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Pros and Cons of Owning a Franchise Gym

Pros and Cons of Owning a Franchise Gym

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®) on December 3, 2023 ā€” Updated on December 3, 2023

Read these pros and cons of owning a franchise gym before you decide to start a gym franchise.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Franchise Gym

Pros and Cons of Owning a Franchise Gym

Owning a franchise gym involves operating under a well-known brand, bringing its own set of unique advantages and challenges. As a franchise owner, you benefit from brand recognition and established business models, but also face constraints in terms of creativity and autonomy. Tools like Exercise.com can help franchise gym owners streamline their operations, adhering to franchise standards while maximizing efficiency and member satisfaction.

Leveraging a gym management system like Exercise.com can help franchise gym owners navigate some of these challenges. It can ensure smooth operation within the constraints of the franchise model, from member management to compliance with franchisor reporting requirements, all while enhancing the member experience.

Fitness Income Ideas

Read the below pros and cons to starting a franchise gym, and then learn how to increase gym revenue and profit with powerful software from Exercise.com. Finding the right software is key for running a successful gym. Learn the things you should know before opening a gym and then see why Exercise.com is the overall best gym management software, the best boutique fitness studio software, the best sports performance gym software, and more.

Exercise.com is simply the best. We were using three or four different apps or softwares to do what we can now do all in one with the Exercise.com platform.
Brandon Stroupe
Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

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Pros of Owning a Franchise Gym

  1. Brand Recognition: Operating under a recognized brand can attract members more easily than starting a new, unknown gym.
  2. Proven Business Model: Franchise gyms come with a tried-and-tested business model, reducing the risk and guesswork involved in gym management.
  3. Marketing and Advertising Support: Franchisors often provide substantial marketing support, which can be a significant advantage.
  4. Training and Support: Franchises typically offer extensive training and ongoing support, helping you navigate the challenges of gym management.
  5. Economies of Scale: Purchasing equipment and supplies through a franchise can be cheaper due to bulk buying and brand partnerships.
  6. Network of Franchisees: Being part of a franchise allows you to connect with other franchisees to share insights and strategies.
  7. Financing Assistance: Some franchisors offer financing options or assistance to help you get started.
  8. Member Trust: The established reputation of a franchise can instill a sense of trust and reliability in potential members.
  9. Pre-Set Systems and Processes: Franchises come with established systems for everything from employee training to member management, streamlining operations.
  10. Opportunities for Expansion: Successful franchisees may have opportunities to open additional locations under the same brand.

Read More:

Cons of Owning a Franchise Gym

  1. Initial Franchise Fees: Starting a franchise gym often involves high initial fees, which can be a significant financial barrier.
  2. Ongoing Royalty Fees: Franchisees are typically required to pay ongoing royalties, which can impact long-term profitability.
  3. Limited Autonomy: As a franchisee, you have limited freedom to make changes to the gym, from the layout to the services offered.
  4. Dependence on Franchisor’s Reputation: Your business is tied to the franchisor’s brand, meaning any negative publicity can directly impact your gym.
  5. Contractual Obligations: Franchise agreements often come with strict contractual obligations and terms, limiting your flexibility.
  6. Market Saturation: In some areas, certain franchises may be oversaturated, making it difficult to attract members.
  7. Limited Territory: Franchise agreements may restrict your ability to open new locations or limit your operational territory.
  8. Inflexibility in Pricing and Offerings: Franchise gyms often have standardized pricing and offerings, which you must adhere to regardless of local market conditions.
  9. Required Conformity to Systems: You must conform to the franchisorā€™s systems and policies, even if you believe a different approach would be more effective.
  10. Potential for Conflicts with Franchisor: Disagreements or conflicts with the franchisor over management practices or development can arise.

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Exercise.com, with its comprehensive gym management software, can help alleviate many of these cons. From simplifying operational tasks to providing innovative technological solutions, it aids gym owners in focusing more on the pros of their business. By managing bookings, member retention strategies, and providing robust reporting tools, Exercise.com supports gym owners in navigating the complexities of the fitness business landscape.

Here’s just some of what you can do on the Exercise.com platform:

Process payments for open gym, classes, and personal training.

Gym Payments

Create gym landing pages easily.

Landing Pages

Manage fitness challenges (Read More: 100+ Fitness Challenge Ideas)


Manage clients and gym members with ease.

