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Pros & Cons Of Owning A Franchise Gym: What You Need To Know

The Pros & Cons Of Owning A Franchise Gym

Before investing your money with a franchisor, there are many pros and cons of owning a franchise gym you have to consider. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know before deciding on the right venture for you.

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What To Know About Franchising a Gym Before You Commit 

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To help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of owning a franchise gym, let’s begin with a definition of the term:

A franchise gym involves an investment from you, which in return, permits you to use a franchisor’s intellectual properties and its economic model for your gym. 

This will allow you to attract members to your gym and generate revenue, the question is which franchisor do you work with? The good news is that there is no shortage of gym franchises in the UK, so it is simply a case of carrying out research and selecting the most appropriate franchisor.

énergie Fitness, Easy Gym and Anytime Fitness all have franchise opportunities for you to consider. If you visit each company's website, under their franchise tab, you will be able to read their information on the investment required, gym size, project cost and the minimum length of stay.

For example, the Anytime Fitness website requires an investment that ranges between £122,000 and £187,000.

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Alongside the correct amount of capital, you will also need the relevant qualifications to help you understand how your business functions. 

A great starting point is to make sure you have a level 2 qualification in gym instructing. This will help you recruit qualified staff to carry out fitness classes. You will understand what your fitness classes consist of and that your staff have the skills to carry them out.

The qualification will also teach you how to practice health and safety, making sure everyone is following procedures to make your gym environment for its members.

A level 3 personal training course will take your understanding of the fitness industry even further. You will understand how to write tailored programs, so you can recruit someone who knows how to be a successful personal trainer. This also enhances your career prospects, find out how to make money as a personal trainer here.

Whilst it is not essential, holding a business qualification can also boost your gym’s success. It will teach you how to solve problems, communicate effectively, create accurate reports and how organising your business can optimise performance.

 

The Key Advantages of Owning a Franchise Gym

#1 Investing in a Known & Trusted Gym Franchise Increases Success Rates

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There are pros and cons to owning a franchise gym but one advantage is that it increases your chances of having a successful gym.

Thanks to the franchisor granting you access to their trademarks and business model, you will be able to use the company’s brand name and logo; from outside the building for uniforms and promotional materials. This will help attract customers to your gym thanks to the company’s brand recognition and established trust.

Thanks to a winning formula, a successful gym company will have a strong physical presence with venues in different locations and also be active through social media and advertising. Find out more about this with our article '17 Creative Gym Social Media Post Ideas'.

Avenues like these make customers familiar with a gym company and also increase their confidence in them. Anytime Fitness, for example, is the UK’s largest gym franchise with nearly 200 sites in operation. One of their locations is in Ringwood, Hampshire, which is run by a franchisee.

The gym has been running since December 2018 and has accumulated over 1,380 followers on Instagram. 

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This is a great indication that you, as a franchisee, can experience longevity and success when you invest in a gym franchise with a strong reputation. 

A franchisor’s tried and tested economic model is a huge advantage to you as a franchisee. It structures your costs around membership fees, staff wages, opening hours and classes you could run. 

Working with a franchisor also improves your chances of securing capital. You can prove to financiers that the company you are working with has a business model that is proven to work.

énergie Fitness has nearly 100 clubs running in the UK. Thanks to the company’s business practices, the franchisees who own their Hoddesdon site were able to generate £178,000 in profits during their first year of trading.

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Of the many franchise gym pros and cons, this one is certainly an advantage, as you can generate healthy profits simply by following the franchisor’s guidance and business model.

 

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#2 You Will Receive Ongoing Support From Your Franchisors

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Owning a franchise gym has more pros than cons. If you decide to invest in one, you will receive ongoing support from the franchisors you are working with. So, if you want advice on how to manage your finances, insurance and marketing ideas to promote your gym, they will be able to help.

Xcelerate Gyms have a 26-week plan to help any franchisee start up their business. It is designed to help you acquire a team to construct your gym, exercise equipment and the relevant legal support.

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Franchisor’s support can also extend to training. The level of training you receive depends on the size of the company you end up investing in. Smaller companies are likely to provide limited training programmes and larger enterprises could offer detailed training to cover every area of your business.

Curves, a circuit-focused gym franchise for women, offers training to new franchises opening. You would learn how to sustain membership and use their programs to follow procedures.

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Before investing, ask yourself, ‘Why own a franchise gym?’ If it is to receive training and professional support from a franchisor, then you are on the right path to becoming the owner of a franchise gym.

 

#3 Big Business Support Can Help You Order the Equipment You Need

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When considering the advantages and disadvantages of owning a franchise gym, one positive is certain; a franchisor can help you secure the equipment you need.

Thanks to pre-existing agreements with providers, they can purchase bulk items, from cleaning supplies to exercise machines at discounted rates, which are then distributed to franchisees, including yourself. 

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Utilising the franchisor’s network of providers will help you better manage your budgets across the year. You will also have an edge over your local competitors because you can guarantee your gym will be equipped with the latest equipment and products approved by the franchisor, allowing you to provide excellent levels of customer service for your members.

