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8 Boutique Fitness Franchises to Invest in This Year


Boutique fitness franchises are undoubtedly at the forefront of the fitness industry at the moment. Boutique fitness has brought innovative concepts, attractive branding and in some cases have made fitness a status symbol. It’s no surprise that HIIT, one of the most common boutique concepts, is listed at number 5 on ACSM’s list of fitness trends for 2021. And now with the advent of at-home fitness and online training, boutique fitness is arguably uniquely positioned to benefit in the short term situation of only online services and in the potential long term situation of hybrid services. 

The reason for this lies in the fact boutique fitness is a primarily a group based workout done in classe. This concept is easier to transfer to an online setting and fits better as part of a hybrid offering. It’s no surprise that boutique fitness franchises such as Barry’s Bootcamp were one of the first to go online when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020. The opportunity present in investing in a boutique fitness franchise is still attractive now – especially now as things are beginning to open up around the world.   

In boutique fitness, the price of a membership is usually at the higher end of the scale and is in polar opposite to the low cost, low commitment model of other types of gyms. A premium membership price can mean great profits but only if you work hard to deliver the value that price deserves. Crucially you also need to follow the franchise manual the franchisor gives you. 

By investing in the right boutique concept in a growing niche, you can buy into a promising business with massive potential for expansion. Niches like indoor cycling and HIIT continue to be huge. In this article, we take a look at the current state of the boutique fitness franchise market and nine opportunities worth investing in this year. 

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What is a Boutique Fitness Franchise? 

A boutique fitness center is generally smaller than your standard gym. It tends to specialize in one or two areas of fitness. Rather than encompassing all areas of fitness like a gym with lots of different pieces of equipment, boutique fitness usually specializes in one area. For example, indoor rowing, cycling, HIIT, yoga, and boxing are considered boutique fitness niches. 

Over the last few years, boutique chains have been adding locations and growing at a rapid rate. The boutique fitness experience is intimate, social, fun, and you come out feeling like you’ve given it your all. A boutique studio feels high-end, fitness classes are led by amazing instructors, and you pay to enjoy the type of exercise that you love. 

As with any fitness facility, location proximity plays a big role in who visits your studio. Boutique fitness locations tend to be smaller than a traditional gym which has allowed them to pop up in practically any location. You can continue to differentiate yourself from competitors on the market because you can niche down and offer something specific and unique. 

Boutique fitness franchises give business owners the opportunity to expand at a rapid rate without investing their own capital into additional locations. Now, you have a lot of exciting global franchise opportunities to enter into the boutique fitness franchise market. Fitness brands continue to give their own spin on workouts and products. This means there’s a wide range of choices for a franchisee to invest both their time and money in. 

The Boutique Fitness Franchise Industry 

The pandemic has been the biggest challenge the industry has faced. With facilities temporarily closing, classes going online, and health clubs operating at reduced capacity, it’s been a tough year. The events of the last year have posed challenges for all industries. In the fitness space, businesses had to adapt to digital fitness, social distancing, and enhanced safety and hygiene processes. 

A key takeaway from the pandemic is the need for physical exercise to stay fit and healthy. As home fitness continues to rise in popularity as a convenient and accessible way to exercise, boutique fitness is evolving. Major players in the industry like Barry’s Bootcamp, Xponential, and Equinox continue to innovate and expand at a rapid rate. There’s a huge opportunity to get into the sector with a target audience that has a renewed focus on health and fitness, driving the industry forward. 

The Fitness Founders Podcast delves into the current state of the boutique fitness franchise industry with Debra Strougo and Eric Von Frohlich, the founders of Row House. The pair talk about building Row House into a successful fitness franchise and what the future of the company and industry as a whole looks like. 

Why Invest in a Boutique Fitness Franchise? 

If you’re considering franchising, investing in a boutique fitness franchise is a great option.Here are three reasons why you should invest in a boutique fitness franchise. 

Experience is in Demand 

Boutique fitness is all about the member experience. With top notch facilities, great instructors, and a sense of community, boutique fitness goes beyond physical exercise. The member experience is made up of all the different touchpoints and interactions. In a time where many people feel isolated, the community and social aspects of fitness are in demand. This drives the demand for a complete experience that serves the needs of your members. 

Adam Zeitsiff, the President and CEO of Intelivideo, talks about how fitness operators can create a winning hybrid experience in an episode on The Fitness Founders Podcast. He talks about how franchises can empower franchisees with a hybrid business model and use hyper-personalization to get ahead of the competition. 

Innovation Fuels Interest 

Boutique fitness brands continue to innovate in the fitness sector. Often, they use a combination of proven workouts, science, and technology to create an incredible experience. This innovation fuels further interest. Consumers are looking for ways to make fitness easier and to achieve results. You can see this in how Orangetheory Fitness uses heart rate monitors to get members to work out effectively and see results. Boutique fitness brands take traditional fitness and exercises and put a spin on them. As they continue to innovate and streamline fitness, interest grows. 

