The Path to Fitness Franchising

Devin Meister
January 26, 2024
Fitness or corporate model? Advice for fitness businesses looking to scale.

It’s the brass ring for many: franchising their fitness model. While franchising has some advantages over corporate owned models, it’s not for everyone. It takes planning and a specific mindset to want to and be able to bring others along with you in your journey.

One such person is Jim Donnelly, Restore Hyper Wellness Co-Founder and CEO. The company brought in 150 locations before adding in investment. They now have 240 open locations, a 30% profit margin, and a new studio opening every week. At The Summit by BFS, ClubReady VP of Sales, Chris Gallo interviewed Mr. Donnelly about some of his decisions and perspective on franchising over other models. Following are points take from that interview first published by Boutique Fitness Solutions (BFS).

Why chose franchising over a corporately owned model?

  1. Eagerness: If you choose the right franchisees, they are often more eager to succeed than you are! It’s good to have a partner on the ground that is highly motivated to succeed.
  2. Speed: The money you need to support a fast-growing structure comes from franchisees.

What are some tips you’d offer someone starting to think about franchising?

  • Be specific with WHO your ideal franchisee is. Restore found major success by selecting very specific franchisees, first ex-Military (Naval Academy/West Point grads) then people with high-level medical device sales experience (Stryker, Abbott, Medtronic, etc.). “Everyone has unique stories and life situations; figure out the one that you have which allows you to grow.”
  • Get your technology right BEFORE you scale. Jim regrets not investing properly in the complicated POS build-out earlier in the scaling process.
  • Get support from people who HAVE done this before. Stop going to people who haven’t franchised before. Ask people who have franchised successfully for help, and they are usually glad to assist! I’m not afraid to bring in great people. I never do business without a partner. I usually work with engineers who are better and smarter than me!”

Is franchising part of your 2024 strategic plan? Check out how ClubReady is built from the start to scale your business model and consider professional organizations like the BFS Mastermind for Franchisors to get insights from those that have and are doing it now!