Ditching a Desk Job for a Career as a Fitness Franchisee
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.
With a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a minor in business, Tim Marshall was manufacturing parts for nuclear weapons and airplanes before he became a franchisee. However, Marshall wanted to be his own boss. He began looking into businesses that would get him out from behind his desk and discovered GYMGYUZ. Here's how he decided the brand was right for him.
Name: Tim Marshall
Franchise owned: GYMGUYZ in Overland Park, Kan.
How long have you owned a franchise?
Since this is my first time owning my own business, franchising provides some guidance and direction when getting started. It also provides the benefit of knowing what has or hasn’t worked in the past to help my business be as successful as possible.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Before becoming a franchise owner, I was an electrical engineer and project manager.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I saw an opportunity to make a positive impact in the community with a business model that didn’t exist in this area. I felt as though the convenience and creativity of the GYMGUYZ model would be very successful in my community, and at the same time allow me to get out from behind the desk and interact with people and improve lives on a daily basis.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
The startup costs were around $45,000: $15,000 for the franchise fee, approximately $15,000 for the equipment, and between $5,000 and $10,000 for the van, travel, apparel, marketing materials, advertising and office equipment. The rest was miscellaneous expenses.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
We researched franchises and how to run your own business for a couple of years prior to committing to anything. I bought a couple of books, read numerous articles, did a lot of internet research and spoke with other small business owners to get their personal experiences and feedback to help guide my decision. I also took a class and worked with an advisor at a small business development center in the area.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
There will always be something that arises that you didn’t account for, whether it is financial or employment related, equipment related, basically anything that you didn’t prepare for or couldn’t have expected. You have to be able to roll with the punches and not let it throw you off. If something arises that was unexpected, you have to be able to focus on finding a solution and develop a plan of attack and hit it head on.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Do your research. The first step, in my opinion, would be to meet with a CPA that has experience working with small businesses. They will help you get started on the right foot financially, which is the most important aspect of starting a new business. Make sure you take your time in evaluating everything, from yourself and your personal situation to the business model, and everything in between. Be prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed and don’t let anything knock you off of that path.
What’s next for you and your business?
We are continuing to grow and add to our client base and add more vans as we expand throughout the Kansas City area. We will also be looking to hire more coaches for individual training, group training and corporate fitness classes, as well as hiring within the office.