What you need to know to open a franchised gym

Wat je moet weten om een sportschool in franchise te openen

Particularly hard hit by the health crisis, the fitness industry has recovered or even exceeded its level of activity in 2022. According to an Xerfi survey, this trend is set to continue until at least 2025.

Is now the ideal time to invest in a gym franchise? Is it profitable to open a gym? Which gym franchise networks should I invest in? Market, budget, networks: we tell you everything you need to know before opening a franchised gym.

According to recent statistics from Xerfi, the fitness sector now boasts over 6 million customers and generates sales in excess of 2 billion euros. This makes it a highly coveted market for the French population, where competition is fierce.

National chains account for 60% of sales outlets, compared with 40% for independents. The market is dominated by brands such as the American CrossFit (700 clubs) and the Dutch Basic Fit (720 clubs). Next come three French networks: Orange Bleue, Keepcool Neoness and Fitness Park Group.

There are also a number of well-established specialist players, such as the BodyHit and Iron BodyFit electrostimulation brands, each with around 100 outlets.

The Xerfi survey predicts that this dynamic will continue to grow until 2025, underpinned by the ambitions of the major networks, the French craze for fitness, and socio-demographic drivers, with a focus on beauty and well-being, which continue to motivate new members.

However, we can’t rule out a period of turbulence that will coincide with the withdrawal of government support, soaring energy prices, rents, salaries, financial charges and repayment of PGE loans. At the same time, competition from low-cost concepts, online coaches and home training is making itself felt.

Opening a franchised gym is no small investment. The machines required for the activity are bulky, and space is needed for classrooms, not to mention changing rooms, showers and relaxation areas. The premises chosen must therefore be large enough to accommodate these various installations. Depending on the concept, a minimum surface area of 400 m2 is required, and the cost of rent can quickly escalate (especially if it’s located in the city center).

As well as taking up space, gym machines are expensive and need regular maintenance and replacement. It’s a major expense not to be overlooked. And that’s not counting all the ancillary facilities: high-tech equipment (screens, sound system, etc.), showers, sauna, steam room, etc.

Last but not least, a gym needs certified trainers: the project owner should therefore think about putting together a qualified team and include the payment of salaries in the gym’s business plan. Some low-cost concepts save on payroll costs by delivering courses on screens, using virtual coaches.

Be that as it may, the initial investment required for a franchised gym project is substantial, ranging from 100,000 to 600,000 euros, depending on the network. However, the return on investment is fairly rapid.

Keepcool, the social sport club

Since its creation in 2002, the Keepcool brand has established itself as a leader in the French-speaking world. It now has over 270 clubs in mainland France, the French overseas departments and territories, as well as in Belgium and Luxembourg.

The brand has top-of-the-range, modern equipment, a variety of sports activities, qualified coaches, proven digital strength and a qualified sales and marketing team. The franchise model enables the company to develop its clubs on a human scale, maintaining close ties with its community.

Keepcool is committed to the human values of respect, personal development, well-being and self-confidence to build a community rich in the diversity of its members. The company requires a personal contribution of 120,000 to 150 euros, and an entry fee of 36,000 euros, for a total investment of 550,000 euros.

BODYHIT, your instant coaching

Founded in 2017, BODYHIT offers a unique training method that combines personalized coaching by state-qualified experts and exclusive muscle electrostimulation technology. This method achieves the equivalent of 4 hours of muscle contraction in just 20 minutes, simultaneously stimulating every muscle in the body.

BODYHIT develops high-end, premium and intimate centers, and benefits from the exclusivity of SYMBIONT technology in France. The brand aims to strengthen its position in France by opening 30 new centers every year.

The franchisor requires a personal contribution of 30,000 euros and an entry fee of 25,000 euros, for an overall investment of 100,000 – 130,000 euros.

Elancia, sports for better

Recognizing that physical activity is essential for health and well-being, the founders ofElancia created the concept in 2003 to bring physical activity to non-athletes. Thanks to a concept adapted and accessible to all, with a unique personalized support protocol, Elancia is positioned in a highly competitive market.

Ultra-premium and personalization are the watchwords at Elancia, where each member is supported as closely as possible to his or her needs and objectives. In addition to top-of-the-range, connected sports equipment, members can take advantage of cocooning, green fitness areas, comfortable individual changing rooms, fitness rooms, group classes and a relaxation area with complimentary coffee and tea.

As the first gym to be awarded the “Sport Santé” label, Elancia guarantees the safe practice of sports activities, even for people with medical conditions, thanks to state-qualified coaches. The company requires a personal contribution of 70,000 euros and a right of first refusal of 29,000 euros, for an overall investment of at least 330,000 euros.

Like You Fitness: your local health club

Created in 2019, the Like You Fitness franchise offers a local health club concept that resembles its members. Open 7 days a week, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., these clubs offer customers great flexibility and access to a warm, friendly atmosphere. All the components of a classic gym are brought together: group classes taught by coaches, cardio and weight training areas, private coaching.

The brand also offers sports sessions with electro-stimulation, body assessments and small-group training. What sets Like You Fitness clubs apart is that they are true places to live, where everyone feels welcome and enjoys coming. The network requires a personal contribution of 40,000 euros and an entry fee of 15,000 euros, for an overall investment of 160,000 euros.

L’Orange Bleue: my fitness coach

Founded in 1996 in Rennes, L’Orange bleue mon coach Fitness has set itself the mission of making fitness accessible to all through a range of quality services at affordable prices. Proximity and member support are key aspects of its approach.

The L’Orange bleue concept combines group classes and personalized programs to provide a framework tailored to each member. The network features human-sized clubs, state-certified coaches and a variety of classes, including YAKO® classes. This formula has helped build member loyalty and maintain optimum sales levels, proving its effectiveness for over two decades.

By 2023, L’Orange Bleue will have 400 clubs in France and Spain, 400,000 members, 249 partners and around 180 employees. Looking to the future, Thierry Marquer is aiming to open 850 gyms in France and Spain by 2027, testifying to his company’s success and ambition in the fitness sector. To join the brand, future franchisees will need to make a personal contribution of 70,000 euros, for a total investment of 350,000 euros, and pay an entry fee of 12,000 euros.

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