Snap Fitness targets 25 new gyms for 2021 goal
Snap Fitness is powering into 2021 as it opens nine clubs over nine weeks from January through to March – and there are plenty more to come.
Chris Caldwell, CEO at Lift Brands Asia Pacific, Snap’s parent company, tells Inside Franchise Business “There’s a little bit of built up demand from last year. A lot of sites takes 12-24 months to come to fruition and some of these had slowed down in the middle of last year. Now it’s opening up, approvals are flowing through, all of a sudden we have a really strong start.”
Of the new gyms, five are owned by existing franchisees expanding their businesses, and four new franchisees are joining the network.
Snap Fitness targets 25 gyms
Chris highlights the move by some franchisees into multi-site operation; “multi-site operators are great for really showcasing the strength of the brand and the model, and how banks view our brand,” he says.
And it’s full steam ahead with the plan to have a network of 281 clubs by the end of first quarter.
“We have another 10 clubs in build out phase, that’s 19 confirmed for this year and we are aiming to get to 25 new clubs open in 2021,” Chris says.
Most of the gyms set to open are on the eastern seaboard, with another four marked out for New Zealand. Two Australian regions in particular are packed with potential, he says. Western Australia has some good central territories and the southern development corridor, New South Wales still has plenty of room to sustain more Snap Fitness venues.
“We’re at 60 per cent maturity, we don’t need to create a Snap Express, we’ve got plenty of room,” he points out.
Interest rises at franchisee and member level
Chris believes the flurry of activity and interest in health and wellbeing options, during and after Covid, will play to the chain’s strengths.
“The link between mental and physical health has never been more discussed than in mid-2020 in lockdown periods. It’s important to get out and exercise. That is something that’s driven a degree of interest at franchisee and member level and we are well positioned to capture that interest.
“The franchise industry has challenges from a funding perspective, so does the fitness industry. We seem to have a fairly healthy relationship based on the history of the business and franchisees.
“We don’t have any challenges finding franchisees, there are a lot of territories sold that aren’t open yet. The challenge is finding the right site, being patient. So we are working together with franchisees to find those sites.”
Snap Fitness operations are simple
Chris points to the ease of operations that come with a Snap franchise. “It’s an incredibly simple system to run, but offers better than average returns to an average franchise system.”
Like most gyms, Snap Fitness turned to online solutions during lockdown (parent company Lift Brands owns the US business Fitness on Demand) and it’s paid off for the Aussie chain.
“We are trading at almost exactly the same level as 12 months ago. We didn’t charge any franchise fees during lockdown, and extended this period to Victorian franchisees. The 1 February was effectively the first day we charged them royalties,” he says. “An independent or smaller chain doesn’t have the capacity to sustain that.”
Snap Fitness is fairly cost effective compared to boutique offers, and typical new members are already familiar with gym sessions and training techniques from other fitness venues.
“We would prefer to talk to people who have trained at other clubs, who understand the quality of equipment, the community, the trainers, the 24/7 access, and are confident what we’re offering is better. It’s a gym-users gym so we are encouraging other gym members to join us.
“We’re not cut price, we see ourselves as being at premium level. That’s important for potential franchisees, who are looking post-Covid for a quality offer, a business established for some time. We’re not aiming to be the fastest growing gym in the country. We want to be around for a long time.”