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Is a Gym Franchise Opportunity for You?

Dec 31, 2007
Once you've done the research and decided that buying a franchise is the right business opportunity for you, the next step is choosing a franchise. But with so many franchises available in so many different industries, how do you narrow down the selection? First, think about your personal interests. No one wants to run a business he finds uninteresting. For example, if you hate math and crunching numbers, an accounting franchise probably isn't your best bet. Instead search for businesses that you think would be fun to manage.

One such type of business is a gym. The American fitness craze is definitely here to stay. With $14.8 billion in revenue reported in 2004 and 41.3 million registered health club members as of January 2005, this industry offers franchisees the opportunity to get a slice of a very big pie. If you, like so many other Americans, are a happy passenger on the fitness bandwagon, a gym franchise might be the ideal business venture for you.

Gyms in the Franchise 500

If you do decide on a gym franchise, of course you'll want to choose one that has a good reputation for financial performance and franchisee satisfaction. A great tool to help you identify these franchises is Entrepreneur's Franchise 500.

Entrepreneur uses the same objective and quantifiable criteria to judge all companies (regardless of size) and formulate a ranked list of the best franchise opportunities. Some of the factors considered include: financial performance, growth rate and the size of the company, the number of years a company has been in business and the number of years it has been franchising, start-up costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether or not a franchisor provides in-house financing.

The Franchise 500 list for 2007 included business opportunities such as Gold's Gym and The Little Gym.

Gold's Gym is the number one fitness club in the world as well as an immediately recognized brand in the fitness industry. Franchisees in this system pride themselves on offering all the latest equipment and services at their gyms. Newcomers to this franchise are provided with a comprehensive training and support system that includes programs such as the Gold's Gym University workshop. This five-day, 28 class training program is designed to integrate new business owners into the Gold's Gym franchise and help them maximize the potential of their units.

The Little Gym leads the industry in children's motor skill development, making the process a fun and engaging one that builds confidence in children. This system is proud of its hands-on approach when it comes to setting up new franchises. Each new franchisee is assigned his own personal business consultant who remains available for support throughout the franchisee's tenure with the company. The franchise stays involved with its business owners because they care not only about the success of their gyms, but also about the health and wellness of children in their communities.

Other fitness franchise opportunities

If your interest in fitness is more specialized, you might consider a franchise like IM=X (pronounced IMX) Pilates Studio. This is a turnkey business that combines the muscle-toning of Pilates with cardiovascular training. IM=X stands for Integrated Movement Xercize program that adds resistance training and plyometric jumps to Pilates movements to create a more athletic workout. IM=X has been described as the next evolution of Pilates because the program is adaptable and can be made appropriate for all fitness levels. Franchisees in this system receive support in marketing, business, equipment and are even provided with yearly, on-site certification for staff members in a variety of fitness programs such as yoga and pre/postnatal workouts.

Perhaps you have an interest in women's fitness. If so, you might look at a franchise opportunity like Butterfly Life, which is a unique "one-stop-shop" for women's health. It is the only fitness franchise that currently offers free classes anytime. Classes such as Pilates, yoga, kick & jam, salsa, step, total body and Latin groove are taught by experts using Life Vision. The fitness equipment available at Butterfly Life locations is designed specifically for women to ensure that members do not plateau but instead are continually challenged. Each gym in this franchise offers its members a 15-station strength-training and cardio circuit. Butterfly Life offers a Weight Loss Express program that combines circuit training workouts with nutrition classes to produce positive results in 30 days without calorie counting or special diet food.

LA Boxing Franchise Corporation was developed with the help of world-class boxing and kickboxing champions. The physical training offered to customers at these locations is combined with nutritional counseling to help them meet their fitness goals.

Final thoughts

This limited sampling shows that there are numerous franchise opportunities available in the fitness industry. If healthy living is your passion, you'll certainly be able to find a franchise that complements your personal fitness interests. And, with the help of a franchisor's proven business plan, you'll be able to bring a healthy lifestyle to your community while simultaneously earning a good living as the owner of a gym.
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