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OT/ Buying a large gym franchise

salemguy321

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First off, forgive me if I posted in the wrong section.

For several months now I have played around with the idea of buying a gym franchise. I decided to go the franchise route because starting "your own" gym seems to be an extremely difficult task and i would rather rely on the reputation of a large company than try to build one from the ground up. After extensive research (which is still ongoing) I feel as if this is actually obtainable in my area given the help of investors. PLEASE, if you have any experience in owning/operating/buying a franchise your advice, biased or not, will be greatly appreciated!!!!

My goal is to have a gym franchise to appeal to the masses (from average joe to competitive athletes and seniors). I think this will be my best bet given the other gyms in the area. NO way in hell I'm opening a Planet Fitness with that BS lunk alarm crap. Small niche gyms such as Snap, or Anytime fitness are simply dead in my area. Very few members, people aren't satisfied with equipment, personnel, fee's, etc. The two gyms that seem to be booming are Golds, and 24hr fitness (only 1 of each in a city with over 220,000 people). Both are relatively small, offer low monthly fees (under $30 a month), have decent equipment, and both are ABSOLUETLY packed at any given time during the day!

I will use Golds and 24hr fitness as examples. Both of these gym's lack amenities that draw people away from their gym. For instance. Both gyms are older with older equipment (which is fine and gets the job done). Gold's has no pool, no hot tub. 24hr does. 24hr is small, gold's is larger with more open space and more equipment. 24hr feels cramped with very little room to move around. Golds has more free weights. 24hr is in a lower income section of town, golds is in the higher income area. Neither have racquetball, which is VERY big in my community especially with seniors. The only gym that does is a private gym with monthly fees over $60 per person. So one could see where a "Super Gym" a gym with EVERYTHING, might profit greatly in my community with more competitive rates.

Area's of concern: Finding an adequate space, securing investors, dealing with a large franchise company (who might be good to work with, who to avoid sort of thing), overall cost. AND What does the initial cost of the franchise get you? Their name? Does it include equipment or anything like that?

I don't want to go into too much detail and bore everyone to death with all of my idea's. But after talking with several people I feel this is something I can DEFINITELY accomplish. I just would really like to hear anyone's advice, thoughts, comments, concerns etc that have experience in this area. Thanks for reading
 

Jarconis

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Move to Washington DC, open up a gym called "House of Reps",profit,done.
 

csl068

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Oct 12, 2009
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First off, forgive me if I posted in the wrong section.

For several months now I have played around with the idea of buying a gym franchise. I decided to go the franchise route because starting "your own" gym seems to be an extremely difficult task and i would rather rely on the reputation of a large company than try to build one from the ground up. After extensive research (which is still ongoing) I feel as if this is actually obtainable in my area given the help of investors. PLEASE, if you have any experience in owning/operating/buying a franchise your advice, biased or not, will be greatly appreciated!!!!

My goal is to have a gym franchise to appeal to the masses (from average joe to competitive athletes and seniors). I think this will be my best bet given the other gyms in the area. NO way in hell I'm opening a Planet Fitness with that BS lunk alarm crap. Small niche gyms such as Snap, or Anytime fitness are simply dead in my area. Very few members, people aren't satisfied with equipment, personnel, fee's, etc. The two gyms that seem to be booming are Golds, and 24hr fitness (only 1 of each in a city with over 220,000 people). Both are relatively small, offer low monthly fees (under $30 a month), have decent equipment, and both are ABSOLUETLY packed at any given time during the day!

I will use Golds and 24hr fitness as examples. Both of these gym's lack amenities that draw people away from their gym. For instance. Both gyms are older with older equipment (which is fine and gets the job done). Gold's has no pool, no hot tub. 24hr does. 24hr is small, gold's is larger with more open space and more equipment. 24hr feels cramped with very little room to move around. Golds has more free weights. 24hr is in a lower income section of town, golds is in the higher income area. Neither have racquetball, which is VERY big in my community especially with seniors. The only gym that does is a private gym with monthly fees over $60 per person. So one could see where a "Super Gym" a gym with EVERYTHING, might profit greatly in my community with more competitive rates.

Area's of concern: Finding an adequate space, securing investors, dealing with a large franchise company (who might be good to work with, who to avoid sort of thing), overall cost. AND What does the initial cost of the franchise get you? Their name? Does it include equipment or anything like that?

