We are currently living in a new age of health and wellness. In 2017 alone, the U.S. health and fitness industry generated 30 billion dollars, which has made the U.S. the single biggest market globally in health and fitness. Of that 30 billion dollars, 18.5 percent of the U.S. population are health or fitness club members generating profit for fitness centers like Planet Fitness or Orangetheory®.
From social media fitness influencers to an overall trend of Americans trying to eat and live healthier, there’s no better time to invest in the industry.
However, running a successful fitness center requires an unmatched passion for the industry and a unique work ethic that not just anyone is fit to handle. Here are some important factors to consider if you’re thinking about jumping into this fast-paced industry of health and fitness.
Prepare for starting capital
Between expensive equipment, large space rentals, and amenities, the starting capital for fitness centers is no small feat and your initial investment is worth consideration. Depending on which fitness center you want to work with, your investment can range anywhere from $100,000 to $1,000,000.
While your return on investment may make the initial investment more than worthwhile, it’s still important to consider the upfront cost, especially if you’re working within a limited budget. Choose your franchise carefully, noting the difference in investment cost between multiple options and be sure to work with your accountant to determine the best way for you to secure financing.
Expect a multifaceted job
As a fitness center owner, you’ll be doing much more than just owning the franchise. Especially at the beginning, you’ll be expected to help run the fitness center as it gains its footing. Anticipate jumping in as a trainer, cleaner, accountant, customer service representative, and much more while the business begins to grow. For those who enjoy wearing many hats and staying busy, you’ll never be bored in this career.
Not only will this job keep you on your toes with different challenges and tasks, it’s also not your
typical nine to five job. In order to cater to the professional demographic, fitness centers need to be open before 9am and much past 5pm. At times your hours may be long and inconsistent, which is important to consider before committing to the industry.
Be willing to get out of your comfort zone
The fitness industry is ever-changing. From health trends and boutique fitness offerings to revolutionary wearable technology and innovative health apps, it’s important as a fitness franchise owner that you’re willing to change and leave your comfort zone.
There’s no denying that boutique fitness has taken the lead in fitness trends recently. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) found that 42% of health club members were members of a studio, which includes boutique fitness and discipline-specific facilities. The consequence of boutique fitness on the industry as a whole is ensuring your fitness center is ready with offerings to compete against the market’s biggest players.
While you may be trained in one specific area of fitness like strength training or kickboxing, your franchise fitness center may require you to offer everything from swim aerobics and Pilates to HIIT classes and barre in order to compete. This requires a willingness to learn new fitness types out of your comfort zone and stay ahead of industry trends.
If you’re passionate about one area of fitness specifically, you may want to consider owning a discipline-specific franchise that will let you explore your passion even further. Just note that in this ever-changing industry, one discipline may not have the evergreen popularity that you’ll want from a business venture.
From wearable technology to fitness apps, innovative technology is ever-present in the health and fitness industry. This is especially important if you want to capture the attention and loyalty of millennial customers, who use fitness apps more than any other age demographic. Of the participants surveyed, 46 percent wanted as much quantifiable data on their health as possible and 54 percent are likely to buy a body-analyzing device like a Fitbit.
While pioneering new technology won’t be in your job description, providing it and creating an environment that facilitates it will be. Staying curious about new technology in the fitness industry will be essential to providing the right experience to your customers.
Being excited to learn and open to trying new things is essential to owning a fitness center. Those who are set in their ways need not apply.
The fitness industry is growing and continues to have offer new opportunities to entrepreneurs who are looking for their next big business venture. However, in this industry, passion and exceptional work ethic are required for success. With the right drive, expertise, and attitude for change, there’s no reason you can’t set up a great financial future with your very own fitness center.