Can You Open a Fitness Franchise by New Year?


yoga-womanYou’ve finally decided on a franchise business opportunity and have chosen one in the fitness category. The New Year is just around the corner and you’re considering trying to open as soon as possible to catch the rush of business. You think that opening over the next few months is crucial to your success because you need to capture people with fitness-related New Years resolutions as soon as possible—but should you fly through opening your fitness franchise?

Franchises often take months to get up and running, especially when there’s a large gym space to be set up or you need educated and professional staff. Finding the right talent can be difficult for fitness franchisees and it takes more than a few weeks to teach a new fitness guru your franchise’s way of doing business. Researching the location, taking care of legal and licensing requirements, planning your opening, and getting accustomed to the software — all these things can take time. Sometimes it’s worth making a massive effort to meet a deadline, but in this case, there could be a downside. If you rush the process to open for the New Year before you’re really ready, you could start off on the wrong foot and end up hurting your business in the long run.

Every January, fitness clubs and other fitness franchises see a big surge in membership — and an even bigger surge in people coming by to have a look. By March, the influx has started to taper off and members stop paying for services they don’t use.

If your fitness franchise isn’t ready to meet the demands of customers in January during the initial surge and your staff doesn’t really learn the ropes till March, you won’t be providing the best customer service for your New Year members. Word of a bad experience can spread and continue affecting your business in the future.

There can also be lasting effects for your team members. Being trained during a busy time can be stressful enough to take longer than it should, and even to keep people from retaining what they’ve learned. Starting off on the wrong foot with your team can increase turnover — and economists estimate that every new hire adds 24% to your staffing costs because of the time it takes for the new people to begin providing a good return on your investment in them.

Taking the time to make sure your fitness franchise is ready for the busy season and runs like a well-oiled machine by the time a wave of new customers come in the door is important to getting the most out of your franchise. If you’re still trying to work out the kinks in your staff and business processes, the added stress of January won’t make your fitness franchise a success.

Instead, go along at the pace the franchisor recommends to get your franchise started—take your time to do your due diligence before signing and take care with starting your business after you’ve signed the franchise agreement.  After all, when the New Year’s Resolutions lose steam, bikini season will be just around the corner.