How much does it cost to start a fitness franchise?


If you’re thinking about joining Australia’s booming fitness industry, you’re in good company. It’s now worth $2 billion annually. Revenue increase from June 2020 to May 2021.

One of the most common questions we’re asked by investors when they are considering joining a fitness franchise is “How much will my initial investment be?”

This is usually followed up with “How soon can I expect to break even?”

To shed some light on the situation, we’ve put together some of the biggest outlays you’ll be looking at when you choose to invest in a fitness franchise.

Independent fitness business, or fitness franchise?

Starting your own independent business, or joining a fitness franchise – each has its merits, and what’s right for you will ultimately come down to your experience in business, your goals, and your plans for the future.

Whatever you choose, there will be costs associated with getting up and running. Let’s take a look at the potential start-up costs if you choose to join a fitness franchise.

6 costs to consider when joining a fitness franchise

While every fitness franchise is different, there are some standard costs you can expect when you’re getting started.

1. Your fitness studio lease

Once you’ve found the perfect location for your studio comes the process of negotiating your lease. Before you decide to invest in a franchise, it’s a good idea to find out if the franchise you’re joining provides any support or legal resources to help you negotiate your lease. If not, you’ll need to include this in your budget – as well as the cost of the lease itself.

2. Fit out design and installation

Next comes your fit out design and installation. Your franchise will usually supply everything you need to get your space aligned to their brand and ready for your customers – and there will likely be a financial contribution required from you for the installation.

3. Gym and exercise equipment

Depending on the type of fitness franchise you’re considering joining, the cost for equipment could vary greatly. Businesses like Yoga studios, mat Pilates and Barre franchises generally have a very low equipment cost – while gym franchises or cycle studios can have a heftier outlay.

4. Staff, personal trainers and instructors

When you’ve got your space and equipment ready to roll, you’ll need staff to help you serve your customers. Even if you’re an instructor yourself, you’ll likely need additional staff to maximise your potential revenue. Your franchise network may provide guidance to help you calculate the right investment in staff to get to break-even faster.

Most fitness franchises will require you and your staff to undertake specialist training so that you can deliver a quality customer service that’s aligned with their brand. Be sure to get clarity around if this is something they will fund, or if this will be a set-up cost covered by you.

Recruitment can also be one of the biggest challenges in starting your own business, so it’s well worth asking what support your franchise can offer to help you find the best people. As well as the initial costs of finding and hiring your staff, you should also consider how much working capital you’ll need to cover your wages until your business breaks even. 

5. Franchise fee

One of the key differences between starting your own business and joining a franchise is that you’ll need to pay a franchise fee to join. This fee can vary greatly from one franchise to the next – in some cases a franchise might build in some of the up-front costs we’ve already mentioned, whereas in others it could be a smaller stand-alone fee with your other costs added on top. It’s a good idea to find out exactly what’s included in your franchise fee so you can factor this into your budget.   

6. Launch event costs

When you’re ready to open the doors, there’s often a one-off cost for promoting your launch and letting your community know that you’re open for business. This will cover things like marketing the event, and any decorations or catering for the day.

What to Ask if you’re thinking about joining a franchise

Ready to find out all the start-up costs associated with joining a franchise? Here are some questions you can ask any fitness franchise to get all the insights you need.

  • Can you provide a break-down of all of the up-front costs involved in starting my business?
  • Will you provide support with negotiating a lease for my studio location?
  • What fit out assistance do you provide for design and installation?  
  • What kind of outlay will I be looking at for equipment?
  • Is there an established training program for my personal trainers or instructors?
  • Will you help with recruiting staff for my business?
  • What kind of time frame do you expect between my initial investment and breaking even?
  • How much is your franchise fee, and what’s included in this?
  • What up-front costs will I need to pay for promoting my fitness studio?

Accessing funding for your new business

Once you have a clear idea of all of the costs involved in getting your business up and running, the next step will be for you to secure your funding. Because franchise brands have a demonstrated business proposition, it’s often easier to access funding than if you plan to start your own independent business. Some franchises even have existing relationships with lenders, giving you a head start when it comes to accessing finance for your new franchise business.  

Want to learn more about XTEND’s start-up costs?

Our team is ready to answer all of the questions above, and more. Let’s discuss what you need to know about starting your own business with XTEND, and your pathway to breaking even and profitability. Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.

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