In the 1840s, a French vaudeville-strongman and gymnast named Hippolyte Triat created the first commercial gym in Brussels. By 1854, Triat opened his second health club in Paris, starting the model that inspires many health and fitness franchises today.
As we move through 2023, fascination for fitness re-emerges post-pandemic. That makes now the perfect time to invest in a gym franchise! If you want to be at the core of any gym goers' motivation, let’s take a deep dive into the best gym franchise opportunities available. FranchiseOpportunities.com has an opening waiting for you!
What Is a Gym Franchise?
A gym franchise is a specific type of fitness-based business with an established owner known as a franchisor. A gym franchisor will routinely sell rights to potential franchisees, allowing them to use the franchisor’s company name, trademarks, and business model. Here are the main types of gym franchises to keep in mind while you search:
- Barre studios
- Boutique gyms
- Commercial gyms
- Cycling studios
- Dance studios
- Kickboxing studios
- Pilates studios
- Yoga studios
Is It Better to Own a Gym or Franchise a Gym?
If you’re new to franchising, “why buy a gym franchise?” may be a question burning in your mind. For aspiring owners looking to hit the ground running, owning a gym franchise is typically better than starting one from scratch. That’s because franchising a gym from an already-established chain provides the support, guidance, and brand recognition you need to achieve success. On the other hand, creating a gym from the ground up takes tons of work and removes the certainty that it’s a viable business.
How to Open a Gym Franchise
Once you’ve selected a specific franchise you’d like to work under, opening and operating a gym goes beyond simply paying the initial fees and investment as well as signing the franchise disclosure document (FDD). Take a look at this brief list of steps to take before you make your final franchise-focused decisions:
- Consider the pros and cons: Because gym franchises have so many moving parts, the upfront costs to get your operation up and running are a bit higher than other franchises. On the flip side, you’ll receive brand recognition, higher profits, and consistent training and support from the franchisor every step of the way.
- Go over all of your options: Referencing the above list of top gym franchises in 2023, keep in mind which of those best suits your specific needs as far as costs and fitness interests. You can also explore more options at Franchise Opportunities to ensure you find the best fit!
- Start reaching out to franchise owners: After going over your top choices, begin researching and contacting each franchise for more information on fees, requirements, and the overall application process.
- Organize your finances: The starting investment, initial franchise fee, and ongoing fees vary based on the location and the specific franchise. Sometimes, the franchisor may offer guidance and support in organizing and securing your finances.
- Choose your location: Picking an area that is populous, easy to access, and convenient for the general public will be crucial in the success of your fitness center long-term.
- Receive a permit: In any business, you can’t build and renovate a space without the proper permits, so be sure to have it ready before you begin construction.
- Hire staff: After you’ve chosen your location and the building process is nearly complete, you should start hiring your staff of fitness enthusiasts to help you operate the gym while you manage the business aspect.
If you’re still running hot and cold on whether or not franchising is right for you, check out our nifty page of resources to better inform your decision!
How Much Does It Cost to Own a Gym Franchise?
Aside from the initial investment and one-time franchise fee, the monthly cost of running a gym ranges between $300 and $500 per month. The initial franchise fee can range from anywhere between $20,000 and $500,000 depending on the specific franchise you choose. Likewise, the upfront investment can be anywhere in between $50,000 and well over $1,000,000. Oftentimes, the larger and more notable the gym franchise, the more expensive the initial costs will be. At Franchise Opportunities, you can find available franchises in your budget by filtering by investment level.
How Profitable Is Owning a Gym Franchise?
A gym franchise’s profitability often depends on the size, location, specialty, and specific services provided within that particular fitness center. According to Exercise.com, a standard gym franchise has an average gym profit margin of 10% while boutique gym franchises have an average profit margin between 20% and 40%.
How Much Do Gym Franchise Owners Make?
Exercise.com also highlights that gym owners in the U.S. typically make an annual salary between $50,000 and $75,000. However, these numbers can vary greatly depending on the state in which the gym franchise is located. If you’re looking to open a fitness center on the west coast, California’s average annual salary for gym owners is $73,050. For an east coast option, on the other hand, Georgia’s average annual salary sits at $55,170. Gym owners can also increase their earning potential by opening multiple franchises.
What Is a Boutique Gym Franchise?
A boutique gym franchise is a type of fitness center that specializes in a very specific kind of physical activity and exercise. While standard gyms offer a wide variety of workout opportunities surrounding weightlifting or cardio, boutique fitness franchises could provide particular gym services that go beyond using the standard treadmill. Boutique gym franchises can include:
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Indoor cycling
Are Boutique Gyms Worth It?
Boutique gym franchises can be an excellent investment because they provide the franchisor and franchisees to grow at a quick rate with fewer locations. As a result of boutique gyms being specialized, the franchisees can charge more for access to their distinguished fitness services and corresponding equipment. Boutique fitness centers can be the best gyms for customers looking to take a unique route on their fitness journey. These facilities serve as an option with amenities and services that standard gym centers don’t offer, making it a much more lucrative franchise opportunity.
What Are the Legal Requirements for Opening a Gym Franchise?
Once you select your gym franchise to invest in, signing contracts as well as acquiring permits, business insurance, and a commercial space are some of the additional legal requirements you’ll need to fulfill before your gym can be fully operational. Of course, with every deal comes a printed agreement detailing the most important information of the working relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee. This agreement is known as the franchise disclosure document or FDD.
