What Is the Best Gym Franchise to Own in the US?

What Is the Best Gym Franchise to Own in the US

How much does it cost to start a gym franchise? Investment is key here: from the start-up costs to the equipment and the employees and clients who will visit your gym franchise every day. Starting a gym franchise is a big step in running your own business – but if you are passionate about fitness and health, it can be a great venture for you. Gym franchises provide business models, which means you will not have to start your company from the ground up. However, you will still need to do your research and invest in everything that makes the franchise you own unique.

Advantages of Starting a Gym Franchise

  • Label recognition

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Franchise gyms hold full rights to use the parent’s company name, trademarked taglines, and brand-related templates. Hence, you don’t have to necessarily start from scratch as a no-name gym.

Fitness fans always search for their city’s brand gym divisions. That’s why when you opt for a gym franchise, expect that you will already establish brand awareness upon opening. Instead of spending decades building your wellness brand, you should piggyback from day 1. You can benefit from the reputation of your gym franchise’s name and take advantage of existing gym memberships.

  • Network help

When you join a franchise, you potentially join a more comprehensive network. Most chains have hundreds of gyms worldwide. You will get in touch with other franchises in your territory, who can give you an overview of the business market and how to succeed there.

The network you gain from joining a franchise can give you guidance and help on what works and what don’t. You should talk about hundreds of other franchise owners who succeeded with their franchise and repeat what they did. This helps the network decrease the risk of failure dramatically. Moreover, they can help you save time, energy, and resources from launching things that have no potential in the market.

  • Efficient business model

Known franchises deliver established business models. Typically, the first Gym opens and becomes dominant in a city before franchising begins.

After a gym begins franchising, they discover the most successful ways to create efficient gyms. They pass this information to all franchisee customers.

You’ll have access to strategic plans, processes, staff preparation, corporate practices, and other intellectual property they’ve upgraded for many years. This method removes much hard work under regular conditions as they share their business expertise with you.

As such, you will have more time to directly manage the business and pursue your other interests as well. In this process, you will be reaping both business and personal rewards from an efficient and proven business model.

  • Support with starting

Establishing a business is not easy—especially at the beginning. While you may have a good and sellable idea in the gym industry, there are still many things left to uncover. It includes technical stuff like gaining permits, following policies, construction, financing, training, etc. And it is where the beauty and convenience of franchising come in.

Franchisors give you their marketing plans to teach you how to develop a fitness business from scratch. They’ll support you aggressively in the early stages. This support will help you build a gym that meets their expectations and reduce the chance of disappointment.

Many franchises require you to consult the gym venue that needs clearance. This method guarantees that their Gym is ideally positioned to ensure profits and represent the brand.

The franchise company will also assist with the business permit/inspection process, ensuring the Gym meets all safety requirements and regulations.

  • Job Training

Each member of your staff receives free gym training opportunities. Although you need to hire certified personal trainers, you still need to coach them to function for that particular Gym’s brand.

Some franchise gyms ship their staff to training on-site. The parent organization teaches dozens simultaneously. This preparation trains them for the brand and makes workers more effective.

  • Low-cost facilities

We all know that gym equipment is rarely cheap. It’s also difficult to find a reliable supplier that provides a consistent quality supply of equipment.

Wide gym franchises provide access to suppliers that can offer lower commercial equipment prices. Brands like Gold’s Gym have access to top suppliers that can downgrade their franchisees’ equipment costs.

  • Computer Gym Scheduling

Gym running requires considerable effort and experience. Gym software is important to control and run your Gym. Most gym franchises include all the necessary software in running your gym in the franchise package deal.

The franchise will provide the best in class gym management software and set-up software to organize and run your Gym seamlessly. They will also have all the logistical hardware and applications you need to operate your Gym effectively. These inclusions are highly essential, especially now that the gym experience is more and more advanced and high-tech.

Disadvantages of Starting a Gym Franchise

  • Innovative limitations

The biggest downside to buying a franchise is that you own only one franchise, so you don’t own the name. Having no control over the brand name may be unappealing for some since you lose the chance to show your individuality. You’ll have to get used to imaginative limits. This restriction can be challenging, especially for those who like using their creative juices.

If you want to tweak the branding, you won’t be able to follow the guidelines strictly. You need the parent company permission for every change you make. It can be a huge hassle since you will need to undergo documentation processing every time. There is also the possibility that you will face dreading disappointment in this process.

  • Restrictive guidance

Many of the biggest franchises have specific rules to obey, which provides work-training instructions and customer satisfaction. Furthermore, you have no authority to sell items however appealing they are if the franchise does not originally offer them. Everything you display for sale in your establishment must be franchise-approved.

Franchisors require consistent consumer service. You’ll have to check if you’re continuously following their guidelines. This includes the places where you can operate and the exclusive supplier service you will use. You’ll still have to give the staff out of pocket for preparation.

  • The high cost of investment

Starting a gym franchise sometimes costs more than opening your Gym. Franchising a gym requires an initial license fee and significant money for facilities, equipment, and marketing.

Apart from this, most franchise deals require you to pay for the inspection of a new location out of your own pocket. Since it’s not included in the franchise deal, multiple location inspections can cost you a lot of money.