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Health is a Priority 

The pandemic has shined a light on the importance of health. Regular exercise and a healthy weight usually mean you have good health indicators. Your chances of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes are naturally lower when you move regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and follow a healthy diet. With government messaging emphasizing health for the last year, consumers are listening. Health is a priority and people are looking for ways to stay healthy more than ever. Whether that means signing up for a digital fitness subscription or heading to their nearest yoga studio, both mental and physical wellness are in the spotlight. 

Andy Peat, the Chief Product Officer of Lift Brands Inc. has an interesting point of view on how franchises are navigating a transformed fitness industry. Andy talks about rising to the top of a large franchise and how SNAP Fitness and 9Round dealt with closing during the coronavirus crisis. 

8 Top Boutique Fitness Franchise to Join in 2021 

If you’re considering investing in a boutique fitness franchise, you have a wide choice of niches and brands to think about. Each franchise has different requirements and fees. With varying costs, you can find a brand that fits your budget, passion, and skills. Here are nine top boutique fitness franchises to join in 2021. 

1. TRIB3

TRIBE3 focuses on giving people a unique and memorable experience with a strong community and HIIT group workout model. The boutique fitness concept offers HIIT workouts in luxe, industrial surroundings. It uses state-of-the-art systems, a proven boutique fitness model, and world-class branding. The international brand already has locations in the UK, Spain, Russia, and Finland, with further international expansion coming soon.

2. Burn Boot Camp 

Burn Boot Camp’s fitness franchise uses 45-minute strength and cardio workouts to transform lives. With over 400 franchise partners, the growing community started in 2012. They want to empower strong women to change their lives. It requires a low-cost investment, an open floor plan, and full support from Burn HQ. In 2021, Burn Boot Camp made it to #90 on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 rankings for the third consecutive year. It’s a sought-after boutique franchise concept. To invest, you need at least $150,000 in liquid capital and a net worth of at least $300,000. 

3. CycleBar 

CycleBar is one of the top indoor cycling fitness franchises available. It’s for all ages and body types. The brand creates a premium indoor cycling experience with instructors or CycleStars who will motivate, inspire, and improve your performance so you can reach your goals. Think nightclub meets indoor cycling. CycleBar put an emphasis on community to empower riders both inside and outside the studio. The brand has over 250 studios open with a growing, loyal following. You need an initial investment of between $346,910 – $487,910.

4. The Bar Method 

The Bar Method is a barre studio that delivers a total full-body workout. It’s designed to strengthen and sculpt using low-impact movements. The Bar Method is unique in the way it was designed by physical therapists. So, it’s effective for a wide range of students, including those with injuries. To own a franchise, the initial cost varies depending on location and studio size. It typically costs between $218,964 and $427,405 to open your own Bar Method studio. 

5. STRIDE Fitness

STRIDE Fitness is a treadmill-based interval training concept backed by leading boutique fitness creator Xponential Fitness. The brand delivers a total-body workout designed for every fitness level, looking to create an inclusive space where anybody can be part of the community, no matter how much of a “runner” you are. An engaging program led by dynamic authorized coaches and utilizing heart-rate monitoring technology, STRIDE offers three signature class formats including interval, endurance-based and strength training. Currently, the franchise is active in 10 states with almost 100 locations and growing. The total investment cost is between $372,412 – $533,512. 

6. The Row House 

The Row House offers a full-body, low-impact workout solely based on indoor rowing. It’s all about creating an immersive experience with the lights down low and music up loud. Everyone rows in sync with one another for a fun and cohesive group experience. You can record your results from each workout and use the Row House app to stay on track. The premium boutique indoor rowing brand has over 300 license locations in 24 states. You need an initial investment of between $247,116 – $483,316

7. 9Round

9Round delves into the kickboxing niche of the boutique fitness world. It creates a unique and fun member experience with proven results. The kickboxing-inspired program uses a combination of circuit, cardio, interval, and functional training. They welcome all abilities and encourage a sense of community. 9Round uses heart rate technology to help members get stronger and maximize each workout. What’s different about 9Round is that there are no class times. You just show up and a trainer will greet you and show you what to do. There are nine stations to work through in 30 minutes. The average investment ranges from $79,175 to $163,275. 

8. Orangetheory Fitness 

Orangetheory Fitness is a big name in the world of fitness. The boutique fitness studio was founded in 2010. The brand uses Splat Points to get members to achieve optimal calorie burn, even after their workout has finished. Currently, it has over 1,300 locations all over the world. Orangetheory continues to dominate the boutique fitness market with a growing and loyal base of followers. It creates an incredible member experience using technology and high-intensity training. Orangetheory requires a total investment of $488,405 to $994,360. 

In Summary 

If you’re considering investing in a fitness franchise, boutique fitness offers a fantastic opportunity. Innovative fitness brands create a unique and exciting way to enter the fitness market. From indoor rowing to HIIT workouts and kickboxing-inspired workouts, there are several boutique brands that put a unique spin on fitness. 

As interest in health and fitness continues to rise, entrepreneurs can take advantage by investing in one of the top boutique fitness franchises. It’s important that you align your skills and interests to a fitness franchise concept that evolves and adapts to changing consumer demands and needs. 

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