I don't want to go into too much detail and bore everyone to death with all of my idea's. But after talking with several people I feel this is something I can DEFINITELY accomplish. I just would really like to hear anyone's advice, thoughts, comments, concerns etc that have experience in this area. Thanks for reading

It very much comes down to demographics and you really need to do your research. I am in the process of opening one of the gym mentioned and in all honesty, I live in a fairly large suburban area of a major city, (several hundred thousands within a 10 mile radius) and the smaller gyms strive big time.

The big guys, ie LifeTime and to an extent LA Fitness, really dont draw the numbers as do the Fitness 19's, World Gym, Anytime, etc. A LifeTime, for example has everything you could possibly dream of in a place, however the monthly is fairly high and alot of people dont need the swimming pool, rock climbing, basketball, hair salon, etc. So people cannot justify paying the high price, which you are really paying for upkeep of all the goodies. LA Fitness by me is the same, except a smaller version of LifeTime.

In my geographic location, more individuals would rather pay the 20-30 a month for a gym and only a gym and not have to shell out an additional 20 bucks for cherry oak lockerooms. :banghead:

As far as franchises, they will buy you the name as well as the services of the franchise, ie support running, marketing, etc. Equipment is not included, although most clubs have preferred vendors. Also you generally will have to follow the franchise model, meaning setup and operations need to follow coroporate standards. It is alot of work, but anything worthwhile should not be easy. Most of the smaller franchise gyms, again Fitness 19, World, Anytime, are generally between 4-5,000 square feet, with a few exceptions of larger space.

Again do your homework, I dont have investors, but I do have a partner, and I am sure you have heard this many times, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!!!!!


Best of Luck to you
 

driven

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Move to Washington DC, open up a gym called "House of Reps",profit,done.
It'll just end up with a bunch of fat old guys sitting around lying about how much they lifted, where they placed, what their records really were... oh, and good luck collecting membership dues.
 

PsyT

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^ dont forget the helpful 'spots' they will all be getting from their puppetmasters :D

oh, and good luck collecting membership dues.
dude no problem just bill the oil and lumber companies.
 

salemguy321

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I live in a fairly large suburban area of a major city, (several hundred thousands within a 10 mile radius) and the smaller gyms strive big time.
This isn't the case where I live. Several of the smaller gyms are shutting down. They just can't keep up or compete with the larger gyms in the area. Thus my decision for a larger franchise. Thanks for your input csl
 

ericraven2003

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Small gyms where I live are a thing of the past. You can go cheap with a 24 hours for about 30 a month or go high end with a lifetime fitness.
\
Heck the lifetime fitness pulls in about 200k in personal training a month alone. Its amazing.
 

hotnuts

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I just bought into a small software driven personal training franchise concept. I am about to start building next week....first of 10. World's Best 30-Minute Workout | Koko FitClub There is nothing like it and no competition really. I am sure some of you will blast it....I dont care though. If you want to get into something in the fitness and health Industry and make money at it....check it out.
 

salemguy321

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Damn.... I just checked out the LifeTime Fitness website, they are hella nice! We dont have them around here. I'll have to look into it more :)
 

powerox

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Dammit man! If I thought I could handle it, I would offer to partnership with ya!




PO
 

ericraven2003

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Damn.... I just checked out the LifeTime Fitness website, they are hella nice! We dont have them around here. I'll have to look into it more :)
Its not a franchise. The buildings are usually around 100,000 sqft and cost 7 million or so to build.

The one I go to is 120,000 sqft.
 

hotnuts

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You may want to start off with how much money you can afford to spend or lose? It's a business and there are no gaurantees...a risk or gamble if you will. Like Eric has stated, unless you are well funded and experienced running a 100 thousand sq foot gym stop wasting your time looking at 24, lifetime ect.....They are all corporate.

Look at smaller or more of a private type establishment and make it your own if in fact you want to own a gym.
 