Originally regarded as the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular, noted by LegalMatch, an FDD is a document detailing and disclosing every aspect of the future partnership between the franchisee and franchisor. This agreement is rather significant because it can also provide information about the support, training, and guidance the franchisee could receive from the franchisor throughout the working relationship. However, not every FDD is the same, so it’s best to read over the fine print before making the final decision to sign. It’s also worth it to consult a lawyer while you review your contract to make sure nothing goes unread or misunderstood.
It’s Time to Find Your Perfect Gym Franchise Opportunity
There are a number of fitness franchises for sale as we start to see an uptick in gym memberships for 2023. FranchiseOpportunities.com can be your coach as you go on your fitness franchisee voyage! With the help of our easy-to-follow catalog of health and fitness franchises, you can select the perfect gym franchise to fit your budget, location, specialty, and more.
Top Fitness Franchises to Buy
According to Entrepreneur, the top fitness franchises available to purchase in 2023 each offer several benefits and services that contribute to their overall success. Potential gym goers see the wide range of physical activity and exercise options, motivating them tenfold to join and visit regularly. This perk allows them to lead a healthier lifestyle along the way and your work as a franchisee becomes a major part of their fitness goals! Let’s go over the top ten gym franchises that you could consider investing in as you make your decision while energizing future gym members and enthusiasts.
- Planet Fitness is a gym franchise that provides training services in over 2000 facilities throughout the U.S. Offering an excellent gym experience in a fitness space that prides itself on its welcoming environment, customers can rest assured that they are entering a gym free of judgment. The initial franchise fee is about $20,000 and the initial investment ranges widely from $1,700,000 to $5,000,000.
- F45 Training has a franchise model merging two training methods proven extremely effective in a fitness environment. This type of training aims to help gym members build muscle while burning fat with a unique workout that combines strength training and interval cardio. As this franchise has nearly 650 franchise units throughout the U.S., it continues to provide high-quality workout options, holding onto its great reputation. The initial investment ranges from $350,000 to $570,000 with an initial franchise fee of $50,000.
- Crunch Fitness continues cultivating a fitness environment that seamlessly blends hard work and fun in all its 280 locations throughout the U.S. Since opening in 2010, Crunch remains welcoming and accepting of potential members from all backgrounds who strive to empower themselves through exercise and physical activity. The initial franchise fee can range from $25,000 to $50,000, while the initial investment ranges widely from around $400,000 to an impressive $7,000,000.
- Orangetheory Fitness takes a much more scientific approach to fitness, offering its gym members an extremely unique fitness experience throughout nearly 1,300 locations across the U.S. With a science and research-based formula that works, coaching and technology go hand-in-hand to help customers see results within their varying workouts. Once potential members pass the primary sign-up phase, they’ll receive a heart rate monitor for all their registered fitness courses. The initial investment can range from $590,000 all the way to $1,622,000 while the initial franchise fee starts at approximately $60,000.
- Anytime Fitness first emerged in the very early 2000s, built under the model of 24/7 gym access that provides each member with a key to use one of the 2,300 U.S. facilities whenever they please. With much more skin in the game than other fitness franchises, Anytime Fitness has become one of the biggest gym chains in the world and a great global option for many health enthusiasts to consider. The initial investment ranges from $382,000 to $784,000 with an initial franchise fee of $42,500.
- The Exercise Coach highlights a trademarked program, “strength changes everything,” offering personalized plans for every gym member based on their fitness goals and needs. The franchise currently holds nearly 160 facilities throughout the U.S. for potential members to access, promoting an overall healthy and positive outlook on the results of physical activity. The initial franchise fee sits at $49,500 with the initial investment ranging from $149,000 to $382,000.
- Pure Barre is pretty unique compared to many other gym franchises as it focuses on a very specific fitness category—barre. Barre is a method of physical activity that involves the use of a metal or wooden rail (or bar) to act as a form of support for dancers. With over 600 facilities to choose from, Pure Barre is currently the largest barre-focused franchise operated by welcoming and friendly dance studios. The workouts at a barre brand fitness center target agility, flexibility, and strength for members of all fitness levels. The starting investment ranges from $215,000 to $460,000 with an initial franchise fee of $60,000.
- Club Pilates is currently one of the largest pilates-based fitness franchises available in the U.S. with over 700 facilities to pick from. Working on the belief that anyone at any level should have access to learning pilates techniques and exercises, Club Pilates focuses on physical activity utilizing equipment like balls, mats, and weights to accompany each workout. The initial franchise fee sits at $60,000 with the starting investment ranging from $186,000 to $390,000.
- Burn Boot Camp has quite the origin story as it originally started as a group exercise in the parking lot of a studio for gymnastics. Uniquely advertised as a fitness center for women, the franchise aims to inspire and change the lives of its potential members. With over 300 facilities to access, Burn Boot Camp hopes to contribute to transformative health on a global scale. The starting investment ranges from $200,500 to $487,000 with an initial franchise fee of $50,000.
- Gold’s Gym is a fitness franchise that first served as a training ground for bodybuilders in California circa 1965. Garnering a level of celebrity recognition, Gold’s Gym was the focus of an Arnold Schwarznegger film, Pumping Iron, in 1975. While various franchisees operate over 160 facilities, some also sell licensed apparel for the franchise through pro shops. The initial franchise fee sits at $40,000 with a starting investment ranging from $1,484,000 to 3,602,000.