Of course, your gym can’t run without trained employees and professionals. Some brands would require certifications and specific training for employees of their franchisees. And this does not come without a fee.

  • Realty penalties

A percentage of your Gym’s revenue goes directly to the franchisor. If you thought you’d buy a license and you’re wrong. The franchise corporation gets at least 5-10% of the monthly gross sales. Some also take twenty percent.

These payments are considered royalty payments to be charged regardless of whether you are successful or not (although many gyms lose money in their first few months in operation). In addition to this, some franchisors also charge additional fees for marketing or advertising services monthly.

  • Dependencies

Long-term effects of working with a parent corporation will impact your fitness business. Brand reputation ties down with the disadvantage of dependency.

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Your gym’s reputation would depend largely on the performance and image of the entire franchise network you belong to. If there is an issue with other franchisees, this may also impact the performance of your own franchise. In the food industry, Subway franchisees’ dispute with the parent corporation is a clear example.

For one, the growth prospects are minimal. If your Gym is wildly popular, you can not dramatically extend it by establishing other locations and opening your franchises.
Franchise renewal
One of the most significant downsides of starting a franchise is the issue around franchise terms and renewal.

In the franchisor’s position, they have the final say on not renewing a franchise contract as opposed to the franchisee’s decision. When this happens, it can leave them stuck with all their investments with no brand name to use.

On the other hand, expensive termination fees arise when the franchisee decides to leave the franchise before the franchise term’s end. They may also face legal consequences in relation to trade conditions because of this.


Which Franchise Is Right for You?

Before moving too far forward, you should research the franchise(s) you are considering. This initial research is one of the most important parts of the journey.


To find the best fit, make sure you are on par with the brand you choose and its values. Some gyms may prioritize certain things like a fun and inclusive brand culture, while others may highlight endurance and high-intensity workouts. The values that resonate with you in your own fitness goals tend to be a good starting place for determining which brand you want to represent.


Since gym franchises can be a large investment, it’s important to make sure your values are reflected in your business. Below are several notable gym franchises, including some of the most popular companies, and their brand values:

Planet Fitness – Non-Intimidating

The mindset at a Planet Fitness gym is that anyone can feel comfortable working out, whether they are beginners on the very first day of a weight loss journey or seasoned gym regulars. Members can utilize online resources and in-person training sessions to help them better understand the steps they need to take to make progress. Their tagline is “The Judgement Free Zone®” because they want members to feel at ease getting active without fear of being shamed by more experienced or athletic gym-goers. 

Anytime Fitness – Community, Healthiness

Anytime Fitness has obviously built their brand around their 24/7 service, but they also pinpoint the community’s role in a healthy lifestyle. Members are encouraged to lean on their coaches and on each other for motivational support. Each member receives a personalized fitness plan when they join to help them achieve their unique goals. According to their website, they are defined by “People, Purpose, Profits, Play®” and they want those values to be reflected by their franchisees. 

Gold’s Gym – Transforming Lives Through Physical Strength

Gold’s Gym has been in business for 50 years, so their brand is continuously striving to set the industry’s standards. With the help of new technology like a 3D body scan, they want to help members focus on strengthening their bodies to feel more empowered. 

Orangetheory Fitness – Independent, Goal-Driven

Orangetheory breaks down goals into increments of one-hour workouts using their unique methodology. They help members burn more calories and reach more goals with specific types of interval training. Orangetheory is all about high intensity and pushing yourself to new limits.

Crunch Fitness – No Judgement

What does Crunch Fitness mean by “No Judgement”? They mean members of every shape, size, age, race, gender or fitness level. Crunch focuses on open-mindedness and diversity. They also try to infuse their workouts with positivity and fun. The environment at Crunch Fitness is relaxed and welcoming.

Special Strong – Inclusivity and Empowerment

At Special Strong, we take our inclusivity a step further. We welcome members no matter what level of fitness they are striving for or how non-disabled they might be. Have you ever heard the term “adaptive fitness”? That means fitness programs that include people with mental and physical disabilities. Special Strong teams want to help their members unlock the strength and confidence within their mind, body, and spirit so that they can live a more independent and abundant life. 

Once you have identified which brand values align the best with your ones, you will have a clear vision of your goal. You can now begin thinking practically about the cost to start your own gym franchise. 

The Base Costs of Starting a Gym Franchise

 Investment costs will vary depending on the company you choose. Franchises like Jazzercise have an initial fee as low as $1250. This number seems incredibly low because you don’t need an actual gym or equipment to start this particular franchise, as it relies primarily on the instructor qualifications.


However, if Jazzercise is not for you, you will likely be looking at higher costs, which can range from $30,000 to $300,000. Remember that initial start-up costs are just part of the equation. You will need to budget for more costs, including marketing and contingency fees. Some additional costs you might see can include:


  • Site Inspection

When considering the establishment of a new franchise location, potential franchisees may encounter additional out-of-pocket costs early in the process, notably for site inspections. This crucial step ensures the proposed location meets the brand’s specific requirements regarding size, layout, accessibility, and other critical factors that can influence the location’s success. While some brands may assist with these inspections, often, the franchisee is responsible for covering these inspection costs, making it an essential budgeting consideration.

