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Anytime Fitness or Snap Fitness

I have always wanted to own my own business and I have a fitness background and have been considering Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness. Neither one are in my area so I can compare them by visiting them in person, only what I gather from my research. Does anyone know anything about either that would help me in the decision making process? Thanks!

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fitness gym

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Thinking of buying a Snap (more)

I couldnt agree more with the comments of the visitor on 3/27/14...I wanted to add the following:
1. In the franschise agreement there is a clause that prohibit the franchises from speaking negatively about Snap...why? what happened to free speach?
2. They have a forum where owners share ideals, comments and complaints...the forum is scrubbed for anything negative.
3. After 4 years in development, they recently rolled out a new propreitary software called Fitware..the old system was $45 per month. Snap charges $69 for their home grown system...this would be fine, but the volume of billing issues has risen and while the agreement causes $5 for every new member, owners are getting charged $5 for existing members...where was the testing and doing a trial rollout to see the bugs in the system...as usual the response has been silence
4. Trying to sell the business, dont go with FastFD. They are fools..normal business broker would charge 10% or $10k...these guys charge 15% or $12K...and the lead system consist primarily of sending emails to your own members.
5. While you are prohibited from essentially any affiliation from another fitness related company for 10 miles from your existing club...Peter Taunton and Gary Findlay can do anything they want. Check out 9 rounds and Koko fit...shouldnt they be focusing on Snap?
https://www.9round.com/fitness-franchises/leader

Thinking about purchasing a Snap Fitness franchise? - READ

If you're thinking about purchasing an existing Snap Fitness or open a New Snap Fitness here are some things you should be aware of

In a brief summary:
1. Snap Fitness requires you to sign a document stating that your customers' information is their proprietary data. This greatly hampers your ability to sell your business to someone who doesn't want to run it as a Snap Fitness.
2. Snap Fitness continues to push their 30 day trial. Snap Corporate collects the $8.95 fee, you collect nothing. This trial member gets to use your club and you collect $0. Snap Corporate claims that this brings in more people to try out your club. We've spoken to over 200 franchisees and found that the number of people trying out the club has not increased. Snap Corporate claims that this is false and points to their data as showing a ramp up in people trying out the club. Unfortunately most franchisees keep their own data on people who are trying out their club and this information isn't in Snap's Corporate data. When first started this program wasn't run during busy times of the year and was only advertised on the main snapfitness.com website. It wasn't on the individual club websites. However, even with that franchisees still asked for this to be an opt-in program. Corporate refused and over the last couple of years has made it a year round program and it now shows up on every franchisee's club page. Also of note is that the franchisee pays a fee of about $60/month to Snap Corporate for their webpage. One of the biggest problems with this program is that franchisees can no longer tell what advertising is effective. The reason being that when someone goes to the website as a result of the club's advertising they click on the 30 day trial. The club owner loses any information about where they person found out about their club. Many owners have resorted to creating a separate website and directing their advertising to that website. So then the question becomes why do they have to pay Snap Fitness for a website which is for the primary benefit of Snap Corporate?
3. Snap Fitness reach somewhere in the neighborhood of 1800 clubs around the 2009/2010 period before shrinking down to about 1200 clubs. Now, in 2014 I believe the number is about 1400. Currently Anytime Fitness shows on their website that they have 2469 clubs. I know very little about Anytime Fitness, but I'm guessing by their numbers that they treat their franchisees better.
4. Snap Fitness continues to find new things to require their franchisees to subscribe to and pay for, regardless of whether the franchisee believes it is helping them. They charge $30/month for one of their tools. It's of very little use. It's been mandatory for over a year. Now let me ask you this: If the tool was a benefit to me and helping me improve my business do you think I would stop paying for it and stop using it? Of course not. However, that's not an option. This tool is mandatory whether you use it or not.
5. Snap has their own phone system, which is mandatory. You'll pay Snap $50/month for this system. It's a nice system. However, prior to that I paid $9/YEAR for magic jack. It did the job. The new system costs me an additional $591/year. Again, no choice. This is mandatory.
6. Others have mentioned that you pay additional for anything you buy from a preferred vendor. You can scan through the other posts for details, but I will confirm that this is true. A friend of mine owns a fitness center in another town. He has 3 fitness centers all together. His quote for the same Cybex equipment was cheaper than my "special" pricing. With 1400 Snap Fitness locations shouldn't I be receiving better pricing? My shipping costs were also $300 more than his. I've also found the computers, cameras, door systems and everything else were far more expensive than if I bought them elsewhere. In most cases far less expensive. I believed that all of these things were highly customized and tuned for my fitness center and that these things needed to conform to standards in order to interact within the system. In fact they're not. Better computers, TVs, camera systems, etc can be purchased for far less. If you ignore my warning and open a new Snap franchise I would encourage you to insist that you be able to purchase these types of items on your own. You'll save thousands of dollars.
7. Snap's software is awful. Trying to find out what you're being charged for in terms of members is time consuming and most franchisees simply give up.
8. You'll have to pay about $90/month for marketing. That would be fine if you started seeing some sort of national Snap campaigns. Instead that $100 is used for posters you can use to hang around your club. It's convenient, but some are specifically for Corporate's 30 day trial program, which go straight into the trash. A more fair price would be about $20 - $30.month. Any advertising anyone sees for Snap Fitness will be a result of your advertising. We spend about $7,000/year on advertising. However, as I noted above we're no longer able to see what advertising is working if you direct people to your snapfitness.com/city website.
9. Snap Fitness franchise contract has a highly restrictive non-compete clause in it. You need to read this closely
10. Snap Fitness owns 9round, Kosama and other fitness clubs. The franchise agreement you MUST sign allows them to open a club right next to yours and use all of your member data for them to market their new club. Read above that they consider this to be their proprietary data.
10. As a franchisee you must allow Healthway members to use your club. These can be anyone who has this as part of their insurance program. Snap Fitness collects a monthly administration fee from you of $40. These insurance members can use your club and the insurance company only pays you when the member swipes their card at the door. The insurance company pays you a small amount for each swipe and caps the amount they pay per month. The cap is roughly 72% of what we normally charge. If the person doesn't come in that month you still pay the administration fee and pay Snap Corporate for that person being a member. Meanwhile you've collected $0 that month.

