Critical Steps to Take to Open an Awesome Gym Franchise

Fighting off the negative self-talk long enough to actually consider starting your own gym is half the battle — seriously. Now that you’re reading this article, it’s just a matter of checking boxes before you can start the career of your dreams: gym owner. Here are some critical steps to take to open an awesome gym franchise.


How to Buy a Gym Franchise

Do your research

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Just like any part of a business, research is an integral part. You have to dive deep on what is a franchise, how franchises work and earn money, and what are the systems that worked for previous franchises on every level and what didn’t work. 


By learning these, you will also be able to narrow down your choices of the type of franchised gym you want to partake. In addition, you will also learn the various do’s and don’ts in expanding a franchise gym before even getting into one to determine if it fits your desired location, financial situation, and priorities.


Weigh the pros and cons of owning a gym franchise

After you do your research, you might be able to group the pros and cons when you open an awesome gym franchise. Of course, you have to weigh the possibilities before you enter into an agreement.


Whatever you will venture into, there will always be two sides: the good and the bad. However, what you can do is to acknowledge both of those things. Ask yourself these questions: Do the good sides outweigh the bad sides? Will you be able to find some workarounds on the cons that come with it? If the answer is yes to both these questions, then it is definitely wise to invest your time, effort, and money into that thing.


Contact your top choices

After doing your research, it is now time for you to contact the franchisors you have been eyeing and start interviewing. It is best to have a thorough understanding of the business before actually getting involved and working with them. It is also best to have a sense of whether or not these are the type of people you’d want to work with. You can likewise ask about the locations they put up their franchise and the rate of return in the investments.


Call franchisees

It is great to ask the franchisors some notable franchisees that you can contact so you will be able to interview how the franchise business went for them. Through this, you will get to know what is the day-to-day experience and what are the challenges you might face.


Know about the costs

Knowing about the future costs by the time you open an awesome gym franchise may entail is essential. This gives you enough information on whether you will profit or just bury yourself in unpaid bills and debts. If you don’t want the later to happen, then you must know these different costs of owning a gym franchise:


  • Legal Costs- this includes the cost of getting an attorney that will help you in the acquisition phase, as well as, business insurance, and state registration costs. 
  • Planning Costs- you must have extensive growth planning because if your business won’t perform well, then it will incur loss in the future.
  • Marketing Costs- you have to advertise either digitally or through traditional methods and both of those are expenses!
  • Quality Control Costs- if you want to expand, you will need a formalized training program and other tools to help you maintain or improve the quality of your services. 


Write a business plan

The next thing that you should do when you open an awesome gym franchise is to write your own business plan. A business plan is very crucial as it is what will guide you along the way. By doing so, you will be able to find ahead, assess the factors that can affect your new business, and plan possible solutions to the challenges that you might encounter in the future.


Aside from that, a business plan may also help you avoid making big mistakes with your business by evaluating the market need, projecting your cash flow, assessing the right amount of labor that you need, and many more. 


Choose a Location

The location of your franchise can make or break your business, so it is really important to take this into consideration. A good rule of thumb is that a great location means it is easily accessible and convenient to your target audience. 


If you keep these in mind, it will help in building the reputation of your franchise business. It is best to consult the existing market strategy made by your franchisor to get the chunk of numbers for this needed information. In addition, also take note of logistics and how to access help from your franchisor as it will be difficult if you are thousands of miles away from each other.


Secure a Financing

How would you start a business if you don’t have enough money to do so? Well, one thing that you can do if you are so eager to open an awesome gym franchise is to get financing. Luckily for you, being a franchisee has better chances of securing financing. You just have to ensure that the brand that you will be franchising has a well-established reputation. 


Get permits and insurance

The requirements to get permits and insurance varies depending on the location. It is best to work with your franchisor and consult a lawyer for these matters so that there won’t be any problems along the way, especially that this process takes time.


Hire staff and attend training

Each franchise offers a different type of support and training. Nevertheless, don’t miss out on the free training opportunities and mentorship your franchisee offers. With this, you will be going to the business fully prepared and equipped.

