Planet Fitness - Can you start a franchise in the UK?

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planet fitness franchise

It’s a brand-new year, and a popular time to start afresh and embark on a journey to a new and improved, healthier you. Health, wellness and looking and feeling your best have always been important to people of all ages. But now more than ever, the fitness industry is booming as people seek to change unhealthy patterns in nutrition and activity.

The UK Fitness Industry

The number of gym memberships in the UK has skyrocketed, with over 10 million people now owning a gym membership. There are also now over 7,200 gym facilities catering to the heightened demand; a figure that is also significantly higher than last year. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the UK fitness industry is now worth more than £5 billion for the first time ever (LeisureDB). Gyms are no longer seen as intimidating places but instead as a place for people from all walks of life to work out and lead a healthier lifestyle. Cheaper gym memberships are in demand as more of the nation wish to start their fitness journey and become another of the one in seven who have a membership.

Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness is a thriving American company open to franchise but relatively unestablished in the UK. Its aim is to cultivate a safe, inclusive and affordable environment where everyone can exercise comfortably in a judgement-free zone, with slogans like “No Gymtimidation” helping to promote this in a fun way. We are finding out what Planet Fitness has to offer as a UK franchise, and how you could go about starting your own business and share in the success of the fitness industry.

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Planet Fitness Franchise

Started in 1992, Planet Fitness’s founder Michael Grondahl took over a failing gym in the US. He lowered membership prices, making Planet Fitness a comparatively cheaper option, and aimed to create a safe, non-judgemental place for everyone to work out. Planet Fitness offers exercise machines, free weights, fitness training services, related services and ancillary goods.

In 2003, the brand began to franchise, and today Planet Fitness is one of the largest fitness franchises in the world. Though most of its gym presence still remains stateside, the brand is keen to continue its expansion elsewhere, including in the UK. A franchisor may approach Planet Fitness with a new location to turn into one of its gyms, or an existing gym that wishes to convert.

Planet Fitness UK

Christopher Rondeau, the brand’s chief executive has stated, after a very positive quarter, that its success is down to a “growing consumer shift towards health and wellness”, and that Planet Fitness is doing so well because of its “unique fitness experience”. You can join a Planet Fitness gym for as little as £15.99 per month and one of its attractive qualities is that it offers a ladies-only exercise space. What makes Planet Fitness such an admirable - and highly successful - model, is its message of inclusiveness and lower cost.

Planet Fitness Franchise Cost

If we convert the initial fee for opening up your own Planet Fitness gym from dollars, it is roughly £15,300. However, it is very worth contacting the company, as expansion in the UK is a young endeavour. All franchisees and managers must undergo Planet Fitness’s official training programme. This is a relatively thorough course, teaching how to operate and maintain all the exercise machines and equipment, as well as everything to do with everyday operations, i.e. cost control, inventory control and basic management. This training is completed both in a hands-on setting and in a classroom setting.

Fitness Franchises

Planet Fitness is just one of the many avenues for starting your own business franchise in the lucrative fitness industry. There are opportunities to buy or rent gym locations, but there are also other set-ups. People are equally keen for classes and personal trainers who travel to meet their clients. Starting a business in fitness is proving promising and lucrative. However, due to the large variety of options already available, it is also competitive. Investing in a franchise takes away a lot of the worry, from marketing to branding, management and training.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most exciting fitness franchises currently available.

Fitness Franchise Opportunities

SNAP Fitness

Looking for a brand name similar to Planet Fitness, whose success has been tried and tested both in the US and the UK? Snap Fitness is a great alternative. Founder Peter Taunton was hailed Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2010. The brand has also been ranked in the Franchise 500 and America’s Top Global Franchise for five years in a row. Key cards, high-quality equipment, plus a 24/7 opening schedule all reinforce the drive to make getting a workout in as simple as possible.

The brand was established in 2003, so has been making its mark in the industry for over 15 years now. With over 2,000 clubs open or in the process of opening across the globe in over 26 countries, Snap Fitness has clearly developed a robust business model fit for expansion. There are over 65 clubs operating up and down the UK and it is looking for more franchisees to join its rapidly expanding franchise network.

A minimum investment of £125,000 and a total investment of £450,000 is required to be part of this powerful brand. Don’t worry if this figure seems slightly out of reach; it does offer third-party financing options to successful candidates.

Fitness Space

If you’re looking for a gym with a special ability to help customers achieve their fitness goals, look no further than Fitness Space. With state-of-the-art technology and facilities, as well as attentive staff, Fitness Space likes to think of itself as a health club as well as a gym. It offers yoga, personal training sessions, small group sessions and fitness camps. Its success sees many franchisees going on to open secondary and tertiary facilities.

Fitness Space offers its franchises an extensive support package that includes help with site selection, financial planning and lease negotiation, as well as a comprehensive training programme at Fitness Space’s headquarters. This isn’t even everything either - to find out more about the training and support you will receive as a Fitness Space franchisee, click here.

An initial fee of £24,950 and an additional cost of £50,750 will start you on your Fitness Space journey. As part of this fee, franchisees can make the most of discounts on equipment due to already established relationships with the franchisor.

énergie Fitness Ireland

This fitness franchise is eager to create a gym space where people of all ability levels feel comfortable. It is offering entrepreneurs the chance to operate under a proven business model that has earned énergie Fitness Ireland the title of second-best franchise in Elite Franchise Magazine’s Top 100 franchises for 2019.

The lucrative franchise has already seen great success, with over 100 franchises operating in the UK and over 20 in Ireland.

It’s in énergie Fitness Ireland’s best interest to see its franchisees succeed, so it completely guides you through the whole process to get you in tip top shape to run your own business confidently. This includes assistance with tax compliance, finding the right location, managing finances, recruiting and training staff, sales and marketing and much more.

One of the reasons why énergie Fitness Ireland is so successful is because of its rigorous recruitment programme. So, what does it look out for in its franchisees?

Firstly, you should be able to demonstrate that you have some level of business acumen and are able to follow a business plan. It is also beneficial to show experience in a number of different roles so that you can bring numerous skills to the job. This could include great communication skills or being confident with numbers. Secondly, you need to be able to commit to all of the training programmes so the business can reach its full potential. For more details on what énergie Fitness Ireland looks for in its franchisees, click here.

This franchise opportunity requires a minimum investment of £140,000.

One Element

If you’d prefer something a little different, supporting fitness outdoors and exercising in parks and in local community centres instead of in fitness centres, check out the innovative franchise, One Element.

Launched in 2007, the franchise operates from five locations in the UK. It is looking to expand its UK franchise network with franchisees who are passionate about fitness, love being outdoors and want to help people reach their goals. In order to be successful, franchisees should be confident managing people and sociable enough to communicate confidently with clients.

An initial investment of £4,000 is required, with a total investment of £16,000. It is therefore also a cheap option. Expected revenue after four years should see you quadruple that figure to £80,000.

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