Thorough site inspections can unveil potential issues that could affect business operations or require costly modifications, thereby influencing the decision-making process on whether a particular site is a viable option for the franchise. Understanding the importance of this step and allocating resources accordingly can be a pivotal aspect of the planning phase, potentially saving substantial sums of money and time in the long run.

  • Royalty Fees

Royalty fees represent a continual financial commitment for franchisees, essential for the rights to use the franchise’s brand name, trademarks, and operational systems on various business materials, including merchandise, marketing collateral, business cards, and more. Typically, these fees are calculated as a percentage of the franchise’s gross sales and can amount to several thousand dollars each month.

Royalty payments are a cornerstone of the franchise business model, facilitating ongoing support from the franchisor, including training, research and development of new products or services, and access to a proven business strategy. While they can be a significant monthly expenditure, royalty fees are fundamental to maintaining the brand integrity and value, which in turn, can contribute to the overall success of the franchise operation.

  • Advertising and Marketing Fees

Any expenses for local advertising will come from your own budget. This could include direct mail advertising, social media marketing, chamber of commerce membership, local event sponsorship, and more.

  • Rent

Location is a big factor for return on investment. Rent can get expensive very fast, so make sure you are getting in the foot traffic you need to support your payments.

  • Insurance

Insurance premiums to protect your property and protect your staff from liability can be a major expense, but necessary.

  • Training Fees

This can mean personal training, employee training, and more. Some gyms have specific, required training programs or certifications for all of their franchisees.

  • Convention Registration Fees

Some gyms host annual conventions to ensure there is brand continuity and community between their franchisees.

  • Uniforms

You and your employees will have to represent your brand while providing check-ins, training sessions, and other services. Wear your name proud and keep it current with updated styles!

  • Special Equipment

There will be the initial purchases of traditional gym equipment, replacements for machines that break or wear out over time, and any additional special machines for specific purposes that can set your Gym apart from competitors.

  • Cleanliness Measures

Day-to-day items such as locker room upkeep, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, etc., as well as more in-depth cleaning and sanitizing (especially cleaning floors, deep cleaning equipment, etc.). This is especially critical in the wake of Covid-19, when cleanliness equates to safety. 

  • WiFi and Cable

It’s helpful to make sure your clients always have an option for entertainment while they are exercising!

Typical Amenities

Fitness services

Fitness services are the key reasons that people became part of fitness centers. A fitness services contain both physical and mental health-related products. The goal of the class is to enhance your physical and psychological health, such as circuit batteries, fitness devices ( e.g., stationary machines, treadmills, etc.), pools, all kinds of aerobic classes ( e.g., steppe aerobics, regular aerobics, pilates, yoga), free areas of weight, smoothie and protein bars, and martial arts classes.

Comfort Amenities

For many schedules so chaotic and hectic, fitness center managers realize that a person’s time on a fitness regimen is minimal. This helps several fitness centers make it more comfortable for the member to visit the fitness center routinely. Therefore, nearly all big fitness centers are providing their clients’ childcare centers. It encourages its participants to stop planning a babysitter to look after their children every time they attend the fitness center.

The bulk of big gyms are open seven days a week, and regular working hours are between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. This style of scheduling gives even the most demanding schedules a high degree of comfort.

Another convenience is that in every locker room, all exercise centers have a shower and a toilet. Many gyms sell shampoo, conditioner, soap, blow dryers, and curling iron. By having these kinds of services, a fitness center allows each of its participants to exercise comfortably in the morning before work or during lunchtime.

Snack bars, smoothies, and protein shakes are other exercise centers intended to make it easy for members to visit the facility and to provide a smooth, regular workout. Many people, particularly those who practice in the morning and at lunchtime, appreciate the possibility of practicing while enjoying a tasty snack and a healthy drink.

Comfort Services

The majority of large fitness centers provide additional comforts. For example, a fitness center’s “wet” area can be calming. After work, most participants head to their workout center to chill in the steam room and jacuzzi.

Many fitness centers often provide amenities for people who benefit from a soothing holistic massage following stressful training. Therapeutic massages are useful for relaxing muscles, flushing muscle tissue contaminants, and calming the mind after a busy day. Finally, there are several fitness rooms in the Gym where members can chat and socialize with other members and have sofas and televisions.

The facilities mentioned in this article are just a handful of the amenities provided to its members by major fitness centers. While most members usually do not use all the facilities provided by their fitness centers, it contributes to selecting the appealing facilities to you individually.

Additional Amenities

In addition to what is already provided for your clientele, some extra amenities are truly worth the investment. This can be as common as upgrading gym equipment and machines or as unique as setting up massage chairs (this is often seen at Planet Fitness franchises). 

While you do not need all the facilities available in your Gym, these added facilities can draw several customers. And make it easy for you to attend your fitness center anytime. Here everything you need to obtain a healthy and fit mind-body is available.

You will find a list of equipment for a gym when determining a fitness center. If you are also part of a fitness center, look at all the facilities, making overall wellness, fitness, and emotional well-being a broader approach possible.


You may also consider special programming, such as classes like Zumba and pilates, including a kids club and making personal training available to anyone. These services are all great ways to meet clients’ expectations and go above and beyond to satisfy their wants and needs.

Since some members may not be comfortable in a gym setting yet due to Covid, having some video training programs and classes can empower your members to stick to their goals from home. You might need some extra equipment to ensure your videos look professional and are clear and easy to watch.