The overall trend is to make more money for Snap Corporate, which is understandable. However, it should come from helping franchisees bring a better workout experience to their members. Instead Gary Findley looks at new fees he can burden clubs with and how he can divert local club money to Snap Corporate (eg 30 day trial program and Healthways)

I saw the following on a post from a couple years ago. Because most of this is accurate I'm reposting. (However, this isn't my content) Again, I would highly discourage you from purchasing a Snap Fitness franchise. They don't provide you with any national advertising, there's nothing special about their fitness centers (If you go to a gym you already know about 95% of what you need to know, go to a fitness convention to learn the other 5%) It's also far more work than they portray it. I put in 12 hours a day. I don't see how anyone can make this work as an absentee owner. You also need to be open far more hours than they indicate. If you only have staffed hours 3 to 5 hours a day I don't see how you can make it. Your club WILL be dirty, you'll run out of supplies and your members will run like rats from a sinking ship.

Why is Snap Fitness a bad invesment? (Or any other 24/7 for that matter? ANYTIME?) Read below and if you're not convinced, please contact Bill Rodriguez ASAP as there are HUNDREDS IF NOT THOUSANDS of territories still available! Sign up now while the line is as short as it gets, NONE!

Tom Petters sentenced 50 years for ponzi scheme. Paul Taunton was partners with Tom Petters. Peter Taunton is Paul Taunton's twin brother. You with me? Still want to purchase a Snap Fitness franchise from Peter Taunton, CEO?
http://money.cnn.com/2010/04/08/news/economy/Tom_Petters/
http://petters-fraud.com/Receiver_Pettions_BK_Court_2_Sell_Petters_Assets.pdf
http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2010/09/tom_petters_leg.php
http://www.brendagrantland.com/PCI-BK/180.pdf
http://www.justice.gov/usao/mn/petters/pdfs/Govt%20exhibit%2034.pdf
http://www.startribune.com/projects/30350074.html?elr=KArks%3ADCiU1OiP%3ADiiUiD3aPc%3A_Yyc%3AaUeyckcU_1OiP%3ADii_i8D3PE7_8yc+D3ai_U
(Even the lawyers get in on the action and are being pursued on drug charges)
PETER TAUNTON, CEO SNAP FITNESS = Case # 24040055, Court File # K598001371, Disposition Date 3/18/1999, Minnesota Attorney General's Office St. Paul, Kaniyohi District Court, Theft-by Swindle-Artifice/Trick/Device or Other, Statute # 609.52.2.4., CONVICTED
Posted: 10-29-10
FACTUAL INFORMATION WITH EVIDENCE...
1. Peter Taunton was convicted of swindle in 1999.
2. Paul Taunton was in a partnership with a person named in a ponzi scheme. (Tom Petters)
3. Peter and Paul have both been involved with franchising companies with "ponzi type" business models, Snap Fitness and Athletic Fitters,Inc.
4. Peter Taunton has continually embellished the financial potential of Snap Fitness clubs. "Running these gyms is a breeze", "Snap Fitness could realistically add another 100 locations in Minnesota", "typical Snap Fitness club can break even with as few as 220 to 250 members".
5. Read about Paul and his "honesty" during his divorce. http://www.nvo.com/beaulier/businessvaluations/ and http://divorce.lovetoknow.com/Divorce_and_Business_Valuation Now these cases are being used to solicit business for divorce attorneys!
6. Peter and Paul Taunton are twins.
POSTED 11-18-10
WHY DO SNAP FITNESS FRANCHISEES FAIL?
Why do Snap Fitness franchises fail?
1. Inaccurate representation of potential financial success by corporate
2. Factual statistics about financial health of current franchisees "not available"
3. Weak business model
4. Inadequate support provided to franchisees by corporate
5. "No contract" memberships become a liability in time
6. Billing, software and technical equipment continually have issues
7. Requires turnover of staff to keep costs low. Revolving door employees.
8. Return on investment, if any, is scant and unjustified for the amount of risk
9. CORPORATE IS MAKING HUGE PROFITS WHILE FRANCHISEES ARE WIPING OUT

