"UBX ticked all the boxes for me". Interview with UBX UK franchise owner, Lawrence Bingham
Tell us about your background, what has been your primary career / business focus prior to becoming a franchisee with UBX?
I worked in the health and fitness industry around 20 – 25 years ago. Initially, I worked as a fitness instructor for David Lloyd, which was my first job out of school. I quickly realised that I was far more interested in sales and started working at Bannatyne’s, helping to set up two of their clubs and working with them for 4 years.
After my time with Bannatyne’s, I completely moved out of the health and fitness industry and moved into car sales for a period. It was at this point that I realised that I wanted to setup my own business. Since 2005, I have had my own telecoms business which pretty much runs itself now.
At the same time, I started building up a property portfolio. Then a few years ago, I started looking at the health and fitness sector again. As a user of gyms myself, I’ve always believed in the health and fitness industry and observed the fact that it never stops growing or evolving. I started researching the possibility of setting up my own gym and looked at what franchise opportunities were out there, and then Covid hit.
Why did you choose to go into business with a franchise in the health and fitness industry?
Coming out of Covid, I thought that it was a good opportunity to progress the idea of owning my own fitness business. I had the right amount of time on my hands, and I had created a property portfolio that was well enough established to allow me to invest in the health and fitness industry.
I looked at several franchise opportunities, mainly gyms, and that’s when I started talking to the team at Empowered Brands about their gym franchise opportunities.
When the UBX model was proposed to me, it ticked all of the boxes. It operated in the health and fitness industry, it had a lower capital outlay than a standard gym format, and it was a well-established franchise concept with a new twist to it. It was everything I was looking for.
I decided to go down the route of owning a franchise as I believe the franchise will pay itself back. Anyone can go out and set up a gym, however with a franchise the learning curve is much smoother. I appreciate it’s never going to be a smooth ride 100% of the time, but at the end of the day the franchisor has a lot more experience than I have.
Why did you choose UBX specifically?
I looked very carefully at the UBX model. I'm actually not a boxing person, but I do appreciate that it’s a huge market. The thing that kept coming back to me was the low membership numbers required to make the business successful and the simplicity of the model.
How do you intend to structure the running of your UBX gym?
I'm looking to put a club manager in right from the start. I could be an owner / operator, but I'm not looking at this as a one club business. I want to progress and open further UBX sites in the future.
By putting a club manager in right from the start, it gives me the opportunity to oversee the business and have an input into all areas of the operation. At the same time, I’ll also be able to look at opportunities for the next location.
I’d rather have a good club manager in from day one and then they can progress with the business in their own way, whilst I oversee everything. If I’m taking a long-term view and looking to expand more into the future with 2 or 3 more UBX gyms, then I want to get the right structure in place now, rather than further down the line.
How would you describe your experience with UBX up until this point of your journey so far?
The team at Empowered Brands have been great, when I first met John the MD for UBX, he kept in contact with me, and he was always there to answer my questions. When he was in Australia with the UBX Head Office team, he kept in touch, sending me videos of the gyms and the UBX workouts he was taking part in.
The investment that Empowered Brands are putting into UBX initially was a confidence builder for me. The fact that the model is already successful in Australia and expanding into other countries was a big hit for me too.
As I mentioned earlier, I had looked at other gym franchise opportunities, but from the contact I had with Empowered Brands it felt right to progress with them and with UBX. I’m now working with the Enterprise team on sourcing my first location in the South West of England.
Interested and want to know more about UBX ?
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