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

What Is the Best Gym Franchise to Own in the US


In this day and age, a gym franchise is a great business to buy into. That’s because health and fitness goals have become universal among all generations, whether they are to workout three times a week, or to become healthier in general – and if you don’t believe us, ask anyone you know what their top three new year’s resolutions were, for almost any year.


You may be wondering how to get started with the process, thinking about things like “Which franchise is right for you and your goals for investment?” or “What is the best gym franchise to own in the US?” There are several things to factor into your final choice, but know that the final decision will always be yours to make after considering the facts.


What People Are Looking for in Gyms


The first thing to note is why people go to gyms. Some things are obvious when you consider what people like about their gyms, such as convenience and affordability. There are a few key trends to note about gym-going, aside from the typical amenities, such as:


Technology Development


With fitness trackers available on smartwatches or Fitbits, people are able to experience the gym in brand new ways. Make sure your exercise equipment is just as up-to-date!


Sense of Community


Having a great culture is not anything new, but it’s important to note that it will always be on-trend! Having a great social experience remains the biggest driving factor for people to join and regularly visit health clubs. You can provide your clients with a great social experience by making sure there are plenty of machines for partner workouts or including group classes, like Zumba.




There are lots of apps to choose from that will assist with coaching and motivation for workouts. On the other hand, offering one-on-one training in person can check off both boxes for social experience and fitness instruction.


Best Gym Franchises by the Numbers


If you’re strictly a numbers person, there are a fair number of statistics out there about gym franchises that you might want to consider. One, in particular, is Entrepreneur’s 2020 Franchise 500, which named two fitness franchises in the top 25 — Planet Fitness (#7) and Anytime Fitness (#22). 


Aside from where these two came in on the popular list, Entrepreneur has also ranked five of the best fitness franchises you can buy. These include the following companies – 


Anytime Fitness


Anytime Fitness truly knows how to please their customers and keep them coming in. It is one of the fastest-growing companies that has kept a steady pace in its business. In 2007, the company had 455 locations total. In 2018, they reported 2,398 US and 1,645 international franchise locations and 38 company-owned locations. The initial investment fee for your own Anytime Fitness location can run from ~$107,000 to ~$722,000 and the initial franchise fee itself runs from $21,000 to $43,000.


OrangeTheory Fitness


OrangeTheory is unique in that it specializes in specific personal fitness goals. Each participant is required to wear a heart monitor during class in order to see their health information right in front of them. Classes include rowing, free weights and more. To get started with an OrangeTheory franchise, the investment fee runs from about $564,000 to $999,000. The franchise fee is $59,950.


Planet Fitness


This is one of the most popular franchises for both clients and franchise owners. This is because of its front-facing culture (the trademarked judgment-free zone) and its return on investment. The company has stated that franchisees can expect a 25 percent (or greater) return on investment in its second year, which is after advertising and royalties.




Crunch’s fitness centers offer state of the art equipment, classes and personal training for regular members. Premium members also have access to an online fitness and nutrition program, as well as guest passes and tanning services. These amenities make it a popular gym, which is reflected by its numbers (29.9 percent growth in 2018). 


Initial investment starts at around $300,000 and can reach up to nearly $2,000,000. The initial franchise fee is $25,000.




Jazzercise was founded in 1969 and remains true to its original vision: combining dance, strength and resistance training into a full-body workout. There are many workout formats for class participants to choose from, and although it is not a traditional gym model, it is still one of the most popular franchises to own. The franchise fee is just $1,250, and the initial investment starts at $2,500. 


Your Personal Preferences


The trends, numbers and statistics can sway your vote one way or another, but it is important to remember why you have decided to become a gym franchise owner in the first place. What message or standards do you want to send (and continue to send) to your clients? What kinds of amenities are important to you? Will you include specialized personal trainers on your team? 


The best gym franchise to own in the US could be different for each franchisee, based on which company fits your priorities best for you as a franchise owner, as well as the clients that you aim to serve.


Include Special Strong as an Asset


Making your gym franchise the best one is ultimately up to you, and the passion behind you put into it. One way to add more to the value of your club is through personal trainers – specifically those that are Special Strong certified. Special Strong is a fitness program for children and adults with disabilities, such as autism and Down Syndrome, and is known to bring joy to those who participate in the exercises!


By incorporating Special Strong into your franchise, you are being inclusive to those who need specialized fitness training. You are also adding another driving factor to those looking for a new gym to become a member of. You can get more information about Special Strong here.

Special Strong provides adaptive fitness for children, adolescents, and adults with mental, physical and cognitive challenges. We also provide online adaptive fitness certification courses for trainers, service providers, and other professionals. Start your own Special Strong today with an affordable fitness franchise and create a lasting impact on your community.