Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Open a Fitness Franchise
Today, more than ever, people are prioritizing their health and fitness goals.
On Instagram, you will find fitness coaches and athletes that are building massive followings by posting videos of their daily workouts and providing tips on how to live healthier lifestyles. These fitness influencers are, quite literally, becoming aspirational figures for consumers today and showcase the emphasis people are putting on improving their physical health. It seems almost daily there’s a new hot health regimen or workout craze taking the Internet by storm. And just think of all the different options you have if you’re thinking about joining a group fitness studio. From yoga, to indoor cycling, to CrossFit, consumers have a plethora of options available when it comes to exercise and can customize their routine to cater to their specific wants and needs.
With all this momentum, it’s no surprise the fitness industry is slated for continued growth with no signs of slowing down. Being in shape and healthy is much more than a token New Year’s Resolution nowadays. Consumers are prioritizing exercise and even incorporating fitness into their social lives. So iI you are passionate about fitness and looking to capitalize off of the growth of this industry, now would be a perfect time to open a fitness franchise.
Fitness Franchises Are Experiencing Rapid Growth
Although young millennials make up the majority of the fitness community, people of every age, gender, and athletic ability are joining in on the fitness frenzy due to the variety of options available to consumers today. No matter what your schedule or goals are, you can easily find an option that works for you. This, coupled with the health-conscious climate, has propelled the growth of the fitness franchise industry.
As stated in IBISWorld’s 2018 Gym & Fitness Franchises Report:
“Over the five years to 2018, the Gym and Fitness Franchises industry has benefited from public health initiatives that shed light on the importance of fitness in fighting diabetes, obesity and other health ailments. Partially a result of this health-conscious climate, the number of health club memberships has grown steadily during the period. This trend has benefited gym franchises, as greater demand from a larger gym-going demographic encouraged franchise expansion. Thus, many franchisors, in an effort to develop a larger client base and respond to the growing popularity of boutique gyms, have offered more franchise opportunities over the past five years.”
The numbers bear some fitness industry fruit as well. As of 2016, more than 57 million Americans belonged to health clubs. Currently, the fitness industry in the United States brings in roughly $31 billion annually. Around 4 billion of those dollars comes from a franchise, but franchise growth has actually outpaced the overall industry in recent years. The IBISWorld study suggests that the overall fitness market will grow at 1.5 percent between now and 2022, while franchise brands are projected to grow twice as fast.
This is because franchises are becoming stronger and investors and entrepreneurs are seeing the vast potential in fitness for turnkey opportunities. Another part of the reason for the fitness franchise growth is accessibility.
With the rise of e-commerce and the consequent decline of brick-and-mortar retail, more space is becoming available for fitness studios. Commercial vacancies have popped up all over the country, and it is becoming more common for a fitness franchise to snatch up the real estate and move in. Sites for fitness clubs of every kind are readily available, and more landlords are growing more receptive to allowing a fitness franchise to come in. Since gyms bring in constant foot traffic, as most members come in at least a few times a week, fitness studios and gyms are increasing profitability for neighboring businesses in strip malls and shopping plazas.
Gym Members Are Seeking Variety
So much has emerged over the past decade or so that has completely changed the way people workout. From wearable fitness trackers to mobile apps, there is an overwhelming amount of fitness and wellness-related information available today.
Likewise, the traditional “gym” has also evolved. Many fitness centers offer a wide variety of different classes with all the latest equipment. And niche gyms have popped up all over the country to offer people a more specified workout.
These options are actually a major driving factor in getting more and more people to get gym memberships. And not only are more people joining various fitness centers — but many people are becoming members of multiple gyms at once.
The desire to create a custom workout plan that suits gym-goers individual needs and preferences has created a new opportunity in the fitness sphere. People now, more than ever, like variety and want to mix up their workouts. This desire is motivating them to join multiple gyms and combine the different niche elements into a training plan that best suits the individual.
This means that instead of choosing between two group training studios, they are joining both. Spin on Tuesday and Thursday; pilates on Wednesday, and so on. Since boutique fitness centers customers aren’t necessarily loyal to just one group fitness business, these studios can tap into a larger number of consumers than industries that are mutually exclusive.
There also is further opportunity in the fact that while fitness is becoming more trendy, most Americans still are not active. This means that there is still a large swath of the population that franchise owners could entice to get off the couch and get moving.
Loyal Customer Base
The International Council of Shopping Centers listed three fitness franchises at the top of its list of the five fastest-growing franchise brands in the U.S. based on percentage increase in three-year unit growth for 2015–2017, the top three retail brands were all group fitness centers, with an indoor cycling studio taking the top spot. This speaks to not only the rise of indoor cycling, but also the variety of group fitness options available within the fitness franchise marketplace, as all three offer different types of fitness classes.
Cycling franchises, in particular, are seeing rapid growth and offer prospective franchise owners more potential for profitability. As with many niche workout options, once a location hooks its members, they typically become very loyal and keep coming back.
The number one element that keeps customers coming back is customer experience. When thinking through how to start a gym franchise, creating a strong culture and community is key. Top indoor cycling studios all offer the latest machines and technology, fun, top-notch instructors, but what will make your studio stand out is the sense of community among the members. Once a membership base is established, studios need to keep classes fresh, motivating, and fun, host occasional events, and continue to promote a positive and supportive atmosphere. how to start a gym franchise
While there will be an initial rush associated with a new location opening or a new member discount, there typically is not a massive downswing following. Membership levels tend to level off and as long as members are happy with the facilities, classes, team, and results, they tend to stay loyal to their chosen workout location(s).
Boutique Studios Require Lower Startup Costs
When it comes to starting a new franchise and creating revenue, another reason indoor cycling studios have an advantage over a full-size gym is the start-up costs.
Of course, startup costs are an important proposition when looking into starting a fitness franchise. For a full-size gym, you’re likely looking at around $500,000 to $2.5 million to get things up and running. It will take anywhere from six to 18 months to open your doors, depending on how much work is needed on your chosen facility.
However, boutique studios that cater to niche markets, such as cycling franchises, will have much lower startup costs. Rush Cycle, for example, has an affordable entry point of $350,000 to $400,000. Fewer costs up front mean you likely won’t need to take out as large of a loan and won’t have nearly as much overhead to make up right off the bat.
Boutique studios particularly are enjoying success thanks to devoted members. Another report from IHRSA said that traditional health club membership grew 5 percent between 2012 and 2015, while boutique studio membership grew 70 percent in the same time. It is also worth noting that this is in spite of the fact that boutique studios are typically much more expensive to join.
Franchise With Rush Cycle
Currently, there is tremendous opportunity within the fitness industry for those interested in becoming a fitness franchisee. Indoor cycling offers a particularly intriguing and profitable option, and Rush Cycle is among the fastest growing indoor cycling franchises in the country, with 20 locations across the nation and more than 30 locations in the works, Rush Cycle is positioned for major growth over the next several years as the fitness industry and the indoor cycling fad continue to grow.