Stepz Fitness’ star-studded start to 2020

By Nick Hall | 17 Feb 2020 View comments

It’s only two months into 2020, but Aussie health chain Stepz Fitness is already making good its promise to deliver results.

Late last year, the brand unveiled a hybrid format concept that saw Stepz integrate group training alongside its existing 24hr model. While the concept sparked a wave of new interest at the time, a recent announcement proves the model more than lives up to the hype.

Franchisor Sam Waller revealed the recently opened Dapto studio in New South Wales has registered nearly 250 members, over 50 per cent of which had signed up for the premium group training membership.

“We have known for a while that this model is what the fitness market needs; the rapid success of Dapto has reinforced that confidence in the model,” he said.

Stepz Dapto isn’t just a studio with high occupancy either. Waller revealed that the strong membership numbers have greatly exceeded initial financial expectations too, with new owner Daniel Hotchkis breaking even after just six weeks.

“In a traditional 24-hour model the break-even point is a lot higher. Since we have the premium group training membership option, we can reduce the number of members needed to break-even,” Waller said.

“Daniel has fully embraced the new brand and business model. Much to my surprise, he even got our new logo tattooed on his arm, now if that’s not commitment to the brand I don’t know what is.”

With the success of the latest Dapto studio steering the brand forward, Waller revealed that further growth is also on the cards for 2020, kicking off with a few high-profile recruits.

New Stepz recruits

The Stepz franchisor revealed that the latest franchisee to join the Stepz family is celebrity trainer Ivan Murray. The fitness icon has amassed an enviable resume in the health space, most recently helping former model and reality star Tziporah Malkah (previously Kate Fischer) shed more than 50kgs.

Murray and wife Julie have signed on as franchisees for the Stepz Fitness Benowa studio on the Gold Coast after downsizing their three gym operation in Nowra. Waller said the addition of the experienced fitness professionals was a huge boost to the network.

“Ivan and Julie fit into the Stepz family very well as their vision for the business and the way in which they operate are well aligned with Stepz Fitness values,” Waller said.

“In a franchise system it is rare to attract someone who already has owned many successful businesses in the same industry, so the Stepz network is very excited to welcome Ivan and Julie.”

In a dual consultant/franchisee role, the celebrity trainer is sharing industry-specific advice and insights that will soon be handed down to the rest of the Stepz network.

But entering into a franchise wasn’t always the goal for Ivan and Julie. Waller revealed that the pair were initially apprehensive to join the network due to their previous industry experience. However after viewing the hybrid model in action at Dapto, the Murrays quickly changed their tune.

“Ivan was hesitant about joining any franchise network as they currently had a wealth of knowledge in the fitness industry, not to mention they possessed a strong knowledge of running multiple successful gym operations,” Waller said.

“But after I met with them at Dapto, they quickly saw a great opportunity. Ivan and Julie are both very hands-on owners, which is the type of partner we look for, particularly with the new Stepz concept expansion.”

Future Stepz

With both Dapto and Benowa kick-starting a bumper 2020 for Stepz Fitness, the future is looking bright for the Aussie gym chain. Waller said the brand is currently working on refining the system to ensure existing gyms transition to the new branding and format with ease.

“The model we have now is something that we see as sustainable well into the future. That being said, in business we always need to stay dynamic and look ahead,” he said.

“Right now, we are focused on opening our new gyms in NSW as well as improving our support tools for our current group. We are helping our QLD sites transition with Stepz Parkinson being the first.”

The Stepz franchisor also revealed that the brand plans to enter new states over the next 12 months, with international development already in the works.

“Looking further ahead, we plan to enter new states and we will look at global expansion once we have met our goals in Australia. When we created this model for a long-term future,” he said.

“The success we have seen since the roll-out of our new concept is proof that the investment, research and development into the new brand has been worth it. Our customers, franchisees and staff all have this same belief. In our 10 years of operation, this year will be the biggest growth Stepz Fitness has experienced.”

Two new gyms are set to open in the next two months at Lismore and Castle Hill, with the chain eager to replicate the Dapto success.