Are gym franchises the worst possible idea?



Post Category: For Gym Owners


If you want to open a gym, there are 3 basic options all with pros and cons.

  1. Open a franchise

  2. Open an affiliate

  3. Open under your own name and model 

Let’s break down each of these to see if opening a franchise is a good idea or not.

Franchise model

The best thing about working in a franchise model is that you don’t have to create anything new; nearly everything has been done for you. 

You don’t have to select equipment or, in many cases, even vet locations.

All you have to do is find a place that checks all the boxes, and you’re ready to roll. 

All of the backend software and systems are taken care of, media packages, the works. 

Franchises are as close as you can get to a plug-and-play system. 

The downside of franchises is that you have no iterative control over your product. 

If you own an Orange Theory, F45, or Planet Fitness, you color within the lines they’ve set, or you get fined/possibly lose your business. 

You agree to abide by those rules when you sign the franchise agreement. 

Affiliate model

The affiliate model is the middle ground between a franchise and creating your own system. Affiliate models typically require a specific level of branded certification along with varying degrees of operating parameters. 

The most well-known version of an affiliate model is CrossFit. 

You must have a CrossFit Level 1 certification to open an affiliate, carry a certain level of insurance, post the CrossFit Journal link on your website, pay the affiliate fee, and you’re good to go. 

Beyond that, CrossFit doesn’t interfere with or directly support your business, which is a double-edged sword. You get tons of freedom, but they won't be there to bail you out if you don’t know how to manage that freedom and your business. 

That being said, CrossFit has a huge brand that you get to be a part of when you become an affiliate. 

When people see CrossFit on the sign, they know what to expect. 

There’s very little uncertainty about what they’ll see if they walk through the door, and that’s a massive marketing advantage. 

Create your own model

Creating your own model/brand is the highest friction option, but it also provides the most freedom. 

You don’t have to answer to any corporation or brand. 

You just have to run a profitable business, which is easier said than done. 

You don’t have the support or systems of a franchised model, and you don’t have the built-in brand recognition of something like CrossFit. 

In other words, although the upside to creating your own model is theoretically limitless, the work required to get it off the ground is considerably greater. 

A fourth option?

Up until now, you’ve had to pick your poison from those three versions, but now there’s a fourth option.

The Active Life Model

The Active Life Model takes the standard gym business and turns it on its head. 

The Active Life Model is different on multiple fronts.

As you can see, the type of client it serves is different than most micro gyms, and because of that, working in the Active Life Model allows you to solve more valuable problems. 

Instead of solving low-margin problems like sweat angels and high fives, you get to help the people who have been ignored by both the fitness and medical industries, problems that people are willing to spend quality dollars to solve. 

So what is it really?

The Active Life Model isn’t a franchise or an affiliate model; it’s a mentorship program that teaches you how to run a profitable gym business, train professional staff who can make a career working in your facility, and help you provide desperately needed fitness services to the people who need it the most. 

If you’d like to learn more, book a call below.

Schedule your discovery call

Book a call with our team to discuss how you can start your journey with Active Life 

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