Should you start your own or consider aligning with a personal training franchise?
It can be difficult to tell whether or not you should start your own personal training business or align with a personal training franchise. There are benefits with both approaches and there are also reasons that may encourage one not to consider either approach. This article should help provide clarity on the reasons you may consider aligning with a franchise or if you would be better suited for your own business without the franchise.
Reasons that people franchise
There are a lot of reasons that people end up choosing a franchise. The reasons vary from person to person and it may wind up just being a personal preference. There are 5 big reasons that people end up choosing a franchise over opening an independent operation in the same industry. The brand recognition, support systems, training, marketing, and discounted buying power that franchises offer can be worth the amount of money that franchisees pay each month.
- 1. Brand recognition
The ability to have name and brand recognition from day 1 of operations is a high motivator for people to franchise. The name of the business is important and often determines the success or failure of a business based on how people recognize that name.
Consumers are more likely to enter a personal training franchise then they are a non-franchised facility because of the brand recognition. They already trust the name that they have heard of rather than the name that they have never heard. The ability to have a good reputation prior to opening the doors on the first day is worth every penny of the franchise fee.
- 2. Support systems
Many franchises offer support systems for their franchisees. Whether they offer business counceling or a community of franchise owners, this support is invaluable. Having a network of people to rely on when business is difficult can mean the difference between keeping the doors open and closing them. The community of people who own businesses with the same plan and name can be a great asset when a business owner needs a little help.
- 3. Training
Training is a fantastic element of a franchise. The training provided is usually oriented on the business processes, procedures, systems and specialties. For example Fit Body Boot Camp offers its’ franchisees a 6 day university in which they come to learn all about operations and they receive fitness training. For a personal training franchise it is important to have a common element of training so that the experience is the same from franchise to franchise (that is part of the appeal of a franchise in the first place).
Systems and operations training can also be a valuable time saver. Many new personal trainers have a hard time in developing their own systems and operations standards especially when they are operating out of their own facility. The ability to skip this learning phase of business and have a well-designed operations platform is one of the many reasons that people franchise.
- 4. Marketing
The ability to assign a marketing budget and forget about the rest of the marketing elements is a very good reason that people franchise. Most personal training franchise opportunities will include marketing in their franchise agreements. The best part about receiving marketing support from a franchise is that it is a proven system. If the marketing that they designed was unsuccessful they would not be a franchise.
Access to proven marketing strategies gives a personal trainer an edge in their local market. Marketing is the most important element in maintaining membership levels in any fitness oriented business. This is even truer of personal training operations as the attrition rates are about 1 in 3. The constant influx of new customers will ensure positive growth numbers and more income with less effort on the business owner’s part.
- 5. Discounted buying power
Everyone knows that buying in bulk saves money. The bulk buying discounts are often something that a franchisor can provide its franchisee. Cutting 10-15% off of the initial cost of furnishing a gym can provide a substantial amount of capital to go toward other aspects of operations and startup. A personal training franchise should be able to provide access to either discounted equipment or discounted leasing terms. The savings will not likely be overshadowed by the franchise fee either meaning it is savings that will actually be able to be used for another part of the business.
A franchise will be successful
A Gallup study found that 91% of franchises were open 7 years after their launch date. This compared to 20% of business that started operations independently. The difference in these numbers is huge. There is no denying that given the opportunity most business owners would like to be in operation 7 years after their opening date. The support outlined above that franchises provide is the reason that the franchises see vastly different success rates than independent operations.
Reasons not to franchise
Why wouldn’t someone want to take advantage of a vast network of support systems and a higher success rate? Some people do not like the feeling that they are not the real owner of the business. Others simply do not have the initial investment capital, which can be higher in a franchise situation. Finally there are some people who prefer to operate as an independent business no matter what disadvantage it means. It is simply a matter of principle to them and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Should you franchise
If you want access to marketing materials, instant brand recognition and a proven success rate then a personal training franchise is something that you should do. Aligning yourself with a franchise is likely to only make you more successful. The small franchise fees could even be looked at as just another form of insurance. They ensure success by giving access to proven business models and successful marketing techniques. Franchising is a better option for most people wanting to open a personal training business.