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  • Writer's pictureTim Parmeter

Is the Fitness Industry the Right Fit for You?

people in the fitness industry doing yoga

There is no one “best” industry in the world of franchising – instead, different industries are right for different people. Today, we are going to spotlight one of the many popular franchising industries: fitness. 

Is a franchise in the fitness industry the right fit for you? Finding the franchise that is your perfect match is an incredibly personalized and individualized process, and it is important to understand the ins and outs of each industry so you can feel confident that you have found the right fit. 

In this article, we will explore frequently asked questions and common considerations about the fitness industry. With boutique fitness studios booming across the nation, you might want to get into this industry – but is it the right fit for YOU to succeed?

Fitness Industry Basics

Let’s talk about fitness. This $35 billion industry continues to grow, and so have the many franchising options in this space. Before you consider purchasing a fitness franchise, you should understand some basic information that will impact whether you are a good candidate for this space. 

Location Requirements

In most cases, when we look at something in the fitness realm, we are going to look at a retail space. There are a couple of options that we work with that do not require this. But for the purposes of this article, consider retail space necessary for a fitness franchise. 

Are there some things out there that are big-box, massive facility gyms? Absolutely, there are. But, similar to the food industry, the trend is more specific, more niche offerings. So within franchising and fitness, you will see the same thing. You will see a lot of boutique fitness. 

Instead of a 20,000-square-foot facility where clients can come in and do everything on their own, a boutique location is around 2,000 to 2,500 square feet. It is going to be in a strip mall, most likely, but it is more niche. Think of the popular fitness classes today: yoga, spin, pilates, whatever it is. They are very niche-focused. 

Customer Relationships

Fitness is great because it has a membership model almost every single time. How many of us have signed up for something – some membership, some subscription – and kind of forgotten to cancel? 

Fitness is well within that subscription model realm. There are times as a fitness franchise owner when you almost do not care if somebody does not come… as long as they do not cancel their membership. 

Boutique fitness is much more community-focused, class-focused, and instructor-driven. You get much more of a community feel with your members and with your staff – sometimes you as the owner even become part of that community. 

What Is the Appeal of a Fitness Franchise?

So why would somebody own something like this? Well, one of the first things that drives people to even look at this is that they have some sort of passion for fitness. 

Whichever kind of modality it might be, or might be a variety of them, they have a commitment to fitness and health. But remember, in the world of franchising, “passion” can be a dangerous word. Just because you have a passion for something does not mean that is what you should own – but more often than not, that is what drives people to fitness. 

Ownership Models

Many times, owners in this space are semi-absentee, but you can jump in full-time. However, there are a few common pitfalls for full-time fitness franchise owners. 

For example, if you own a fitness studio, let’s say it’s a pilates studio, you really do not need to be the one – nor should you be the one – teaching the classes. Seriously. Even if you are a certified pilates instructor, and maybe you are even the best one out there. 

Ultimately, that is not the owner's job. Franchises do not want doers – they want owners. They want you to work on the business, not in the business. 

Are there times when owners are also fitness instructors? Yes, but typically that does not work out as well as when the owners focus on… well, being business owners. 

Labor and Staffing

In these boutique fitness studios, you are going to have a pretty skilled, passionate staff. For example, pilates is no joke. It takes about a year to become a certified instructor. Take something a little bit easier, a spin class or a rowing studio. Those types of things still require skilled labor. You are still training, but it is a little bit easier to get your people there. 

The basis of your business is these skilled, passionate individuals who are leading your classes. You then get a couple of people up at the front desk – that job is pretty unskilled, pretty simplistic. You just need smiling faces to welcome the members. Owners sometimes can take on those roles if they want to, but you really need somebody out in the community, creating that awareness of the business and building different partnerships. 

Fitness Industry Trends

An ideal fitness franchise owner will understand the importance of fitness. They want something that is niche and high quality. A big-box gym is fine, but that's on the level of McDonald’s. You are going to get into a whole different stratosphere, financially. 

And a big-box gym ends up being very impersonal. Again, the trend with food and fitness is moving away from that. Instead, we are heading to more of an intimate setting, a little bit more personalized, and that is what boutique fitness is. 

As a fitness franchise owner, there are a few key traits that will set you up for success:

  • You have a passion for fitness (or at least an appreciation of its importance).

  • You want to offer a high-quality product/service.

  • You build long-term relationships with customers, perhaps through a membership model.

  • You want to manage skilled, passionate employees.

If that sounds like you, then fitness just might be the right match. Of course, you are also going to need to consider the financial side of the equation. 

Fitness Industry Investment Ranges

Financially speaking, for retail space in a strip mall, think a minimum of $100,000 liquid. That is what you need to get any type of funding

And then for the total investment figure, we are looking at a range from $300,000 to $500,000. Sometimes it can trend a little bit higher than that. Location plays a big role: Manhattan, New York is going to be different than Manhattan, Kansas. Generally speaking, that is a good range for boutique fitness. 

The huge spaces, those 20,000-square-foot gyms, are going to be two-comma investments, so understand that and keep that in mind as you begin your search. 

If you are in line with all of that, if you are in the right place financially to make that happen, that is already one box checked off.  Then it comes down to the factors we mentioned before: having an appreciation for fitness and for helping people live better lives, managing skilled labor, and building relationships. If you like to do those things or have a history of excelling in those areas, fitness could be the right match. 

Keep in mind that many times this is a semi-absentee option, so you may be able to keep existing your job or other businesses and use this to expand your portfolio. You can build additional revenue streams. 

And then there is the growth and scaling factor. You can open just one fitness franchise, in most cases, but this is typically something that people will scale and have multiples of. 

Is Fitness the Right Industry for You?

If all of that sounds good and you are nodding up and down, then this really may be something for you. If you are not, then fitness may not be the right fit – and that is okay! Even if you are really passionate about fitness, you do not have to own a fitness franchise. 

There are numerous ways that you can kind of integrate that passion into what you do as a franchise owner. You can own a cleaning franchise, and you can use your business as a vehicle to fuel that passion for fitness. Maybe you sponsor a Little League team or have a company running club. You can get involved in fitness in the community. It is your business, and through your business you will be able to reach so many more people. 

In that sense, “passion” is a huge myth. People often say, “Oh, you have to have a business that you are passionate about” – but you really do not. Your business will give you the opportunity to pursue your passion in a way you could not do as an individual, no matter what industry you are working in. 

As you are learning more about the fitness industry, maybe you are thinking that a fitness franchise does sounds right up your alley. But even within this space, there are so many different options. How are you going to figure out which one is right for you? 

Well, that is where our team at FranCoach comes in. We will help you discover more about franchise ownership and help you find not only the right industry but also the right brand for YOU – whether that is in fitness or in a space you have never even thought of before.

Work With the FranCoach Team Today

If you are ready to learn more about franchise ownership, you are in the right place. Here at FranCoach, we work with our clients to help them find the absolute best franchise for them. 

Our number one goal is to properly educate you about franchise ownership. We want to help you determine if franchise ownership is the right path for you – and if so, we will guide and support you through the process of finding your perfect match. 

And the best part? Our services are 100% free, 100% of the time – seriously. Reach out to us today to learn more about becoming a franchise owner. You have read this far… so why not take the first step today toward your better tomorrow?

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