us? We can get that feedback too.”

It’s always an open relationship. I always say it’s a relationship, it’s a marriage. You got to understand your employees, they got to understand you. I want my employees to understand the way I think and the way I work. My main goal on hiring people, this is my number one key point is, I love to hire entrepreneurs, people who want to grow with you and people who want to hustle and grind but they want to work for you. They want to go underneath you and screw you over in one way or another. We both would.

You’re not afraid to hire ambitious people it sounds like?

No. If they’re ambitious and they want to do their own thing and they want to do their entrepreneurship, I’ll tell them, “Go for it. Just don’t screw me over. Don’t do anything in that sense.” Everyone can leave on good terms but I think intrapreneurship is much easier than entrepreneurship. If they’re willing to take the ride with me, I’m willing to definitely have them grow with me. Just having that confidence. It takes time but you have to have that confidence in yourself to be able to do that. I think that’s the biggest thing, confidence. When you’re hiring people better than you, you know they’re better than you but you need that. You can’t be the best at everything and you can’t try to control everything too.

It sounds like you’ve done a good job of not taking it personally when a hire doesn’t work out for whatever reason and giving it some time to think or giving yourself some time to process it but looking at it and figuring out the best you could, why it didn’t work out and learning from that. That helps you get calibrated, get sharper, get smarter, and wiser as you continue to build your team of people. Versus, trying to justify it however you want to justify it. A lot of wisdom in that. You are running twelve units, what does your team look like right now? How many employees do you have?

We have over 200 employees, around 215. I like to say, we have an upper management team technically where they oversee things. I have a VP. I have a couple of operational managers, a retail manager, HR person, marketing person, and then we have a bunch of head trainers which is still upper management with KBAs. The head trainer or lead trainer run the gym for me. Our KBAs are that ops person at the gym. They do a lot of the backend stuff for us. We obviously have our other employees, the BAs, our front desk people, and child watch employees.

We’re able to build a phenomenal team over time. Find the right people in the right seat and improve our systems as much as possible. I always make sure my team knows the lowest level employee is as equivalent to me and to always have that respect because without them, you’re unsuccessful. That’s always one of my biggest things and quotes of it. We’re successful from every level.

Franchise Masters | Scott Tobin | Burn Boot Camp

Burn Boot Camp: Find the right people in the right seats and improve your system as much as possible.

 

You mentioned that you have 215 employees pretty casually. That’s a big operation. How many members do you have across all your gyms?

We’re right under that 4,000 marker. It’s exciting. I can never imagine it’s a few years back. It’s exciting to know that’s how many lives were changing daily, which is cool.

That’s awesome. You mentioned it earlier and you said we can go back to it, so I’m going to take you up on that. You mentioned that the high point location was a bought-out, sold, rebought-out situation. Do you mind sharing a little bit about that story?

We ended up buying out, then I ended up partnering up with someone who originally was there. The head trainer there and his wife wanted to buy us all out to keep the story short. I was like, “Awesome, Eddie’s a great kid. I’d love to give him that opportunity buy his own gym and give him that.” They circled around a few years later. He came back to me and was like, “Would you be offered to buy 50% out and become partners?” I said, “As long as you’re on board.” I know he has a passion with Burn for so many years. “As long as you’re on board, you’re still trained those members, and know those members and everything, love to do it.”

I circled back around, and end up partnering up with him in High Point, which opened up an opportunity to buy. I went from Salem too, which is nice to have two gems in that same Greensboro area. It’s a quick and easy story but I think everything’s meant to happen for a reason. As I said, Eddie’s been with the company, Burn for six years. What’s so funny is he went to the same Burn University as Jason, my head trainer partner in Williamsburg. He’s a good kid who has regular members since we owned it originally. Those are the people I love partnering up with. That care and have that same drive to me, business is one thing but taking care of those members is the first priority. Even though it’s not perfect all the time, that’s our mindset, which I love about him.

You obviously have a good eye for talent and people as you’ve scaled up your business. What are the grand plans? Where do you go from here after getting number twelve open? What’s the vision? Are you good, you’re going to stay at twelve, or are you going to keep growing?

We’ll keep growing. This year, I’m slowing down a little bit. We have some operations that we’re fixing. I always look at it from an employer standpoint. You have two goals. One is to pay your employees more or maximize your employees’ growth in that and a good life worked balance. Those are my two aspects of what can I do from a strictly employer standpoint. That’s my focus right now is taking care of the people who grow me and taking care of me.

We have the worst in opening Jamestown this year. We already signed FDD, so that would be our third location at the Greensboro area. Hopefully, we get that location and get that ball rolling by quarter 2  or quarter 3 of this year. We might find one other location by the end of this year. That’s my goal. Slow down a little bit this year, and then next year, I’m going to be looking for a plot of about 4 or 5 locations so I can build an area of a few locations and get to that 20 markers. My next goal by the end of next year, beginning of ’26. Never going to stop yet. We’ll eventually find that vision to stop.

You got a formula that’s working. Keep going. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I have the team to support us and I think we have the team to support about 40 to 50 gyms, so let’s ride with them. We’re changing lives. I love Devan and Morgan. I love Burn. I’m always going to be biased towards them because of their loyalty and their growth and their honesty. Why not?

I have no doubt you’ll get there. You’ll figure it out.

Thank you. Yeah.

Scott, I’ve enjoyed it. Thanks for taking some time out of your busy day and operation to share a little bit about your story.

Thank you. I appreciate the time. Thanks for handling all my car ride and all the other shenanigans.

We figured it out. We make it work. It’s all good, brother. I’m sure we’ll meet one day. We’re not too far from one another, but thanks. I’ll let you get back to your day. Thanks, Scott.

Definitely. Thank you. Sounds awesome.

 

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The First Step is a Conversation

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