FranNet reported the findings of a four-year study that evaluated franchise businesses, concluding that a franchised business is two to three times more likely to be in business after five years than non-franchised competitors. Survival alone, however, is not the end of the story. Consider the following facts to determine whether a franchising decision is right for you.
First, face reality. Recognize that the fitness industry is more competitive than ever before with new big box and micro gyms popping up on every corner, virtually every week. Complicating matters further, some of the competition is led by former employees whom you may have educated and trained at your expense, who then want to go out on their own. You must then hire and train new staff, which only restarts the cycle.
The Benefits of Health Club Franchising
Best Practices: All franchisors learn from the experiences of their franchisees what works and what does not work. They pass on those lessons of good practices to all other owners, while also encouraging them to extinguish efforts that are known to fail. They tailor recommendations to specific locations, kinds of facilities and owner goals, taking the guesswork out of the process. No longer is the owner left to keep trying the same tired solutions and expecting different results.
Buying Power: All franchisors want to pass on the benefits of buying power to franchisees. These industry leaders have negotiated discounted prices for everything from cleaning supplies to equipment and flooring. Moreover, they work with the best vendors who then give you those rates as well. The savings often pay for most, if not all, of your franchise fees.
Critical Start-up Decisions: Site selection and lease negotiations are among the most important decisions club owners make. The best club plan can result in financial collapse if those two elements are not considered wisely. Franchisors offer their services in these domains to assure you of every possibility of success.
Exit Strategy: Credible franchisors recognize that life changes and that a franchisee may want to leave to gain independence, to “go it” alone, in the years ahead. This is a discussion they willingly want to have with you at the start and you need to have with them.
Ongoing Education: Recognize the needs of your employees to further themselves, to develop new skills and to expand their full potential in the months and years ahead. Each franchisee and each employee must be encouraged to grow personally and professionally each day, a must to stay ahead of the competition. A good franchisor will help you develop your staff and you as an entrepreneur as well.
Economics of Scale: When investing in a franchise, determine how “benefits of scale” affect your bottom line. Cost savings that you can immediately calculate include the following services that your franchisor will or should provide: website design and maintenance, marketing plans, educational and training opportunities, system design and application, program design and other aspects of business management that you may need.
Name Recognition: Trust and loyalty are necessities and come easily when potential members and employees have knowledge of the franchise. The business is suddenly a known commodity, rich with expectations for all — including the owner, who can expect a rapid growth in those membership numbers.
While becoming a franchisee may feel like a risk, it may be just the risk you need to take. The fitness industry is predicted to become even more competitive in the years ahead. Now is the time to get ahead of the game.
Josh Wheeler is the senior vice president of franchising for Fitness Evolution. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.