Owning a fitness business is a great way to get paid for doing what you love. Once your business is up and running, you’ll encourage others to get active and develop a healthy lifestyle. So, by starting a fitness franchise with us, you’ll be able to set up a rewarding business that is based on a proven model.
How much is the fitness industry worth?
The sports and fitness marketplace is vast. Globally, the ‘sports and lifestyle’ sector is one of the fastest growing markets, but in the UK, it generates over £5 billion a year and supports around 450,000 jobs.
Sports centres and stadiums are at the heart of every UK town and city, and the sheer amount of money involved in high-profile sports such as premier league football is astronomical. However, sports at the grass-roots level is also thriving. From Sunday league football to gym sessions and swimming classes, there is a sport for almost everyone, regardless of their passion, activity level or time constraints.
That means you have the opportunity to form a profitable sports coaching company that could generate a healthy return for years to come. If you can encourage your members to stay with you beyond your first month, you’ll generally find that they commit to long-term membership, keeping the money rolling in.
What sports coaching franchises are on offer?
One of the most popular areas for sports coaching franchises is the youth sector. Franchises such as Premier Sport focus on providing young people with motivation, inspiration and the coaching they need to fulfil their potential.
Working with schools can be fun and incredibly rewarding, but it is also a great way to start a stable business. It gives sports franchise operators the chance to build up a solid business foundation that doesn’t rely so much on passing trade and can, therefore, provide a regular income.
Premier Sport franchises require an initial investment of around £15,000, so it’s also an affordable option, especially when compared to some of the higher buy-in rates you’ll find in other industries such as catering or vehicle repair.
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Do I have to be a professional sportsperson?
You don’t necessarily need to be a fully-fledged professional sportsperson to start up a fitness franchise, but it does help to be passionate about the sport and lead an active lifestyle. Also, communication skills are just as important as qualifications and training.
Sports franchise providers will be looking for a certain calibre of person to take on what can be very demanding business opportunities, but you will receive the same exceptional level of training and advice as you would with any other franchise. Even if you’re no longer at your physical fitness peak, it is still possible to deliver a premium quality coaching service for both young people and adults.
Picking the right sports coaching companies
It’s crucial that you choose the right sports franchise. Let’s imagine your passion is tennis but you decide to take on a football coaching franchise due to its lower set-up fees. Not only will you not have the same level of commitment and dedication that you need to make it work as a business, but your clients will become disinterested too. It’s vital you have a real connection with your chosen sport, as well as the drive and determination that any franchisee needs to succeed.
What opportunities are there?
There are sports coaching franchises out there, but they are not as prevalent as you might think. While gym franchises generally benefit from relatively straightforward business models, coaching requires a slightly higher level of commitment and dedication. Not only do you have a business to manage and, potentially, classes to lead, but you also need to make sure your customers are getting the level of coaching they expect and deserve.
It’s also worth keeping a look out for more niche sports coaching franchises, such as senior care wellness franchises, where trainers work with older people to keep them active and healthy. However, if you want to launch a sustainable sports coaching company, it’s wise to avoid anything that may be classed as an exercise fad.
For example, boot camps were huge a couple of years ago, but the market has reached a saturation point. If you want to ensure your franchise can go the distance, then it’s well worth considering either the more traditional coaching businesses (such as those that centre around tennis, cricket and football) or more generic markets, such as school coaching. You can’t go wrong by concentrating on developing a fitness business that is fun, affordable and capable of delivering great results.
Investing in equipment
All franchises require a certain level of investment, and sports coaching companies are no different. However, the level of capital you’ll need to invest in equipment will vary from business to business. For example, a yoga franchise will be relatively cheap to finance, as you need very little equipment and have the option to use a wide range of business premises. A tennis coaching franchise, on the other hand, will be more expensive, as you’ll need more equipment, as well as access to specific facilities to carry out your coaching sessions.
Essential franchise qualities – what makes a good sports franchise?
Great fitness franchises like Sports Extra or Progressive Sports are fun. You’re dealing with young children who have bundles of energy but are, perhaps, not as focused as you’d like them to be – so you’ll need to keep them entertained! For older customers, your focus will be more on challenging members and encouraging them to push themselves further.
That being said, most people will be more likely to return to your coaching sessions if you cultivate a friendly atmosphere. The sports sector can be incredibly intimidating, especially for those who are unfamiliar with the sport they’re trying out, or those with low levels of body confidence. Bear this in mind and try to create a cooperative atmosphere where every member can feel safe and self-assured. For example, if you start a fitness franchise that offers aerobics classes, allow your attendees to find their own spot in the room. Forcing members to move around or come to the front may put people off if they’re shy, so let them stay at the back for as long as they need to.
If you plan on owning a fitness business that relies on equipment, be sure to invest well. High-quality, sturdy equipment will stand the test of time and give your members a positive impression. Attempting to save money on cheap gear at the start of your venture is nearly always a false investment, as you’ll probably be forced to fork out for replacements further down the line.
If you want to open your business up to the largest possible customer pool, affordability will be crucial. Extortionate gym membership fees, sports equipment costs and expensive running gear are often cited as reasons why people fail to get active. So, you need to make sure your sessions are reasonably priced for the average person. Don’t be tempted to whack up your fees just because you’ve spent a lot on high-quality equipment; you’ll lose lots of members you would otherwise gain. Therefore, take the time to craft a thorough business plan and work out your pricing structure so that it not only gets you to your break-even point in a reasonable timeframe, but also attracts a high number of customers.
Great marketing is also important if you want your business to succeed. Sports coaching is offered widely across the UK, so your franchise needs to have a unique selling point if it’s to stand out from the crowd. Your franchise provider will help you get off the ground initially, but it’s up to you how far you take your business.
Sports coaching companies tap into an incredibly buoyant market with increasing influence in society. As we’re all encouraged to be more active, sports coaching can provide people of all ages, abilities and fitness levels with the opportunity to exercise in a safe and unintimidating environment.
Now is a great time to enter the sports sector. Fitness coaching companies across the UK are experiencing a high uptake on places for everything from low-impact yoga to the faster-paced sports of football and cricket. Meanwhile, businesses that work with seniors and within public sector areas are also becoming more accessible. Even if you have the most niche of passions, there is bound to be a way to channel it into your business. You never know – you might just create the next big thing.
Franchising is a fantastic way to start a fitness business that is likely to turn a profit. Franchisors allow entrepreneurs to buy the rights to launch a new branch of their business under its existing brand identity, benefitting from its proven business model and the brand awareness it carries with it. We recommend you look for opportunities that have long-term potential and try to avoid anything that could be regarded as an exercise ‘fad’ if you want to establish a reliable and long-lived business.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©