Writing a Business Plan

While your franchisor will help shape your business plan, it helps to write down your goals and steps tangibly to have a reference point when it’s time to make big decisions. This can be especially helpful when you have to plan for what sort of equipment and classes, you plan to offer at your gym franchise, and when it’s time to start attracting customers. 

The key points you should include in your business plan are:

  • An in-depth market analysis of competition in your area
  • How your franchise will stand out from the crowd and meet a need in your community that is not being filled by the competition
  • Expected costs at each stage of the process (You can use this article as a reference early on, but eventually, you will need the concrete numbers from your franchisor and your further specific research.)
  • How many people you plan to hire for your Gym
  • What your role in the franchise will be (Will you be an owner as well as a personal trainer? If so, you may need additional certifications depending on your franchisor.)
  • Financial projections defining when you expect to turn a profit

One of the biggest benefits of opening a gym franchise rather than starting up your own business from scratch is that you can fill in the information you need for your business plan with your franchisor. 

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Choosing a Location for Your Gym Franchise

Location can make or break your franchise. The success of your franchise depends if the chosen location is accessible, affordable, and has a steady market and good reputation. To give your franchise the best chance for success, remember the old real estate saying: “Location, location, location.”

Make sure you set up your Gym in an easily accessible location and conveniently located for your customer base. Most people want to go to a gym that is close to their homes or their work. Figuring out where to position yourself to achieve that for your customers will require some research about your area. 

As a franchisee, you must guarantee that your business position is sustainable so that your franchise hits the pinnacle of success. Any things to remember when selecting your franchise venue.

  • Set your price

Many aspiring business owners fail to consider this factor. This does not pertain to how much your services will be, but the price range you want to spend on the place.

First and foremost, you need to identify how much is your budget in putting up your gym franchise. Do you have money to buy an empty lot? Will you be leasing a place and renovate it to fit your new gym? This will assist you in narrowing down your location choices.

  • Study multiple locations

Have you done your homework before finalizing your location? Thorough research is vital before actually starting up the company somewhere. Figuring the target consumers’ desires, demands, and position is key to finalizing the position. The place should be possible for your clients, not just you. What’s the point of creating a shop far from your customers’ location?

One thing to consider is the accessibility of your gym franchise to maximize its operation. This goes hand-in-hand with the demographics of the people you are targeting. Will the customers be driving cars ? If yes, then your location should be wide enough to have parking spaces. Will you put up your gym franchise in the busy part of the town where people will be walking or passing by riding their bicycles? These questions will guide in choosing the size of the place you want to lease or buy for your gym franchise.

It is important to study in-depth into various locations that serve your customers. It will help you get the demographics and economic aspects of the places you’re interested in. Moreover, research if there are gyms closed down in the last few years and what are the reasons. Is it due to a lack of interest? This information will help you shortlist your preferred locations and address and tailor-fit your gym franchise better to the community’s interests.

  • Study on competition

Studying competitors is critical once you finalize your location. Check around the other domain stores in that area, how many other stores there are, what they’re selling to consumers, and how you’re going to be different from them.

This is not new to anyone who wants to start a business but it can be overlooked. Check not only gyms, but include fitness boot camps, yoga centers, and dance studios as they also pose as competition for your gym franchise.

It will also not hurt to talk with customers in the neighborhood. The survey which gym do they go to? Why did they choose that? What can be improved in their current go-to fitness centers? What is their ideal gym experience? Not only will these provide you with information to refine the services but also gauge how intense the competition is.

A clutter-free location with minimal stores from your property is the preferred location to open up a company.

  • Permit

Every business needs a permit to operate. Therefore, it is important to know what are the necessary documents needed for opening a gym franchise. You may need a licensing permit to build or renovate a place. Health and safety permit once you are ready to open your franchise. Knowing these things will help you comply with the regulations in the chosen location and for future business expansions.

  • Future of the preferred location

Once you set up your company in a region, you envisage expanding business in the coming years. Future facets of your location become relevant as it will also influence the future of your company.

Contacting the city council aims to provide input into future plans, zoning, taxes, and other future activities that may impact the company in the immediate future.

  • Build customer profile

Getting to know your customers is an essential tool in choosing your franchise’s best location. Are you targeting the more health-conscious young people? Middle-aged parents with children? Older and retired people looking to integrate physical fitness into their routine?

Besides age, it is critical to determine the income of the neighborhood. Is it an affluent neighborhood that can pay for higher services? Is it a less-wealthy community that needs a more budget-friendly gym membership?
Building a customer profile will dictate where you want your gym to be situated and the services you want to offer.

  • Near other companies and utilities

Next, see how companies and facilities nearby would help your company. This will happen in two ways, either you may be their customers or your future customers. For example, opening it near a school would be profitable for your company as students are your prospective buyers.

Secondly, other buildings should be near the business to support the staff and clients. Having a food lounge or healthcare centers nearby, for example, is helpful. If your business position suits the above criteria, your location is very viable for a rewarding market.

Look at the demographics for your area, and research what other types of businesses surround each potential location on your list. If there is a potential location in a shopping center, that can be helpful as they tend to be near residential or commercial areas and promote more foot traffic and spending.