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So, You Want an Awesome Gym Franchise — What Do You Have to Lose?

As with any challenging undertaking, there are several advantages and disadvantages. Before you decide that opening a fitness center franchise is for you, do the full list of pros and cons. It’s also a smart decision to talk with current and former fitness center franchisees to get a better picture of the nuances involved in the process.

Here are a few of the most common pros and cons to consider before pursuing a fitness center franchise:


Gym Franchise Ownership: The Awesome Part

People Already Know About You

Franchises are usually established brands with a reputation already ingrained in the public. This makes finding potential customers a snap—as there is already an inherent client base. Also, the franchisor will already have an advertising campaign in place, one that showcases the brand in the best possible framework.


Lots of Help Along the Way

If you’ve never owned a business, there will be loads of things to learn. With a franchise, you’ll have the continuous help of your franchisor to walk you through each progression of building the business.


More Customers, More Money

Franchises normally generate higher grosses than non-established businesses, as there is already a devoted client base and name recognition. While the upfront costs to open a fitness center franchise can be high, you’ll likely turn a profit all the more rapidly.


Gym Franchise Ownership: The NOT So Awesome Part

You Have to Play by the Rules

When you start a franchise business, you will have some freedom to establish your location, yet you are ultimately a representative of a bigger company. They have the last say with regards to the business plan, showcasing, branding, and so on. If you’re hoping to make a true one-of-a-kind fitness center you should understand that buying into a franchise might not be the best decision.


Spending Now, Earning … Later

As we previously stated, the upfront expenses of starting a fitness center franchise can be high. You’ll need to buy a lot of equipment, all things considered. In the event that you don’t have the fluid capital or can’t meet all requirements for financing, this will probably not be a suitable choice.


You Have to Spend a LOT to Make a Lot

Notwithstanding the upfront charges, you will also be responsible for continuous payments to the franchisor. These may include sovereignty charges, branded supply charges, advertising expenses, and additional fees that might be unique to their franchise. Ensure you’re mindful of the entirety of the costs associated with a specific franchise brand before you join.


Plan to Get Down to Business

When you have chosen the fitness center franchise you’re going to open, your next step is creating a field-test strategy. This may feel pointless when joining a franchise, as such a large amount of your business decisions will be recommended by the franchisor. However, it’s a good idea to investigate and study basic business components so you can better understand how you’ll run your franchise.


There are some key elements you will need to focus on, including a market investigation of any competitors in the territory. Would your fitness center fulfill a need that is not being met in the area – or by an already-established potential competitor?  You should also include other elements like anticipated costs, the number of individuals you hope to employ, what your job in the establishment will be, and money-related projections (including when you are likely to turn a profit).


One of the plusses about opening a fitness center franchise (as opposed to starting a new business from scratch) is that you can get a considerable amount of information for your business strategy straight from the franchisor.


Shake Hands with Investors

The expense of purchasing a fitness center franchise will fluctuate depending upon which one you choose to join, as will the financial help you might be able to get from the franchisor. We’ll investigate costs in more detail later, for now, let’s explore financing options.


Odds are, you’ll need some kind of financing to get your business off the ground. While you might be required to invest some money in your franchise, you will probably want to look into outside sources as well. You’ll discover a variety of small business loans available, in light of what you have to utilize in cash (for example purchasing property, working capital, and so forth.) Your franchisor may have some information or resources for financing that might be options as well.


Pick the Perfect Spot for You to Open an Awesome Gym Franchise

An easily accessed and thriving area for your fitness center is essential. For most people who exercise on a regular basis, a location near home or work is ideal. Taking these two factors into account will allow you to focus on certain areas in the chosen city. Is there a cluster of apartments in the area? Are there suburban subdivisions close by? Maybe it’s an industrial area that has a thriving business section.


The principal focus is to take a look at the activity and socioeconomics of the territory. Picking an area relies on many things: the age of the population, the crime stats, and if it’s around a shopping area, which promotes pedestrian activity and spending. There’s a considerable amount of information to consider.


