The fitness industry has undeniably seen rapid growth in recent years. According to statistics published by Statista, the revenue of fitness and health clubs and gyms combined in 2022 was $32.02 billion – an increase of $1.28 billion from 2021 and $3.98 billion from 2020.

Growth was significantly higher before the COVID-19 pandemic, but even taking that into account, the industry still achieved steady growth year-on-year.

You’ll undoubtedly want to grow your business if you own a single, independent gym. One fantastic way to achieve that goal is by turning your gym into a franchise business and opening other gyms with your branding nationwide.

Turning a sole-site business into a franchise operation can be scary for some entrepreneurs. However, it’s the ideal way to grow your gym business and make your brand known across the country.

Take a look at the following 15 top tips that you can implement to help you realize those goals and become an industry leader:

1. Develop Your Brand Identity

A strong brand identity helps to build trust with your customers and create a consistent image across your franchise operation. Consistency is critical for making your gym brand memorable to people across the locations that you want to cover.

Consider working with a branding consultant to help you create a memorable brand name, logo, and color scheme that can get applied across all franchised gyms.

Alternatively, you could use a service like Upwork and have some branding experts on there help you with things like logo design and color schemes.

2. Invest In The Latest Equipment

People attend your gym because they want to use the amenities you provide, such as cross-trainers and weightlifting equipment. If you aren’t providing modern, safe-to-use, and reliable equipment, your customers will go elsewhere for their fitness needs.

That’s why you should make equipment investment one of your top priorities. If capital investment is an issue, leasing gym equipment is possible instead of buying it outright.

Periodically review the equipment offered and determine whether you need to make any changes or upgrades in line with customer demand.

It would help if you also mirrored this with other franchised gyms to offer customers the same level of gym technology wherever they go.

3. Hire Top Talent

Irrespective of what a business offers, it can only grow if it has the right people running it. Your gym is no different in that respect, so that’s why you need to hire top talent to manage its daily operations.

Hiring experienced, skilled, and qualified personnel at your gym makes sense, and other franchised gyms should hire top talent as well. Consider using a specialist recruiter to help you find the right people for your gym.

4. Incorporate Technology Into The Gym Experience

It’s no secret that technology plays a significant role in the health and fitness sector. 

Nowadays, gymgoers rely on smartwatches to monitor their heart rates, count the number of steps they make, and connect with fitness apps and smart gym equipment for an enhanced gym experience.

There’s no reason why you can’t incorporate state-of-the-art technology in your gym and become an example of a forward-thinking, tech-driven gym brand!

For example, you could invest in treadmills that connect to popular fitness apps to create personalized programs for your customers.

5. Offer 24/7 Access

It’s no secret that people use their local gyms at various times of the day and night.

For example, some individuals might go to the gym in the evening when they’ve finished work and want to let off some steam, while others may prefer early morning fitness sessions when the gym is quiet.

Consider offering your customers 24/7 gym access. Doing so means you provide a flexible service to people and can accommodate them and fit around their lifestyle needs.

6. Provide Fitness Classes

People new to using a gym and seasoned gymgoers alike enjoy participating in group activities. It allows those individuals to learn about new exercise methods, socialize with like-minded people, and enhance their fitness journeys.

You could hire an in-house personal trainer to offer group fitness sessions or invite freelance personal trainers to provide classes at your gym and compensate you for using your training rooms.

Some ideas for fitness classes include:

  • Fitness tips for senior citizens;
  • Yoga lessons;
  • Advanced workout techniques.

7. Set Up A Loyalty Program

Cafes, for example, offer customers freebies or discounted items when they visit a specific number of times. They can track how often each customer has visited if they’ve enrolled in their free loyalty program.

As you might expect, loyalty programs offer plenty of benefits to customers – and businesses – so you should set one up for your gym brand.

For example, you could offer customers free access to their local gym for a month if they subscribe for a minimum of six months membership.

8. Sponsor Some Athletes And Sports Teams

There are almost limitless examples of getting a brand out in the public eye. For instance, billboards, newspaper, and magazine ads are classic ways to promote a brand.

As a gym owner who wishes to establish a nationwide franchise chain, it makes sense to associate your brand with known athletes and sports teams. The best way to achieve that goal is by sponsoring them!

Your branding could go on team uniforms and merchandise, or you could advertise in sports grounds and centers associated with athletes and teams.

9. Offer Safe And Secure Site Amenities

Customers who attend your gym will likely use your lockers to store their valuables like wallets and purses, bags, car keys, and mobile phones.

The last thing you want to happen is for a dishonest gymgoer or even staff member to rifle through their belongings while they’re in the midst of a workout! That’s why you should ensure that your gym and those of your franchisees, are safe and secure to use at all times.

You could implement security controls like keycard access to locker rooms, digital locks on all lockers, and security cameras monitoring public areas like hallways and equipment rooms.

10. Make Customer Service A Priority

You must make your gym appealing and welcoming to everyone – not just a small group of people. The last thing you want to do is operate a gym brand known for making customers feel intimidated and belittled.

Having the right staff on board will ensure that happens. That’s because your team can deal with customer inquiries and ask anyone to leave that causes problems for other gym users.

Therefore, customer service should be a top priority at your gym – and it should also be something your franchisees do to maintain your brand’s high standards.

11. Sell A Range Of Own-Brand Health Products

Thriving gyms offer a range of value-added services to their customers.

Providing state-of-the-art gym equipment is great, but customers can benefit from your gym in other ways. One such example is purchasing health and fitness products to use at home and in the gym.

For instance, you could sell a range of protein shakes and supplements encapsulated in nutraceutical packaging containing your gym’s branding. Moreover, you could sell those products online to individuals for further sales opportunities.

It’s an excellent way to establish your brand as an authoritative name in the market.

12. Offer Corporate And Seasonal Discounts

You may already offer competitive membership rates to all customers, but you can also provide corporate customers with even more favorable rates.

Doing so might lower your profit, but you gain a vast bank of new members to compensate – something which may not have happened if you didn’t offer corporate discounts.

Employers offer all kinds of perks to their staff, and discounted gym membership is a common one to offer.

13. Host Events And Challenges

Your gym and franchisees can offer members various events and challenges to help them stay focused and engaged with their fitness goals.

Some examples include strength training challenges, bodybuilding contests, charity events, and wellness workshops. Such challenges and events help promote your brand in the community and beyond, and they assist people with their personal goals.

It’s worth researching the types of challenges and events your competitors offer and considering the most popular ones for your gym and franchisees.

14. Boost Your Marketing And Advertising

You want to expand your gym brand and make it well-known in the industry. Moreover, you want to attract potential franchisees to help you target new areas. But that can only happen with investing in proper marketing and advertising campaigns.

Consider working with a marketing firm to help you target your audience in the best ways.

15. Create Your Franchise Program

Once you’ve created a fantastic gym everyone in your local area wants to use, you will be ready to push forward with your franchise program.

Setting up a franchise and attracting potential franchisees is no mean feat, so you’ll likely need help from various people like business mentors, accountants, lawyers, and branding experts.

However, once you start working with the right people, you’ll soon be able to launch and promote your franchise program to help other entrepreneurs mirror your success!