Who Should You Hire for Your Gym Franchise?

 Naturally, you would want to hire adaptable, versatile, and customer-oriented employees so that people will patronize your gym more. It’s also highly recommended to maintain a certain level of branding even when it comes to your staff because it allows the gym franchise to become more known and people can actually unconsciously promote it through word of mouth and stories about having good experiences.

In completing your dynamic set of gym employees, it’s important that you have all the people you need for all the needed functions of running the franchise. Gyms aren’t just all about gym instructors, you know! You will also need people who will create marketing content, balance your expenses and cash flows, maintain the overall day to day routines, people who are ready to fix any malfunctions in the gym equipment, people to accommodate customers, and many more!

Specifically, you have to ensure to have the following people: salespersons, operations manager, fitness instructors, certified personal trainers, marketing and promotions team, finance team, maintenance staff, technicians or engineers, front desk clerks, and optionally, security personnel! Why so many you say?

Before hiring anyone, also make sure to check out their background, education, work experience, and even training! Especially for businesses such as gyms, a lot of clients rely heavily on what their instructors say. It will be detrimental to your brand’s image if someone finds out that your instructions aren’t actually trained or do not have any fitness related background. Even though there are training courses and seminars that are open to absolutely anyone who wants to be a trainer, having people who actually have human kinetics or nutrition as an undergraduate degree or something related could help boost your clients’ trust towards your gym and its employees.

Qualities of  gym franchise employees

  • In-depth human body knowledge and how the way of living can impact the health

One of the most important attributes of a fitness instructor is a comprehensive understanding of the human body. Based on the sort of franchise unit you operate, customers are likely to question staff on how to improve their wellbeing. These could range from diet and sleeping concerns to specific exercises or body injuries.

Being able to give reliable feedback and constructive recommendations can improve the reputation and professionalism of the franchise unit in consumers’ eyes, contributing to improved long-term sales revenue. A confident attitude will also affect how the customer perceives the brand. They are much more inclined to respect the staff member and advise if the tuition is offered confidently.

  • Passion for fitness and industry trends

A fitness-loving employee is likely to be a great long-term tutor to the clients. Their excitement would make them as professional as possible and have fun making customer service more enjoyable. Look for candidates who want to keep up-to-date on business trends and pursue the new crazies. Those who listen to fitness-related podcasts and attend industry exhibitions, networking events, and webinars will give your franchise unit an edge over others.

They should also be motivated to maintain personal fitness and help others improve their health. Ideally, they should be interested in customer goals and willing to celebrate when they reach their goals. This should mean staff will empathize with their problems and make sure they are respected.

  • Great communication skills

In most cases, fitness franchise employees talk to customers regularly. Their role may entail explaining complex procedures effectively and making sure their orders are understood. Concise and straightforward explanations are key. For example, visitors to a gym franchise risk injuring themselves if their personal trainer hasn’t told them exactly how to do a particular exercise.

Even getting the hang of a new exercise will take time for a client, but persistence is also a virtue when working in a fitness franchise. And workers shouldn’t avoid being truthful during the learning process either, as it’s crucial that they can correct any errors early on.

  • Listening ability

While the employee will become a health specialist and spend their working days helping clients with common interests, they can realize that everybody is different. Strong brand representatives can still listen to particular consumer desires and goals and customize their service accordingly.

Still, the journey to good health can be difficult, so it is important workers can work with sensitivity and sympathy, if not empathy. This will help build a personal relationship with the client, who will be more likely to continue using the franchise services if they feel respected and spoken to personally.

  • Safe practice recognition

Each body is different. Employees are the experts; consumers may find it tougher to perform those exercises, and others may not be able to do them. Anyone you hire should be able to appreciate their customer’s body boundaries and know when to avoid moving ahead if necessary. This is crucial to ensuring everybody exercises safely.

  • Physical appearance knowledgeable

Whatever we feel about judging appearances, customers are more likely to trust a franchise if their employees look fit and healthy. It would probably gain much more prestige by recruiting smart-looking team members with good personal grooming, particularly if they will be personal trainers. Customers will look up to their mentor as a role model, so they should be someone they can identify with and aspire to resemble.

Remember the values you identified as you chose the right brand for your gym franchise? Make sure your employees also mirror those values. If inclusivity is paramount to you, it should be equally as important to your employees. If there are specific methods you believe to be most effective, your employees should be people who will embrace them. 


The Importance of Specialized Trainers

Hiring the right employees – specifically the right personal trainers – can be tricky, as there are several styles of motivation that people respond to. A training program that is appropriate for a particular person may not be helpful to another person, so a lot of factors should be regarded. For instance, the fitness environment suitable for people with special needs has differences compared to the usual gym setups.

Although it is sad to admit, most fitness gyms are not accessible to people with physical or mental disabilities as well as to those with chronic health complications. The case is that these gyms might not have the equipment that they can use or there are no certified trainers who can guide their routines. Either way, these pose a problem of accessibility to people with special needs.

