Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness Discussion

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I invite everyone to post constructive comments in this forum. We should not come here to post lies or for the sole purpose of bashing either Snap or Anytime Corporate, but to engage in real and helpful discussion. Hopefully, we can use this to make sure that prospective Franchisees are fully aware of how both companies operate and of the pitfalls involved before they sign a contract.</p>
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Thank you.</p>

Snap franchise owner story

Potential owners, 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 are 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 competant 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 capabalities and putting my family finances at risk.

Now I'm trying to spare others my pain, Be Well!

Posted by Guest on August 11th, 2010

Thanks for your story. I

Thanks for your story. I almost put in an offer today for the purchase of an existing franchise but your story gave me pause. I have thought about it over the past several hours and everything about your story rings true.

Posted by Guest on November 7th, 2011

Darn right

"-You cannot run a successful Snap franchise while working full time at another job"

No business "runs itself".  To me this is the biggest myth that I hear on these Snap/123/Anytime threads.  Any business has to be MANAGED.  Either you do it yourself or you pay what it takes to hire it out (and that's not $10/hr.).  If you don't want to take on management, for the same home equity loan you took out to buy your franchise, instead buy some mutual funds.  The fund managers get paid a VERY good buck, a %, to manmage for you.

We are NOT in the finess industry but for example our General Managers and above are salaried full time with health insurance, pay rates are considered low as we are in a lower cost area and our salaried managers get $37,000 to $57,000 per year.  I don't expect somebody to run a business for me for $10 or even $11.50/hr.

I feel sorry for the folks who thought that a 7 days a week and sometimes even 24 hours a day business could be run "on the side" while you still work your day job.

on August 22nd, 2010

Feel sorry for indeed, but

Feel sorry for indeed, but that is exactly the way snap fitness markets their franchises to prospective owners.

Posted by Guest on August 22nd, 2010

All you have said

proves you NEED to work in your choice of franchise at least six months to know what is really going on with a business.

on August 26th, 2010

Snap advice

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 committments 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

Posted by Guest on September 2nd, 2010

Good Article

Here is a great article for potential franchisees. Looking back I was incredibly naive in not following these suggestions and blindly following the lead of Snap corporate. I swallowed their sales pitch hook line and sinker wanting so much to believe that operating a snap franchise would be as easy and as profitable as advertised. Don't make the same mistake!

http://www.bluemaumau.org/understanding_why_franchisees_fail_can_help_y…

Posted by Guest on September 3rd, 2010

Snap Fitness or Anytime Fitness? Study,evaluate,diligence,PRAY!

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.

Posted by Guest on January 20th, 2011

Not for me but...

A big box club in my general area is advertising 11 cent initiation fee and $10/mo. thereafter, for access to their 14,000 sq. ft. club with 60 cardio machines with video screens. Just come in and ask the attendant!  Looks like tough competition for the small 12/7 unatended card key clubs.  But then we don't have any of those here that I know of.

I'm terminally ill with cancer and have recently gone off payroll at our own organization (franchisee multi operator not fitness).  So I'm not looking to buy one of these clubs nor to sell one to anyone.  I laugh in tha face of anyone whose only way to disagree with me is to claim I'm "corporate" or better yet a "shill".

It has been widely reported herre in BMM that Sales suggests to prospects that the clubs can be run part time while the prospect keeps his day job.  Until that is in writing in the FDD, you the buyer needs to practice caveat emptor on this.

Another factor that I've learend about (indirectly) just from BMM is the need for a "right sized" market.  Too big and a big box club will come in, too small and you won't generate enough members.  But Sales will sell clubs broadcast to get the fees.  No surprise there.

Then you need to have a space with reasonable occupancy costs, not only monthly rent but also buildout costs that you'll be financing.  Oh yeah, and equipment.  Just like a car dealer will try to sell you as much car as you can finance, so to will offers be made to lease your equipment to you.  Maybe you better not do this as it just increases your monthly costs even more.

It is heart breaking to me to hear all the discussions on membership needed to break even. Did you start your business to break even?  I hope not.  I don't even know what "break even" would be for our businesses, that's not our concern.  Our conern is more profit. I feel sorry for you who are still hoping to hit break even.

Personally, I think the best way to know if this business is right for you, is to AT LEAST work at a club for 6 months or so.  That way you would have a better idea what is involved in running one, and if what Sales says is credible.  I think such a club could function in the right market, and owned by the right person who will work the club themselves at least until he/she has enough clubs to hire a group supervisor.

I don't say "run" like some others do.  I say "Good luck but be careful." Don't do it unless you are familiar with business ownership AND the fitness industry.  It is an awful tough row to hoe to START OUT as an owner in an industry you are not experienced in.

on November 13th, 2011

Good advice Beany!

I am sorry you are ill. 

on November 13th, 2011

It does sound like some

It does sound like some whining over a personal failure

on June 1st, 2013

Purchasing an existing Snap Fitness franchise

I have the opportunity to purchase an up and running Snap Fitness franchise. The sale price is $100,000 and the club currently has 400 memberships. The owner is selling to spend more time with the family.

Thoughts?

on December 29th, 2014

Purchasing an existing Snap Fitness franchise

I have the opportunity to purchase an up and running Snap Fitness franchise. The sale price is $100,000 and the club currently has 400 memberships. The owner is selling to spend more time with the family.

Thoughts?

on December 29th, 2014

Snap for sale

Odd reason for selling an absentee/semi-absentee business model (at least per their franchising website).

on December 30th, 2014