You can use assets like Stats America to explore everything about occupants in a given district, from median age breakdown to salary range. These facts will help you decide whether or not the chosen area will have a steady network of possible customers to draw from.


Another component is whether to use an existing structure to house your fitness center or to build something new altogether. L.A. Fitness, one of several popular franchise options, will regularly search for a viable property in an ideal area, and during the first few months provide a temporary employee who knows the particulars of the organization.


Obviously, every franchise is different. Make sure you consider the area and demographics when choosing a space for your franchise. Some franchisors will have specific recommendations and sometimes might choose the area or space themselves. Others might be less hands-on.


Cross “t”s, Dot “i”s & Get Permits

Similarly, as with any business, you’ll have to get the correct licenses to work. These can include a state business license and a building license in case you’re redesigning a space. Depending on the business and the area, there might be other permits that you will need. If you want to be an awesome gym franchisee, follow the Do’s.


It is essential to acquire all licenses and permits before you can begin installing equipment and setting up your fitness center. You have to get the permit to occupy the space, the permit to operate the business, safety inspectors have to come out and do their reviews; fire sprinklers and plumbing must be up to code.


There are expenses for acquiring building permits, and different licenses may also be necessary depending upon the sort of services your fitness center intends to offer. For instance, having a café on the premises might require a food license depending on the specific laws in your city.


Hire Some Awesome Personal Trainers & Staff

An awesome gym franchise needs awesome trainers! When the space is ready and you have the correct licenses that allow you to work lawfully, you’re ready to hire your first employees. You’ll require various employees to help clean, run the front work area, oversee hires and enrollments, and train individuals or teach classes. From there you will be up and running.


Keep in mind, fitness centers are usually open for extended periods of time—some are open 24 hours a day—so they’re open when their clients need to work out. This means you’ll require a large group of employees to cover all the shifts and ensure your offices are run efficiently.


Is franchising a gym a good idea

A lot of individuals are starting up their own business by buying franchising their own gym. If you are going to start a business on your own, it requires a lot of effort unlike if you do a franchise. However, it is important to know that owning a franchise doesn’t mean instant and definite success. If you’re planning to buy your own franchise, here are the pros and cons of an awesome gym franchise you have to consider first:


The Pros Of Franchising a Gym

So, you already have a franchise you want to get into which is a franchised gym. And doing so, there are a lot of benefits that you will get.

Skipping Startup Stage

Other businesses are not exempted from the grueling process of starting up the business. This includes writing the business plan on your own, doing a target audience market research, product testing, and then hopefully scaling up the product. If you decide to open an awesome gym franchise, you skip these stages since the franchise already has a pre-built system that has been proven to work in the other franchises done before you. So, all you have to do is apply the system they have developed into your own franchise.

Help With Marketing And Advertising

One of the great things about franchise businesses is that even though there’s a certain period of time that you will be the one doing the market advertising, your franchisee will also do their part in promoting your franchise through various online campaigns, TV, and radio. In addition, you will get added support from them in doing advertising strategies so you will be able to reach your ideal target audience.

The rate of failure is lower than independent start-ups

A good thing about franchising a gym is that the rate of failure is lower than independent start-ups. As you can see, when you franchise a fitness center that is already well-established, then it means that you don’t have to walk through the nasty road anymore. 

Someone else already did the hard things for you. The process, procedures, market testing, and standardizing the operations- all of that are already laid out for you. Even the marketing of the business, someone else will do that for you and all you have to do left is to pick up your pen and sign the agreement!


The ability to compete against bigger gyms

When you buy a fitness center franchise, then you are also buying the ability to compete against bigger gyms- this is possible because you will also gain a stronger buying power for fitness equipment, advertising strategies, and many more. Aside from that, you will also benefit from the marketing initiatives and development strategies that the franchisor will put in place to support all the franchisees. 


Securing funding may be easier

When franchising a reputable gym franchise, securing funding is a tad easier than starting your own. This is because you will be able to show the ones in the authorities where you will get your financing from a proven track record of the gym that you will buy. 