PETER TAUNTON = Case # 24040055, Court File # K598001371, Disposition Date 3/18/1999, Minnesota Attorney General's Office St. Paul, Kaniyohi District Court, Theft-by Swindle-Artifice/Trick/Device or Other, Statute # 609.52.2.4., CONVICTED, Probation Sentence - 2 Years

PETER TAUNTON AND SNAP FITNESS DIRECT QUOTES: (EMBELLISHMENTS)
"Running these gyms is a breeze," Taunton tells prospective franchisees in a weekly conference call. "All you need is an Internet browser."

"Snap Fitness claims that the fitness industry is "recession proof"

"Franchisees benefit from the absentee ownership model, Taunton says, which allows one manager to man the location between 15 and 20 hours per week."

"Snap Fitness could realistically add another 100 locations in Minnesota since it can place its 2,700- to 3,200-square-foot clubs in communities with as few as 3,000 people."

Taunton said he’s found the typical Snap Fitness club can break even with as few as 220 to 250 members.

PETER'S FAN CLUB: By Guest2010-01-25 21:52 (Read the entire post using the date to find in the "Anytime Fitness or Snap Fitness" forum) Peter Taunton's Snap Fitness; "Beware. I know Peter Taunton , and I believe wholeheartedly that he is as shallow and dishonest as one can be. In my opinion, he is a con artist through and through and I think he is capable of scr_wing anyone who gets in the way of him making his almighty dollar; the dollar seems to be his god."

Go to this forum to read more: http://www.bluemaumau.org/franchise_horror_stories

POSTED 8-20-10 and 3-15-10

"Snap Fitness is a group of con-artists. They first send a packet promoting how easy it is to run a small fitness center. The CEO Peter Taunton even goes to the extent of mentioning he's a Christian to get people's guard down. In the informational packet, they'll lead you to believe they're out to save you money. There's a Cybex price list that says, Snap Pricing/ Cybex Pricing. The Snap pricing on Cybex is 30-40% less on most items over Cybex Direct. What they don't tell you is ordering through an independent Gym Supplier will be even cheaper (Nearly 20% less than Snap's Pricing) and there are alternatives to Cybex machines that work just as well. Call Dan Erb of Better Body 406-449-4672 for equipment pricing.

Snap does this on everything. Security Cameras (Sam's Club) $500 vs. Snap $8,000 (Sam's Club camera's are higher quality)

YOU WILL PAY $50,000 TO $80,000 IN KICKBACKS THAT YOU'RE NOT AWARE OF.

Snap also has a flawed business plan. The average customer is excited in the beginning and generally their excitement fades off in the first 30-60 days. The customer will cancel unless they are on a contract. Snap tells everyone that "No Contract" is the way to go since it eliminates the barrier of entry. What Snap doesn't tell you is that the barrier of exit is the most important, but they don't care because they get $5 per new member and $1 for online fees. Many of the Snap clubs can't even keep enough customers to maintain break even.

According to Micheal Wickman (a former Snap Employee). 36% of Snaps are making money, 40% are at break-even, and the rest are losing $. Snap's definition of break-even doesn't include the cost of labor or return for business owners.

And to finish, Palmdale, CA closing this month and Snap Corporate wants to continue charging him the franchise fee even though his doors are shut! They want to have him pay the fees for a little more than 2 more years. OVER $12,000 for being closed.

And if you want to sell your unprofitable Snap, the Franchisor charges the current franchisee fee again to the new owner!

email me with any questions and read all the other blogs I've posted."

