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5 Fitness Franchises Getting Buff

Stocks in this article: TOWN LTM

3. Snap Fitness

Corporate locations: 80

Franchise fee: $15,000 per store

Initial investment: maximum of $361,695

Monthly customer fee: $34.95 for the average single membership

Snap Fitness 24-hour fitness centers provide fast, convenient and affordable workouts in clean, comfortable locations close to home, the company says.

Founded in 2003 by Peter Taunton, Snap Fitness is growing quickly.

The company is adding between 15 and 20 clubs per month. The company is able to scale down costs by shrinking fitness club size and eliminating some amenities, such as swimming pools and racquetball courts. It currently has approximately 1,295 stores open today, with another 1,913 in development.

The company is also working on rolling out its newest idea, the Rolling Strong mobile gyms to accommodate the trucking community and those who travel frequently for business or vacation. Members pay $29.95 per month and can use any mobile or the bricks and mortar locations. (As of right now, all six Rolling Strong locations are corporately owned.)

Josh Schaubach, a franchisee in Yuma, Ariz., owned two Snap Fitness locations but recently sold them back to corporate and is using the money as an investment in more locations.

Schaubach says Snap approached him about purchasing the locations because the fitness centers were the most profitable in the company. While Schaubach didn't disclose the price, he did say it was the most ever paid for a Snap Fitness club.

In October he plans to open a Snap Fitness in El Centro, Calif. He also plans to open other non-West Coast stores.

A veteran in the fitness industry, Schaubach worked for several big box fitness clubs before deciding to go out on his own. He says he originally had planned to open his own gym, but found Snap Fitness met the values and amenities he wanted to give customers.

"At big box clubs there's many benefits ... training is bar none. That's great, but in some way most gyms fail when someone walks into the club -- they're just a dollar," he says.

"I created a business plan of what I was looking for. I wanted to have connection. I wanted the members to come in feel like they were part of a family, that we cared more about their health and well-being than just collecting their dues. Snap fit most of everything I needed," he says, with the support he needed in running his own business.

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