5 Ways to Own a Fitness Franchise

5 Ways to Own a Fitness Franchise

With a Fitness Franchise, Entrepreneurs can Help Others Achieve Their Goals

With a fitness franchise, you can own a business that you feel good about. Not only does being physically active help customers with weight loss and management, but it also reduces the risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes and some common cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As more and more people value self-care and their health, becoming part of the growing $5.3 trillion global health industry is a compelling reason to invest in a fitness franchise. 

While big-box fitness franchises like Planet Fitness and Crunch Fitness are household names, boutique and mobile brands are becoming more popular and offer specialized services with smaller classes and a less intimidating environment. 

There is a fitness franchise for anybody of every age, from children to seniors (Ageless Fitness, for example.) The emerging electro-muscle stimulation (EMS) fitness technology is also giving business owners new opportunities to reach wider audiences with state-of-the-art services. 

Considering a fitness franchise for your next business venture? No matter your budget or preferences, there is a fitness franchise out there for you. Here is a deep dive into five different types to consider.

Big-Box Fitness Franchise

5 ways to own a fitness franchise 
Anytime Fitness has sold over 4,700 territories worldwide.
  • The Business Model: A membership model is commonly used at big-box fitness franchises. Members pay a monthly or annual fee to use services and equipment, giving franchise owners trackable and reliable payments. Branded merchandise such as t-shirts and tumblers can add revenue streams. 
  • What’s Involved: With a big-box fitness franchise, you need a lot of equipment like weights, treadmills, ellipticals, and more. Franchisees work with the franchisor to find the ideal location and construct a new building or convert an existing one. As a big-box fitness franchise owner, you will likely hire, manage, and train staff and focus on local marketing and advertising.
  • The Market Size: Thirty-nine percent of Americans have a gym membership. According to Zippia, the U.S. fitness industry made more than $33.25 billion in revenue in 2021 and is expected to grow by 171.75% to $434.74 billion by 2028. 
  • Who’s it for: The customer can be from any demographic. Big-box gyms offer flexible workout hours and something for everyone. 
  • The Pros: As a big-box fitness franchise owner, you provide a feel-good service to help people become healthier. There are also multiple revenue streams, including branded merchandise, on-demand subscriptions, and in-person classes. 
  • The Cons: Due to the larger size of these gyms, members may not get that personalized experience, which can impact retention rates. They are also subject to government regulations and can be closed during health emergencies.
  • Investment Range: Big-box gyms generally require a higher upfront investment. For example, the high-end investment is between $1,625,600 – $4,921,000. But these kinds of fitness concepts are not all out of reach in terms of investment. A more affordable all-in investment can range between $381,575 – $783,897.
  • Brands to Consider: Concepts to look deeper into include Planet Fitness, Crunch Fitness, Anytime Fitness, and Snap Fitness.

Boutique Fitness Franchise

5 ways to own a fitness franchise
CycleBar is an indoor cycling franchise. 
  • The Business Model: Boutique fitness franchisees earn recurring revenue from membership fees. Additional revenue streams may include drop-in and on-demand classes and branded merchandise.
  • What’s Involved: You don’t need a lot of space or equipment, and you can focus on a specific modality like yoga, cycling, rowing, or boxing. Trainers are more hands-on and involved in developing members. This leads to a greater sense of community and higher retention rates in comparison to bigger gyms. 
  • The Market Size: The global boutique fitness studio market was valued at $49.3 billion in 2021.
  • Who’s it for: Millennials are a key demographic for this type of fitness franchise. They like the more focused and personalized experience that boutique concepts offer.
  • The Pros: Boutique studios offer lower overhead and more affordable initial investments. They tend to have a loyal following with a tight-knit community of members.
  • The Cons: Being too focused on one modality may be limiting. 
  • Investment Range: Investors can expect the initial investment to be between $358,920 – $458,320.
  • Brands to Consider: Boutique fitness franchise brands include pūrvelo, Orangetheory Fitness, Club Pilates, CycleBar, Alloy, YogaSix, Body Fit Training, Row House, Rumble, StretchLab, STRIDE Fitness, and TITLE Boxing Club.