[email protected]

POSTED 7-28-10

Once again the "one hit wonder" has managed to post enough senseless garbage to shift all the great stuff for potential franchisees to the next page. Just to keep it real, here are some of the highlighted websites to review for factual and pertinent information before "marching to slaughter", in other words, investing $250,000 in a Snap Fitness franchise and regretting it well within 6 months, trying to sell at 12 months, looking for investors and/or renegotiating leases at 18 months and filing bankruptcy at 24-36 months. It's the business model and it's making corporate millions! If you would like a copy of the Snap Fitness email listed on here for a few hours today, request it at [email protected] haha

http://franchise-fraud.com/ Must read for potential franchisees.

http://www.tanningtraining.com/reginfo/state.html State laws requiring staff while tanning is being used.

http://omahanewsstand.com/articles/2010/06/10/waverly_news/sports/doc4c0fd8660a0ba196714445.txt Snap closing but no worries, we will be here until the deal is done! This is a classic!!!

http://wasecacountynews.com/news.php?viewStory=4825 Peter pulls the carpet out from under this franchisee!

http://snap-fitness.pissedconsumer.com/ Great customer and previous staff feedback here.

http://www.maincloud.com/news-Snap-Fitness Lots of Snaps for sale.

http://www.mouthshut.com/product-reviews/Snap_Fitness_-_Bangalore-925103239.html More Snap problems internationally.

http://www.brentroad.com/message_topic.aspx?topic=595781 Snap closes without notification. (SOP)

POSTED 7-7-10

It seems we have a lone "one hit wonder" left on this forum who can't help but feed his own ego and listen to himself talk. (read his own words in this case) While several of us formerly of Snap Fitness are sharing our financially tragic experiences with readers, this supposed franchisee continues to shill for corporate and represent the business model as an all out winner. BEWARE of his misrepresentations, embellishments, charges and other strategies to encourage others to join in this ridiculously inept and unsustainable business model. There are no reliable statistics available to defend the success he has quoted, including his own. At best he is a one franchisee owner who has fell into a highly unusual situation of profitability and at worst he is writing all of these posts from Snap Fitness corporate. We may never know for sure. What we do know for sure are the laws and regulations listed below.

1. These states STILL require a tanning operator at ALL TIMES tanning is being used:

California, Colorado, Maryland, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Massassachusettes, Michigan, MINNESOTA, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Iowa, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maine, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

2. Numerous states STILL require an AED/CPR Certified employee at ALL TIMES.

3. Several states STILL require an employee at ALL TIMES.

BE SURE TO READ THE POST BELOW: "SNAP FITNESS - BEEN THERE, DONE THAT"

BUYER BEWARE!

POSTED 6-9-10
Wonder why pissedconsumer and bluemaumau websites come up # 3 and # 5 in a search for Snap Fitness? This is where franchisees as well as members come to gain understanding, are consoled and try to find explanations for a situation gone bad. To make diligence easy for potential franchisees, below is an outline of a typical Snap Fitness franchisee adventure.

1. Sign the dotted line and begin the journey, adventure, crisis or for lots of franchisees the beginning of the end.
2. Due to the required assets of $250,000 per license, Snap knows you will be around at least 2 years to contribute to their coffers. Corporate emphasis is on franchise sales and they know "you are in".
3. The first 6 months you are running on adrenaline, energy and enthusiasm but the member numbers never get close to how it was represented. The no-contract membership begins to take a bite out of your existing membership. (Members leave.)
4. Employee turnover, member non payments, equipment repairs, club cleaning, marketing costs and other issues begin to take their toll on you and the staff.
5. At the year point you are dismayed, discouraged and wondering what you have gotten yourself into.
6. Around 18 months you are advertising your extra licenses for sale. You purchased the 3 for $40,000 deal, but like most franchisees, will only open one location due to subsidizing the one open location every month.
7. The 2 year mark is when desperation sets in and you contact corporate and research how to sell your club. You find out corporate takes care of sales internally and they "work" with all potential buyers to "make" the deal. You can read about some of these experiences on this forum but it appears this will not be pleasant either.
8. File for bankruptcy, sale or close between 2-3 years.

POSTED 4-23-10

FRANCHISEE ALERT: Purchase a 24 hour franchise fitness club and the moment you open your doors you could be breaking the law! This may well be the ALL TIME WORST franchise opportunity! 30 states require a tanning operator while tanning is being used and numerous states require staffing for other reasons. There are county and city laws in states with similar laws. Direct quote from IHRSA "Because of these laws, if a cardiac arrest occurs at a club that has an AED but no one is on duty that is trained to use it, the club could be found liable for negligence."

