Richard, franchise owner stood outside his territory

Open goal for fitness entrepreneur after fast start to new centre

Experienced franchisee Richard Ockelford has brought The Massage Company to East London.

“I am passionate about businesses that are scalable, untapped and in the fitness and wellness space.” he says.

The fitness entrepreneur has over 40 sports franchises spread across the country, having invested early in a brand that he could see had the potential to dominate.

Now he’s doing it again.

“When I started my sports franchise, it felt like an open goal because the competition was so poor, it just needed someone to take a chance and invest well,” he says.

“That’s how I see the Massage Company right now. There are plenty of places that do massage, but they’re often poor quality, poor premises and so on. I see the same trajectory with TMC that I saw before – I’ll be able to go to 2, 3, 10 sites.”

After opening his first Massage Company site in Canning Town, London in February, Richard’s already had one of the best starts in TMC history.

And he’s noticed another big advantage in the brand being in its early expansion phase.

“One of the best things about TMC is that you have direct access to the founders.

“I can pick up the phone to Charlie or Elliot and I’m getting support right from the top, from people who are successful in business. I can get the best quality of support in the massage and spa sector in UK, just only ever a phone call away.

“That’s then backed up by a team of people who are very, very good at their roles. It’s really amazing support.”

Smooth and sustainable start

Four months in, Richard says it’s been a “smooth” start, with a settled team and a healthy proportion of visitors converting to monthly memberships.

He says: “We’re ahead of forecast so far. When you see someone come in who’s looking a bit down, and they leave with a big smile on their face and a membership, and you see it happen time after time after time, you start thinking ‘OK, this has got real potential’.

“And there’s no real competition. TMC’s data shows retention rate of a member is more than 24 months, and it’s pretty obvious to me why – because we are having customers come to us and literally say, ‘Where has this been? I’ve been needing this for so long. I’m going to come every month.’

“It gives you confidence, I can see that trajectory not just in terms of reaching profitability quickly, which I’m on track to do, but also to sustain it and build a real asset.”

The key to his fast start?

“The support from TMC and then some good recruitment from myself. We have a really good front of house team.

“It’s not rocket science: if you recruit good people, put them in a in a centre that looks good, smells good and is warm and welcoming, magic is going to happen. And we’re already starting to see that.”