According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, 57% of adults with mobility difficulties get little to no aerobic physical activity. This significantly large figure is partly due to the fact that there are not enough facilities available for people with physical constraints. That is why it is essential for gyms to have equipment and personnel that can accommodate everyone, regardless of age, gender, or physical abilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives us a guideline of what amenities and features an inclusive gym should have. This law emphasizes the importance of continuous and unobstructed routes, retrofitted lockers and benches, ramps, and elevators. As for exercise equipment, the ADA encourages gyms to setup diverse machines so that they could be more available for everyone. Doing so would provide an opportunity for people with physical and health constraints to be involved in an active lifestyle.

A well-equipped specialized trainer can offer the following advantages:

  • Safety Inside the Gym. People with hypertension and heart conditions are prone to fatigue if they overexert themselves during exercise. Moreover, some gym equipment may not be appropriate for those with mobility issues. Hence, they should be working out under the supervision of a specialized trainer. This keeps them safer and helps them avoid exercise-related injuries.
  • Goal-Oriented Approach. Need to lose weight so you can break free from obesity? Want to strengthen your legs that have just healed from an injury? A certified specialized fitness expert can help you achieve those goals. He or she will create a program that is designed to help you arrive at your targets while also acknowledging the constraints.
  • Motivation and Consistency. It is widely established that exercise makes people happier, and this is the reason why it is recommended for those who depressive syndromes and other similar mental conditions. A trainer can provide the motivation and consistency that people need to keep on pushing forward. And although they are no substitute for an actual therapist, they can ease the psychological burden of other people by redirecting their energies to exercise.

Partnerships with Special Strong certified trainers make for a great addition to many franchises because they know how to work with adults and children who have autism, Down Syndrome, and other special needs and adapt exercises, especially for them, while appropriately motivating and encouraging them. A partnership with Special Strong provides inclusivity and adds a unique edge to your franchise, making it all the more valuable.

Which is the Best 24/7 Gym Franchise to Buy Right Now?

Many Americans have busy lifestyles mainly because of their fluctuating work schedules, and the effect of traffic. On top of it all, statistics show that the number of obese and overweight Americans has increased over recent years. So, how will an average American be able to stick with a busy schedule and still be able to exercise, within a single day? The answer is simple: 24/7 gyms. 

These gyms contribute to the fitness industry’s growth since they have high earning potential and low operating costs You no longer have to hire many employees to watch over your gym facilities day and night. Members of a 24/7 gym have access keys that let them unlock the gym’s doors whenever they want to exercise. There are also surveillance cameras and first aid kits available for use.   

Choose the best 24/7 gym franchise for you

If you want to be part of the success that the gym industry is enjoying right now, then you should start owning your own 24/7 gym franchise! However, the most important thing is choosing a gym franchise that would assure profitability and would make you feel confident about expanding your own business. 

So if you want to have your own successful 24/7 gym franchise, then make sure to get the best. These are the top 24/7 gym franchises that can help you succeed in this industry: 

Planet Fitness

What’s good about franchising Planet Fitness is that they have a jaw-dropping number of members that is estimated to be over 15 million! Aside from that, they also have more than 2000 locations open across all fifty states! 

To franchise Planet Fitness, here are the financial requirements that you must have:

  • An initial investment of $968,100 to $4,113,000. You can break this down into the initial investment fee and other startup expenses such as real estate, supplies, equipment, business licenses, and working capital.
  • Net-worth requirement of $3,000,000
  • Liquid cash requirement of $1,500,00

EnVie Fitness

If you are advocating for women empowerment and want to give all women 24-hour access to the gym, then you must franchise EnVie Fitness! For eight years, EnVie Fitness has had a growing network because of its low investment costs! Your initial investment must only be $84,600 to $292,900!

Snap Fitness 

Snap Fitness is adding fifteen to twenty new members per month per location. So if you want to have a secured stream of new memberships, then Snap Fitness should be your choice of what is the best gym franchise to own in the US. Their franchises are spread all over the world, which means that this franchise network has already attained global brand awareness. 

If you want to purchase Snap fitness, then you must make sure that you have the following financial requirements:

  • Estimated initial investment of $153,980 to $529,899
  • Annual projected cash flow of $110,333
  • $125,000 worth of liquid assets
  • A net worth of $250,000
  • Combined household income of $75,000

Runner-ups: What is the Best Franchise to Buy

The Bar Method

The Bar Method provides a safe space especially for people who have disabilities and injuries. Their workout routines were created under the guidance of physical therapists. Thus, making it safe for every one of their clients.

Being in the business since 2001, The Bar Method just started franchising in 2008 and they have now 107 franchise units in the world. The initial investment fee for this ranges from $303,000 to $499,850 with a 6% royalty fee and 2% ad fee for an initial agreement length of 10 years.

Burn Boot Camp

Burn Boot Camp just started franchising in 2015. However, they already have 200 franchise units across the United States. An initial investment fee is required ranging from $148,830 to $353,150 with a 6% royalty fee and 2% ad fee for an initial agreement length of 5 years.

Their targets are moms and like-minded women creating workout programs focused on the proper training mindset, whole food nutrition, burst training, and strength training.

F45 Training

Just like Burn Boot Camp, F45 Training just started franchising in 2015. But they are already in business since 2010. They have one of the lowest investment fees with a range of $100,000 to $300,000 with a 7% royalty fee and 2% ad fee for an initial agreement length of 5 years.