1. The states below require a tanning operator at ALL TIMES tanning is being used:

California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massassachusettes, Michigan, MINNESOTA, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

2. Numerous states require an AED/CPR Certified employee at ALL TIMES.

3. Several states require an employee at ALL TIMES, period.

24 Hour Clubs, all of us "guests" would love to hear your side of this besides the tired responses "they don't enforce it" or "we worked with the state to come to a result the state was happy with". Any questions franchisees? Contact your franchisor!

IT'S THE LAW.

POSTED 8-27-09
Why everyone is selling their Snap Fitnesses
Well, Frankly, in my opinion, Snap Fitness doesn't understand the customer. The Ceo believes offering a "NO CONTRACT" eliminates the barrier of entry. The problem is that the even more important part is the barrier of exit. When a customer realizes they are not using the gym, they simply cancel. Their is a very high turnover of customers. For a buyer, it's very risky because the revenue isn't secured with a contract in place which makes the business worth even less. On the other hand, Anytime Fitness is continually adding to their member base because they secure their member base with contracts so their businesses are continually growing. Even though both Franchises have sold a ton, I wouldn't buy either one!

POSTED 10-1109
2009-10-11 15:57
Snap Fitness - The No Spin Zone
After being involved with Snap Fitness for a few months, I feel very comfortable sharing information with potential franchisees about the company. I have experience in the fitness industry previous to Snap Fitness.

1. Owners and management are required to sign legally binding and extensive non-disclosure agreements which restrict them from speaking openly about Snap Fitness corporate. This could have a detrimental effect on potential franchisees attempting to perform proper due diligence and acquiring honest and accurate information in regards to the ability of realizing a satisfactory return on investment.

2. Even if there were no profitable Snap Fitness franchises, it is still possible Snap Fitness corporate could continue to benefit financially, increase market share and continue to successfully recruit new franchisees.

3. There was always a constant flow of internal e-mails from Snap Fitness owners soliciting to sell their club and/or franchise license(s) for substantial discounts.

4. The emphasis, expertise and resources of the company are heavily invested in franchising and expanding both nationally and internationally. There were lots of discussion about new programs, technology, campaigns and support but only a small percentage of this was actually delivered effectively.

5. I advise you to research the Snap Fitness clubs throughout the country and you will see there are several that do not provide staff or have very limited hours for employees at the club. Minimal staffing is more prevalent as you investigate clubs closer to corporate headquarters. Remember this if you decide to pursue a franchise.

6. I do not believe their business model is sustainable. The reason for the expedited interest in developing international franchises is certainly motivated by the reality of the lack of success of so many of the individual franchisees here in the USA.

7. Snap Fitness franchise/business model enjoys the same benefits as MLM companies (multi level marketing). The people at the top (corporate) are financially successful while the little guy at the bottom is struggling but still subsidizing those at the top. The Snap Fitness corporate franchising business model is not set up to "share the pain" with their franchisees.

Recommendation: If you enjoy long hours, stress, cleaning, employee turnover, volunteer work and subsidizing your company every month, you will definitely enjoy Snap Fitness.

(Barbara, Keep pounding away! A lot of these people have thick skulls! You are providing a necessary service to the innocent and naive who think the fitness industry is a "piece of cake" or "a great investment". Keep up the great work!)

club shutting doors

http://www.snapfitness.com/cottagegrovewi/home/article/8022#ClubNews

McDonalds Shuts it doors

A McDonalds shuts its doors. it happens.

http://www.i4u.com/2013/02/mcdonalds/arches-doors-mcdonalds-closed-city-tahoe-shuts

Granville_Bean's picture

Not that shocking

The McD F'see was reported to have said the lease could not be economically renewed. The mall changed owners not long ago.  Not much of a shock to close a site when the lease runs out and the Landlord's renewal terms are onerous.. The store was there 30+ years and (per the article) the franchise had had several franchise owners.

BTW, let this (lease renewal) be a lesson to those who advocate getting the shortest possible lease for their franchised business. They are thinking of ease of bailing out if they fail. But what if the business succeeds? When that short lease comes up for renewal with a Landlord who sees you are doing well, he has you over a barrel.

A friend of mine was glad to close his food court McD when his FA was up (at the same time the lease was). It was not a money maker (low volume secondary mall) and no other McD F'see wanted the site either. Corp let it go even though the mall wanted them to stay. The same friend has a low volume conventional store he is also waiting to close at the end of the FA.  But he'll still have 20+ stores left.

A McD FA is usually 20 years so what is a little odd is that the Tahoe store is out after 30. In the US, typically McD Corp handles the lease with the Landlord and then leases the site to the F'see. Typically the lease and the FA term would coincide.

another closing down

in Texas.

http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/healthspas/012413closing.shtml

Equipment Lease

What can one expect for the Snap equipment lease with united at the end of the term? Any experiecnce?