Client Management

Book appointments for parents and dependents with ease. (Read More: Best Gym Booking Software)


Gym check-in software that makes your life easy. (Read More: Best Gym Check-In Software)


Communicate with gym members, athletes, team members, personal training clients, class members, parents, and dependents via SMS, email, and in-app push notification.

AMPD Golf Performance
“Working with Exercise.com and their team has been an amazing experience and a dream come true in terms of accomplishing a vision! Their workout technology has helped us effectively engage our community, and I highly recommend Exercise.com to grow your business!”
Andrew Banner
Co-Founder, AMPD Golf Performance

Get a demo now!

What are the disadvantages of a gym franchise?

Disadvantages of a gym franchise include high initial franchise fees, ongoing royalty payments, less freedom in business decisions, and strict adherence to the franchisor’s rules and systems. Franchisees may also face competition with other franchise locations.

Is it worth it to franchise a gym?

Franchising a gym can be worth it for those seeking to leverage a recognized brand and proven business model. However, the decision depends on individual goals, the level of support desired, and financial considerations.

Can you make money owning a gym franchise?

Yes, you can make money owning a gym franchise. Success depends on location, the franchise’s brand strength, effective management, and the ability to retain and grow membership.

What is the failure rate of gym franchises?

The failure rate of gym franchises is generally lower than that of independent gym startups, due to established brand recognition and support. However, like any business, success is not guaranteed and depends on various factors.

Is opening a gym a risky business?

Opening a gym can be risky, as it requires significant investment and faces challenges like competition, fluctuating memberships, and evolving fitness trends. Effective planning and management can mitigate these risks.

Read More: Is opening a gym risky?

What is the biggest issue with gyms?

The biggest issue with gyms often involves maintaining a steady stream of members and standing out in a competitive market. Additionally, gyms must continuously invest in equipment and facilities to keep members engaged.

How long before a gym is profitable?

A gym may take several years to become profitable, typically 2-3 years. This timeframe can vary based on factors like location, gym size, and effective management strategies.

How much do gym owners actually make?

The income of gym owners varies widely. Some owners of small gyms may earn a modest income, while owners of larger or multiple gym locations can earn a significant profit.

Read More: How much do gym owners make?

What is the average profit from owning a gym?

The average profit from owning a gym varies greatly, but can range from $1,000 to $10,000 per month for small to medium-sized gyms. Large or franchised gyms can earn much more.

Read More: Most Profitable Fitness Business Models

How much money do you need to start a gym franchise?

Starting a gym franchise typically requires a significant investment, often ranging from $100,000 to over $1 million, depending on the franchise brand and location specifics.

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How much investment do I need to open a gym?

To open an independent gym, investment can range from $50,000 for a basic setup to over $1 million for a larger, more equipped facility. Costs include equipment, location lease, and operating expenses.

Read More:

How many members does a gym need to be successful?

The number of members required for a gym to be successful varies, but a mid-sized gym typically needs 300-500 active members to remain profitable.

Read More: How many members does the average gym have?

What is the hardest part of owning a gym?

The hardest part of owning a gym is often attracting and retaining members, managing finances effectively, and staying competitive in a rapidly changing fitness industry.

Read More: What do gym owners struggle with?

What are the disadvantages of a gym business?

Disadvantages of a gym business include high startup and operational costs, the need for continuous equipment upgrades, and challenges in member retention and differentiation in a competitive market.

Read More: Common Gym Owner Problems and Solutions

Why do so many people fail in gym?

Many gym owners fail due to poor financial management, lack of market research, inadequate business planning, and underestimating the competitive nature of the fitness industry.

Read More: Reasons Gyms Fail

How can Exercise.com help me run my gym business?

Exercise.com can help run a gym business by offering comprehensive gym management software. This includes features like membership management, workout and nutrition programming, scheduling, billing, and reporting. The platformā€™s ability to streamline operations, coupled with its marketing and engagement tools, makes it an invaluable asset for gym owners looking to grow their business and improve member satisfaction.

Read More:

Jimmy Myers Relentless Sports Performance
If you want to offer an elite service for the end user you need to get with the times and use elite level software that is intuitive, visually appealing, and effective. That is exactly what Exercise.com delivers to its clients.
Jimmy Myers
Owner/Trainer, Relentless Sports Performance

Get a demo now!

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning SpecialistĀ® (CSCSĀ®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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