If you are interested in investing in a Jetts Fitness franchise, for example, they have working relationships with providers. They can make sure you can secure equipment from these providers: 

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Alternatively, Anytime Fitness offers similar benefits for anyone looking to invest in their franchise: 

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Before investing in a franchise, make sure you know what providers you will have access to by working with that franchisor. This will help you better finance your business and understand what the company can assist you with.

#4 You Can Invest in a Gym Franchise With Better Services to Boost Your Profits

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Any business owner will tell you why they own a franchise gym; it's to deliver the best services to attract new members and ultimately increase their profits.

To deliver the best service possible at your franchise gym, you should research which franchisors provided excellent customer service and a good range of services that attract a broad demographic of potential members.

One way you could tick both of these boxes is by looking for a franchisor that provides a wide range of classes. This indicates they have done their research and listened to customer feedback to introduce these classes.

If you have capital at your disposal, you will benefit from investing in a gym that offers a diverse range of classes as an extensive timetable will attract more members compared to a standard gym.  

énergie Fitness’s franchise gym in Palmer Green offers a range of classes to incentivise members to attend their venue and attract new customers: 

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When investing in a franchise gym, make sure you research other franchises in your area and how these two companies compete with the range of classes they offer. This will help you understand the profits you could make and invest your money wisely.

Check out our article 'How to Have a Successful Gym' to find out more about making your gym a success!

#5 You Can Become a Multi-Franchise Owner to Increase Your Revenue

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Owning a gym has many pros and cons but one advantage is the ability to secure additional gyms with your franchisor, this can help you boost your profits. Of course, you must have a strong success record as a good gym manager with your current franchise to demonstrate you can follow a franchisor’s business model.

This proves you can comply with the requirements set out by the franchisor when you are proposing to expand your business. 

When outlining your proposals it is crucial to make sure you have done your research and can demonstrate why the company will be successful based on location, competitors, target market and finances.

This will increase the chances of securing a second site for your franchise and also the opportunity to secure capital to help with your start-up.

A winning formula for opening a second site is reporting healthy profits from your first franchise and following a franchise’s business model as seen in this testimonial below:  

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Another testimonial from an investor for Anytime Fitness indicated that they were confident to invest in a second location once they saw how well their first gym was working.

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There are many pros & cons of owning a franchise gym but one advantage, thanks to your proven track record with a franchise gym and reported profits, is that you are in a strong position to open other franchise gyms. This will put you in a strong position to increase your earning potential.

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Consider the Downsides of Owning a Franchise Gym

#1 You Will Have to Follow the Franchisor’s Guidelines

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When you are weighing up the pros and cons of owning a franchise gym, you should consider the type of franchise you want to invest in. 

This is because you will have to follow their processes to function as a business as they have a proven model to create profits. This could make you feel you have little creative freedom to make your franchise a success. However, you can mitigate this.

Before investing in a franchise gym, you should research the company’s mission statements and values. This will help you understand whether their beliefs align with your own and the types of services you want to deliver.

For instance, if you visit the Curves website, they outline their values for the type of services they want to provide customers. They believe in creating a community, promoting integrity, passion, team working and embracing change.

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If you visit the énergie Fitness website, their values include integrity, innovation, accountability and fun. 

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By performing your due diligence, you will be able to invest in a franchise that wants to achieve the same aims as yourself, which takes the responsibility off your shoulders as the franchisor will help support you to achieve these goals. 

Once you are confident that you are investing in the correct gym franchise you must follow their blueprint. If you try and implement your plans into the franchise, this will increase the chances of the business failing. 

This sentiment is shared by James Cotton, who has experience as a Director for Anytime Fitness and énergie Fitness. In an interview with Virtugym, he highlighted the reason why franchise gyms succeed: 

top 50 or top 20 franchisees why they’re successful is because they follow processes, the systems and what the franchisor brands are about are some of the reasons why it works. When you start trying to change what’s already worked are sometimes the reasons why it doesn’t work as well.

By investing in a franchise that closely aligns with your values, you will work alongside a team that embraces your values and allows you to propose gym ideas to increase revenue, like a business plan for running a yoga studio at your location. 

 

Become a Master Personal Trainer

Enquire about our industry-leading Level 4 Personal Training courses and learn specialist skills!

#2 There Will Be Ongoing Costs Associated With Your Franchise Gym

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Any owner knows their franchise gym carries pros and cons, one potential downside is that you are subject to ongoing costs to keep your franchise running.

This can include a royalty fee, which you can view as an ongoing charge to be a member of the franchise you have invested in. This can either be charged as a percentage or a fee each month. Snap Fitness, for example, charges up to £560 each month in royalty fees:

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There will also be a duty to replace or fix any equipment at your gym, in some cases, there could be a contractual obligation to update equipment after several years of service. Planet Fitness in the US, for example, requires franchises to replace cardio machines every 5 years. 

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The pros & cons of owning a franchise gym need to be considered before you invest your money. It requires you to understand the fees and monthly costs you are required to pay a franchisor. 

