- 2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#28 Ranked #7 last year
- Initial investment
$1.6M - $4.9M
- Units as of 2022
2,324 25.0% over 3 years
Planet Fitness Franchise
Fitness franchises around the world are taking off, and for good reason. More people than ever are interested in getting and staying fit, so ambitious entrepreneurs can tap into the franchise industry to take advantage of this trend and start independent fitness studios.
But you don’t have to build up a brand from scratch. Instead, you can start a Planet Fitness franchise and benefit from a built-in audience and strong branding. Keep reading for a closer look at what it takes to become a Planet Fitness franchise owner.
Why should you start a Planet Fitness franchise?
The Planet Fitness workout studio franchise began in 1992 when Michael Grondahl purchased a New Hampshire gym that was already failing. He turned around by cutting prices, revamping business procedures and providing new ways to work out for its patrons.
The result? Long-term success. There are now hundreds of Planet Fitness studios around the country, led by current CEO Chris Rondeau, giving people a chance to work out and get fit, plus use expensive gym equipment with affordable subscription prices.
Planet Fitness locations offer exercise machines, fitness training services, tanning services and much more, so new franchisees have many different revenue streams to pursue.
If you partner with this franchisor, you’ll see several immediate benefits, including:
- Plenty of assistance from the corporate team, including access to a phone line, meetings and grand opening support.
- Extensive training so you know how to run a fitness studio immediately.
- The freedom to adjust your prices and special discounts and deals to appeal to your target market.
- Full branding benefits. You don’t have to market and brand your business from the ground up. When you start a Planet Fitness franchise, you’ll run a business already recognized and beloved by the public. Currently, the company has over 15 million members and over 2000 locations across Australia, Canada, Latin America and the 50 United States. It offers a judgement-free zone and welcoming environment unique within the fitness industry.
Regarding massive branding, remember that Planet Fitness is the main sponsor of the TV show The Biggest Loser. Since that show was a smash hit, it means that when you start a new Planet Fitness franchised location, you’ll have a built-in customer base right from the get-go.
Does Planet Fitness grant territory exclusivity?
While Planet Fitness has much going for it as a franchise partner, remember that you can face competition from other franchisees.
That’s because Planet Fitness doesn’t grant true territory exclusivity. You can’t conduct your business at any site other than your approved premises, but your franchise agreement does not include any protected territory or safe area.
Therefore, you’ll want to choose your Planet Fitness studio location very carefully, minimizing the opportunity for other franchisees to come in and take away from your potential customer base.
Related: How Planet Fitness Aims to Become the McDonald’s of Gym Franchises
What support resources does Planet Fitness offer franchisees?
Planet Fitness provides extensive support resources for its new franchisees and business partners.
These start with newsletters, access to meetings and conventions and toll-free customer support. This gives business owners the tools to contact corporate at any time, build up their support networks and meet with other franchisees to share successful strategies.
When your store is ready to go, Planet Fitness will also help you with a grand opening. They’ll provide staffing and material support so you can drum up anticipation and hype for your studio’s big opening day, hopefully bolstering initial subscriptions.
But what if you can’t find the right location? In that case, Planet Fitness will provide you with support through site selection services and lease negotiation assistance. The latter support can help you secure an excellent lease for your new Planet Fitness building if the lender troubles you.
Even after that, Planet Fitness provides safety and security procedure training and support, field operations help and online support whenever needed.
That online support extends to marketing assistance, as well. For your Planet Fitness studio to be successful, you’ll have to market it aggressively, especially during some of the most critical times of the year (e.g., right after New Year’s when everyone promises to get fit).
Your marketing support includes regional and national media advertising assistance, ensuring that you align with the broader Planet Fitness brand marketing campaign yet also appeal to people in your local area. Additionally, Planet Fitness helps with grand opening marketing.
Planet Fitness provides you with online marketing assistance, too. You can access specially branded ad templates to create persuasive, high-performing advertisements without making them from scratch.
Email marketing and social media marketing assistance is included in this package, so you can build a website and bring people to your brand online.
Your business can provide and use the loyalty program and dedicated app to ensure Planet Fitness customers return to your studio.
The loyalty app incentivizes people to return to your studio repeatedly through discounts, special offers and training opportunities. It’s a great way to make your studio stand out from other fitness centers in your market.
Related: How Planet Fitness Muscles Through Temporary Pandemic Closures to Become a Top Franchise
How much does starting a Planet Fitness franchise cost?
Starting a Planet Fitness franchise could be an excellent business opportunity, but you must meet the cash requirements. The initial investment for this business model can be pricey for first-time entrepreneurs. You need a good amount of liquid capital depending on your franchise location, advertising fees and the number of members.
The initial franchise fee is deceptively small at $20,000. You’ll also satisfy a net worth requirement of $3 million, and $1.5 million of that needs to be in liquid cash.
In total, expect to invest between $1.6 million and approximately $5 million; your exact payment will depend on your Planet Fitness studio's size and the projected profits.
Then you have to consider the royalty fees you’ll pay. Royalty fees are usually 7%, and ad royalty fees clock in at 9%. All of these can eat into your gross monthly profits, comprising gym memberships (e.g., annual membership fees) and other sales.
So you’ll want to take advantage of Planet Fitness’s training programs to ensure you thrive quickly as a Planet Fitness franchisee.
Terms of agreement are for 10 years and are renewable, which can be beneficial as you pay off the cost of real estate and fitness equipment, which are standard fitness club expenses and increase your initial franchise business costs.
Does Planet Fitness offer any financial aid?
