The Best Fitness Franchise Opportunity in South Africa

February, 25 2020

Over the past years, franchising as a way to start a small business has been gaining more and more popularity all around the world, one of the main reasons is independence. Society is looking for ownership, people want to become their own boss, have flexible schedules, and work on what they love.

Why franchises and not small businesses out of scratch? Well because commodity is also a trend, and franchisors usually provide a proven business plan, the numbers and the needed training to operate their business model; as franchises are businesses that have already proven to be successful, they have a higher rate of success than starting a business from zero.

Discover how to open your own fitness center


"The mere fact that a franchise is a proven concept plays a key factor in attracting buyers"- Abigail Makhubele, Franchise Developer Manager, ABSA

South Africa turns out to be one of the countries in which franchising has a huge impact, according to the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA), this country has more than 800 franchise systems operating! And as stated above, franchising is one of the cheapest way to start a business (taking into consideration that cheap in the franchise world is under R1 million). It is important to take into consideration that it all depends, there are some businesses that require less equipment, staff and fixed costs, making the franchise way cheaper.

One of the most famous banks in South Africa, Absa Bank, made a research in which they found that the estimated turnover for the franchise market is around R587 billion! Which is more than 13% of local GDP! But that is not all! There is something better coming!  The fitness industry has had an annual growth rate of 14% over the past five years. Analyzing the data above we may see that the when looking for a franchise business, the fitness industry definitely worth setting eyes to.

What Fitness Franchise Should I choose?


1. Consumers
2. Marketing
3. Effectiveness



Why to chose a Fitness Franchise is clear, but now we have a situation... They are so popular there is a lot of competition! I cannot tell you which franchise to invest your money in because that is up to you, but what it is important that before investing your money, analyze that it accomplishes the following:

1) Consumers:

Remember that consumers pay for a gym membership, so make sure there is always classes available for them to attend to. Remember the I paid the gym already, I have to go now” ? And the great thing is that as mentioned above, fit franchises cover a wide range of customers, as it also involves the people searching for specialized classes which attracts customers whom are already aware of your product.

2) Marketing:

This is a very important aspect of setting a business, it doesn't matter if its a franchise or an independent enterprise, it is key for helping with the brand awareness. One of the benefits of a franchisee is the support from the franchisor, it may go from instructing with techniques to doing all the marketing for them. Also, a key of the franchises is that they support each other on the advertising, remember that the franchises have the same essence no matter what part of the world.

3) Effectiveness:

Classes for fitness studios may be expensive, as they do provide higher value for each classes. Since the classes are smaller, the training can be more tailored to your expectations and personal goals.

Successful Fitness Franchises in South Africa?

Below you will find the three most popular Fitness Franchises in South Africa. It is important to note that they where measured based on data and on our own criteria. The results may vary with time.


  Resultado de imagen de Virgin Active" logo-fit-2 Resultado de imagen de anytime fitness logo"
Investment  R729,203 R640, 372 R8,130.15
Training & Support Yes Yes No
App Yes Yes Yes



Virgin Active

This is the most popular gym franchise in South Africa. They offer many options regarding gym membership and, one of the key added value is that they are everywhere; it would be really hard for a person not to find a Virgin Active Club near their home. How much? The estimated initial investment is of R729,203

Fit Jeff

One of the most profitable fitness franchise. Through their app, they offer the most demanded activities (such as: yoga, pilates and functional training), creating a social environment in a unique space away from the noise and gray color of the city; they call their centers an oasis. Fit Jeff it is not only about getting fit, this franchise is flexible, sociable, low-cost and motivational, it's the perfect solution!. Estimated initial investment:   R640, 372.

fit jeff profitable investment

Anytime Fitness

It is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing fitness club chain averaging more than 300 new gyms a year for the past nine years. It now has around 3,300 Anytime Fitness open worldwide. What is their added value? This gym is unlike any other health club, this is because it is big enough to provide top-notch equipment and programming, but it is small enough to provide members with personalized coaching and support. Amazing is it not?

Estimated initial investment: R8,130.15



As always in franchising, the perfect fit depends on three things:

1) Your passion

2) Your objective

3) The money you are willing to invest.

This is a profitable business not only because it is now a trend and has a huge demand that will never end, as there will always be people that will want to take care of themselves; but also because it is able to go hand on hand with many other businesses. Starting a business franchise  has the benefit of transversality.

The fitness sector points towards mainstreaming reinforcing its presence in other market segments; and in this regard, insurance companies, nutrition clinics and  beauty centers (among others) are committed to offer sports and other type of services in their own centers; Leading fitness companies to establish new and strategic alliances, while promoting cross-selling. 

This is why it is of extreme importance to analyze and think before acting. For example, if you would like your fitness franchise to focus more on the technology and activities with most demand, the franchise that is likely to suit the best is Fit Jeff, a franchise that links brick and mortar with technology, bringing everything a user needs, in one click.

Discover how to open your own fitness center


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