Children’s Fitness Franchise

 5 ways to own a fitness franchise 
Soccer Shots allows children to play soccer and learn life skills like teamwork.
  • The Business Model: Children’s fitness franchises vary from large-scale gyms to mobile enrichment programs. 
  • What’s Involved: With a brick-and-mortar franchise like The Little Gym, franchise owners purchase and maintain equipment, hire and manage employees, and advertise locally. Mobile children’s fitness franchises like the FUN BUS offer classes at daycares and preschools, enjoy repeat business, and can do special events like birthday parties. 
  • The Market Size: The youth sports market is projected to grow to $77.6 billion by 2026. 
  • Who’s it for: Parents looking for ways to get their children moving and away from the computer love these types of programs.
  • The Pros: This is a feel-good business that helps children become well-rounded individuals. There are also multiple revenue streams, including school events, birthday parties, summer camps, and more.  
  • The Cons: Patience is key when working with children. 
  • Investment Range: The investment range depends on the business model. For a brick-and-mortar location, $320,100 – $508,500 can be expected. With a mobile children’s franchise, the all-in investment can be as little as $43,000 – $55,300.
  • Brands to Consider: Children’s fitness brands include Kinderdance International, Soccer Shots, Kidokinetics, The Little Gym, British Swim School, FUN BUS, and Goldfish Swim School. 

Electro-Muscle Stimulation (EMS) Technology Fitness Franchise

Pulse Performance offers EMS training, infrared therapy, 3D body scans, and more. 
  • The Business Model: EMS technology franchises have a boutique fitness vibe with the added appeal of science-backed technology. The membership model ensures steady income while add-on services like nutritional guidance and body sculpting offer additional revenue streams. 
  • What’s Involved: Franchise owners can be hands-on or hire managers to oversee daily operations. They drive business by going out in the community to promote and educate people about the benefits of EMS. With a brand like Pulse Performance, multi-unit opportunities are available.   
  • The Market Size: The muscle stimulation market is predicted to grow to over $980.8 million by 2030.
  • Who’s it for: Athletes, seniors and individuals with serious injuries or chronic pain benefit most from this technology, but anyone can reap physical rewards from the workouts. EMS technology sends impulses to muscles to help them contract without straining joints. This technology allows for more effective workouts with less impact in a fraction of the time of a regular workout. 
  • The Pros: This is a feel-good business that helps individuals optimize their health and wellness more quickly. Franchisees benefit from multiple revenue streams (services, retail, supplements) and recurring revenue with a membership-based model.
  • The Cons: Since EMS technology is fairly new, franchise owners have to educate their communities on its benefits.
  • Investment Range: The investment range for an EMS technology franchise is affordable. Investors are likely to be in business after an all-in initial investment of $350,000 – $650,000.
  • Brands to Consider: Pulse Performance, BODY20, Personal20, Manduu, and OMH Fitness are examples of EMS franchises. 

Mobile Fitness Franchise

 5 ways to own a fitness franchise 
GYMGUYZ has over 150 locations in 22 states and three countries. 
  • The Business Model: A mobile fitness franchise offers the ultimate in flexibility. Franchisees can visit clients at home or set up semi-private group workouts at parks or other public areas.
  • What’s Involved: Mobile franchises can be opened quickly, and offer lower operating costs since there’s no need for a brick-and-mortar location. 
  • The Market Size: The personal training industry is estimated to be $14 billion, according to IBISWorld.
  • Who’s it for: The customer who values flexibility, time savings and one-on-one training. 
  • The Pros: There’s greater flexibility and the opportunity for semi-absentee ownership. A truck and some equipment is all that’s needed to visit clients at their homes, offices or even at a park.
  • The Cons: Mobile businesses are subject to restrictions, so be sure to check local laws.
  • Investment Range: Mobile franchises are affordable and have low overhead. The all-in investment can be as low as $66,600 – $131,500.
  • Brands to Consider: The leader in this space is GYMGUYZ. Other brands coming on the scene include AtmosEffect Fitness and AWATfit. 
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Haley Cafarella is a passionate journalist and writer for IFPG. In her role as content and marketing specialist, she creates original articles for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine. Her specialties include educational articles about buying a franchise and franchise consulting. She also reports on franchise professionals who were recently promoted or hired through FranchiseWire’s popular HireWire series.

Haley has contributed to a variety of regional publications, including Quo Vadis, New Brunswick Today, and the Trenton Monitor. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Rutgers University.
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