Sorry to hear that Snaps are

Sorry to hear that Snaps are horrible to own. I belong to one, and love it - especially the 24 hour part. I'm kind of a gym rat, and don't have one near my house. Snap moved in, and while it may be a glorified hotel gym at 4 am it is MY glorified hotel gym. I own it, I am the only one there. I bring my DVD player and an HDMI cable, hook into one of the 42" LCD's, pop in P90X or BodyBeast or whatever I am doing and I have everything I need right there. Yeah, I spend 10 minutes picking up the weight area from the chuckleheads last night but I count it as "stretch". Even at $54/mo I can't think of a better alternative that works for me.

They aren't horrible to own if you know the fitness industry

Problem is many people who have never worked in the industry sink their life savings into an investment they know nothing about. Identifying viable markets and locations are important, but owning a fitness center is more often a lifestyle and not the best investment vehicle. Enjoying helping others and a healthy lifestyle is a part of that success formula, but there are many variables with can lead to failure if not properly vetted. zajegi

Granville_Bean's picture

Yup.

Guest notes: "Problem is many people who have never worked in the industry sink their life savings into an investment they know nothing about. "

Yup.  Have said that in general about pretty much ANY franchised business (or any business at all). But because it is a franchise, people think knowledge & experience is not needed. Worse for these particular businesses (card key gyms) some people bought in expecting a hands off cash cow, keep their day job and just watch the money pour in.  Yeah right.

The gym we belong to, the Owner is there 6 days a week and was the manager of someone else's gym before she opened her own.

owner' story

found this down on the thread, thought it was good.

For potential franchisees: Consider carefully your available resources in terms of time and money.
Don't believe the sales pitch that you can run a successful snap while also working full time somewhere else. This would only work if you are able to pay a full time, sales oriented manager.

Also, you most likely will NOT breakeven within the first 6 months. It could take 12-18 months or more. Make sure you have the financial resources to subsidize your business for the long haul.
These were my two biggest mistakes. I didn't have the time, energy or finances to keep my business going. I don't know if I failed or not because I was never able to give it my full, undivided attention. I was torn between my commitments to my family, full time employer and my snap, never fully engaged in any of the three. We took out a home equity line of credit to subsidize our business each month. After 18 months I saw the writing on the wall and decided to sell. The new owners are making a go of it as far as I can tell so I'm glad about that for our members.

I don't have a huge problem with corporate. I signed the FDD so don't really have any right to complain about any of the terms. They are in business to make money so let them to the extent that the law, the market and their conscience will allow. My biggest complaint is the way the business was pitched to me. The time and money required were vastly understated in my opinion.
Bottom line is that for some, this is a good business opportunity, for others (like me) it is not right

In my opinion:
-You cannot run a successful Snap franchise while working full time at another job
-Your breakeven will be substantially higher than 250 members
-Do not plan on turning a profit in your first 12-18 months.
-Make sure you have enough in personal savings or liquid capital to subsidize your business until you turn a profit (if you ever do)
-Franchising is extremely risky at best. You must be 100% committed in terms of all of your time, energy, and financial resources
-Take EVERYTHING the corporate sales team tells you with a grain of salt. If it sounds too good to be true IT IS!!

Here is my story

It was a couple years ago and I've tried to forget most of my experience but as best I can remember, based on an average membership of $40 (might be a little high), our break even was probably around 320 memberships (475-500 members).

We also never got personal training off the ground. #1 I couldn't find a good trainer in our area and #2 our members just weren't interested it seems. Of course if I could have found a good trainer, maybe my members WOULD have been more interested. However, it seems like the area I live in (Midwest) just doesn't see the demand for personal trainers. After all, they are joining snap for the low fees and convenience, why should they pay more and have someone hound them with training sales pitches while they are working out?

I tried the best I could to provide a clean club and friendly competent staff since I couldn't be there myself due to my regular job. When I opened I had a gung ho, energetic manager hired, who was also a personal trainer (newly certified). He was paid $10 per hour, plus incentives for signing up new members. He worked about 20-25 hours per week (all of our staffed hours except for about 5 which I covered myself, one night per week and some weekends). After a few months I bumped his pay to $11 per hour then $11.50. He was not able to get the PT going and quickly became disenchanted with the marketing, sales, and cleaning duties he was required to do. He quit after about 6 months and then it became an endless string of part time staff, usually 2 or 3 at a time who each worked 5-10 hours per week. No one stayed more than a few months so I was always recruiting, interviewing and training new staff.

