The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on many businesses and the way they deliver their services. The gym sector has been particularly hard hit, with many turning to online streaming platforms to keep up with the demand for workout classes. If you’re thinking about offering virtual services, here’s how to run a fitness franchise from home.
You only need to think about Joe Wicks’ famous daily lockdown workout videos to see just how successful online fitness classes can be. While online gym sessions can cater to those who still feel nervous about returning to the gym, they’re also likely to be popular on an ongoing basis. When life is hectic, many people value the convenience of a quick guided workout they can complete at home.
To list just one statistic, Peloton was able to significantly boost its membership numbers during lockdown by extending its free app trial period up to 90 days. Within just six weeks, more than 1.1 million people had signed up to take part in its at-home virtual gym sessions.
I’ve reconnected with previous [gym] members who’ve moved to other countries, which has further validated my thoughts on creating more accessible exercise content to reach more people, more easily.
– Lee Mullins, Workshop Gymnasium Founder
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Home-based franchise ideas
If you’re wondering how to run a fitness franchise from home, you might like to consider the various options open to you. Depending on the type of sub-sector you’d like to join, you might choose to provide any of the following services:
Home-based virtual classes
Many gyms are reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection by limiting the number of professionals running sessions and instead playing pre-recorded or live fitness classes on a big screen. Others are streaming these tutorials so participants can complete workouts from the comfort of their own home.
By taking the second approach, you can run virtual classes without venturing out of the house. If you decide to take this route, you might like to offer:
- One-to-one sessions - You could train between five and 30 people per week, each in their own personal session.
- Focussed improvement programmes - Split customers into small groups to reach a specific goal in a defined timeframe.
- Affordable classes - Coach lots of people at once during pre-planned workout sessions.
Virtual health or nutrition consultations
If you have the know-how to advise customers on health and nutrition, why not offer private consultations? You might like to run these sessions as a one-off or implement them as a weekly or monthly chat, helping customers improve their physical wellbeing over time.
Tips on how to run a fitness franchise from home
1. Choose a streaming platform
You’ll need to do a bit of research to work out which streaming tool is right for your business. Ask yourself the following questions to find your ideal platform:
- Do I want to be able to see the class participants? Some tools have two-way video and allow you to see the attendees, while some do not.
- Am I willing to pay for the streaming platform? There’s a variety of free and subscription-based tools.
- How many people would I like to be able to accommodate? Certain platforms, like those offering two-way video, limit the number of customers you can coach at once.
- Am I happy for anyone to join? Tools like Facebook, Twitch, Instagram and YouTube allow people outside of your gym to watch and take part in your workouts. If you’d like to keep things private, you could opt to use Zoom or Discord.
2. Create a timetable
Let people know ahead of time when you’ll be running your sessions. Fitness franchises should email their members a weekly or monthly timetable and share it on their social media profiles.
Although working out from home is incredibly convenient, you’ll still need to put some thought towards your class times and when people will be able to take part. For instance, avoid times around the school run, so parents can get involved.
3. Use a booking platform
An online booking platform makes it easy for people to confirm their attendance, and for the organiser to anticipate class sizes. Many website builders and online tools allow you to generate a simple booking system free of charge.
There is a workout builder for members to build their own (regime) using the exercise library. It can also be used by club teams to coach members remotely - by sending them workouts, scheduling workouts and also direct messaging so there can be two-way communication and encouragement. - Anytime Fitness CEO Neil Randall on why the gym franchise’s latest website improvements are paying off
4. Build a membership form
It’s worth finding out a bit of information about your clients - especially if they’ve asked for a one-to-one session. By getting clued up on their training history and any injuries they may have, you can tailor your workouts to provide the best possible service.
Create a simple form to find out their:
- Basic information, e.g. name, age, gender, email address and phone number
- Health details, e.g. any illnesses, conditions or injuries they may have
- Training history
5. Create demo videos
When offering remote training, it can sometimes be tricky to demonstrate certain exercises. Combat this issue by developing a collection of short videos you can provide in place of a lengthy explanation. The videos should be:
- Silent - so people can continue listening to their music or podcast
- Well-lit - so the viewer can clearly see the movements
- Short - keep videos brief; 10-20 seconds should do the trick
- Comprehensive - include at least two repetitions of the movement
6. Provide pre-recorded sessions
If you’d like to expand your customer base and provide free workout resources to get people interested in your fitness franchise, why not publish pre-recorded classes? Everyone loves a freebie, and you may be surprised how many people end up paying for virtual classes once they’ve tried them.
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7. Start a blog
As a business owner, you should be aiming to get as many people as possible engaging with you. Consider writing regular blog posts; you could talk about the latest fitness trends, shine a light on any interesting statistics, or provide expert insight on particular topics or workout techniques.
Join the fitness industry today
There you have it - how to run a fitness franchise from home. To find the perfect business opportunity for you, take a look at the gym, sport and beauty franchises currently looking for new investors.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©