3 keys to buying a gym franchise

By Nick Hall | 02 Jul 2019 View comments

Empires aren’t built overnight, and for Sydney couple Kathy and Trent Cummings, the journey started with buying a gym franchise.

In less than six years, the pair turned a single Plus Fitness studio into a four-strong multi-unit business.

While they admit it hasn’t been an easy ride, the franchisees believe their choice of franchise has been crucial to their success.

Selecting a franchise that aligns with your values and needs is critical to your operation, particularly in the early days.

Here, the Cummings reveal their three most important tips for ensuring your franchise business will be successful.

1. Brand awareness

For Kathy and Trent, buying a gym franchise was a decision that allowed former electrician Trent to fulfil his entrepreneurial ambitions.

As a fitness addict it made sense for him to choose the fitness sector. But he knew there was more to success in fitness than starting up his own business.

The highly competitive fitness market meant that while options were aplenty, breaking into the market could prove difficult.

“It comes down to brand awareness, a standalone gym is hard to get started,” Trent said.

“And we’re in metro Sydney where the market is quite saturated,” Kathy added.

The pair identified that by buying a gym franchise within a larger fitness chain, members could access more than one gym. It was a wise move.

Consumers, particularly in the fitness space are more time-poor than ever before. The result is an increasing demand for businesses that offer convenience as a key offering.

2. Support

Kathy revealed that while a number of fitness chains caught their attention, having the support of a readily available franchisor was instrumental in their decision to partner with Plus Fitness.

“They were willing to provide lots of information, they were very supportive,” she said.

The multi-unit owners suggested that all prospective franchisees perform extensive research into their potential business’ support structures, regardless of whether they are buying a gym franchise or a fast-food business.

“Having the support of head office, someone you can turn to, is great. You wouldn’t really have that if you were on your own. It would be much more daunting.”

More often than not, the mark of a quality franchise system is the support you receive not just from the franchisor, but from other members of the network.

“All along our head office has been very supportive, our field manager too,” she said.

“Everyone was very supportive. I think as we expanded and opened more locations, people were a little bit surprised that people so young would have multiple locations.”

Kathy revealed the pair turned to fellow franchisees for mentoring and advice in the early stages of operation. Nowadays, the two are so well-versed in their franchise operation that new franchisees come to them for franchisee training after buying a gym franchise of their own.

3. Passion

Above all else, Kathy and Trent believe passion should play a pivotal role in your franchise selection.

“I think if you’re going to start a business it needs to be something you are passionate about otherwise it becomes more of a job,” Kelly said. “You think of your business as your baby. You need a genuine interest.”

The Plus Fitness multi-unit franchisees revealed that the owning a gym isn’t a passive investment. Kathy said a passion for the industry made the long hours and new business stress a little easier to manage.

“If you put in the hard work and the hours, you’ll get results. When we started we were working 12 hours a day, Monday to Thursday, and half that over Friday to Saturday. We saw it as an investment, doing everything we could to be a success.”

Buying a gym franchise essentials

Buying any franchise is a big commitment, both financially and lifestyle-wise. If you are considering a franchise opportunity, whether it be in the fitness industry or otherwise, it is pivotal you do your due diligence.

Research the model, talk to the franchisor and the exisiting network and be sure to seek independent legal and accounting advice.