Opening a gym chain might seem like a good idea, especially since the health and fitness market is estimated to be worth approximately $169.7 billion in 2023. The fitness industry can be highly lucrative if you have the right growth strategies. However, you have to know what you’re doing to make money. One of the first things you need to decide is if you want to open a gym chain or start your own brand.
Here’s everything you need to know about owning a gym chain.
How Does a Gym Chain Work?
A gym chain is a fitness franchise that allows you to expand your business and brand by leasing an existing brand to franchise owners. When you think of gym chains, you immediately think about some of the larger gym chains in the US. Some of the best chain gyms and franchises are:
- Gold’s Gym
- Planet Fitness
- LA Fitness
- 24 Hour Fitness
- Anytime Fitness
However, you can still tap into the power of franchising with a small gym chain. You need to research small gym chains and examine their fee structure and product offerings. Each will have its branded programs and niche, so ensure they align with your vision.
When you apply to a gym chain, they may have requirements for potential owners, like net worth and available capital. Sometimes, you can also pay for exclusive rights to a gym chain for a locale, but this depends on each brand.
Brands will require that you pay royalty fees and an initial license fee. You will still need to do the legwork as if opening your own gym (e.g., finding a location, getting business permits and additional licenses, creating a business plan, etc.)
The Advantages of Starting a Gym Chain
Owning a gym chain might be one of the best ways to get started in the fitness industry because you already have these factors in your favor:
Branding is a powerful marketing asset that allows gym owners to take advantage of an existing market and target audience. People are already familiar with the brand because of existing knowledge and perhaps a current relationship. You don’t need to spend much of your marketing budget on developing trust or awareness.
Training and Support
Gym chains want to ensure that each gym maintains its brand standards and operates efficiently, so they will offer training and support. This will give you some guidance on how you are supposed to run the franchise, handle the sales, and how management should run the gym chain.
Working with a Proven Business Model
Gym chains also provide franchisees with a business model, programs, and a knowledge base to help them get started and grow. These are the products for your gym chain, and these include gym memberships and fitness classes. They may also enable you to purchase equipment at lower rates because of their relationship with manufacturers.
The Disadvantages of Starting a Gym Chain
Owning a gym from a chain still has some drawbacks to consider.
Lack of Control
When you own a gym chain, you buy into an established brand. This means you have to follow stricter brand guidelines, business models, and programs set by someone else. If you are an independent thinker and thrive on flexing your creative muscles, this may not be ideal.
High Initial Investments and Fees
You need to pay the initial license fee and ongoing fees to maintain the brand, marketing, and support. If you want to work with large gym chains like Gold’s Gym, you need a minimum net worth of $1 million, and their initial franchise fee is $40,000. Smaller gym chains like F45 Training require smaller investments but are still quite hefty.
Dependence on Gym Chain
Being dependent on the gym chain for marketing, training, equipment, or support can be detrimental if the gym chain doesn’t provide personalized assistance. Each gym has its own needs and concerns for its target market. Without truly custom support, you might have little practical guidance.
Your gym’s success also depends on the overall brand reputation and success of the gym chain. If the brand begins to perform poorly or if other gym owners for the same franchise run their gyms poorly, it will affect your gym.
Launch Your Gym for Exponential Growth
The overall growth and success of your gym business depends on the strategies and management of your assets. You need gym management software to give you a unified experience to use real-time insights to make data-driven decisions. GymDash is designed to provide you with this and growth-oriented training personalized for your business for free.