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Fitness Franchise Industry Report 2014 : Franchise Investment Information

Investing in a Fitness Franchise

Below is an overview of a limited number of topics to consider when buying a fitness franchise, including a summary of costs.

Please note that the provisions and fees illustrated in this report are some of the most common and not a complete listing. All figures come from the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) of each respective franchise, dated 2014. Please review the FDD of a franchise for all of the provisions and fees related to investing in that franchise.

What do fitness franchisors look for in franchisees?

People Working Out at a Class“A lot of people ask, ‘Is there a certain recipe?’ and there really is no recipe,” says Anytime Fitness co-founder and President Dave Mortensen. “The real recipe is for someone to have a true care for the person next to him. You know, we want someone that’s a soul searcher, that’s really looking to change lives and if they really care about the individual, the rest works itself out.” And fitness industry experience isn’t a top concern. “We have all different types of aptitudes being successful inside the Anytime Fitness brand,” says Dave. “Really, what they need, again, is that care for an individual, someone who really wants to help others on their journey for fitness.” Of course, what one franchisor is looking for may not completely match up with the desires of another and an ideal franchisee for one franchise system may very well be without any prior industry experience. Prospective franchisees must therefore remain open-minded to the possibility of partnering with a company they didn’t initially consider.

Additional Revenue Streams

Exercise isn’t the only thing fitness franchises can bank on. As mentioned above when discussing women-centric fitness franchises, many of these franchises offer a diverse selection of services and products to meet the needs of their customers. Likewise, some of these franchises go beyond simply offering products as a way to increase their revenue streams.  Take Pro Martial Arts for example. In a September 2014 interview, founder & CEO Master Ed Samane said of his business, “We're an education and children's safety franchise [also]. We want to keep kids safe.” When researching a franchise, be sure all of the franchise’s offerings gel with your business ambitions and that you are well-aligned with company ideals.


Remember, while franchisors have developed systems and procedures, it is ultimately up to franchisees to make sure they are in compliance with all local laws and ordinances. For example, fitness franchise concepts that have 24-hour access have become very popular. With the popularity of these concepts comes a responsibility to ensure customer safety. Many franchises with 24-hour access feature innovations such as remote monitoring of a closed circuit television system, and key cards integrated with onsite security systems to allow customers to feel safe and secure even when the franchise isn’t staffed. Even with these measures, some areas do not allow for 24-hour operation of the franchise. Other areas in which fitness franchisees need to be aware of local regulations include: membership contract length and terms rules, tanning service protocol, and CPR/defibrillator training of employees.


Business support is one of the main reasons people choose franchises over starting their own independent businesses. All franchises offer field-tested experience that franchisees can draw from to increase their chances of maintaining a successful business. For example, in addition to training, some franchise systems offer real estate support to find the right location for the franchisee’s unit. Some franchises even help with lease negotiation. The support can be financial in nature too. For instance, a number of franchises offer their franchisees national contract pricing for equipment, along with leasing programs. And many franchises offer special deals for armed services veterans.

Woman Working Out with Exercise Band

Initial Investment

Investment costs vary for different franchises depending on the particular business system and execution requirements. The following charts demonstrate, by comparison, initial costs associated with opening one of the sample franchises presented.

Initial costs associated with opening a franchise include the franchise fee, training expenses (such as travel and living expenses, not the actual training courses), grand opening marketing costs, and more.

Fitness Franchise Estimated Initial Investment Graph

One major variable in the initial franchise investment is the cost of real estate. As you can see in the chart above, fitness franchises such as Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym require a much more expansive build out in comparison to other franchises. Furthermore, there are fitness franchises such as Jazzercise and i9 Sports that can have a mobile operation with the franchisee’s home as the base.

Ongoing Fees

Throughout the length of the agreement there are costs for being a part of the franchisor’s business system.

These costs include items such as royalty fees, charges for technical support and marketing costs. The most common is the royalty fee. Examples of how royalties are collected are given below for 11 sample franchises.



Anytime Fitness

$549 per month for an Anytime Fitness center and $449 for an Anytime Fitness Express center


5% of the previous month's gross sales

Fitness Together

6% of gross receipts

Gold's Gym

Greater of 5% of Facility’s Gross Revenue each month or $2,000 per month

Gymboree Play Programs

6% of Gross Receipts

i9 Sports (Area Development)

7.5% of Network Revenues or the following minimum based on the size of the Network Area, whichever is greater;
Territory Level:
Level 1: $375 per month
Level 2: $400 per month
Level 3: $425 per month
Level 4: $450 per month


20% of gross customer enrollment (10% for certain programs); minimum rate applies & business franchise minimum is $500 per month

Planet Fitness

5% of the total gross monthly and annual membership fees
payable to the franchisee

Pure Barre

Greater of 7% of Gross Sales or $1,000 per month

Snap Fitness

$499 per month

The Little Gym

8% of Monthly Gross Revenue, subject to the Annual Minimum Royalty Requirement or Unopened Center Fee

In addition to regularly assessed fees, other fees are charged on an “as needed” basis such as audit fees or costs for additional training. Prior to investing, prospective franchisees should do their research and carefully review a franchisor’s FDD for more detailed information on all systems, procedures and costs.

For more information on a number of fitness franchises, please see our fitness franchise industry page.


Fitness Franchises...

Shapes Fitness For Women Empower women and join the $19 billion fitness industry! Over 26 years experience. Read More Min. Cash Required:

PickUp USA Fitness Generate revenue from 4 diverse channels with a PickUp USA Fitness franchise! Read More Min. Cash Required:

Fitness 1440 Fitness 1440 is one of the most unique fitness club concepts in the country! Read More Min. Cash Required:

iCRYO Enterprises Help people live healthier, pain-free lives with an iCRYO business! Read More Min. Cash Required:

Club Pilates Join the largest network of premium group Pilates studios worldwide! Read More Min. Cash Required:

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