The “F” in their name stands for functional as their workout programs are focused on everyday functional movement. You can find multiple TVs in every F45 Training studio where individual performance metrics from personal heart rate monitors, including heart rate, calories burned, and percent of maximum effort extended are shown.


CycleBar is an indoor cycling franchise. They already have 200 franchise locations having only started franchising in 2015. Those who want to franchise need to attend a three-day training course at their corporate headquarters in California. They have a 7% royalty fee and a 2% ad fee for an initial agreement length of 10 years.

They provide various classes such as:

  • Classic which includes strength and endurance training;
  • Performance which includes extra motivation with CycleStats creating a class competition; and
  • Connect which includes monitoring your stats even when you’re not in the studio. 

Snap Fitness

Snap Fitness has been in the business for quite some time now since 2004. Their investment fee is also one of the lowest ranging from $153,980 to $529,899 depending on the location and size. They have a 6% royalty fee and up to 6% ad fee for an initial agreement length of 10 years.

Snap Fitness is a traditional gym that offers traditional weight and machines to their customers with 24/7 access. They also offer one-on-one or group training and provide a heart monitor for its members.

There are various gym franchises that you can buy now but be sure that they offer the best deals for you. The abovementioned are one of the top-performing gym franchises so you can consider them in choosing what is the best gym franchise to own in the US.

Starting a Special Strong Franchise

 A Special Strong franchise can be less expensive than many other gyms, because you do not necessarily have to buy a gym location or as much equipment. Average startup costs for gym franchises range from $250,000 to $500,000, while Special Strong startup costs range from just $25,000 to $50,000. 


There are a few key requirements to start a Special Strong franchise, including:

  • Financial Requirements 

There is an initial first-year investment, royalty and advertising fees, and a 620 or higher credit score.

  • Educational Requirements

Managing a Special Strong requires a high school diploma or equivalent and relevant experience. Training clients require personal trainers to be NCAA accredited and have relevant experience and education. This ensures that clients with special needs will receive the highest quality training and prevents the likelihood of accidents or injuries.

  • Proof of Insurance

All franchisees are required to attain and submit proof of insurance, including Special Strong.


Special Strong trainers can operate the franchise model within smaller or privately-owned gyms in exchange for rental agreements. You can learn more about the Special Strong certification here.


Investing in your business and clients begins on day one and never ends. Make sure you are providing your team and your members with care, respect, and motivation, and it is sure to leave a reflection on the success of your gym franchise.

What to Know About Special Strong

If you are considering opening a Special Strong franchise location, it’s important to know everything that makes our organization unique. 

Our founder was diagnosed with a learning disability, a mood disorder, and autoimmune disease by age 21. As a result, he felt called to help others who have mental or physical challenges. 

We believe that fitness should be available to everyone – and that people with disabilities should not be excluded from the fulfillment that comes from wellness and physical activity.

The Adaptive Fitness Movement

If “adaptive fitness” is new terminology to you, you might be wondering how much need there is for fitness courses and personal training for such a specific portion of the population. Here are some statistics that might surprise you:

  • The prevalence of autism has increased from 1 in 50 to 1 in 59 in the United States from 2000 to 2014 alone. 
  • More than 35 million people are living with an autism spectrum disorder.
  • More than 400,000 people are living with down syndrome.
  • Nearly 20% of all Americans have a physical, sensory, or intellectual disability.

Alternative healthcare and adaptive fitness are exploding throughout the country as individuals and families are looking for more inclusivity. By providing this unique service, you will meet a real need in your community. That is beneficial from a business standpoint and life-changing for your clients. 

As an advocate for adaptive fitness and differently-abled clients, your work is fulfilling because you make a real-world impact every day.

The Unique Benefits of a Special Strong Gym Franchise

If you are considering the right gym franchise partner for you, there are a few things to know about Special Strong in addition to our adaptive fitness focus that make us unique.

Start with a Low-Cost Investment

We are one of the lowest cost of fitness franchises on the market. Why? We do not require our franchisees to own a brick and mortar gym. We believe our training techniques and technology can be utilized in any existing gym setting. This means faster financial growth for our franchisees and better fitness inclusivity for the disabled community.

Keep 90% of Your Earnings

The company don’t limit your earning potential at Special Strong. We appreciate how hard our franchisees work to do what they love, so we encourage them to make a profit doing so! We are one of the highest-earning gym franchise opportunities available in the fitness industry.

Utilize Our Turnkey Blueprint

We want to make the start-up process as simple and efficient as possible for our franchisees. We have streamlined a turnkey business model that provides you with a proprietary technology set and sets you up for lasting success.

Lean on Our Full Training and Support

Our franchisees always have access to Special Strong University and our live support team. We offer online training and weekly coaching to ensure you are armed with the information you need to be successful. You can rely on us as your business and adaptive fitness mentor.

Our Core Values

We use the acronym STRONG for our core values.

S – Stewardship: We are careful stewards of our resources and relationships.

We give extra care and attention to our clients and team, and we keep safety as our number one priority at all times. The company commit to using our time, treasure, and talents to do good. We commit to personal growth to continuously improve on our gifts and strengths.

T – Transparency: We are real people who are real with people.

We demonstrate honesty and openness when we make decisions and deliver information. The company always conduct and display our services with complete transparency. We make a point to confront issues and problems that arise to grow to the next level.

