Practical guide to opening a gym in 2021
Open an independent gym or a franchise?
One of the most important questions is whether you want to open an independent gym or a franchise.For some, it is more interesting to become a franchisee and for others, it is more interesting to found their own start-up. In order to help you see more clearly, we have compiled a list of the advantages and potential disadvantages of being a franchisee.
Advantages of a franchise system:
Brand awareness and support
Direct market access
When opening a new franchise, one of the biggest advantages is knowing the brand that already exists. No need to create your own brand, and as a result, you save a lot of marketing costs. By being a franchisee, you also save advertising costs and benefit from brand awareness. It is then easier and faster to attract members. In addition, the name of the room is also already established as well as the brand image which creates a lead in terms of trust.
The franchisor’s many years of experience are an open door to the market. Thanks to the knowledge acquired, you can easily access proven promotional activities. You have access to an adapted marketing strategy as well as advertising material. You can also count on the help of the head office for the choice of the location. Another advantage is that the site is usually ready to be occupied. Do not expect major construction-related problems.
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Purchases for your gym often come with discounts thanks to the large quantities ordered by your franchise. Brand reputation also allows for easier access to loans.
Regular training and network
Thanks to the training provided by the franchisor, the team always remains up to date. The internal network of the franchise is another advantage of this model. You can count on the advice and help of other franchisees.
Disadvantages of a franchise system:
High start-up costs
Being part of a franchise system usually requires paying royalties and, of course, upfront equipment fees. Depending on the system, monthly franchise fees are also added. Since franchisors are mostly corporations, some of them require a minimum capital.
Severely limited freedom of choice
If a founder decides to integrate into a franchise system, the reliance on corporate headquarters business policy can be strong. Compliance with contractual obligations is a basic requirement and in the event of breach, termination without notice is to be expected. In addition, the franchisor can close the rooms at any time. Managers must also take responsibility for products that are distributed on behalf of the franchisor.
Possible damage to brand image
Negative PR (public relations) from another room in the franchise has a direct effect on the entire chain. If, for example, the employees of another room are rude to the members, one can quickly mistakenly believe that “all” the employees of the company behave in this way. Thus, franchisees must ensure that everyone respects the rules and works hand in hand to avoid damaging their image.
How to find the franchise model that suits you best?
There is no definite answer to this question. Each manager must ask himself this with regard to several criteria such as the geographical area or the minimum entry capital. There are also comparison sites where you can find concrete offers for the acquisition of a franchise license.
What type of gym to choose?
Now you need to think very carefully about the type of gym concept you want to offer your future members. The first thing to do is to clarify the objective. Do you want to open a low-budget gym and compete with the big, well-known chains? Do you want to open an all-in-one gym with a family atmosphere? Or a room reserved for women, for example?
4 current business trends in the fitness industry
To inspire you, we have created an overview of five current fitness trends. These can also be offered in combination with each other, if desired.
EMS, or Electro Myo Stimulation , is considered a highly effective training concept that allows the member to achieve maximum success with minimum effort. 20 to 30 minutes a week is enough to get good results. EMS training is aimed in particular at a target group who, for example, for professional reasons, have little time to devote to fitness. Purchasing the necessary equipment, however, can be expensive. This concept is therefore more interesting for micro-rooms in the high-end segment.
2. Martial Arts Studios
Martial arts studios are often structured a little differently than normal gyms . This does not mean, however, that the administrative burden is reduced. On the contrary, martial arts are increasingly popular as a balance sport. Therefore, their popularity is growing. The martial arts segments of Krav Maga, Karate or Boxing are particularly popular. Not only the muscles are strengthened, but also self-confidence and concentration.
Intensive support, better equipment, targeted training and thus better fitness, these are the stated goals of the premium service providers. The other side of the coin: the time and therefore the budget necessary to manage a studio are scarce. Studio operators in the premium segment attach great importance to intensive support of their members. In these studios, not only the coaches must be very competent and experienced, but also the administration and control must work smoothly.
4. Yoga Studio
The number of yoga studios is increasing every year and the end of this boom is not yet in sight. In 2020, yoga “hybrids” were particularly popular. Last year, the top three yoga trends were HIIT yoga and gin yoga, for example.
Not only is the demand for yoga offerings soaring, but also the number of new members. Conversely, the arrival of many new clients leads to additional administrative work for the studios.