Rebounderz, founded in 2008 by dads Mark Gurley and Al Palladino, is a way for families to have fun and enjoy fitness. The company builds its arenas using products that are made in America wherever possible and is the first and only patented trampoline arena in the United States (U.S. Patent #8,657,696 and #8,764,575).
Understanding how accident prone kids can be, the dads knew their park had to have a clear commitment to safety, leading to the company’s tagline: “Superior Engineering, Maximum Safety.”
Al Palladino, president and director of operations, is a graduate of the University of Central Florida. Prior to co-founding Rebounderz, Al’s background includes work at AT&T. Al created all the proprietary software used by Rebounderz facilities.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you give us some background information on Rebounderz?
Al Palladino (AP): Disappointed with the lack of entertainment options for our children, my business partner, Mark Gurley, and I decided to pursue an indoor trampoline arena concept that would provide kids an athletic and exciting outlet to release their energy in a positive way.
In 2008, Mark had the vision and engineered the concept. Within 90 days, we built that concept into our first attraction. We discovered quickly that the indoor trampoline arena was the perfect blend of exercise, fun and fitness for families and children of all ages. Everyone loved it and we’ve been improving the concept and offering ever since.
FC: Where is the ideal location for a Rebounderz franchise?
AP: The ideal location for a Rebounderz franchise is somewhere with high visibility. These locations can be in areas with high traffic from families, churches and businesses. The size of each store varies depending on location, and can range from about 24,000 to 34,000 square feet.
FC: How many Rebounderz locations are there currently?
AP: We currently have seven locations open and six more locations under contract, set to open in 2015.
FC: We noticed that you promote using American-made materials and equipment in your facilities. Why is this important?
AP: Early on, Mark and I made a commitment to our company and our customers that we would source American parts and service providers as much as possible. Rebounderz facilities are built using American parts that are assembled by American workers in order to help Americans work and prosper. It’s important for our company to support American businesses.
Just like our business won’t succeed without families receiving paychecks, we want to support entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship and American businesses regardless of size. These same businesses are creating jobs and employment in our local communities which, in turn, support our customers, the American workforce and families.
FC: What sets Rebounderz apart from the competition?
AP: There are three ways that Rebounderz is leading the industry.
- We are leading the industry in safety and engineering standards. Our patented Exoskeleton features a single, solid steel structure made with industrial-grade materials that is fastened to the building’s foundation and engineered to prevent motion from transferring between trampoline beds. In addition, our patented design calls for doubling up on springs, chains, beds and padding.
- Not only does that redundancy offer additional support and improved safety, but it also results in lower monthly maintenance costs for our franchisees. Our research shows that maintenance costs other indoor trampoline park franchisees about $7,000-$12,000 per month. Based on our unique system, our franchisees are spending an average of $7,000-$10,000 per year for maintenance of trampoline beds and chains for each location, depending on the size of the location and number of trampolines.
- We also lead the industry in safety training. All of our franchisees and their management staffs must complete one week of training at a corporate location leading up to their openings, another week of training during opening and they must run two- to three-hour monthly training sessions with the staff. Also, we encourage franchisees to send their staff to us for ongoing, unlimited hands-on training as much as possible.
FC: Can you describe your ideal franchisee?
AP: Our ideal franchisee would be someone who loves children and the community, someone who desires a hands-on approach to running a fun business with safety as a priority value.
FC: Can you tell us about the startup investment for franchisees?
AP: The total investment for a franchisee varies between $1-2 million based on location size and territory size.
FC: Why should someone consider opening a Rebounderz franchise?
AP: Everyone has his own reason for opening a business. If you’re going to open a franchise, you might want to consider one that is ideal for all seasons and economic environments and is popular with children and families. In addition, you may want to consider being part of a franchise concept that’s new, fun and exciting. The indoor trampoline arena model is still very new and wide open. It’s not in a crowded marketplace like so many other franchises.
FC: What would you tell a prospective franchisee who wants to know the profit potential?
