If starting a successful fitness studio is your goal, you really have 2 primary options. You can start one from scratch, or there are plenty of fitness franchises for sale. Which option is best for you? It Depends. Consider:
Fact #1: There are countless examples of profitable fitness franchises run by happy franchisees that are thrilled to be part of a franchise support system.
Fact #2: There are countless examples of profitable DIY fitness startups that love the total independence of building their own particular brand and business.
Fact #3: There are countless examples of struggling, dejected franchisees who feel the support and brand they bought into has not lived up to expectations.
Fact #4: There are countless examples of struggling independent studio owners overwhelmed and frustrated by the vast array of issues they have to learn.
Starting a business is a challenge
…..under any circumstance, but my experience is that the background, skillsets and and temperament of a potential studio fitness owner tend to make them more suitable to a) buying into a proven system or b) building something from scratch. When you buy a fitness studio franchise:
- You don’t have to develop a ‘brand’…that’s already done.
- You don’t need to source suppliers and tech…that’s already done
- Real estate and construction are the most critical parts of startup and most franchises have established support in these areas.
- You can view financials of like businesses…not possible w/startup.
- Grand opening strategy has been tried and tested.
- Pricing and marketing best practices are established.
- In some cases brand recognition is already built in your area
- You have a built in community of potential buyers if you are successful and ultimately decide to exit.
On the other hand
- Each fitness franchise is not created equal. Some are much better at support than others. You are picking a long term partner and you need to choose wisely.
- In all franchises you will pay a franchise fee and and ongoing royalties for the life of the business. This impacts potential profits.
- You have restrictions in a variety of areas to assure brand consistency.
- There is less freedom to change directions if conditions in your market differ from other parts of the franchise system
Independent startup vs. Fitness Franchise
In general, people with a really strong personal vision for their business, and who are willing to take risks, and don’t mind learning every aspect of the business from scratch…..start their own businesses.
People who want a proven track record, who don’t mind being part of a team that is providing guidance, and want to short cut learning lots of the processes….buy franchises. Either can be successful. We’ll explore issues related to both throughout this blog.