I would stop in at the store in the morning on my way to work 2-3 times each week to check on the club. After a heavy thunderstorm, the satellite and TVs would go out so I was on the phone with DishNetwork. I had to meet the Pepsi guy to restock the vending machine, or the water guy for the water delivery, or the equipment repair guy. It was never ending. I could monitor the club via the cameras from my work computer (I cheated my boss out of many hours by working on Snap stuff). When my employees didn't show up I was leaving work early, using up my vacation to staff the club. I was maintaining our club website and monitoring our club email account and responding to inquiries about memberships. I was on the phone with members regarding club questions, issues, dues payments etc. On the phone with Corporate over Checkfree, door access, membership issues. all on company time. I spent my lunch hours and company time on the mostly useless to me marketing and sales webinars. All the programs sounded great, but I didn't have the time or the money to implement them.

At night I would try to keep up with the accounting, pay the bills and do the payroll. Luckily my good friend is a CPA and helped me out a lot. There were quarterly payroll taxes, quarterly income taxes etc. One of my staff had a child support order against him so that was more work for me.
Meanwhile my wife and kids suffered because I was always gone or busy.
You can either do all this yourself, or pay someone to do it for you. I couldn't afford to pay someone so I was doing it all myself.

Make sure you can afford either the time or the money necessary.
Eventually I couldn't (refused to) keep up. My wife suggested we seek a buyer and I agreed, two months later my club was sold. We lost about 65K in the deal but I was glad to only lose that much. The weight of the world was off my shoulders and I felt FANTASTIC!

I'm sure this sounds like whining and it probably is. I'm just mad at myself for falling for the sales pitch, overestimating my capabilities and putting my family finances at risk.

Franchise Headaches

Wow! Terrific rundown of what it's like to run a gym. Sounds like a big headache to me. I wondered why more women didn't run these places; now I know! It's too much for one person. I'm having just as much trouble finding a club to replace the one I had been going to to work out for over 15 years. A new owner took over and the place went downhill until it closed. I haven't been able to find happiness elsewhere. Misinformed and tactless new owners of gyms I've tried, misguided staff (if dirty looks were worth money, I'd be rich), members and staff who have harassed me when all I'm interested in is going in, working out, and getting out. What a bad deal all around. Maybe I should just stick to working out at home! I'd save on gas money. My insurance pays for the membership. Maybe it's time to switch health insurance too.

Granville_Bean's picture

So woman are to smart for these?

Guest says: "I wondered why more women didn't run these places; now I know! It's too much for one person."

The owner of the gym we belong to is a woman.  She runs the place, along with a female manager. Some of the other staff are male though.

PF invasion

Just saw the first Planet Fitness open up in our area..stiff competition for A-F and Snap.

sell and sell quickly

If they are within 5-6 miles. no way to compete against PF. Your business Year over year will be down 25%. Sell and sell quickly even at a discount and take the loss now!

Granville_Bean's picture

data point

Around here, Retro Fitness ("Over 120 Locations Operating or Coming Soon") is advertising $10/mo. for "Basic Membership". The Planet Fitness was, IIRC, at $20/mo. The PF and the Retro are across the street from each other and opened at about the same time.  I wonder if each knew there was another club about to open, LOL?!?

Insurance

Does anyone have an idea of insurance costs for a gym?

New FDD

Anyone make it past the 5year mark & deal with the new Snap FDD?

I sold my club with six

I sold my club with six months left on my original agreement. I did not want to sign the new one because it has become far too restrictive. The term is now ten years, all the fees have increased and even a resale can only be done through Snap's "resale department." For a large commission, of course.

FDD

Agree, I will take a beating on the sale like others, but need to get away from it.

good luck

Even though I found my buyer and negotiated all terms of the sale I paid a $5,000 ransom to their re-sale department to get out from underneath this turkey of a business. All they did was send me a few forms to fill out to transfer the franchise. Good Luck.

when they hold you hostage to using their ripoff

"Brokerage" services that speaks volumes. It really is tantamount to ransom. Gary Findley is behind this. If they can't make money selling units, they will put the screws to whoever is left.

Did it to Curves why not Snap

Gary is a bunch of exec hired in the past 2-4 years that used to work with Curves has caused this franchise the heartburn. Mike Carver and his team is another group of Curves vultures picking the bones of the dead or dying.

