Are you curious about opening a fitness franchise? Wondering if this sort of business is right for you? We sat down with Scott Henry, former Franchisee and Business Development Manager at Snap Fitness UK and Ireland to talk about the key things you should think about if you’re considering a fitness franchise.
Think about your “Why”?
The fitness membership penetration rate in UK is just 15.6%. In London, it is approximately 20%. But the market is growing year on year. The opportunity is there but opening a fitness franchise isn’t a fast way to easy money. According to Scott, a passion for the industry is critical. “Wanting to own a business is one thing,” says Scott. “But passion and drive will to make the biggest difference. Could this be the reason you get up every day? It’s important to think about your ‘Why.’ Is it because you want to make money, or is it because you genuinely enjoy helping people achieve their goals?” Take a step back and think about your motivation before you continue down the franchising route.
Think about your finances
To start a Snap Fitness franchise, you need £150,000 capital to start. So, if you’re fresh out of school, you may need to partner up with someone to help you with the initial investment. To do this, write up a detailed business plan and forecast and present that to a potential partner or investor that can help you out.
Start networking with other business owners
Before you dive into the world of franchise ownership, it’s important to understand the realities of owning a business. “Do your research and seek potential partners,” says Scott. “Talk to friends and family, find out who owns a business. Ask them questions about their own business and learn as much as you can.” Scott also encourages prospective franchisees to look on LinkedIn for current franchisees to connect with and ask questions.
Find the right location for the fitness franchise
The location of your business is one of the largest business decisions you will make. Do your research. “Take into account your competition, the size of a population and how affluent the area is. Is it on a main road, does it have car parking, etc. These are the sorts of questions you need answers to before you can commit.”
Invest in people
Spend time recruiting and hiring the right people with the right attitude. “Finding someone with previous fitness industry experience isn’t necessarily essential,” says Scott. “Sometimes, diverse backgrounds can be an asset. Skills can be taught.” If you don’t have experience in hiring, ask your franchisor for guidance.
Remember: you don’t have to be an expert in everything
Scott says that 95% of Snap Fitness franchisees do not come from fitness background at all. It’s important to remember that understanding the ins and out of the business will take time. Leverage all the support that your franchisor has to offer. Snap Fitness, for example, has an extensive online learning platform that covers everything from sales and service, recruitment and systems, through to local area marketing and operations. “The good thing about being part of a franchise is the support they provide you,” says Scott.
Stick to the system
When you buy a franchise, you’re buying a business that comes with an established set of practices and procedures. It’s a proven business model. “A franchise is perhaps not the place for rebellious, do-it-my-way people,” warns Scott. “Quite often those that stray from the system are the ones that fail.” While there is of course, room for some flexibility, a franchisee needs to be willing to follow the rules.
For more information on careers in health and fitness visit our dedicated section on Careers in Sport.