Golden age of fitness franchising

According to the 2017 State of the UK Fitness Industry Report, 9.7 million people have private gym memberships, an increase of 5.1 per cent on the previous year. This growth is proving irresistible to investors, particularly in the buoyant franchising sector.

Leading the way is global success story Anytime Fitness, a health club franchise that is already the second-largest gym chain in the UK and accelerating its growth strategy from 130 clubs open to 550 to meet demand.

The UK public are embracing the fitness revolution and with government initiatives encouraging people to become healthier and more physically active, growth looks set to increase.

This high-investment, high-return franchise opportunity is attracting franchisees who want to work on a business, but not in it

“The fitness sector is an exciting one to be in, but you don’t need to be a fitness fanatic to run an Anytime Fitness franchise,” says general manager Brett Edwards. “In fact, that’s the beauty of franchising generally; you are following a proven business model with a UK success rate of more than 99 per cent. What you do need is passion and a commitment to growing your business and helping your members get to a healthier place.”

The Anytime Fitness business ethos is founded on the four “Ps” – people, purpose, profits and play.

“Get the people, purpose and play elements right and your profits will follow,” says Mr Edwards. “By following the model, our franchisees find that on average they reach cash break-even around month eight and are taking out their initial investment around month 20.”

The size of the global Anytime Fitness network, with more than 3,600 gyms in 33 different countries, illustrates the model’s success when in the right hands. Anytime Fitness franchisees are typically not from a fitness industry background, but are entrepreneurial individuals who recognise the advantages of being part of a large and growing network. This high-investment, high-return franchise opportunity is attracting franchisees who want to work on a business, but not in it.

Mr Edwards explains: “Our growth over the past few years has piqued the interest of franchisees who have already invested in other big high street brands, such as KFC, Domino’s, Costa Coffee and O2, and see Anytime Fitness as a perfect fit for their growing franchise portfolio. Last year, 25 per cent of our new territory sales were to existing franchisees wanting to expand, having opened a successful club.”

As well as compelling growth figures, Anytime Fitness offers a number of additional benefits that set it apart from its competitors. These include a fixed management franchise fee and a steady income through direct debit collections. Health club members join for 12 months, paying an average £30 per month, giving them access to more than 3,600 clubs around the world, 24 hours a day.

Mr Edwards says: “Anytime Fitness has outpaced the growth of some of the well-known franchise brands – growth that has been upheld by a well-developed support mechanism, which franchisees follow, and includes everything they need to set up and run a club. No other gym-franchise operator in the UK has opened as many clubs and has this level of experience.

“A typical franchisee is looking to invest in a growth sector, wants to achieve a better lifestyle and be part of a growing brand which gives them a healthy return on their investments. Many of the Anytime Fitness franchisees have chosen to escape the corporate rat race and be their own boss.

“Whether they have ambitions of running one club, or opening five or more clubs, our franchisees can build a very successful business and achieve a healthy work-life balance. We know that if we find the right people, who are highly motivated, focused, engaged and can follow the model, they will succeed.”

Contact Anytime Fitness and start your journey now