If you’re thinking of opening a gym studio, then there’s no shortage of fitness franchises to choose from. For first-time business owners, buying a franchise can seem like a safer option than going it alone. But how profitable are these franchise opportunities?

In this article – we explore the best fitness franchises to consider if you’re thinking of starting a gym business, including costs and profitability.

We’re a specialist fitness marketing agency with 15+ years of industry experience, so we know first-hand what works (and what doesn’t!). We’ve helped gyms, fitness studios, and franchisees to successfully promote their businesses, so our strategies are tried and tested.

Fitness Franchise Market Overview

Fitness is a growth market. Despite the challenges faced by gyms (and other bricks and mortar businesses) in recent years, demand for training remains strong. In fact, many franchises have actually expanded over the last year

As obesity levels grow and younger generations increasingly prioritise health, the fitness industry looks set to flourish. It’ll definitely need to adapt to new trends and online shifts, but demand will only increase. Franchises can be a great way to tap into this rising tide.

In Entrepreneur’s annual franchise list for 2024, there are three fitness brands in the top 100. These are…

  • #29 – Crunch
  • #77 – Anytime Fitness
  • #96 – Orange Theory

But there are numerous other options in the top 500. Here’s a comprehensive list of health and fitness franchise opportunities currently available…

  • Gyms – Gold’s Gym, Planet Fitness, F45 Training, Workout Anytime 24/7
  • Fitness Studios – Club Pilates, Pure Barre, The Barre Code, CycleBar & Jazzercise
  • Nutritional Supplements – GNC, Max Muscle Sports Nutrition, Complete Nutrition, Liquid Nutrition
  • Swimming Coaching – Goldfish Swim School, British Swim School USA, SwimLabs
  • Smoothie & Juice Bars – Smoothie King, Tropical Smoothie Café, Nekter Juice Bar & Juice It Up!
  • Kickboxing – Tapout, 9Round Fitness, UFC, CKO & iLoveKickboxing.Com
  • Other Fitness – Gym Guyz, The Little Gym Int’l, My Gym Children’s Fitness Center, D1 Training & The Exercise Coach

Learn more about franchise opportunities and trends in our comprehensive fitness industry report…

2024 Fitness Industry Market Report

Buying a Fitness Franchise – Pros & Cons

If you’re thinking of buying a gym franchise, then it’s important to weigh up the benefits and disadvantages. Owning a franchise isn’t right for everyone so it’s vital to do your research. Let’s look at the pros and cons on both sides…

Benefits

The benefits of owning a gym franchise include… 

  • Less risk of failure since you’re following a proven business model
  • Marketing and promotions are either created or taken care of for you
  • Access to funding and business loans that may not be offered to independent fitness start-ups
  • An established brand can make it easier to sell memberships
  • Discounts on fitness equipment through preferred supplier programs
  • Support from the head office can reduce the workload and staff costs locally
  • No need to create and test processes from scratch since everything is provided

Disadvantages

Disadvantages of owning a gym franchise include…

  • Franchise fees and ongoing payments can reduce profitability
  • Little flexibility to be creative in branding, marketing, or gym design 
  • Reliance on head office for decisions and resources can slow implementation
  • Negative press stories about other locations can damage your brand locally
  • Limited choice of equipment and suppliers may mean you don’t always get the cheapest deals available
  • Fewer exit strategies available than an independent gym owner

Is Owning a Gym Franchise Profitable?

Owning a gym franchise can be profitable – the average Crunch franchise for example generates over $500k annual profit. You may be ‘in the red’ for the first year as you strive to recoup the initial investment, but many fitness franchises are profitable from year 2. 

However, opting for a franchise doesn’t guarantee profitability. They can offer a proven blueprint for success but your gym needs to be in the right location. Without this, no amount of marketing or hard work can turn things around. So do your research carefully. 

Best Gym Franchise Opportunities

If you’ve weighed up your options and are keen to explore more details, here’s a list of the best gym franchises to consider. Whether you’re looking for a boutique concept or working on a tight budget, we’ve got you covered…

#1 – Crunch

Crunch was ranked #29 in recent franchise lists and is another brand that’s weathered the tough times pretty well. A Crunch franchise costs anywhere from $671k to $3.3m to start which puts it at the pricier end of the spectrum. However, it does offer healthy financial opportunities in return…

  • Average sales – $1.97m
  • Average profit – $523k
  • Typical number of members – 6585

#2 – Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness franchises have fared less well in recent years and are currently ranked #77 in Entrepreneur’s annual list of opportunities. However, they have a strong brand presence and the largest number of gyms with 4700+ globally. So despite current industry challenges, they have a solid base and plans to continue growth.

An Anytime Fitness franchise costs anywhere between $98,430 to $523,824 to start. An impressive 60% of their franchisees own multiple clubs which is a testament to their business model. And they’re currently looking for more partners in numerous countries around the world – see the full list here.

#3 – Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness has been a consistently high-performing franchise business, despite the challenges of recent years. It has over 2000 locations and 12+ million members across the USA, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and Panama. Typical financials for their franchises are…

  • Annual membership revenue – $1.7m
  • Annual operating income – $567k
  • ROI – 25% (after 2 years)

Although it was ranked the #8 in the latest global franchise list, Planet FItness isn’t taking on new franchisees at the time of writing.

#4 – F45 Training

The F45 Training concept is a bit different from the traditional gyms we’ve covered so far. Their offering revolves around HIIT and circuit classes that combine equipment and calisthenics in a group environment. This means they’re well-positioned to tap into current fitness trends along with cultural shifts towards more social activities.  

F45 Training was regularly ranked in Entrepreneur’s franchise list prior to 2024 and is one of the few fitness brands that’s continued to grow in tough market conditions. They cost approximately $313k-$485k to get started.

#5 – Burn Boot Camp

Burn Boot Camp is the new kid on the fitness franchising block and is currently ranked #319 by Entrepreneur. It leap-frogged established brands like Orange Theory, Snap, and Retro Fitness to establish itself in the top 100 two years back. It costs $182k-$448k to establish a franchise and generates $560k in annual revenue on average.

2024 Fitness Industry Market Report

FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions that people ask about fitness franchising.

How much does a gym franchise cost?

A gym franchise costs between $5000-$100,000.

How much does a Planet Fitness franchise cost?

Opening a Planet Fitness can cost anywhere from $900k to $4.6m, however, at the time of writing they aren’t accepting new franchisee applications.

What’s the cheapest gym franchise?

The cheapest gym franchise to open is typically Anytime Fitness or a studio like Burn Boot Camp or Club Pilates.

What are the best boutique fitness franchises?

The top boutique options include Spenga and Pure Barre.

2024 Fitness Industry Report

This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date industry research report available. Unlike others, you get extended access to the 2024 edition, including any updates that are made as new market data becomes available. Ideal for business planning, the report includes;

  • Fitness industry revenue & growth by market segment
  • Gym market size, growth & membership statistics
  • Online & virtual fitness market developments
  • Financial information for the largest club operators globally
  • Biggest & fastest growing fitness franchises
  • Insights into the boutique fitness studio & personal training segments
  • Latest industry trends & how to capitalise on them
  • Growth markets, segments & audiences including Millennials
  • Data on fitness tracker, app & equipment segments
  • Outlook & evidence-based predictions for the future of the industry
  • 14-day money-back guarantee, no questions or hassle.
2024 Fitness Industry Market Report
Fitness Report Clients

Caroline @ Wellness Creative Co

Qualified personal trainer (BSc Sports Science) & nutritionist (MSc Human Nutrition) with 15+ years of fitness & wellness marketing experience working with global brands.