Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sam Langer has two passions: sports and business. He graduated from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business in 2012. He then worked at ESPN, in the asset management department as a sports planner. Today, he combines his love for sports and his entrepreneurial spirit as a GYMGUYZ franchisee. Here's what he's learned about healthy business practices while helping customers get fit.
Name: Sam Langer
Franchise Owned (location): GYMGUYZ in Westchester County, NY
How long have you owned the franchise?
Signed on in March 2014.
Franchising is a great way to take an already proven business model and bring it to a location of your choice. If you happen to be as lucky as the GYMGUYZ franchisees and have a franchisor who acts as a mentor, then success is truly the only option.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I graduated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in 2012 and eventually went on to work at ESPN in New York City. I worked in the asset management department as a sports planner and was in charge of making sure our commercials ran properly in live sporting events.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
Fitness has always been a passion of mine. Supplement that with my background in finance and operations management, and there is no better opportunity out there to utilize my skills. In addition, from the initial conversations I had with our founder, Josh York, I knew he was the right person to go into business with as his passion and diligence were exhibited every time we spoke.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Before we were able to fully open our services, we spent roughly $67,000 to get the Westchester location fully up and running. The majority of this came from the franchising fee ($20,000) and the cost of purchasing the van ($26,000). Another chunk of the startup costs comes from buying the equipment (~$6,300) and insurance ($3,400). The rest comes from miscellaneous marketing and software costs.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Josh York, our founder, has giving me all the advice I can possibly need to make my territory as successful as possible. In addition, I utilize all of my connections from 24 years of living in Westchester to help get the word out about GYMGUYZ. Word of mouth about a service like personal training spreads like wildfire so it is important to maintain superior customer service and treat every client like they are your only one. Having a big name like GYMGUYZ certainly helps too, as people see we are not just trainers working out clients on the side but instead are full-time certified professionals whose goal is to help people achieve a healthy lifestyle.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
So far, it has been a smooth transition from opening to becoming busy with clients. Getting those first few clients and getting off the ground sometimes takes longer than any new business owner might hope, but after those first couple weeks, you’re already busy before you know it.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Franchising is definitely a good idea if you want to run your own business but don’t have a ton of prior experience. You have the guidance of professionals who have been doing it with a proven brand and in no time, you have that experience under your belt and you’re running smoothly. There’s no better feeling then waking up in the morning and doing what you love. If you are into fitness and want to run your own business, owning a GYMGUYZ franchise is the way to go!
What’s next for you and your business?
We hope to keep expanding our Westchester location which means adding more vans and hiring more full-time and part-time trainers. Our goal is to have five vans running by early-mid 2015, with well over 100 steady clients. We will keep branding the GYMGUYZ name everywhere possible and make sure that even if someone doesn’t want our services, they know about us.