Starting a Fitness Franchise: Here’s What You Need to Know

Now that fitness and a healthy living is becoming increasingly popular, A fitness franchise is a good investment now that fitness and healthy living is becoming increasingly popular. According to industry research, fitness and gym franchises will likely boom  over the next five years thanks to a more health-conscious population in the U.S. This is good news if you’re planning to franchise a fitness gym. 

So if you want to know how to start a fitness franchise, here are the things you need to start:

Get the right credentials first

Offering fitness training to people, especially to those who have special needs, requires some sort of certification and credentials. The point is that your clients need to be able to trust your instructions and feel safe with the training you give them. Before you go through the business side of things, you should at least be certified as a fitness trainer. But if you’re just planning to be the head of operations, then you’d need people who have the right credentials to work for you.

Take care of ‘initial’ business needs

That is, you should have a business plan and a marketing strategy in place.

Sure, you don’t have to start from scratch with a fitness franchise. However, you should understand your competition if you’ll be having one near your area. Also, there must be a market demand for your services as a fitness provider. Most importantly, you should have the budget and the means to start your fitness franchise. This should include securing the necessary permits to operate and other specific guidelines that you should follow to start. 

You can apply for an EIN

If you’re not familiar with what EIN means, it’s simply an abbreviation for an employer identification number.

With an EIN in place, you can open a business account, build up your credit score for the business, keep away from credit problems and much more to help your business. 

Don’t worry, the application through the IRS is fairly easy since you can do it online. The turnaround time is also quick, all things considered. 

You may choose not to go and apply for EIN, but if you want to get your hands on those employer benefits, then go ahead and apply for one. 

Know your fund sources

Starting a business will always be expensive. So you definitely need money to get started. 

The question is, where are you going to get your funds?

If you saved up for the business, that’s great. 

But if you’re short on cash and you need some cash flow or some other way to afford fitness equipment, then you can consider the following options:

  • SBA Loans

Banks in partnership with the Small Business Administration in the U.S. can offer you loans to finance your business. The lending standards are tight. However, it’s a good loan to get with low interest rates and really flexible payment terms. 

  • Business Credit Extension

Another option is the credit extension. According to SBA, business credit extension is the “single biggest source of small business lending” in the states. With this method, you are able to apply for a loan and extend your credit to buy fitness equipment for your fitness franchise. 

  • Equipment Financing

Since fitness gyms need a lot of equipment with some being really expensive, you can go for equipment financing to buy whatever you need even if you have a low cash flow. However, the same equipment you bought will be the security against the loan you took. This only means that you need to be on time with your payments or your fitness gym will be without any equipment. 

How to start a fitness franchise the right way

Everyone wants to be healthy, but not everyone wants to hit the gym to be fit or be healthy. 

With that thought in mind, here are a few things you can do to ensure a successful fitness franchise.

Make things fun. 

Fitness is almost synonymous to “no fun.” So instead of just focusing on the business side of things, make connections and develop a rapport with your client base. Be the kind of fitness franchise that offers motivation and energy to get through every fitness routine. If your clients enjoy your gym, they will be the only advertisement you need to introduce your business to their friends and family.

Be professional (and hire professionals!)

You will never be able to get any client, unless the people you need for your business feel safe with you. 

Which is why you need to make sure that you have a fitness franchise that offers quality service to your customer base – most especially if you want to provide specialized classes. 

When it comes to fitness, people trust those who are professionals because they know exactly what they’re doing. Even if you’re just starting, helping others reach their fitness goals shows your knowledge and credibility in getting the job done. 

A reliable staff who can offer solid and expert fitness training is one of the keys for you to build a strong fitness franchise.

Have an online presence.

If you want clients to know about you, the best way to do it is get in front of your market on social media. Nowadays, people are spending more and more time on Facebook and even Instagram. Let them know that you offer fitness training to help them achieve their goals for a better and healthier living. You can also use social media as your portfolio to give your prospects a glimpse of what you can do for them when they train with you. 

Make your fitness gym a place to hangout.

Instead just making your fitness gym a place to burn calories, lose weight or get toned, make it a place where your clients would want to hangout and go to from time to time; after work, when they have free time, or whenever they feel like they need the peace and enjoyment that comes with fitness training. 

Your gym can have special training sessions or even a fun corner where your clients can enjoy their workout routines and do without the boring stuff that is associated with most fitness gyms.


Before, fitness training for the special population was not something you’d find in most fitness gyms. That’s why when the idea hit him, Daniel Stein started Special Strong to offer adaptive and inclusive fitness to people with special needs. Special Strong has become synonymous with adaptive fitness training where all people are welcome to get fit and be trained, especially those with special needs. 

One of the keys to a successful fitness franchise is a quality service that is unique and specialized to cater a certain demographic. It might not be easy to grow as fast as other gym franchises, but you can build strong especially when you acquire a loyal customer base and get good trainers to help build your business. 

If you’re still on the fence on starting a fitness franchise, here are some of the best benefits that might convince you to get into the business:

Instant brand recognition

One of the reasons why franchises really work well is that you get a brand that is easily recognized by your target market.

It’s the same way with fitness franchises. 

You already have a customer base. All you have to do is get in front of them.  

By franchising a fitness gym that is recognized already, finding your client base will not be too hard.

Another good benefit of a franchise is you don’t have to worry about marketing yourself. They will have a marketing plan in place, which is perfect even if you’re just starting. 

Ongoing support and training

Starting a business all on your own can be difficult.

With a franchise business, you don’t have to be alone. There are a lot of things you need to learn when starting a business. 

The good thing is that franchisors often offer ongoing support to help you with your business. There are trainings to help you build the necessary skills and business acumen to help your fitness franchise get off the ground right. 

Better profit margins

One of the benefits of a franchise business is the higher and better profit margins. Compared to a startup business that has no support or whatsoever from a parent company, a franchise business has more security when it comes to return of investment. 

Proven success rate

If you look at it closely, only 2 out of 10 startups make it and become successful. With franchises, it’s 9 out of 10. It’s a no-brainer that franchises have very little failure rate and if you’re willing to put in the work, you can also make a success of your fitness franchise. 

Starting your own fitness franchise can be a lot of work – and it is! But with the right franchisor, you can get all the things you need to get started and help people live healthier and more fulfilling lives. 

If you would like to learn more about owning a rewarding Special Strong franchise, we encourage you to reach out to us today for more information.