<p><img src="https://static3.businessinsider.com/image/60648e1c6183e100198197d2-2400/Devan and group.jpg" border="0" alt="Devan and group" data-mce-source="Devan Kline" data-mce-caption="Devan Kline with BBC members."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Morgan and Devan Kline cofounded <a href="https://burnbootcamp.com/">Burn Boot Camp</a> (BBC), a boutique gym franchise known for its challenging 45-minute workouts, in 2012 after leasing an indoor gymnastics center and its parking lot.</p><p>They were permitted to run camps indoors in the morning and outdoors on evenings and weekends. Devan, who previously played in the minors for the San Francisco Giants, said it cost them their last $600 in savings to get off the ground.</p><p>Since they didn't have enough financial history to obtain a lease, the pair told Insider they instead got a month-to-month sublease and took their "parking lot" concept throughout Charlotte, North Carolina, opening five locations and amassing over 800 members. By the end of 2013, people began reaching out to them to become a part of their business. </p><p>When they could eventually afford to flip their "gyms" into brick-and-mortar locations, the Klines also signed two license agreements, which later became the first franchise partners in Concord and Durham, North Carolina. By summer of 2014, Morgan had quit her job as a senior customer analyst at Kellogg Company to become a full-time partner in BBC.</p><p>The entrepreneurs knew they had something unique and decided to use franchising as their vehicle of growth. Over 80 members from their seven gyms at the time decided to purchase and open a location within the first six months of the offering.</p><p>By 2017, BBC had opened its one-hundredth location, and in 2019, they reached $100 million in total revenue. They're currently ranked No. 90 on the 2021 <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/362854">Entrepreneur "Franchise 500"</a> list. </p><p>Being trainers themselves has been a major catalyst to their success. </p><p>"Most of our competition is owned by private equity firms who don't understand the craft of fitness like we do," Morgan said, noting examples like <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/revelstoke-capital-partners-invests-in-empire-portfolio-group-holdings-1029936814">Orangetheory</a>, <a href="https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/f45-training-secures-a-growth-equity-investment-from-the-mark-wahlberg-investment-group-1028038364">F45</a>, and <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/barrys-bootcamp-ceo-reveals-how-the-company-beat-pandemic-slump-2021-3">Barry's Bootcamp</a>.</p><h2>Lifelong partners become business partners</h2><p>The pair, now both in their thirties, met when they were just 12 years old and were experiencing significant childhood challenges. Morgan's father passed away in a car accident when she was five years old. Devan grew up near the projects.</p><p>"My mother moved me around the country for much of my childhood before I returned home," Devan said. "My father was in and out of the county and state penitentiary for domestic violence, drunk driving, and violating parole. My mother eventually left again, and we remain estranged." </p><p>In 2009, he landed a baseball scholarship at Central Michigan University before being signed by the San Francisco Giants. He played for two years before coming back to spring training, where he battled an injury and then was later released from the team. </p><p>At age 23, Devan moved to Naples, Florida, to live with Morgan. He landed a couple "dead-end" jobs, he said, while studying for his certified personal trainer credential and finishing his degree in finance. He then became a personal trainer at a local box gym. </p><p>"Seeing what the industry offered and how it tended to treat its employees, I was determined to do it better," Devan said. </p><p>Morgan got a job offer in Charlotte, and Devan followed her after finishing a business plan for Burn Boot Camp, but with little money and no local connections, they said they weren't ready to start a business at the time. </p><p>What they lacked in resources, though, they made up for in sweat equity. </p><p><img style="float:right;" src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/60648d8fdaf0f10018f99337-885/family shot.png" border="0" alt="family shot" data-mce-source="Morgan and Devan Kline" data-mce-caption="The Kline family."