Why fitness franchising is exploding, and how you can get involved

Why fitness franchising is exploding, and how you can get involved

With a health and wellness industry generating upward of $87.5bn worldwide, and an international obsession with looking and feeling good, the time is now to jump into the world of big fitness

Keep up to date with the latest Global Franchise News sent straight to your inbox. Sign up here.

Ever since the Greeks trained in gymnasiums to hone their skills for gladiatorial combat, our fascination with keeping fit has been on the up.

There are currently over 201,000 fitness clubs worldwide, with a combined total of more than 174 million members. In a landscape that has seen merchandise franchises fluctuate in popularity, businesses that can provide a service, such as gyms, have never lost their allure. Quite the contrary: their membership is on the up.

For franchisees, the prospect of owning a fitness centre is, unsurprisingly, appealing.

In the U.S., goliath brands like Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, and Crunch Fitness dominate the choices available to individuals looking to better their health and wellness. These centres align with what a general gym-goer might associate with a health club: resistance machines, weight machines, and a wide variety of ways to achieve the ideal look. But with initial investment costs climbing to $2M+, and only around 1 in 10 Planet Fitness locations being opened by a first-time franchisee, it can be a tough nut to crack.

Enter, boutique fitness providers
Offering a potentially easier inroad to fitness franchising, boutique gyms benefit from low start-up costs and a dedicated audience, who favor a focused fitness regime. The previous sedentary population has been hit with an inexorable wave of “wellness mania”, according to Chris Rondeau, CEO of Planet Fitness; a wave that franchisors and franchisees are capitalizing on as well as they can. This doesn’t just mean big returns, though, as more gyms lead to an overall uptake in healthy living – a win-win for all involved.

The popularity of boutique gyms was proven by a recent report from the IHRSA, that found while membership in traditional health clubs grew by 5 per cent between 2012-2015, members to boutique providers grew a sizeable 70 per cent in this same period – despite typical fees of $20-40 per visit. Gym-goers are customizing their fitness regime as much as they’d like, and for the right franchisee, this could spell huge success.

A worldwide phenomenon
Wellbeing obsession isn’t just limited to the U.S. In Australia, franchises like ZADI, which focuses on HIIT workouts, and 12RND, which offers a boutique boxing regime lasting 45 minutes, are thriving. Consumers need their workout to fit around a hectic schedule, but still want it to engage them and keep exercise interesting. With bespoke experiences maintaining variety, the world of fitness franchising has never been as exciting.

The U.K. is also a powerhouse for fitness progression, with hundreds of fitness providers – both large brands and niche boutiques – appealing to a growing desire for choice. In 2018, fitness titan Pure Gym became the first U.K. operator to reach 200 clubs, and one in every seven people is a member of some kind of fitness club. But David Minton, director of fitness data company LeisureDB, has made it clear that simply offering the same routine as the competition might not cut it: “they [fitness providers] must continue to provide more than just gyms; experiences are essential to hold a customer’s attention.”

Star status
Fitness franchising has also appeared on the radar of some notable Hollywood elites. Mark Wahlberg, known for his wide filmography including the likes of The Fighter and The Departed, recently bought a minority stake in F45 Training – the wildly successful boutique training programme to emerge from Sydney, Australia. The deal, roughly valued at $450M, will allow the 45-minute fitness regime to expand even faster than before. And that’s no small feat: F45 Training currently sells roughly 50 franchises a month, which the company hopes to increase to 70-80 per month by the end of 2019.

We haven’t yet touched on Asia, which boasts over 2.8 billion of the world’s population, and a vast market for boutique fitness franchises to sell to. Popular wellness figures like Manny Pacquiao mean that the Philippines is the ideal location for a boutique boxing franchise, whereas the ageing population of Japan makes it perfect for something with a more relaxed pace. Singapore is arguably saturated when it comes to the fitness business, whereas China and its 300 million middle-class consumers are a major target for bankable fitness franchises.

With Asia – and any foreign market – adapting a franchise to fit the local customs and expectations is a must. In our recent special on fitness franchises in South East Asia, Bill Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, advised, “probably the number one adaptation is a focus on social media marketing, especially Facebook.” He also warned, “Asian consumers like to try new and innovative concepts but also tend to move on to newer ones when they enter a country. Beware of being considered a fad.” Boutique fitness franchises might not work as successfully in Beijing as Budapest or vice versa, but the demand for their unique take on the fitness world is a proven gateway to franchisee success.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kieran McLoone is the deputy editor for Global Franchise magazine.

Keep up to date with the latest Global Franchise News sent straight to your inbox. Sign up here.

you may be interested in

franchise directory

  • TaxAssist Accountants

    Business & Professional Services, Financial Services, <100K, Featured

  • Cafe2U

    Food & Catering, Coffee, Take-away, <100K, Featured

  • 800 Pizza

    Food & Catering, Fastfood, Pizza, Take-away, Featured

view more
Connect with Linkedin Logo
Global White Logo Click Here
Close button

WHAT DO WE USE YOUR INFORMATION FOR?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To process transactions your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature To send periodic emails The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order. Note: If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.

HOW DO WE PROTECT YOUR INFORMATION?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.

DO WE USE COOKIES?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business.

DO WE DISCLOSE ANY INFORMATION TO OUTSIDE PARTIES?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

THIRD PARTY LINKS

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.

CHILDRENS ONLINE PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT COMPLIANCE

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

ONLINE PRIVACY POLICY ONLY

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Please also visit our Terms and Conditions section establishing the use, disclaimers, and limitations of liability governing the use of our website at globalfranchisemagazine.com/terms-conditions

YOUR CONSENT

By using our site, you consent to our online privacy policy.

CHANGES TO OUR PRIVACY POLICY

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page

CONTACTING US

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below. All correspondence relating to the Website should be sent to: Global Franchise 21/23 Phoenix Court Hawkins Road Colchester Essex CO2 8JY Email: subscriptions@aceville.co.uk