Gyms were booming before the pandemic. But as we look to get back to doing the things we love, gyms are set to see record demand. Investing in a gym franchise now could be a very profitable decision, but how can you start your gym franchise?
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the gym sector suffered hugely. Between March and mid-July last year, fitness centre chain The Gym Group lost 178,000 members - a fifth of its total customer base (IBISWorld).
But as restrictions ease and we all look to get back to doing things we love, gyms are one of the sectors that could be poised to grow massively over the next few months. If you’re looking to run your own business and operate as part of a gym franchise, here’s what you need to get started.
What is a gym franchise?
A gym franchise is a collection of individual gyms operating as part of a broader national business.
Why should I start my own gym franchise?
Starting your own business from scratch is difficult. You won’t have the expertise, training, support or contacts that some of your competitors might. In an industry as dynamic as the gym and fitness sector, that can make a huge difference.
According to Statista, over 10 million Brits are members of health and fitness clubs, meaning the gym and fitness sector generates revenue of approximately £2 billion. In such a lucrative industry, having the know-how and experience to make your business work is essential.
As part of a gym franchise, you’ll be able to call on the extensive support of your franchisor and franchisee network, you’ll be given dedicated training, and you’ll immediately be able to start your business as part of a nationally recognised brand. You’ll also be able to:
- Be your own boss
- Work flexibly to a schedule that suits you
- Be a part of a market-leading business
- Help people reach their fitness goals
>> Read more:
4 top tips for starting your own gym franchise
If running your own gym franchise sounds like the right opportunity for you, here are five top tips for starting your own gym business.
1. Research the opportunity
There are lots of different franchising opportunities in the UK, some won’t be the right fit for you or the way you want to do business. So make sure that before you decide to take the plunge, you’ve researched the pros and cons of each individual opportunity.
You should also be well-prepared for the demands that working as a franchisee will bring. Although starting a franchise comes with many benefits, starting a new business is never easy and will inevitably come with some stresses and strains. Make sure you’re well-prepared for what running a gym franchise could throw at you.
2. Be aware of your franchise agreement
Before you open for the first time, you’ll need to sign your franchise agreement. Make sure that you understand this fully, and if it’s your first time working with legal documents, seek legal advice.
Your franchise agreement sets out the commitments you’ve agreed to, as well as what your franchisor will do for you. It’s important you understand it, and you’re comfortable with how to keep to it. Failure to do so could mean your franchise agreement is terminated.
3. Assess your skills
To head up a fitness franchise, you’ll need to have a number of different skills that will help you run your operation smoothly. Often, as a business owner, you’ll need to be:
- Organised: You’ll need to be able to manage your employees, process transactions and stay on top of any other unexpected developments as required. As a business owner, you won’t be able to foresee every development that could affect your business, but being well-organised and well-prepared for any eventuality will help you respond quickly.
- Enthusiastic: Depending on your franchise agreement and what kind of franchise you want to open, you may need to work long hours initially or permanently. You’ll be spending a lot of time in and around this sector, so you need to be enthusiastic and determined to succeed.
- Ambitious: Big franchisors will always be happy to bring ambitious new franchisees into their business. You’ll be bringing your own unique background and qualities to their business, and that can only make it stronger. It’s only natural that you then want your business to do well. And, in a sector as competitive as the gym and fitness, you’ll need to want to make your gym to be a step up from your competitors.
It’s more important than ever to ensure your fitness business is welcoming to your local communities. Gym franchises were booming before the pandemic, and the sector was enjoying year-on-year growth. Now that you’re open again, nobody will want you to close.
Make sure that you and your franchisor have a plan to launch your business, and to make sure everyone in your local community is aware you’re up and running. You’ll be there to help them achieve their fitness goals, so make sure they feel welcomed into your business.
Many subcontractors and tradespeople have also lost business in the last few months, so make sure you check in with any local tradespeople. Know who will be coming to do your repairs and maintenance work and you might even get a discount.
Current opportunities in the gym sector
There are some great opportunities in the gym sector. Here are some of our favourites:
- Hybrid Fitness: Combine the best fitness equipment with leading classes and great facilities all packaged into an affordable and flexible business, and you have a Hybrid Fitness store. To open as a Hybrid Fitness franchisee, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £50,000, with an expected revenue after two years of £250,000. You don’t need to have prior experience in the gym sector; all you need is ambition, determination and a will-to-succeed.
- Bodystreet: Offers an opportunity for those with little or no time to get and stay fit. The proven once-a-week 20-minute workout programme helps burn fat, build muscle, tone and shape. It even helps reduce backache and improve posture. You’ll need to make a minimum investment of £80,000, with expected revenue of £170,000.You’ll be given extensive and ongoing training, marketing and PR support, and employment onboarding support.
- Fitness Space Franchise: They have a network of gyms offering a fitness experience unlike any other. To open a business as a Fitness Space Franchise, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £75,000. As you set up your franchise, Fitness Space will be helping you with site selection, lease negotiation, business and financial planning and obtaining funds. You will be provided with a bespoke CRM system, a smartphone app, intensive training at corporate headquarters for 1 week, pre-sales management and coordination, weekly field support, a launch programme, a dedicated hotline and an intranet forum.
>> Read more:
- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 1)
- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 2)
- New Year, New Career: No Better Time Than Now to Start a Franchise Today
- Franchising 101: 8 Signs You're Ready to Start a Franchise
- Starting a New Business Doesn't Always Lead to Immediate Success: Here Are 5 Ways to Change That
- It's Never Too Late to Start a New Business
Becoming a gym franchisee
Becoming a gym franchisee is an exciting opportunity. The sector is likely to grow fast over the coming months, so now is the perfect time to position yourself for future growth.
If franchising sounds like the right path for you, but you want to explore other sectors, you can see a full list of opportunities on the UK franchise directory.
Elliott Fudge, Point Franchise ©