If the above costs seem a little high, remember that Planet Fitness does have relationships with third-party lenders and financing organizations.
You can get financing to cover your new fitness studio's startup costs and equipment. Since these represent some of the significant expenditures new business owners must consider, this is no small benefit.
Related: How Planet Fitness Grew in 2020, Even While its Gyms Were Empty
What training is required for your Planet Fitness franchise?
Planet Fitness is a training and fitness business, so it’s no surprise it does well with new franchisee training. You’ll need to complete 20 hours of on-the-job and 74 hours of classroom training before you are ready to lead your studio.
All franchisees, their approved operators and managers for Planet Fitness businesses have to complete an initial training program. The franchisor administers the initial training across two phases:
- Owner orientation and presale training.
- Operations training.
Both of these modules will ensure that you know how to set up your studio for success, then run it successfully in the day-to-day.
Furthermore, Planet Fitness, as a franchisor, sometimes requires franchisees to send their employees to extra training courses. These additional training courses may include ways to operate gym equipment and how to sell fitness sessions to customers.
While these additional training requirements can crop up occasionally, they are never too long, usually taking fewer than five calendar days per year.
Related: How the CEO of Planet Fitness, Which Counts 10 Million Members, Went from Front Desk Clerk to Top Exec
Start a Planet Fitness franchise today
A Planet Fitness franchise opportunity could be perfect for your business ambitions. Consider starting a franchise with this company today.
Check out Entrepreneur’s other articles for more information about Planet Fitness and other franchise opportunities.
About Planet Fitness
|Industry||Health & Wellness|
|Related Categories||Fitness , Miscellaneous Personal-Care Businesses, Miscellaneous Recreation Businesses|
|Leadership||Chris Rondeau, CEO|
4 Liberty Ln. West
Hampton, NH 03842
|Social||Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube|
|Franchising Since||2003 (2023-2003 years)|
|# of employees at HQ||241|
This company is offering new franchisees throughout the US.
This company is offering new franchisees worldwide.
|# of Units||2,324 (as of 2022)|
Information for Franchisees
Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a Planet Fitness franchise.
Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees
Here's what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.
Initial Franchise Fee
Definition: The initial fee paid to a franchisor to join their system
What you need to know: Found in Item 5 of the FDD, this may be a flat fee, or may vary based on territory size, experience, or other factors.The franchise fee is an up-front (one-time) cost that a new franchisee pays to the franchisor. This fee is usually due at the signing of the franchise agreement and covers the right to use the franchisor's trademarks, name, and related business systems.
Definition: The total amount necessary to begin operation of the franchise
What you need to know: The initial investment includes the franchise fee, along with other startup expenses such as real estate, equipment, supplies, business licenses, and working capital. This is outlined in a chart in Item 7 of the FDD, showing a range of possible costs from low to high.
|$1,625,600 - $4,921,000|
Net Worth Requirement
Definition: The minimum net worth you must have in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company
What you need to know: Net worth is the value of a person's assets minus liabilities. Assets include cash, stocks, retirement accounts, and real estate. Liabilities include items like mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt.
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
Definition: A ongoing fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis.
What you need to know: Most franchisors require franchisees to pay an ongoing royalty fee, which is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD. This fee is typically a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales, but may also be a flat weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
Ad Royalty Fee
Definition: An going fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis to support advertising or marketing efforts.
What you need to know: This may also be called advertising fee, marketing fee, brand fund fee, and more, but the basic purpose is the same-- to support promotion of the brand systemwide. As with the royalty fee, it is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD, and can be a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales or a weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
Term of Agreement
Definition: The length of time your franchise agreement will last.
What you need to know: Franchise terms are typically anywhere from 5 to 20 years in length, but are sometimes instead dependent on factors such as the term of your lease. Once your term is up, you may have the option to renew your agreement, typically for a smaller fee than the original franchise fee.
|Is franchise term renewable?||Yes|
Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.
|Third Party Financing||Planet Fitness has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: startup costs, equipment|
Training & Support Offered
Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.
|On-The-Job Training||20 hours|
|Classroom Training||74 hours|
Meetings & Conventions
Security & Safety Procedures
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Additional details about running this franchise.
|Is absentee ownership allowed?||No|
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Definition: The business can be run from your home and/or a vehicle, and it is not necessary to have a retail facility, office space, or warehouse.
Can this franchise be run part time?
Definition: This business can be run by the owner on a part-time basis (less than 40 hours per week) and/or as a side business; it is not necessary for the business to be open/run full-time.
|# of employees required to run||12-15|
Are exclusive territories available?
Definition: An exclusive territory is a fixed area in which you are given the right to operate and in which no other units of the same franchise may be opened.
What you need to know: Territory size may be based on factors such as radius, population size, zip codes, and more. Details can be found in Item 12 of the FDD.
Interested in ownership opportunities like Planet Fitness? Request a free consultation with a Franchise Advisor now.
Franchise 500 Ranking History
Compare where Planet Fitness landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Planet Fitness ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
Ranked #1 in Fitness in 2022
These are the companies that not only ranked in this year’s highly competitive Franchise 500, but ranked #1 in their respective industry categories.
Ranked #28 in 2023
Entrepreneur’s 44th annual Franchise 500® ranking shines a light on the unique challenges and changes that have shaped the franchise industry over the last year—and how franchisors have adapted and evolved to meet them.
Ranked #79 in 2023
If you're interested in an opportunity with international appeal, start your search with our ranking of the top franchises seeking to expand outside the U.S.
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