The Cons of Franchising a Gym

Just like any business, it has its own drawbacks that you have to be aware of. There is no such thing as a perfect business model so it’s great to be informed of these cons of franchising a gym:


Abiding By The Franchise’s Rules

One of the reasons why a lot of people start a business is to be their own boss. However, that is not the case with franchise businesses. Even though you have lost control of the business, there are still franchise rules that you have to abide by. And if there is anything you disagree with the franchise, you wouldn’t be able to take matters into your own hands. So if you want to be a successful franchisee, team up with an awesome gym franchise. 


High Startup Costs

Of course, such benefits come with high startup costs. In fact, it’s even more expensive than starting up your own business. To some individuals, the franchise fee alone is expensive and out of reach. Therefore, it is not guaranteed that everyone can sustain a franchise gym.


Business reputation is dependent on the whole network 

Buying a gym franchise means that you also have to use the brand name and trademark. This will mean that all franchises over the country have the same name and reputation as yours. 

If one of those franchises will get involved in a scandalous issue, then your franchise will be affected too. Aside from that, if one offers bad services then people will think that your franchise does too.


There are fees that you won’t have to pay if you have an independently-owned gym

Do you know that there are association fees if you purchase a gym franchise? Well, these fees come from the fact that the franchisor of the business is the one thinking of strategies to further upgrade or level up the position of the network in the market. If you have an independently-owned gym, you won’t have to pay for these fees, but you also need to do the thinking on your own. 

How much does a Gym Franchise Cost?

Is it worth it?

Brand recognition

Branding is everything so when you franchise a gym you’ll gain full rights to use its brand name and its trademarks such as taglines and designs.


You won’t need to do a lot of work to introduce your gym because the name says it all. For example, “Gold’s Gym” and “Planet Fitness” are two popular gyms which are known for its reputation. Fitness enthusiasts will surely search first for branches of these popular gyms. It’s convenient and easy for you when you franchise a gym as it’ll earn on its own just because of its name.


Effective business model

Since gym franchises are already known, it sure is profitable already, otherwise, they won’t be having franchises at all.


When the gym starts franchising, it already learned the effective strategies on how to maintain the status of their gyms. They will then teach their franchisees about these strategies to implement on their own.


It will lessen the hassle and difficulties you’ll face in putting up a gym. As you’ll gain business blueprints, procedures, employee training, company policies, and other intellectual property as part of your purchase.


Wide network

Each franchise has its own network. This is the same with a gym franchise given that they can connect you with a network all over the country. It can help you in gaining insights into your local market based on their experiences. You can do that by talking to other franchisees and learning their best practices. You can analyze these best practices and apply what fits your franchise.


What are the Costs?

One-time franchise fee

A franchise will require you to pay a one-time fee for their trademark ranging from $15,000 and $30,000.


Security deposit

The space for your gym franchise is not always guaranteed to be included. At other times, it will be your responsibility to find one. A three months worth of rent is usually required for a security deposit for commercial spaces.


If you’re going for a space in the middle of urban living, it will most likely cost you at least $1,000. On the other hand, renting in rural places will only land around $500. Thats the amount you need to open an awesome gym franchise. 


Liquid asset

Franchisees are required to have liquid assets amounting to $300,000 to $1.5 million.


Other fees

Monthly franchise fee

Depending on the franchise, franchisors require either a standard monthly fee or a percentage of your profit.


Working capital

The franchisors usually provide the timeline on the working capital you’ll need in running a gym.


Make a Difference by Serving a Growing Niche Audience 

The special needs industry continues to grow and evolve, which means that our franchise is as essential as ever. It also means that as an organization we must be constantly improving the way that we help our community. By continuously assessing our business model we can help set up our franchise owners for success. As a franchisee, you set the bar for what “success” signifies to you, and we’ll assist you along the way.





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Special Strong provides adaptive fitness for children, adolescents, and adults with mental, physical and cognitive challenges. Start your own Special Strong gym franchise today and create a lasting impact on your community.