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Franchise Spotlight: Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness

There is a lot to be said about Anytime Fitness. Recognized as the #1 “Co-Ed Fitness Club Chain in the World”, Anytime Fitness was recently placed as #1 on Entrepreneur, 2014 Franchise Rankings, due to factors including financial strength and stability, growth rate and the size of the system. The franchise has earned other industry accolades, including #1 on “Top Fitness Franchises” by Entrepreneur Magazine, #1 “Best Franchise Business Model” by, and Franchise Business Review “ Top 50 Franchisee Satisfaction Award” for 6 years in a row. With all of the hype and honor surrounding this extraordinary fitness club, everyone is likely wondering how Anytime Fitness was able to grow such a reputable franchise in just 11 short years.

Tom Gilles
Our team had the pleasure to speak with Tom Gilles,National Sales Director of Anytime Fitness, to discuss the keys to this franchise success. Tom started with the company 8 years ago as a Sales Consultant, just 3 years after Anytime Fitness came into existence. Quickly working his way up, he is now responsible for the domestic sales process of North America. He oversees the sales, real estate, financing, and construction and design teams, with the ultimate goal of growing the brand in mind.

Upon eagerly asking Tom what the secret to success is, Tom was proud to say that success is due to the exceptional support the franchise offers. “Support. Support. Support. We realize you have to be partners, be accessible as a mentor 24-7 for your franchisees,” he said. However, although Anytime Fitness has respectfully illustrated a proven recipe and blue-print model, Tom firmly believes that they are able to continuously flourish due to the fact the franchise “never rests on its laurels.” He continued on to say, “We are constantly learning and putting together a list of best and worst practices. We are always tweaking the system in order to improve.”

What makes Anytime Fitness a winner in the industry? Tom believes Anytime Fitness stands out in the world of fitness because of the built-in convenience the club offers. Not only is the club open 7 days a week 365 days a year, but members are eligible to attend any Anytime Fitness around the world. However, Tom believes the most important factor that sets the club apart is the culture and member experience. “The club is small enough that members get to know each other and feel comfortable,” Tom went on, “Also, employees are able to take a direct interest in each customer, by engaging with them and providing exceptional customer service. We stress the importance of never taking customers for granted.”

It’s clear that the club provides major benefits that would certainly appeal to fitness club goers, but what makes this franchise so appealing to investors? Tom pointed out that the fitness industry in general offers something special to franchisees. He said that franchisees who choose Anytime Fitness commonly have a passion for fitness or for helping people become healthy. Franchisees provide the support needed to allow people to alter their lives, improve their self-esteem and that is a compelling reason to join the industry.

Anytime Fitness LocationBut besides the self-fulfillment this franchise opportunity offers, Tom humbly suggested that the numbers certainly have an impact on investor’s decisions. “People ask to see how the franchise has performed,” and fortunately for Anytime Fitness, the numbers indicate that this is in fact a world leader. Tom also revealed that the franchisor provides ongoing support in multiple forms. Franchisees are trained and supported throughout the entire startup process and have additional periodic training sessions when new systems or processes are implemented. “This is also an attractive investment because we are a one-stop shop,” he said, “We have great finance, real estate (site selection and lease negotiation), and construction and club layout teams that weave all of the strands together for franchisees.”

Training, support and a fantastic reputation are not the only factors that make this an attractive investment. Although the franchise usually costs under $100,000 plus build-out expenses, Tom explained that Anytime Fitness is a very “cash flow-friendly business,” meaning that franchisees may reach their breakeven point extremely quickly. “We’ve had franchisees break even before even turning on the lights” Tom added, “and the rest usually get there within five months after the doors officially open.”

As far as advice goes, Tom suggested that potential franchisees should randomly select current franchisees of Anytime Fitness and talk to as many as possible. He believes that it is most beneficial to hear from people who were once in the same position. He strongly feels that franchisees should come to this industry with passion and the ability to follow the model that is laid out.

When asked to share top success stories about the company, Tom’s response was quite surprising, “Our members are the success stories. People who are able to reach their fitness goals, improve their lives…these are the true success stories we recognize at annual conferences.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Anytime Fitness, contact one of our franchise consultants, we at FranFinders are here to assist you.

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