Starting a gym business is quite challenging. There are several considerations to make, several things to put in place, and several questions to answer. Aspects like financing, personnel, office space, etc. are usually at top of the consideration list when starting a gym business, and rightly so.

However, more often than not, gym startups fail to ask one other important question, “Should I be a part of a franchise or should I start my own brand?” Well, it goes without saying that both options have numerous advantages that make them attractive options. Conversely, they both have their drawbacks that will make you want to go through the next door. Anyways, this piece is not made to confuse you, or direct your mind toward one option or the other. Rather, we will explore both options and their inherent advantages. At the end of the day, you should be able to decide which format best suits your goals.

online franchise

Personal Brands vs Franchises

Regardless of how you choose to start, owning a gym requires lots of capital and lots of work in order to get the best out of it. Starting your own brand means that you own everything from the get-go. The gym speaks of you and all aspects of running the gym, including financing and building clientele, are dependent on you.

On the other hand, starting as part of a franchise offers you a soft landing. The extent of this soft landing is mostly dependent on the kind of deal you have with the franchise, but you would be able to rely on their brand identity, extensive clientele base, and years of experience in the business. Being part of a franchise may also mean that you get financial assistance from the franchise. With a franchise, however, there is more accountability involved. In a sense, you are not your own boss, and while you do own the business, in terms of owning the outlet and overseeing operations, you do not own the brand. Hence, you may not get all the flexibility you would have if you own your brand.

A major advantage with franchises is the clientele. When you start your brand, you are basically on your own. There is no backing and everything that happens, every progress that your gym will make is up to you. Your brand is new, and it is typically difficult for the new name on the block to see a lot of patronages – unless, you have solid relationships with the locals and are able to convert non-business relationships into business patronage.

Gym franchises typically see huge patronage and an influx of clients in new locations. Clients typically perceive franchises as stable and well-run, making them trust franchises more than personal brands. Hence, starting out as part of a franchise gives you access to this huge, trusting clientele, allowing you to build faster.

Marketing and Brand Development

You can benefit as a gym owner by investing in a well-known fitness brand. The recognized brand is well-known in the neighborhood. Customers will recognize your company’s operations and business practices connected to the relevant brand.

Customers that support a certain brand are frequently committed to it. You will therefore have the backing of a foundation of established, devoted clients. Market support, however, is extremely expensive when investing in a franchise.

On the other hand, individually owned gyms will need to build their name in the industry while frequently competing with respectable and well-known franchises. However, you must keep tabs on market demands, your rivals’ products, and customers’ requests and feedback.

Private-owned gyms have more marketing flexibility, which is a plus. Therefore, gaining exposure for your company name need not be expensive.

Operations

A network of support exists within the world of business franchises. Most of the time, the franchise brand will help you source for your gym location. They also help to equip your gym and train your team, but with a cost attached. Despite being the boss, you don’t have much control over how you run your company; your options for running your company are quite limited.

Contrarily, operators of privately held gyms typically answer only to themselves. You have a choice in your gym’s location. You can choose your trainers, support group, and distinctive gym equipment. It will almost certainly not cost you anything, only your creativity, energy, wit, and determination.

Business Risk

Starting your own gym business can be very risky. But starting as a franchisee of an established brand is considered less risky.

But even while investing in a well-known brand might be less risky, success is not assured. Whether you have a franchise or not, the success of your business depends on you, the gym’s owner, and your team. The essential characteristics of a passionate entrepreneur must drive a successful gym business. If you want your gym to be successful and profitable, you must be ready to take responsibility and take risks.

gym profits, expenses and ongoing costs

Startup Cost

Purchasing a franchise gym can cost much more money than establishing your own fitness company. Franchise gyms demand an up-front licensing fee, which will give you the franchise rights, but it could cost you thousands of dollars. You will also be obliged to pay a portion of your monthly revenue to the franchise group, license fees, and marketing expenses.

Starting your gym as a brand-new, independent business, you don’t have to pay any startup costs for marketing partnerships, revenue sharing, or licenses. You just need to work with your team and put in hard work, which will eventually pay off. Getting a franchise for a commercial gym can be expensive, as discussed. In addition to paying license, income, and marketing fees, you will also need to invest in a suitable-sized property and a lot of branded, specific equipment.

The common question posed by prospective gym operators is how much it would cost to open a gym. No one can give a definitive response, and there is no such thing as an easy or clear solution. This depends on the size and placement of the gym you intend to build. For independent gym owners, you have the opportunity to size your gym facility per your financial constraints. And you may begin modestly by purchasing top-notch gym equipment from your preferred source at wholesale rates.

The initial investment for a gym franchise, which includes the franchise name and license, ranges between $35,000 and $350,000. Considering that some brands cost more than others. While opening a gym may just require an initial investment of $20,000.

For independent gym owners, you will pay one-off costs for things like gym equipment, web design, uniforms, fitness certification, legal fees, insurance, property rental, staff training, signage, building modifications, and computer systems. You will also pay ongoing costs of rental or mortgage payments, insurance, staff salaries, utilities, maintenance, and ongoing advertising. These vary depending on the size of the gym you plan to start.

Business Specifications and Restrictions

Owning a franchise gym has many benefits, including members being familiar with your mission and knowing what to anticipate. People know that franchises in various areas provide the same services and equipment.

The kind of classes offered at commercial franchisee gyms is also known to their members. Unfortunately, because the brand sets them, you cannot bend or modify these as a franchise gym owner.

As an independent gym owner, you may, in contrast, build your facility however you like, provide your members with the advantages you see fit, and launch new courses and workout regimens every month. You have complete discretion over how you run your brand, with no restrictions.

Support and Assistance

As an independent gym owner, You will be in charge of marketing, staff training, facility administration, and business organization. The brand will help you set up and run your business as a franchisee.

If you invest in a franchise, you will be given instructions on where to locate your gym, what equipment to purchase, which vendors to work with, and how to train your staff. This might not be a good choice for gym owners who don’t like people staring over their shoulders. 

Marketing

Another benefit to owning a franchise gym is the marketing assistance and advice you will receive from the brand. The brand conducts marketing research for a franchise gym owner, and the franchisor tests the marketing.

If you choose to run your gym independently, you will be in charge of marketing. This has advantages because it gives you the freedom to create and develop your marketing plans. On the other hand, a drawback is that you can lack marketing expertise or not know how to start a successful marketing campaign.

The market for health and fitness products is extremely cutthroat. If you decided to start your firm, you would need to concentrate on a specialty and a target market. You must consider important factors such as local demography, pressing community fitness requirements, age groups, and preferences.

As a franchisee or an independent business owner, there are countless options and methods for marketing your company. Franchise brands mainly rely on brand loyalty and commercial advertisement. The popular marketing strategies are social media campaigns, membership sign-up promotions, and branded fitness accessories and gear.

Before buying a franchise, you must know the full costs, investigate the advantages and challenges, weigh your options critically, build your business plan, and make contact. As a gym owner, one advantage of investing in a franchise is that you will almost certainly receive the information required for your business plan directly from your franchisor, unlike an independent gym owner who would need to gather all the information from scratch.

Branding Conclusion

Conclusion

So which should you choose? The bottom line is that it’s up to you. You have seen the benefits of franchises and the disadvantages therein. Understand your short-term and long-term goals and decide which of these options gives you the best chance at reaching those goals.

I’m pretty sure that whichever option you choose will be super and your business will blossom like the flowers in the spring.

References

Gym life- To franchise or not to franchise?- Yanre Fitness