Is the Anytime Fitness Franchise a Healthy Investment Choice?

Anytime Fitness Franchise Propels Industry

The fitness industry was first put on the scene by the baby boomers from the late 1960s through the early 1970s.  During the ‘Golden Era of Health,’ many Americans found new ways to exercise by joining health clubs.

The fitness industry spiked in growth again beginning at the turn of the millennium. Now, 57.3 million people in the U.S. are participating in active health club membership. In the past 12 years, there has been over a 37% growth rate in U.S. gym membership.

Those looking to get a sweat going have over 36,550 different clubs to choose from. Yet the momentum has been felt the strongest in the one name that has been tattooed on over 800 gym employees and member’s biceps—Anytime Fitness Franchise.

That’s right.

Anytime Fitness franchise’s brand loyalty is so strong that employees and members alike have been known to tattoo the company logo on themselves. The company has over 3 million members. Anytime has over 2,255 U.S. owned franchises, while 1,240 locations operate internationally. 38 franchise locations are retained by corporate. The Anytime Fitness franchise, along with thousands of other thriving gym franchises have changed the landscape of the fitness industry.

  • Initial Investment: $114,950-$434,521
  • Net Worth Requirement: $300,00
  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee: $19,000-$37,500
  • Royalty Fee: $449-549/mo

What Makes Anytime Fitness so Competitive?

The fitness industry is far from monopolized. Any style of person with any varying styles of working out can find a gym franchise to their liking.

Gym franchises like Orangetheory, Snap Fitness, and Planet Fitness are all recognizable brands with cult-like followings. But the Anytime Fitness franchise dominates the market surpassing all other franchises by the pervasiveness of locations alone. The company’s revenue has arrived at $1 billion in sales revenue and claims to open a location every day with a member joining every 3 minutes. Hard to argue with figures like this when you can’t  drive through a Midwest strip mall without seeing Anytime’s  running-man purple logo.

Anytime Fitness is a 24 hour, seven days a week. 365-days-a-year exercise facility. All locations come equipped with aerobic and weight training equipment, changing areas, and showers. Members receive key-card access with a panic button. Advanced surveillance and security systems allow for members to workout literally whenever they want.

This was integral to the founder’s philosophy. Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen—the men who founded Anytime—both believe that membership retention stems from convenience. On Average, most members exercise between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., with 11 members working out between 9pm and midnight, and five members that prefer the early morning between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

With every location equipped with security systems, there is no need for the gym to be staffed as constantly as competitors. Combined with massive support from regional offices, this is how the Anytime Fitness franchises have been able to reduce overhead.

Anytime has also been one of the leaders in engaging with customers outside of the gym. The launch of the Anytime Fitness App shifted the franchise from a ‘workout space’ to a dynamic brand. The app offers fitness guidance and tools. Goal setting, customized workouts, and a health feed are all available through the app. This digital platform maintains steady engagement with the Anytime Fitness franchise’s brand and helps customers achieve healthy results.

How Did it All Happen?

Anytime’s founders hail from the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes.’ Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen were working for a fitness club in St. Paul when they decided to jointly purchase Southview Athletic Club. At the time, the club only had 500 members. 7-years-later the club swelled to 4,000 members thanks to work of Mortensen and Runyon. The two also worked in a consulting firm dedicated to under-performing athletic clubs which gave them the foundational knowledge behind the industry.

After watching their athletic club grow the two drew up the first franchise agreement with another employee Eric Keller and the first Anytime Fitness franchise location opened in Cambridge, Minnesota. (Keller is now Vice President of International Franchise Support for Anytime).

Shortly after, two more employees opened locations in different cities in Minnesota. The pattern continued until forty locations later the first corporate store opened. This lateral movement is pretty atypical for franchise beginnings. Usually, a few corporate locations are open and thriving before founders decide to franchise out. After the first international location opened in 2005 the brand was an undeniable juggernaut in the gym franchising world.

Many cite the Anytime Fitness company culture as the means of success for the franchise. The founders wanted a place where people could go workout without the grunts and machismo of average health clubs. Franchise owners seem to genuinely want to help their members. Runyon who is now CEO, describes franchisees who helped a 71-year-old grandmother loose her goal of 110 pounds and a location owner who donated a kidney to a member. The intimacy and personal connection encapsulated in the Anytime brand are big pushes for their success.

The contemporary economic climate—consumers wanting more experience and connection—combined with hard work and talented marketing, drove the Anytime Fitness franchise to carve the path for the rest of the gym franchising world. What other franchises should investors consider that followed this same model?

Gym Franchises:

  • Get In Shape for Women
  • Charter Fitness
  • Planet Fitness
  • Pure Barre
  • Baby Boot Camp

Top Ranking Franchises:

  • 7-Eleven INC.
  • McDonald’s
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • The UPS Store
  • Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
  • Splash and Dash for Dogs

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique

  • Initial Investment: $152,000-$360,300
  • Net Worth Requirement: $500,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement: $150,000
  • Franchise Fee: $25,000
  • Royalty Fee: 6%

When one boils down Anytime’s business model, at the Axiom, a prevailing concept that has nothing to do with marketing or rapid unit growth appears. The company is a family. Franchise owners care about their employees, members, and themselves.

There is no disingenuousness when Runyon tells media outlets, “In this industry, I’ve learned there are three types of people. There are people who care about lifting weights, people who care about lifting money, and people who care about lifting people.” Anytime Fitness is undeniably about “lifting people.”

Another franchise that shares this same outlook is Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique—the brick and mortar franchise segment of Splash and Dash for Dogs.

The company was founded on a principle of bettering the world around us. Of course, when individuals invest in a franchise they want to profit. But half the battle of acquiring those profits maintaining the focus to ensure one doesn’t burn out.

This takes fiery passion.

This is why Splash and Dash was built on core values that give shop owners the reins to be leaders in their community. Educating on sustainable and wholesome means of pet care, providing love for animals, and lifting the people in their community are a few ways owners can do their part to better this place.

Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique aims to bring all the love of familial mom-and-pop stores with all the advantages of big-box shops.


Follow Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique: