5 things you must know before buying a fitness franchise

By Tim West | 21 Nov 2019 View comments

Franchise systems are only as good as the execution – you can buy into a franchise with the best system, strongest brand and proven success and still fail. Why? Because the plan still needs to be executed well and with commitment, and, like all things in life, you get out what you put in.

Buying a fitness franchise is no different. There will always be an element of risk associated with any business venture, however, there are some key factors that are exclusive to the fitness industry.

If you are considering buying a fitness franchise, you must take these five elements into account.

1. Convenience is king

Before you start the process of buying a fitness franchise, you should look at the convenience of the offer from a member’s point of view.

We know that if a member attends more they get better results, if they get results they see value in your product, and if they see value they are more likely to stay a member.

Convenience is a major factor in attendance, so consider this from a member’s point of view when deciding on which fitness franchise to buy into.

2. Does the franchisor have a plan for getting and keeping members?

Is there a clear and concise strategy to:
1) Take market share from existing competitors and also simultaneously grow new markets;
2) Create enough value in the membership to retain members long term
Fitness is a competitive industry so unless you agree with, and buy into the answers provided you should keep looking.

3. Members want results

Spend time looking at the training methodology more than the novelty factor and assess whether members are going to get results or just be entertained.

At the end of the day, your value to members will be linked to the results that they get from attending so ensure that the training methodology is based on real science and not fads.

4. ROI (Return On Investment)

Look at the financial model and assess the following:
1) What is the capital required to set-up?
2) What is the break-even and how many members is that?
3) What is the average time it takes to reach breakeven?
4) What is the capacity and potential returns?

Once you have researched the above you should be able to model a worst case, best case and average scenario and prepare yourself for whatever situation may come. Understand these numbers to assess the ROI potential of your desired investment.

5. Can you practise what you preach?

When you invest into a fitness franchise, you’re also investing into a lifestyle dedicated to health and fitness.

If you want to be successful in fitness, you need to be able to lead by example. A service is only as good as the person providing it, and if you can’t deliver a fitness product with authenticity, your customers will struggle to see credibility in your service.

Be prepared to stay ahead of the industry trends through ongoing research, and learn to factor in your own training and nutrition the same way you will need to encourage your members to.

Tim West is the MD of sports-orientated, group-fitness franchise 12RND Fitness and has been involved in a number of successful fitness businesses, whether it be launching or investing into their growth and development.