About Our HomeTown Gym
Enter the Hometown Gym.
This is not a small personal training-only studio gym that seems to be all the rage right now. They require a big market that has stiff competition. Trust me, I co-own one and also sold one.
This is also not a 24 hour gym franchise you'll find in the back pages of Entrepreneur magazine. They're too expensive and too restrictive. Trust me, I looked into franchising 9 years ago, and am so thankful I didn't.
Instead, we took the best of both models, added some additional upgrades we've been testing and tweaking over the last 9 years, found a small market it thrives in, automated and systemized as much as we could, and created a model we call The HomeTown Gym. It's built on :
- A Financial Engine that includes an automated stream of revenue that pays the bills, puts profit in your pocket, and is independent of your time. In addition, it can be fully customized to your market so you can create specialty revenue sources that are unique to you and your community.
- A Marketing Web that attracts the right members without spending your hard-earned cash, as well as creates a referral engine that constantly brings in new leads for free.
- A Contagious Atmosphere that builds a community of raving fans and friends and makes going to work seem like a dream.
- An Optimized System that can be run efficiently, minimizing expenses and overhead while maximizing profits. It gives you the freedom you can't get in your regular 9-5 job. And if you want to keep your 9-5 job, it allows you to do that too.
Our model gives you everything you want - freedom, financial independence, and fun. You're the owner. You make the rules. You make the money. You make the difference. You can work 3 hours per week or all 45 hours per week. It's up to you. How unbelievably satisfying does that sound?
Take a look at these eye-popping stats:
- 57.3 million people belong to a gym in the U.S.
- Over 66 million people in the U.S. utilized a gym in 2016 with over 5 billion visits.
- U.S. gyms generated over $22.4 billion in revenue in 2013.
- Gym revenue is expected to grow at 2.9% annually through 2019.
Obviously fitness is no longer just for Hollywood starlets, men with hulking physiques, and professional athletes. Although the aesthetic benefits of fitness are still popular, it's now become much more about health and happiness. Because of that, it's now mainstream. Everyone is hitting the gym, including your grandma.
And with healthcare costs spiraling out of control, it doesn't seem to be slowing down.The amount of people you can help is staggering. Today, 1 in 3 U.S. citizens are considered obese. These individuals are at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, dementia, and a handful of other medical conditions. The obesity crisis costs the U.S. more than $150 billion in healthcare costs annually. Yes, that's billion with a B.
With such a large potential market, the interest for fitness is only going to grow. Unfortunately, you're not the only one that sees the potential in the fitness industry.
- OrangeTheory Fitness plans to open 400 more studios in 2017, bringing their total to over 1,000 locations worldwide.
- Planet Fitness projects total revenue for their franchise to hit $415 million in 2017.
- YogaWorks, which operates 29 yoga studios, was sold to a private equity firm for $45 million.
More and more private equity firms and investors are looking at gyms as valuable assets to have in their portfolios. Soul Cycle, Equinox, and Snap Fitness have all benefited from investment firms.
I know what you're thinking... The numbers look great, but how do they look for the little guys, the owners with just one or two gyms? Although not as large, just as profitable. Keep reading.
What's the difference between a HomeTown Gym and a gym franchise?
Before we started our gym, we actually looked into several fitness franchises. Unfortunately, the costs, restrictions, and length of contracts were unappealing at best and appalling at worst. Plus, we were young, foolish, and arrogant. So, we started our own gym.
When we were approached by multiple firms to start franchising, we knew immediately we didn't want to pursue that route. If we weren't willing to become a franchisee, why would we become a franchisor?
However, we still wanted to help people start gyms. We had too many inquiries to just ignore it. We new we had a system that worked, could easily be taught to someone else, required very little time by the owner once it was up and running, and was profitable even with just 300 members. Luckily, because I had experience in the healthcare industry, I found out about Management Service Organizations (MSOs), which are primarily used by physician's offices. It works very similar to a franchise, but with less costs and restrictions.
So we took everything we didn't like about franchises, and flipped it with our newly formed MSO.