R – Relationship Focused: We focus on relationships first and profits second.

We fuel all of our actions by remembering why we do what we do. We look for the best in others. The company believe that relationships matter more than anything.

O – Ownership: We own our unique roles and take 100% responsibility. 

We take the initiative to act on opportunities and do more than what is required of us. The company commit to personal growth and continuous improvement. We are always open to honest feedback from clients and teammates.

N – No Judgement: We seek to relate and understand another person’s walk of life.

We are careful to practice sensitivity towards the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of others. The company accept others where they are without judgment – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We respect and value all individuals for their diverse backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, styles, and ideas.

G – Generosity: We are blessed to be a blessing to others.

We create opportunities to be generous with our time, treasure, and talents. The company are intentional with our words and are eager to offer encouragement and gratitude to make others feel valued and appreciated. We serve the community and non-profit organizations with our resources.

Special Strong Franchise FAQs

Do you believe a Special Strong franchise could be the right fit for you based on our values? Does the idea of impacting lives through our adaptive fitness model excite you? If you answered YES, you probably still have specific questions about what it takes to start a Special Strong franchise. Here are some common FAQs.

How much does it cost to start a gym franchise?

As we’ve discussed in detail in this article, several key costs are taken into account. Starting a Special Strong franchise initially costs between $25,000 and $50,000. You should also budget for things like insurance, marketing, training fees, and amenities like WiFi. 

Is financing available?

Yes, we offer financing from a third party. Personal loans or lines of credit are both options for financing.

What equipment do I need to train clients?

That depends on which level of franchise you want to open. Our Level 1 concept does not require you to own your Gym or buy special equipment. For our Level 2 concept, you will need to include specialized equipment for individuals with a disability, diseases, or disorders.

Some examples of adaptive fitness equipment include:

These upper body exercise machines can be used with a seat or wheelchair, making them extremely versatile for all sorts of clients. They have an adjustable head tilt that can accommodate all ranges of motion. 

Some clients may have trouble maintaining their grip on work out equipment. These gloves will hold their hands firmly in a gripping shape, so they can hold more tightly to weights and other gym equipment.

Cuff weights can be used on wrists and ankles safely as an exercise tool for clients with limited mobility of any kind.

Vitaglide offers clients enhanced mobility and allows them to work on conditioning, cardio, and strength. It is designed for natural and fluid motion that won’t put unwanted stress on your shoulders.

This is another piece of equipment that offers smooth gliding. The Total Gym can be easy on joints and can be adjusted to different heights to accommodate different fitness levels. Its glideboard is padded to provide plenty of back support. It allows for a wide variety of different types of exercises. 

Wheelchair rollers like the Invictus Active Trainer allow clients to work out either their arms or legs depending on their mobility. They can be used for improved fitness and balance, whether a client wants to lose weight or simply perfect their pushing technique.

Resistance bands are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment for able-bodied or disabled clients. You can use different color-coded combinations to create the perfect amount of resistance for any client.

For wheelchair users, having strong arms and shoulders can be enormously helpful to improving quality of life. A rickshaw exerciser is another tool that allows clients in wheelchairs to strengthen arm and shoulder muscles safely and effectively. 

While most gyms have a main front desk where new members can fill out paperwork, sign up for classes, and speak to trainers that won’t meet your clients’ needs who use a wheelchair. Make sure you have tables that can be adjusted to the height of any chair so that you can accommodate clients with disabilities before and during fitness training. 

What are all of the different services special strong gyms offer?

Special Strong offers both personal training and group classes for differently-abled clients.

Who are some of the most common Special Strong customers?

We welcome clients with any level of fitness ability to our gyms. Some of the most common conditions we help with include:

  • Autism (ASD)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
  • Veterans with Disabilities
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Paraplegia
  • Parkinsons
  • Quadriplegia
  • Spina Bifida

If I don’t own a gym, where can I train clients?

If you are a Level 1 franchisee and you do not own your own Gym, there are endless possibilities for where you can train clients. One popular solution is to create a partnership with an independently-owned local gym. You can provide specialized training based on our templates in their facility in exchange for partial rent payments. Just keep in mind that you can’t rent space from a gym that another franchise owner is renting.

What kind of support will I receive as a Special Strong franchisee?

We provide all of our franchisees with full access to our Special Strong University and an expert support team who will provide weekly coaching and answer any questions. We also offer networking with other successful franchise owners, tech support, business and strategy planning, local market development, virtual meetings, and more.

Do I have to be a personal trainer to own a Special Strong franchise?

If you are training clients yourself, you must be a current NCCA accredited personal trainer. We require this to ensure the safety of our clients and the professionalism of our brand. If you are not an NCCA accredited personal trainer, reach out to us. We can help you earn your license through one of our approved partners.

Will I be assigned a specific territory?

Yes. Each franchisee has its protected territory based on a mileage radius and the total population.

Why should I join the special strong team?

Many people choose to become Special Strong franchise owners because it is so affordable and doesn’t require you to own a gym. But what should ultimately be your deciding factor is your personal values. As we discussed earlier in this article, your priorities should align with the franchise you choose. At Special Strong, inclusivity is our number one priority. As one of our team members, you will have a rewarding career where you can make a difference every single day. 

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.