Business models for a fitness center: which one is right for you?

September, 6 2022

Opening a gym is an interesting investment, and not just for athletes or sports, nutrition, or health professionals. More and more entrepreneurs, even if they're not experts in the industry, are deciding to open a fitness center on their own or with a franchise.

Within the industry, there is a myriad of different business models for a fitness center. Therefore, the first step before starting a business is to research the market and decide which model best suits your project.

Discover how to open your own fitness center

Business models you can choose from

The business model for a gym is easy to categorize: wellness and health are associated with a lifestyle and routines that include exercise as well as diet, social interaction, body treatments, etc.

For this reason, many gyms offer, in addition to group classes or personal trainers, complementary services such as consultations with nutritionists, sports days outside of the center, retreats, etc.

This is one of the reasons why we didn’t find one, sole business model for fitness centers. There are sports centers that meet the demands of all types of customers.

The question is: What type of gym should you set up? What factors should you consider when making your business plan?


The main types of gyms and their characteristics

Boutique Gyms

A boutique gym, such as the Fit Jeff centers, offer personalized attention, a high-quality and exclusive product, well-maintained spaces, and a large social and technological component.

Its commercial strategy is based on segmentation, i.e., coaching small groups.

Today there are boutique gyms for HIIT, high intensity Bootcamp, Cycling, CrossTraining or Boxing. Also for yoga or Pilates.

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Specialized studies

This business model focuses on offering a single discipline or a combination of very specific and related disciplines.

These are fully functional sports facilities, that are less aesthetically pleasing than boutique facilities, and are built around the customer.


Low-cost Gyms

Low-cost gyms offer workout options for an affordable price.

In addition to being inexpensive, they're usually located in easily accessible places, with high traffic, in populated neighborhoods, or near large population centers. Its main strategy is to reduce costs by creating a large volume of members.

Typically, these are large facilities, with flexible hours and where a lot of group activities (larger groups) take place.


Premium Gyms

Although it seems that some "premium" gyms offer the same services as "mid-market" fitness centers, their differential value is exclusivity and customer service.

These high-end gyms often have a spa, tennis courts, or other facilities, as well as a laundry service and a service for a personal trainer.


24-hour Gyms

The 24-hour gyms are open all day, 365 days a year, and adapt to the schedules of all types of customers.

Generally, these are large fitness centers belonging to large chains, many of which are low-cost. In fact, their rates are usually low.

One of its main disadvantages is that at certain hours there is no manager, no trainers, and no staff.


Sports Complexes

A sports complex is a place with facilities to practice team sports such as soccer, basketball, tennis, paddle, etc. Some also have a swimming pool, a heated pool, or a climbing wall.

Many sports complexes are public and offer group classes that are open to everyone.

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Which one is right for you?

Before deciding on one gym business model or another, you should take the following into account:

Competitive analysis

Any business plan involves analyzing the competition.

First identify the strengths and weaknesses of your future business. Then, study the sector’s current situation, who your direct competitors are, who their customers are, and who their suppliers are.

You should also analyze:

  • What services they offer.
  • Their brand positioning and image.
  • Your personnel, organizational, marketing and advertising resources, etc.


Initial investment

The initial investment can vary significantly from one type of gym to another.

For example, for a traditional gym, you must have enough capital (over one million pounds). However, to set up a boutique fitness center with a franchise, you'll need much less.


Return on investment

The return on investment (ROI) is an indicator that makes it possible to evaluate the profitability of an investment based on the capital invested and the profit obtained.

The types of gyms that will have a more interesting return on investment (at least a priori), are those in expansion, aimed at a young, reduced, and specialized clientele; and that can easily diversify their business model, such as boutique gyms.


Why open a Fit Jeff gym franchise?

There are many advantages to opening a gym franchise, but we would like to highlight three of them:

  1. Brand. In the fitness industry, having an established brand is important, and it's difficult for a new brand to make a big initial impact.
  2. Cost. Any company that develops an ad-hoc, unproven business model charges corporate identity expenses. With a franchise, you can set up your business with less money, and while using a proven business model.
  3. Support. If you work with a franchise, their experts will assist you in the start-up and the first years of your business. This is positive whether you're self-employed or an investor. 

As for the advantages of setting up a Fit Jeff fitness center, our boutique gym, rather than a conventional gym, please note:

  Lower initial investment.

  Reduced rental costs since the premises are fewer square feet in size.

  Faster return on investment.

  Value proposition.

  Greater opportunity to make yourself stand out.

Want to open your own fitness center with the added support of Jeff's technology and expertise? Contact us!

Discover how to open your own fitness center


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