24-Hour Fitness Franchises Still Growing; Is There Still Room For More?

24-hour fitness franchisesThe beginning of the year is important for those of us that have made New Year’s resolutions. The first resolution that comes to mind is weight loss. Getting in shape runs a close second, and quitting smoking comes in third place ….

How many millions of dollars are spent on marketing and advertising to those of us that have these New Year’s resolutions?

According to the Nielsen Wire, $181 million was spent in January of 2008. 

Let’s focus on fitness. 

In the US, we are becoming more and more overweight every year. More than three quarters of American adults will be overweight by 2015, a survey has found. Obesity is becoming so bad, that it will soon be the leading cause of preventable death.  Speaking of the US, we are the most obese country in the world. 

Are more people working their weight off? Are more people getting in shape? Do people have the time in their extremely busy day to day schedules to actually show up at the gyms that they have bought memberships in?

Is it just me, or does everybody seem busier, and more harried, all the time?

Well, the time constrained consumer has been helping to shape a newer segment of the fitness industry. It is the 24-hour fitness club. Membership in a 24/7 fitness club includes a pass key that enables one to go workout anytime of the day or night. The daytime attendees will usually find a personal trainer running the show, and helping club members. Nighttime, in most cases, you are on your own.  {These clubs do have security systems, which of course include video surveillance and other safety measures to protect its customers.}

Even with security measures in place, these franchise and non-franchise clubs are not without controversy.

Snap Fitness, and Anytime Fitness, are two of the largest franchisors of 24/7 fitness clubs, and both offer monthly memberships, and new, clean facilities. And, they are both growing at a rapid pace.

Investing in one of these types of fitness franchises will cost you between $175k-$200k total and you’ll want to be a multi-unit owner. As an owner, you are not really expected to physically run the clubs. That is what trainers are hired to do, freeing you up to either keep your current job, (if you have one) or scout out other locations, so that you may build your business up.

So far, these 24-hour fitness franchise concepts seem to holding their own in otherwise bleak economic conditions. For instance, I was able to match one of my franchise candidates with a Snap Fitness about a year and a half ago, and I just received word that he was set to open a second location, which is quite the refreshing bit of news, wouldn’t you say?

But, are there still legs in the 24 hour fitness franchise industry?

Quite frankly, I am somewhat surprised that 24-hour fitness franchises are still growing at a good clip. At some point, more and more competitors enter the market. Competitors like Zoo Health Club, and Workout Anytime, are looking to open locations across the country, and there will probably be more.

So far, this fitness franchise niche seems to be more than holding its own, in an environment in which lots of franchise company executives are getting increasingly frustrated by the low number of prospective franchise buyers.

Do you think that there is still room for 24-hour fitness franchises to grow, and prosper?

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Joel Libava on 2008 franchise trends About the Author: Joel Libava is President and Life Changer of Franchise Selection Specialists. He blogs at The Franchise King Blog.

17 Comments ▼

Joel Libava - Franchise Expert


Joel Libava Joel Libava is the Franchise Expert for Small Business Trends. Joel, The Franchise King®, equips today’s prospective franchise owners with time-tested, proven techniques designed to increase odds of success. He does this through one-on-one coaching, and gobs of useful content that can be found on places like Small Business Trends, SBA.Gov, and his award-winning franchise blog, The Franchise King Blog . He’s been featured in Entrepreneur® magazine, and is frequently called upon by national media outlets and publications for his no-spin insights into the world of franchising.

17 Reactions

  1. A Snap Fitness recently opened up in my area too. I think it’s a great idea especially on the weekends when not all gyms are open. I do think these gyms will survive & grow simply because of the flexibility. For someone working odd shifts, they are now able to workout at the wee hours of the night too.

  2. Anita Campbell

    We in the U.S. are nothing if we are not obsessed with (1) eating, and (2) how we look.

    Funnily enough, those two things tend to “feed” one another.

    I suspect the 24/7 fitness trend will be around for a while longer. And if nothing else, it would not be that hard to convert it into a traditional fitness center.

  3. I believe that there’s still plenty of room for growth. The health and fitness industry is booming right now. Look at how popular Wii Fitness has become. We are all strained for time and as a result, the idea of having access to a workout facilty at anytime of the day has caught on quick. It’s also somewhat appealing to me, personally, because of the fact that you may be able to go during hours where there may not be alot of others there – or anyone at all. So for those of us out there who really don’t appreciate jumping up and down or bouncing all around and feeling fat and overweight in front of others – it’s appealing for that reason as well.

  4. Joel Libava

    Thank you for your comments, everybody.

    Who the heck has time to workout?

    Kidding. Great concepts. Let’s see if they can maintain their growth, and quality.
    The Franchise King

    Joel Libava

  5. Fitness is a huge market and more and more people now a days try to keep up with it. It’s also not something you pay for once, it’s an on going process constantly so therefor it makes a good business. I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon.

  6. These type of gyms are also starting in Australia. I think one is called Jetts Fitness.

    When I started getting fit again a few years ago I needed to find a gym or trainer for 5am sessions. If this type of gym had been around I would have joined up and not actually think too much about the cost.

  7. The Health & Fitness Industry has seen a high growth in the last few years. The growth will also be high in the next few years as more and more people get fitness savvy

  8. Martin Lindeskog

    It is good to see this trend. But I wonder how the owner of a 24h gym is taking care of the security and minimize the risk for injuries? Could you have supervision around the clock?

  9. TJ McCue

    Hey Joel,
    I completely agree — who has time to workout???? I say we all build desks like the researcher at the Mayo Clinic suggests. Buy a treadmill, set your desk and laptop so you can work on it in front of you and WALK all day at 1.0 mph…

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/treadmill-desk/MM00706

  10. Joel Libava

    TJ,
    I may be just sick enough to do just that!
    This darn PC….
    The Franchise King

  11. Very interesting article.

    I’ve noticed increasing membership at my health club in a small town of 25,000. I know because I can’t get a swimming lane by myself any more!

    My son is a fitness guy. Anyone have an opening in California? :) Seriously, send me a message please.

  12. Interesting article Joel and it is obviously a topic I am very interested in as it pertains to fitness franchises. My personal belief is that 24 hour access fitness franchises will saturate the market in the very near future fand start to shut down at a very quick rate. I just think there are too many of them and the real issue with 24 hour access fitness franchises is that they rarely can compete with much larger fitness facilities like 24 Hour Fitness and Bally Total Fitness because they just don’t offer the same ammenities that the larger corporate gyms do. I believe the future of the fitness franchise world lies in different philosophies and specific training regimens rather than 24 hour access franchise opportunities.

  13. David,

    Thanks for stopping by Small Business Trends.

    I agree, but they seem to have growing at a good clip.

    The Franchise King

  14. In reply to David’s earlier comments… more and more of these fitness facilities are going to have to start to move in the direction of facilitating their customers needs to stay competitive.

    However, with facilities such as 24 hour fitness, this comes at a costs, e.g, Ultra Clubs, Super Clubs, Active Clubs, etc…

    A Super Club has just about the same amenities offered by a club such as a LA Fitness or a Bally’s…at roughly around the same price.

    Ultra clubs, however, are a different story as these places are huge and have outdoor pools and putting greens…wow, sounds like a Country Club:)

    I think we may see more of these facilities that currently do not offer a 24 hour club move in that direction to stay competitive.

    Contracts almost seem to be a thing of the past, minus Bally’s(which personally, I’m surprised are still in business and marketing seems to have gone down).

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