></p><p>"We punted the fun part of our 20s and instead of partying on Friday nights, stayed in and worked on marketing plans and business strategy," Morgan said. </p><p>Devan devoted himself to developing public relations expertise and ultimately booked over 200 regionally, locally, and nationally syndicated TV spots on morning shows and talk shows all over the Southeasta move to which he attributes the brand's early success. </p><p>"We once drove five hours to Alabama, did a five-minute segment, ate breakfast, and drove back to Charlotte," he said.</p><h2>Building a different kind of franchise model</h2><p>Concepts like Curves fitness clubwhich rose to thousands of locations before its <a href="http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/curves-franchise-failures/">catastrophic crash</a>taught the pair a valuable lesson. </p><p>"It's not how many locations you award, but rather who you award them to," Devan said. "In franchising, control is lost from franchisor to franchisee, so choosing the right model and partners is extremely important." </p><p>The Klines also studied <a href="https://www.orangetheory.com/en-us/">Orangetheory</a>, which uses area representatives to buy rights to a specific territory to then sell in franchisees. </p><p>"Neither one of these strategies from our competitors made sense to us, and we decided to direct franchises and sell locations ourselves in the early days," Morgan said. </p><p>Long-time member <a href="https://theorg.com/org/burn-boot-camp/org-chart/jolene-purchia">Jolene Purchia</a> eventually came on board to lead the charge as vice president of development, which the cofounders stressed has been intricate to the success of the brand. </p><p>"She felt what the brand did for her life and had to be a part of it," Devan said. </p><p>In February 2018, they went on an 180-location tour, where Devan and Morgan trained members at each gym they stopped at. </p><p>"Over an 18-month period, we trained nearly 15,000 members, and we brought our team with us to experience the love," Morgan said. "This was a huge catalyst to continuing the momentum set forth in the first two years."</p><h2>Running a gym franchise during a pandemic</h2><p>In 2020, BBC continued to expand, opening 45 new gyms, and they've already opened nine more in 2021. </p><p>"In our initial drop, when the pandemic first hit, we retained 75% of our members," Morgan said.</p><p>But the year wasn't without its hiccups, of course: Forced to close all locations during COVID-19 lockdowns, the team had to rapidly transition to virtual training. </p><p>To keep members happy and invested, they immediately began livestreaming workouts led by Devan. </p><p><img style="float:right;" src="https://static2.businessinsider.com/image/60647804daf0f10018f992e1-512/Cofounders.jpeg" border="0" alt="Cofounders" data-mce-source="Morgan and Devan Kline" data-mce-caption="Morgan and Devan Kline."></p><p>"I was only a few months removed from training on tour, so it was easy for me to step in and execute," he said. They've run livestreams every week since, featuring their signature workouts along with yoga sessions, kids camps, hip-hop dances, and kempo-style kickboxing. In total, BBC's <a href="https://youtu.be/GF3aNoZy4gU">virtual workouts</a> have amassed over 3 million views on YouTube. </p><p>Their efforts were facilitated by the fact that the BBC team already had plans for streaming services that their franchise partners could sell to members and prospective members. </p><p>"We had yet to put together this package as an offering, but it made streaming into homes very easy," Devan said. "In 2017, we built a $250,000 production studio after we went to New York for a media tour."</p><p>BBC's marketing team came up with effective retention strategies like live Zoom camps, as well as "member love" campaigns that spanned from decorating gym windows with inspiring messages to taking it old-school back to the parking-lot days. </p><p>"Our team came together and we used this time to go deep with each other rather than argue and separate," Morgan said. </p><p>Another part of their game plan was to continue to generate interest among potential franchisees.</p><p>"People would come to us interested in owning a Burn because of what they saw us doing and implementing," Devan said. "We are an adaptable company who stuck to our values, and people saw the strength of that."</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/burn-boot-camp-couple-grew-fitness-franchise-2021-3#comments">Join the conversation about this story »</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/literacy-test-louisiana-disenfranchise-black-vote-2016-6">We took a 1964 Louisiana literacy test and failed spectacularly</a></p> Click here to read full news..