Fitness Enhancement notches up 20 years in business

By Nick Hall | 04 Feb 2020 View comments

Award-winning health chain Fitness Enhancement is celebrating two decades in business this year, and for founder and CEO Scott Hunt, it’s been a labour of love.

The Gold Coast entrepreneur launched the personal training business as a fresh faced 19 year old, armed with merely a dream and few hundred dollars. Fast-forward 20 years and Fitness Enhancement now covers over 2000 suburbs, across six major cities nationwide.

But unlike gym chains that focus on bodybuilding, functional fitness or boutique offerings, Fitness Enhancement has taken a decidedly different approach, which Hunt believes is paying dividends.

“Our niche has always been in helping people that gyms don’t, so we’ve always had a lot of clients with disabilities,” he revealed.

“So, when the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) rolled out in Queensland, it was a natural progression to register in Queensland and other states we’re in.”

The Fitness Enhancement offering

While private studios are a key component of the model, Fitness Enhancement is primarily driven by its fleet of mobile trainers. The flexible operation allows franchisees and trainers to target the NDIS segment, tailoring services specific for a participant’s home or care facility.

“Being mobile also solves a lot of problems with regard to if the person with a disability struggles to travel,” Hunt explained.

“As for what we do in a session, we’re hired as PT’s, not exercise physiologists or disability support workers. So, any qualified PT who passes our internal training can come under our NDIS registration. What we do in a session and the disabilities we work with is extremely varied.”

The ability to cater to the traditionally under-serviced market has been invaluable to the Fitness Enhancement system. Not only do clients reap the physical rewards, but franchisees are able to operate with little competition; a rarity in the over-saturated fitness market.

“It’s provided franchisees with an entire extra revenue stream with very little competition to what we offer,” Hunt said.

“The work is also extremely personally rewarding for each franchisee as we can have a real impact on people lives.”

The niche majority

It’s certainly a transitional period for the fitness industry. Where growth in big box gyms is starting to slow, boutique offerings are taking up the mantle, however Hunt believes the Fitness Enhancement point of difference is as relevant as ever.

“Depending on the stats you read, only about 16 per cent of Australians have a gym membership and three quarters of them go less than once a week,” he said.

“The people who need exercise the most, such as people with a disability, seniors and obese people are the least likely to go to a gym simply because they don’t offer the service or environment that they need. This area of fitness is a largely untapped market, and it’s not a niche, it’s most of the population.”

Underpinning the entire franchise operation is the low-investment offer. Hunt revealed that a mobile Fitness Enhancement business can cost as little as $30,000.

“It can be a passive investment as we have a variety of options, but we do prefer a hands-on franchisee,” he said.

So, with its 20-year celebrations underway, what does the future look like for Fitness Enhancement?

“We’ve got big expansion plans,” Hunt revealed.

“The focus for the last five years of franchising hasn’t been on fast growth, it’s been on quality franchisees, happy clients and tried and proven systems. Now that we’ve really proved that we can grow as a franchise with this we’re ready to grow fast.”