Compared to a typical fitness franchise, we have:
- Less upfront costs - Most fitness franchises have an initial franchise fee of $25,000 - $50,000. Our fee is substantially less at only $9997.
- Less monthly costs - Typical monthly franchise fees range from $529 per month to 5% of gross revenue. Our fee is a flat $350 monthly fee.
- No hidden fees - If you read a franchise contract carefully, you'll notice a range of fees, everything from a local and national marketing fees to a website fee to a failed payment fee. That $529 monthly fee mentioned above can quickly climb to over $2000 worth of monthly fees if you check the fine print. We have one fee $350. That's it.
- Less restrictions - Most franchises will have you purchase all of your equipment from only a few suppliers, work with just a few software vendors, and require very specific signage throughout your gym, among a list of other requirements. Although that guarantees a similar member experience at every gym in the franchise as well as fulfills the franchisor's end of the deal, we feel it's too restrictive for the true entrepreneur, the dreamer. We do have limitations, but we still give freedom to experiment and test ideas you have. You're opening your gym. Why feel like you're handcuffed?
- A shorter initial contract - Most franchise contracts are 10 years. We're 5 years with an option to renew for 10 years. Why? Because most commercial leases are 5 years in smaller markets, and we don't think it's fair that you'll be be stuck in a contract beyond your initial lease. Plus, to us, it makes more sense to make the initial contract shorter in case it doesn't work out as well as expected, and then make a longer optional, additional contract once success has already been proven.
- An Out Clause - We give you an out clause. If for some reason (personal or financial) you can't keep your gym open and need to close your doors, we'll cancel your contract. No fees. No 10 year commitments that you'll pay no matter if you're in business or not.
- The option to test drive ownership - Unlike fitness franchises, we give you the option to test drive gym ownership for a weekend at our gym. We want you to be confident gym ownership is right for you. So for an entire weekend you'll be the boss. You'll get see all of the numbers, the daily operations, and anything else you want to. We'll even show you one our studio gyms so you can see the difference between a HomeTown Gym and a boutique gym. And at the end of the weekend, you can decide whether to pursue a HomeTown Gym, wait, or not do it at all. No hard selling.
And we kept the things we did like:
- No experience needed: It's a complete "business-in-a-box" that could be owned and operated by anyone no matter how little business and fitness experience they had.
- Expert Help: You'll receive expert training to get your gym up and profitable as quickly as possible, as well as ongoing support and training to make sure you stay profitable.
- Freedom: The owner can work as little as 3 hours per week or as much as 45 hours per week. It can easily be ran while keeping a full-time job. In fact, it was specifically designed to be an automated, income-generating machine so that I personally could still work full-time at the pharmacy if I wanted to.
With that said, there are a few disadvantages, compared to a franchise:
- Limited Ownership: We limit ownership to no more than 2 HomeTown Gyms. Although franchises love selling to multi-unit owners, we don't. We want you, the owner, to be a part of the gym, even if it's only 3 hours per week. We want you to be a pillar of the community and truly make a difference. You simply cannot do that if you rarely step inside your gym.
- Small Markets: We like small. Our "blue ocean" is the small towns none of the big guys want. That's where we found our home, and know you'll succeed. It also minimizes the risk. As mentioned many times, this model was designed as a minimal risk/moderate reward investment. It was created to supplement my pharmacy income, not put it at risk. Small markets are cheap, yet provide a steady profit.
- No Big Payday: Our model was designed to accomplish three things: 1) Provide a steady profit. 2) Have minimal risk. 3) Be ran as efficiently as possible to give the owner the freedom he/she would wants. To accomplish all three of those goals, we had to stay in the small markets. Thus, there's a limit to how much you'll make. Our model will allow you to make a comfortable living, doing something you love while giving you the freedom to do what you want. It's about balance. To us, that's much more appealing than working 80 hours a week for 10+ years to build a $10 million dollar company that you hope to sell one day. Plus, who really wants to retire when they are doing something they love every single day?
So yes, we are an alternative to a franchise. And yes, we do believe for most people interested in opening a gym, we're the better option.
But why not just open a gym on your own?
Why Choose a HomeTown Gym vs. Opening a Gym on your Own?