AP: Profit potential is not something we like to promise, as it varies for each location. Our focus is on bringing each business into positive cash flow so it can stand on its own within three months of opening.
We cannot predict or give exact figures, but this is a profitable business.
FC: What are some of the pros and cons to owning and operating a Rebounderz franchise?
AP: A Rebounderz Indoor Franchise Arena appears to be recession-proof. So many industries and companies disappeared during the Great Recession. For our industry, in 2008, there were only five trampoline facilities total. Now, in 2014, there are 200 trampoline facilities and all four of the original multi-store brands are still open today.
The only store of the first five to close was an independent facility. Being an independent store in our industry is tough because of insurance regulations and requirements, as well as branding and building your reputation. We provide all of that for our franchisees.
Unlike many other franchise models and brands, it’s still early as a concept so the timing is right to become among the first arenas in your area.
Some cons to operating any trampoline facility – not just a Rebounderz – is there is always potential for someone to get hurt. That’s why safety and training is so important. Not only must you hire great staff, but you must train that staff to emphasize and enforce safety.
FC: What are some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a Rebounderz franchisee?
AP: Unlike most franchise models, Rebounderz franchisees are in the driver’s seat when it comes to how much day-to-day involvement they have. Some prefer to act as owner-operators and do many of the day-to-day tasks – which include handling staff, payroll, marketing and event planning – by themselves and with management help. Others prefer to act as owners and pass the daily operations on to management.
FC: What are some of the specific challenges that come with owning a Rebounderz franchise?
AP: Like most franchises, you have to stick to the overall brand and reputation requirements of the franchise. For our unique franchise, safety is a top priority, so you must have the will to remind guests and reinforce safety at all times.
FC: What kind of initial training are franchisees given before opening a Rebounderz location?
AP: Rebounderz franchisees are given comprehensive hands-on training at one of our locations where they learn everything about our services and how to effectively market their businesses and oversee their employees.
In addition to the hands-on training, franchisees are also given a manual suite that provides them a comprehensive, easy-to-understand tutorial on how to run the business.
FC: What kind of support do you offer to franchisees?
AP: We have a franchise support hotline that gives franchisees direct access to experts in every aspect of a Rebounderz franchise. We do onsite mentoring visits for first-year franchisees that provide a review of the different aspects of running their businesses. Finally, we offer periodical ongoing training and seminars to keep franchisees up to date on Rebounderz developments and innovations.
FC: What are some of your keys to running a successful Rebounderz franchise?
AP: Some keys to running a successful Rebounderz franchise are: First, you have to maintain a safe environment for your guests.
Second, be focused on customer service. If you have a bad day, leave it at the door. Smile and be engaging with the customers.
Third, keep your facility clean. The fastest way to lose a repeat customer is to have him go into a dirty bathroom. It’s important that our parks smell good and are spotless.
The fourth key to success is a focus on marketing. Each franchise needs to have a dedicated marketing person who reaches out to the community.
The fifth and final key to success is to keep your costs in control, and a big part of that is keeping payroll in check.
Growth and Goals
FC: Can you tell us about your current development strategy to ensure growth of Rebounderz?
AP: We want to grow as fast as we can, but in order to ensure the growth of Rebounderz, we’re taking things slowly so that we don’t grow so fast that we can’t support our franchisees. It’s a balancing act. We want to be able to continue to ensure every franchise is opened and up to the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
FC: Can you outline for us the steps your most successful franchisees take to grow their businesses?
AP: The one step our most successful franchisees take to grow their businesses is connecting with the community in person and through digital and social media.
FC: What is the targeted growth for Rebounderz within the next year?
AP: Within the next year we plan to double in size. We currently have seven locations open, and have six more opening by the end of 2015.
FC: Can you tell us what goals you have for Rebounderz in the next year?
AP: We intend to continue to expand nationally, as well as internationally.
FC: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about Rebounderz?
AP: At Rebounderz, the safety of our guests and workers is the No. 1 priority. Our trampolines are engineered out of quality materials, 95 percent of which are made in America, and designed to ensure maximum safety.