Hi Ken Turash
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The last few years CrossFit type gyms are the ones that have flourished at least in the US (there are many other gyms that offer similar training such as Iron Tribe, etc). One chain of gyms that has really evolved and taken off is Anytime Fitness. AT has become one of the fastest growing mid-size gyms/fitness center in the world. I’m not sure how low cost of a gym is an AT center bad it’s not as high as one of the huge fitness centers like “Lifetime”. Another chain of fitness centers that has evolve is Orange Theory. They seem to be doing well also. Both AT and OT are franchises.
My advice is to check out what is working in similar markets that isn’t already being done in your area. Or being over done. And then, if that is the type of gym you would be comfortable operating, go for it. That is, if your highest priority is to have a profitable gym. There are a lot of gyms that are focused on profit that do well. Nothing wrong with that. It is great when you can be profitable and provide real change making programs at the same time. But in some markets, it isn’t always enough to provide sound programming. Starting a profitable business is rarely an easy thing to do. Franchises do have perks, but there is a down side to look into as well.
I have relocated and opened a new fitness facility several times. My personal formula has been to take on a part time job while I work on getting the facility up to speed. it isn’t easy or fast, but it gives me time to get things rolling while keeping me from going into deep debt.