Ransom

So when in the first 5 years should we expect the renewal request begin.

snap fitness franchise renewal

Approx 7-8 months prior to the day that you signed your initial franchise agreement (not when you opened and when the equipment lease started). This is important because of the disconnect in timing between franchise agreement, lease and equipment lease commitments. The fees of course go up and for what reason? We are in the same boat as some of the others who want out and that I may have to take a loss if the landlord wount let me terminate 10 month early due to teh disconnect and then there is the approx $35K on the equipment lease. Of course Gary and Peter in their kind ways (sacrasm) can make an offer on the equipment (probably below market and what I owe) and then turn around and resell.

snap fitness franchise renewal

Approx 7-8 months prior to the day that you signed your initial franchise agreement (not when you opened and when the equipment lease started). This is important because of the disconnect in timing between franchise agreement, lease and equipment lease commitments. The fees of course go up and for what reason? We are in the same boat as some of the others who want out and that I may have to take a loss if the landlord wount let me terminate 10 month early due to teh disconnect and then there is the approx $35K on the equipment lease. Of course Gary and Peter in their kind ways (sacrasm) can make an offer on the equipment (probably below market and what I owe) and then turn around and resell.

equipment auction

Sadly the fate of many Snap fitness owners.

http://www.hamilton-grp.com/auction_detail.php?id=183496

How Many Snaps left

Anyone have numbers on how many Snaps left in the US.

Snap numbers

In May 2010 there were 1,329 locations in the U.S.

In Aug 2012 there are 1,196

Thats 10% closing in a little over two years. I don't know if that is a high percentage or not, but it doesn't look too good to me.

doesnt count those that sold

doesnt count those that sold at a huge loss

That number is not accurate

There were never 1300 units open in 2010. There has to be duplicates in that, but I am certain that there were not that many open at that time.

1300 units

Check out this link archived from May 12, 2010. There were 1,329 locations in the U.S.

http://web.archive.org/web/20100512180241/http://www.snapfitness.com/locations

link

after pasting the URL in your browser make sure to delete the . [period] at the end, after locations

http://web.archive.org/web/20100512180241/http://www.snapfitness.com/locations

I don't care what that list says

I am here to tell you that not all of these locations were open. Some were coming soon. Forget this list. Go get an FDD and look there. You are basing your assessment on inaccurate numbers. These are marketing numbers. I am not trying to nullify your arguement, just that it isn't that accurate.

The Fitness Industry suffered in 2009 and 2010. There is no doubt about that, as did many other industries, but your assesment is based on fluffy numbers.

Fluffy numbers

Snap inflated numbers based on licenses sold to make them selves look good. Even if they never opened the sale of new licenses is down, as well as new locations. You are right it's marketing, just like the original sale of 3 packs. There has been enough said about that topic.

Granville_Bean's picture

Unit Count Down 10% in 2 yrs.

If it's not growing, it's dying. Down 10% may not be awful like Quiznos, but it's not a good thing either.

Mature systems in a saturated industry (like major QSR brands in the U.S.) may have fairly static systems but I don't think this fitness franchise is in that category.

Snap net numbers

I'm sure there are couple openings in that number too. The folks on this site called the snap failure long ago.

two more closings

http://qctimes.com/business/some-q-c-snap-fitness-locations-closed-while-owners-negotiate/article_87cbac02-dc4d-11e1-a6eb-0019bb2963f4.html

Snap Closings

Looks like the 2008 locations can't get to the 5 year renewal point. What a POS.

More Snaps closing

More Snaps continue to close

Starbucks Closing

There are Starbucks closing too. McDonalds as well.

Mc Ds closing

That's to bad, how long were they open? They are well established franchises with solid consumer recognition. Strategy is also solid in both franchises. I can't imagine corporate treats them the same way Snap does. I wonder if they were sold a pile from the same sales reps that sold Snaps. The Snap closings are from locations that have been open less than the 1st agreement. The next FDD will certainly put MANY more under. I'm sure the folks that closed the doors would love your response.

Granville_Bean's picture

SBUX, MCD

Starbucks are not franchised.

McDonald's doesn't use brokers or sales reps.

Go try to buy yourself a Starbucks.  Or a McDonald's.  Get back to us how it went. People CAN buy a McDonald's, but not just by walking in off the sreet with a check.

Good point

You made a great point G-Bean. Snap will take money from any fool with the idea they can make money with this POS.

Anytime fitness is the best!

Smart people buy Anytime. We have 24/7 support. Our franchisees love us.

Anytime Fitness is worse than Snap

You guys are a complete and utter ripoff! Monies going back to Anytime are higher than Snap. Plus there is less consistency among your locations than Snap. One Anytime my be great, another may be garbage. At least with Snap there is consistency withing the brand. Isn't that what branding should reflect?

Consistency of Snaps

They all s#ck!

Anytime is a POS as well.

Go spew your crap elsewhere.

snap closing

And another one gone...

http://snap-fitness.pissedconsumer.com/snap-fitness-barrie-ontario-canada-ferndale-drive-20120403309660.html

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