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Fit4Mom

ILLINOIS

Jackie Dorris chose Fit4Mom for its mothercentric business model and low start-up costs.
Source: Fit4Mom
Jackie Dorris chose Fit4Mom for its mothercentric business model and low start-up costs.
Description: Pre- and postnatal workouts for women
Owner: Jackie Dorris
Years in business: 9
No. of franchise units owned: 1
Start-up costs: $4,995 for a single territory covering 4 miles or up to 100,000 in population
Franchisor fees: 2% of gross sales
2015 revenue; 2016 projection: $150,000, $187,500
2016 projected annual growth rate: 25%

In early 2007, when Jackie Dorris was looking for a workout program that would allow her to take her baby daughter along, she came up empty. "Everywhere I looked in Chicago, there was a mom and a baby," she recalled. "I joined a mom-and-baby class in an effort to meet other mothers, but every day I would come home and cry. None of the moms would talk to each other."

Then she discovered Fit4Mom (formerly known as Stroller Strides). The program designs workouts where women — those pregnant and with infants and toddlers — can meet up in local parks and community centers and exercise while their children are with them — usually in strollers. Dorris liked the mothercentric approach of the business model, the low start-up costs and the fact that the franchisor is always on top of pre- and postnatal fitness trends. "They offer me continuing education and are always providing training in a variety of topics for franchisees, including social media, blogging, budgeting, financials and more," she said.

Additional franchisee resources

Dorris' territory, which covers Chicago and the northern and western suburbs of the city, has grown mainly through word of mouth. "When one mom uses our program and sees that it works, she tells her friends and then they try it," she explained. She has 15 instructors — all independent contractors — who spend May through October conducting the workouts outdoors and the remaining, colder months in indoor facilities, such as independent gyms and recreation centers that Dorris pays to rent. A typical class has 15 to 20 moms, but Dorris said classes, especially those outside, can easily grow to include as many as 35 moms.

Another added benefit of the concept is that it's flexible. "I built my entire business without any child care, because I get to bring my kids to work with me," said Dorris. "This franchise enabled me to do that, and I gained so much more than an income. I truly believe you have to have passion for what you are doing. The quote 'Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life' sums it up perfectly."

"I built my entire business without any child care, because I get to bring my kids to work with me." -Jackie Dorris

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