Investing in gym, health and fitness franchises
Over the past few years, Brits have become increasingly aware of the importance of exercise. Most of us know that the more we move around and the more we get our hearts pumping, the healthier our bodies will be. As a result, the number of people joining gyms and fitness clubs across the country has risen sharply. More and more people are signing up to their local fitness centre in an effort to get fit, lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Currently around one in seven Brits has a gym membership, which works out to around 9.7 million people or 14.3% of UK adults. This boom in gym membership has had a big impact on the fitness industry with more gyms now available across the UK than ever before and low-cost gyms making especially big gains over the last few years.
Many of the gyms now operating across the UK are franchises. As in all industries that they operate in, franchises offer companies involved with fitness a number of advantages over more traditional business models. From increased brand awareness to ongoing support and training, franchising can be a lucrative and straightforward way for entrepreneurs to launch their career in the fitness industry.
The UK fitness industry
The UK fitness industry is looking healthier than ever. Between 2015 and 2016 the number of people who were members of gyms increased by an impressive 5.3%. This huge influx of members led to the market value of the industry as a whole increasing by 3.2%, a figure that would turn the head of any would-be investor. And with the number of fitness centres across the UK up by 1.9% in the same period, it looks like more and more people are taking the plunge and putting their money into fitness. There are now an estimated 6,435 fitness centres in the UK, up from 6,312 in 2015. In 2016 alone the value of the industry grew by an estimated £1.1bn, bringing its total value up to around £7.7bn.
However, despite the increasing availability of affordable and convenient fitness centres in many parts of the country, we’re still reluctant to don the Lycra and get our blood pumping. It’s thought that Brits waste an incredible £558m on unused gym membership every year with around one in ten of those who are currently members of a fitness centre not having set foot in a gym in the past 12 months.
For gym owners, these dormant users are in many ways an asset as they provide a regular income (the average person pays £47 a month for their membership) but don’t use any of the gym’s services. When it comes to the nation’s waistlines, however, the more people who actively use their membership, the better.
Types of gym franchise
For those thinking of investing in a gym-related franchise, there are several business options available to choose from. Covering a wide range of budgets and areas, these varied fitness-related businesses offer a number of opportunities for entrepreneurs looking for somewhere lucrative to put their money.
Some of the biggest growth in recent years has come from the low-cost gym market. With many Brits being forced to tighten their belts, expensive gym memberships are becoming less popular, with more and more would-be fitness fanatics opting for budget options instead. There are now an estimated 500 low-cost gyms operating across the UK with the sector accounting for 15% of the market.
Many of these budget fitness centres offer clients 24hour access to their premises, allowing people to work out whenever the urge takes them. Unlike their more luxurious counterparts, low-cost gyms generally don’t ask users to sign up to fixed term contracts, giving them further flexibility when it comes to their membership options.
For those considering an investment in a gym or health & fitness franchise, a low-cost fitness centre could well be an attractive option. With increasing numbers of users signing up to these budget services, the franchise should have a significant customer base, and as many low-cost gyms employ few staff and operate minimal equipment, they’re fairly affordable to set up.
For those who already possess fitness qualification, or those looking for a low-cost investment, a personal training franchise could be the right choice. Although the franchisee may need to acquire the skills and experience necessary to run their franchise, with no premises or equipment to buy or hire, the start-up costs of this type of franchise should be relatively low.
Franchising offers personal trainers the chance to launch a venture of their own without having to build it from the ground up. This can give entrepreneurs a real edge in a competitive market and could make all the difference when it comes to the profitability and longevity of their business.
At the moment just 23% of boys and 20% of girls get enough exercise every day. This incredibly high level of inactivity is having a significant impact on the health of today’s young people, with growing numbers of children and teens becoming overweight.
In an attempt to provide a solution to this problem, a number of franchises now offer fitness services specifically for children. Often, these take the form of sports clubs and activity groups and focus on play and fun rather than fitness. Like personal training franchises, these types of businesses don’t generally have their own premises and instead operate from hired halls and spaces. Perfect for those interested in working with children and boosting the health of the UK’s youngest residents, a kids’ fitness franchise could be a fantastic way to combine a successful career with job satisfaction.
Another niche that’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for franchises is women’s fitness. Women often feel intimidated when they go to the gym and so more and more are opting to use female-only fitness spaces. In general, gyms that specialise in women’s fitness involve the same sort of start-up investment as other types of gym franchise. Some also offer extra services like yoga classes and other health-boosting activities.
How to invest in a gym franchise
If you’re considering investing in any type of gym franchise, the first thing you’ll need to do is take a look at your finances. The costs involved in buying a gym franchise can vary significantly between opportunities and it’s important to ensure you have the capital necessary before you begin the application process.
Next, consider the various franchise opportunities available on our site to find the business that’s right for you. Check the financial requirements, look for geographic restrictions and find out if any prior experience or qualifications are needed before you can invest.
Once you’ve found the opportunity that’s right for you, you’ll need to get in touch with the franchising brand to find out more about the application requirements. Before you can become a franchisee you may well need to take part in an interview process, demonstrate you have the necessary finances and meet with the franchising brand.
Find out more about the franchise industry and take a look through the opportunities available by exploring our site today.