You very well can.
We did. Not once. Not twice. But 4 times.
However, we also wasted a lot of time and money. We would have been a lot more successful much sooner if we would have had help. Instead, we had to make our own mistakes and figure out what worked and what didn't. That took more time and money than we expected. It was frustrating and even depressing at times.
Stop and think about all the questions you'll have. We had the same ones.
- What size space do I need?
- How much should I pay in rent?
- What type of insurance do I need? Where do I get it from, and what's a good price?
- What type of equipment will I need? How many treadmills? How many ellipticals? How many squat racks?
- Where can I find affordable, quality equipment?
- What should my pricing structure be?
- Who will create my gym contract? What does it need to include?
- What software system should I use for my point-of-sale?
- Should I offer discounts to big businesses in my town?
- What kind of classes should I offer? Who teaches them? What days/time should I offer them?
- How many employees will I need? Who will create the employee contract?
- What should my staffed hours be?
- Do I need a website? Who will create it?
- Who should I use for my 24/7 access? How much will the security company charge?
- What kinds of promotions should I run?
- How much should I spend on advertising?
And those are just the questions I can think of off the top of my head. If you give me an hour, I can probably list a few hundred more unanswered questions we had when we started our gym.
Do you know how nervous we were opening our first gym? We didn't have a clue how to answer most of the questions and were simply guessing. Needless to say, there were a lot of sleepless nights, tossing and turning with anxiety.
What We Offer
We combined the intimacy of coaching with the automation, training, and replication of the franchise model. So we help you:
Start the Gym
- Our 12 week planner so you know each week what you need to accomplish and how you need to accomplish it so you are on track for your grand opening.
- Budgeting and revenue projection help so you can better estimate your revenue forecasts.
- Design and layout advice so you can maximize revenue per square foot and minimize wasted, costly startup spending.
- Equipment advice as well as access to the vendors we use so you get the right equipment at the right prices.
- All of our swipe files for employee contracts, membership contracts, and other legal documents.
- Virtual and in-person training for all owners and key employees so you avoid a poor first impression.
- Our "Building an Ageless" playbook that takes you from dreamer to doer.
- Access to our banker so you can work with someone that knows the fitness business and will work with you to get your gym started.
- Access to the vendors we use for our point-of-sale software, security, marketing, and insurance so you know you're partnering with trustworthy vendors giving you the best price.
- Our policies and procedures manual so you know exactly what needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly, and annually as well as how it needs to be done so your gym is running as efficiently as possible.
- Our training programs for new employees so employees can be trained as quickly as possible.
- Our workout templates for our "Feel Good Look Good" program, all of the workouts for our classes, our Fit to Fab group, and our Personalized Coaching Plans.
- How to set up and run our quarterly member challenges.
- Email drip campaigns for new members so you don't waste valuable time answering questions that can easily be answered in an email.
- Ongoing, updated training for gym managers and owners so they can keep updated with the latest industry trends, best practices, and marketing ideas.
- Swipe files for all of our marketing initiatives including our annual marketing calendar.
- Facebook ad training so you can use the world's biggest social media platform to your advantage.
- Monthly owner strategy calls so you know you're not in this alone.
- Social media strategy guides so you know the best practices for each social media platform.
- All new class workouts, personal training templates, and weight loss programs we offer.
This is the model we built. Take a look for yourself by clicking here.
Easy to own. Easy to operate. Affordable. Profitable.
No hidden fees. Low start-up costs. Low overhead costs.
So if you're interested in opening a HomeTown Gym and you love the idea of:
- Just a flat $9997 startup fee.
- Just one single monthly fee of $350
- Minimal restrictions so you can make the gym your own.
- A short 5 year initial commitment.
- An out clause that allows you cancel the contract if you go out of business before the contract ends without incurring any fees or continued payments.
- Getting everything you need to open and operate a successful 24 hour gym.
- Getting access to continued support from our friendly team at Ageless for all of your questions, concerns, and ideas.
Or, contact us directly at BeTheChange@ageless-fitness.com to start your journey. We only have 10 spots open for 2018.