Michaelthomasj

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It'll just end up with a bunch of fat old guys sitting around lying about how much they lifted, where they placed, what their records really were... oh, and good luck collecting membership dues.
Very constructive and positive post. ANyway goodluck brother, and like many are saying do your research. I have owned a business, and location is the key. easy accessability to the parking lot, roadways etc. and plenty of parking space.
 

salemguy321

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Very constructive and positive post. ANyway goodluck brother, and like many are saying do your research. I have owned a business, and location is the key. easy accessability to the parking lot, roadways etc. and plenty of parking space.
I agree location is key. I have spotted out two very promising locations both are on the busiest street in my city. One location used to be a grocery store and the other was a sporting goods store. Both have been vacant for 2+ years, have ample parking, both for sale at close to the same price, and are around 50,000sqft. Although both buildings would have to be remodeled and added onto. I've figured all of this into the financial plan I'm working on and I'm pretty sure I could do it for 15 million. Or Less :D
 

salemguy321

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So.... would it be wrong or messed up if I used the fact that I'm a cancer survivor to market my gym at all? Just a thought...
 

powerox

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So.... would it be wrong or messed up if I used the fact that I'm a cancer survivor to market my gym at all? Just a thought...

How would that work? Would you contribute your success (beating cancer) to weight lifting? I don't see it being immoral/unethical, as long as, the "gym" is really what beat the cancer.



PO
 

salemguy321

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Of course the gym isn't what beat my cancer.... That would have been amazing if it had. I was thinking more along the lines of after the gym is up and running, sponsoring events at the gym (walk-a-thon or something) and having the proceeds go to cancer research. All the while I'd be the spokesperson, share my story, motivate people and get them pumped for "The Cause". In return it just brings more people in the the gym. It's a marketing strategy. The more you are in the public eye you are and the more you do for the community, the more people will want to be apart of your establishment. So i'm not saying directly that "working out helped me beat cancer" It's certainly helped in my recovery though. I'm saying "Hey as a cancer survivor i support cancer research and I sympathize with those fighting this disease, so we'll have "X" event, advertise it locally, I'll participate in the event, we'll give the money to research or whatever." When really it's just a marketing strategy to get people to sign up at my gym.

Does that make sense or am I totally off my rocker lol
 

csl068

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Of course the gym isn't what beat my cancer.... That would have been amazing if it had. I was thinking more along the lines of after the gym is up and running, sponsoring events at the gym (walk-a-thon or something) and having the proceeds go to cancer research. All the while I'd be the spokesperson, share my story, motivate people and get them pumped for "The Cause". In return it just brings more people in the the gym. It's a marketing strategy. The more you are in the public eye you are and the more you do for the community, the more people will want to be apart of your establishment. So i'm not saying directly that "working out helped me beat cancer" It's certainly helped in my recovery though. I'm saying "Hey as a cancer survivor i support cancer research and I sympathize with those fighting this disease, so we'll have "X" event, advertise it locally, I'll participate in the event, we'll give the money to research or whatever." When really it's just a marketing strategy to get people to sign up at my gym.

Does that make sense or am I totally off my rocker lol

NOT AT ALL OFF your Rocker, that is a great idea........that is what I really want to do and what excites me, giving back to the community. Food drives at the holidays, make a wish, you name, I want to look into it............MORE places should do what you are wanting to do!!!!! and what better place than a GYM!!!!!
 

salemguy321

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NOT AT ALL OFF your Rocker, that is a great idea........that is what I really want to do and what excites me, giving back to the community. Food drives at the holidays, make a wish, you name, I want to look into it............MORE places should do what you are wanting to do!!!!! and what better place than a GYM!!!!!
Thanks man I really appreciate it! I agree it's all about giving back and I believe a gym is a great place to do that as well. AND I'm really glad i'm not off my rocker!!!! Cause alot of people I talk to about my idea just shoot it down because "in their mind" it can't be done. It's a bit discouraging but I'm only worried about what's in my mind, and mine just keeps saying "you can do it" and "if you build it they will come" lmao
 

csl068

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Thanks man I really appreciate it! I agree it's all about giving back and I believe a gym is a great place to do that as well. AND I'm really glad i'm not off my rocker!!!! Cause alot of people I talk to about my idea just shoot it down because "in their mind" it can't be done. It's a bit discouraging but I'm only worried about what's in my mind, and mine just keeps saying "you can do it" and "if you build it they will come" lmao

Of course it can be discouraging. Negative people are everywhere...........but you need to continue to listen to your mind. Just be patient and believe in yourself and it will happen. Like I said in my first response, it is not easy, but nothing should be easy that is going to be worth your while!!!!
 

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