If you are happy to make these payments then working with a franchisor can help your business succeed. Receiving a breakdown of your outgoings also provide a potential timeline for a return on your investment.

#3 Your Success Is Dependent on the Success of the Company

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It is clear why you own a franchise gym; to generate future success for yourself and your members. 

You could have the best-performing franchise gym within the company, however, if losses are occurring at other franchise gyms, this could cause them to file for bankruptcy or go into administration, which could place your future success at risk.

Research is crucial to your success and creating stability for your business. One way you could do this is by reviewing success stories on the company’s featured news. 

An example of this can be found on the Jetts Fitness website, praising their Greengates site in their latest news. The success at this location has allowed the company and its owners to invest in new equipment, upgrade its facilities and extend opening hours. 

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This will indicate how well a company is performing but also the investments that could be made to modernise your venue. Alternatively, you could research how much revenue a company produces to indicate how well it is performing.

If you search for figures for Anytime Fitness, they have yearly revenues of £67 million from their 180 gyms in the UK: 

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This gives you a good indication of how well a franchise gym is performing, so you can direct your investment to a company that is the least risk-averse. Of the many franchise gym pros and cons, this one requires serious planning. No investment is risk-free but with the right research, you can increase your chances of success.

 

Before You Go!

Looking to take your career to the next level? Check out our range of internationally-recognised courses, starting with our Level 4 Sports Nutrition Course.

Want to know more? Explore the full range of courses you can study with OriGym in our latest course prospectus.

References:

Anytime Fitness. (2017). Own a gym with our Anytime Fitness Franchise Opportunity. [online] Available at: https://www.anytimefitness.co.uk/own-a-gym/.[Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Bagnoli, B. (2022). Planet Fitness Franchise Cost Worth The Profit? (2022). [online] Visa Franchise. Available at: https://www.visafranchise.com/blog/planet-fitness-franchise-cost-worth-the-profit#:~:text=Re%2DEquip%20Costs%3A%20%24274%2C000%20to [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

British Franchise Association. (n.d.). Anytime Fitness. [online] Available at: https://www.thebfa.org/franchise-directory/anytime-fitness/ [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Curves. (n.d.). About us. [online] Available at: https://www.curves.eu/en/about-us/ [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022]

Energie Fitness Consumer Website. (n.d.). About Us. [online] Available at: https://www.energiefitness.com/about-us [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Energie Fitness Consumer Website. (n.d.). Gym Classes. [online] Available at: https://www.energiefitness.com/palmers-green/timetable [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

www.energiefranchise.com. (n.d.). Testimonials | énergie Fitness Franchise. [online] Available at: https://www.energiefranchise.com/testimonials/ [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022]. [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Franchise Direct - UK. (n.d.). Snap Fitness franchise information - Find out more about Snap Fitness Franchise. [online] Available at: https://www.franchisedirect.co.uk/franchise-information/snap-fitness-franchise/ [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Growjo.com. (2022). [online] Available at: https://growjo.com/company/Anytime_Fitness_UK [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

INFORMATION PACK. (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://www.anytimefitness.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Anytime-Fitness-Information-Pack.pdf.

www.instagram.com. (n.d.). Anytime Fitness Ringwood (@anytime_fitness_ringwood) • Instagram photos and videos. [online] Available at: https://www.instagram.com/anytime_fitness_ringwood/?hl=en [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Jetts Fitness UK. (2022). Greengates Success - Jetts 24-Hour Fitness Gyms UK, Fitness Clubs. [online] Available at: https://jetts.co.uk/greengates-success/ [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Jetts Fitness UK. (n.d.). Own A Jetts Gym Franchise. [online] Available at: https://jetts.co.uk/franchise/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=franchise&utm_content=franchise_ad_resp&utm_term=gym%20franchise&gclid=CjwKCAjw4c-ZBhAEEiwAZ105RfLi-dYuutBxCWiz9TvCVbS-twbwQZXYJMobjKlNZ2_KhX0MmTk8jRoCkx0QAvD_BwE [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Virtuagym. (n.d.). How to Scale Your Fitness Franchise and Become a Master Franchisor. [online] Available at: https://business.virtuagym.com/blog/how-to-scale-your-fitness-franchise/ [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

What Franchise? (2019). Start a Curves Franchise. [online] Available at: https://www.what-franchise.com/franchise-opportunities/fitness-franchises/curves [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Xcelerate Gyms. (2022). Own an XCELERATE GYM - the UK’s most exciting new gym franchise. [online] Available at: https://xcelerategyms.com/gym-franchise/ [Accessed 30 Sep. 2022].

Written by Liam Donohoe

Content Writer and Fitness Enthusiast

Liam graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing. He has also co-written a short film that has been featured in several film festivals. In October 2023, he ran and completed his first half marathon and for 2024, he's now training to complete his first metric marathon.

In his spare time, Liam likes to teach himself German, read books, lift weights and listen to metal music that only passionate fans of the genre will understand.

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