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How to Open a Gym Franchise in 2023 

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Have you ever wondered how to open a gym franchise? Gym and fitness franchises account for approximately $7 billion of the massive $30.6 billion US health and fitness industry. As more people embrace a healthy lifestyle, the demand for exceptional workout facilities continues to rise. 

Becoming a franchise owner can be a great way to break into the fitness industry. But that doesn’t mean that success is guaranteed. In this article, we’ll explore some of the things you need to consider before deciding whether opening a gym franchise is right for you.

How to Open a Gym Franchise 

It’s crucial to do your homework before deciding whether or not to start a fitness franchise. Let’s dive into some of the key factors to consider before getting started.

Weigh the pros and cons

Opening a gym franchise can be rewarding, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Just like with any other business venture, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before making the decision to invest. We’ll cover these in greater detail below, but here are some of the main pros and cons to consider.  

Pros of owning a gym franchise: 

  • Brand recognition
  • Proven business model
  • Training and ongoing support

Cons of owning a gym franchise: 

  • Strict guidelines
  • High upfront costs
  • Parent company dependence

Consider your options

Deciding which brand is right for you is one of the first steps to take. Doing your research will help you sift through all the options available. You’ll want to consider external factors like required investment, location, and fitness type (e.g. classic gym or boutique studio) in addition to internal factors like your passion and experience level.

Here are some examples of the most popular franchises to invest in

  • Anytime Fitness
  • Planet Fitness
  • Orangetheory Fitness
  • F45
  • UFC Gyms
  • Pure Barre
  • Gold’s Gym

Our partners over at ABC Trainerize also have an excellent guide to finding fitness franchise success: you can find the full guide here.


Doing your research is crucial to making sound business decisions. First, consider speaking with current and former franchise owners to learn more about their experience. Then, look up the track record of each company you’re interested in. Moreover, make sure you understand how franchises work on every level — including your role within it — to ensure you’re giving the business the best possible chance of success.

Get the numbers

Once you have completed initial research, it’s time to get into numbers!

How much it costs to open a gym franchise is obviously an important factor. You will generally pay a one-time fee in addition to ongoing fees as a percentage of total revenue. Therefore you’ll need to understand both the initial franchise fee as well as the estimated total initial investment when comparing options. These amounts will be different for every company.

You’ll also want to look into other data points like number of members and locations as well as growth rate year-over-year. Taken together, this information will help you decide which franchise to invest in.

Write a business plan

So, you’ve made up your mind to go the franchising route and have found the perfect brand to join—fantastic! Now, it’s time to create a killer business plan that will set you up for success.

Don’t think you need one? While joining a gym franchise provides many advantages, the ultimate success of the venture still relies on you. Creating a comprehensive business plan provides a roadmap for success, ensures strategic decision-making, and helps secure financing from stakeholders.

Secure financing

Franchises may have a higher ROI than a startup, but you’ll still need some serious funds to get started. Begin by assessing your own finances to decide what you can realistically afford. This will help you narrow down your options to gyms whose investment levels are on par with your finances. 

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Depending on how you’ll use the funds, you may also consider outside funding sources like a business loan or a third-party investor. Certain franchises may offer guidance or their own financing solutions. So when in doubt, discuss your options with the company. 

Get permits

As with any other business, it’s essential to secure the necessary permits and licenses when opening a gym franchise. This includes obtaining building permits for renovations and health and safety permits before the grand opening. It’s likely you’ll need licenses and permits in place before receiving equipment and setting up the gym, so don’t leave this to the last minute! 

How much does it cost to open a gym franchise?

The cost of opening a gym franchise can be considerable. The initial investment fee can range from as little as $1250 (Jazzercise Inc.) to as high as $60,000 (Pure Barre). The gym will also require a commercial space and equipment to fill it. 

You’ll also want to consider less obvious costs like: 

  • Legal costs – Including a franchise attorney, business insurance, and other legal expenses.
  • Marketing – To get the word out about your new business and maintain a consistent brand experience across channels. 
  • Quality control – If your plan is to expand and onboard new franchisees, you’ll need to create a comprehensive training program to ensure a high standard is met.
  • Monthly royalties – Generally a percentage of the gym’s gross revenue each month. 

Taking these factors into consideration, the estimated total initial investment — including the initial investment fee — can range from $2405 USD (Jazzercise Inc.) to $5 million (Gold’s Gym). Again, you’ll want to select a brand whose investment levels align with your finances.

Trainerize has also created an in-depth guide to the power of gym branding, which you can find right here

The Pros and Cons of Starting a Gym Franchise

Opening a gym franchise isn’t for everyone. But for the right entrepreneurs, it can be the perfect venture. Now that you understand some of the key deciding factors, let’s evaluate some of the pros and cons of opening a gym franchise. 

Pros of opening a gym franchise:

  • Brand recognition – Joining a gym franchise gives you immediate access to an established brand name, which can attract customers and build trust.
  • Proven business model – Franchises come with a tried-and-tested business model that has proven successful, which minimizes the risks associated with starting from scratch.
  • Training and ongoing support – Franchise owners receive training and ongoing support from the parent company, which equips them with the knowledge and resources needed to run the business effectively.

Cons of opening a gym franchise:

  • Strict guidelines – Franchisees must adhere to strict guidelines and standards set by the parent company, limiting autonomy and flexibility in decision-making.
  • High upfront costs – As we’ve mentioned, opening a gym franchise requires a significant initial investment, including franchise fees, equipment, and facility setup, which can be prohibitive to some entrepreneurs. 
  • Dependence – Franchisees rely on the parent company for continued support, marketing, and operational decisions, making them somewhat dependent on the decisions and actions of the franchisor.

Again, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate these pros and cons before making a decision. We hope that this article has helped make the process a bit easier.

So, what’s next? 

To run a successful gym franchise, you need fitness software that achieves results. 

Glofox has you covered. Our market-leading solution empowers franchise owners like you to scale your business. 

International franchises like 9Round, F45, and Snap Fitness trust our global reach, deep industry experience, and powerful insights and reporting to help them grow. Your business could be next.

Ready to level up? Request a free demo today

We empower you to boost your business

"I think Glofox speaks to lots of different fitness businesses. I looked at a few options, but the Glofox positioning was more flexible. Without it the business wouldn't be scaleable”
Mehdi Elaichouni
Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

Trusted by studios, and global gym chains.

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