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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS
Gold company profile

Anytime Fitness UK

About us   |   Contact us   |  Company blog
As a globally recognised brand, Anytime Fitness provides the most comprehensive support structure and training in the fitness industry, giving you the chance to prosper and thrive by owning your own health club.
Find out more about Anytime Fitness UK here...
Anytime Fitness UK: News and press releases
16 Oct 2023
Fitness franchise opens new sites in Birkenhead, Upminster and Leigh-on-Sea as new franchisee enquiries rise by 60%
30 Aug 2023
Dave Mortensen, co-founder of Self Esteem Brands (SEB) – the company behind a raft of wellness brands, including Anytime Fitness – says the company is driving to reach 10,000 units globally in the next five years, which would make it the biggest wellness franchiser in the world.
03 Aug 2023
Leading gym provider Anytime Fitness is continuing to reap the rewards of the ‘donut effect’, with its suburban locations enjoying a significant increase in revenue and member usage.
20 Jul 2023
Anytime Fitness’ suburban gyms post strong uplift in performance due to increased spending
11 Jul 2023
Self Esteem Brands (SEB) is taking its Anytime Fitness brand to France, following the signing of a master franchisee deal.
14 Apr 2023
Fitness franchise operator Anytime Fitness has launched a new app, offering members 24/7 engagement with their fitness inside and outside the club, as well as personalised coaching they can access anywhere.
05 Apr 2023
Leading fitness franchise Anytime Fitness has been recognised for its ongoing success with two recent award wins.
Anytime Fitness UK: featured in HCM and Fit Tech magazines
Interview: Dave Mortensen
Health Club Management 2023 issue 7
Further global expansion is on the cards for Self Esteem Brands, as Anytime Fitness heads to France and its other brands are set for overseas growth. Its president and co-founder speaks to Kate Cracknell
About Anytime Fitness UK
AF Coach training a member at Anytime Fitness / Anytime Fitness
Anytime Fitness Maidenhead cardio area / Anytime Fitness
Dumbbells at Anytime Fitness Borehamwood / Anytime Fitness
About us
Anytime Fitness is the UK's largest fitness franchise and fastest growing gym franchise in the world. Established in 2002 in the US and then 2010 in the UK, the brand has been on a constant growth trajectory and now serves over four million members at over 5,000 clubs across the world.

As a globally recognised brand, Anytime Fitness provides the most comprehensive support structure and training in the fitness industry, giving you the chance to prosper and thrive by owning your own health club.

Our brand
Anytime Fitness clubs are uniquely positioned in the mid-market, offering a blend of convenience, community, and coaching. Franchising with Anytime Fitness gives you the opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of your local community, while positively changing lives.

Becoming an Anytime Fitness franchisee provides a range of benefits, including:

• Reliable, monthly direct debit income

• Competitive financial rates and commercial terms due to Anytime Fitness’ established partnerships with market-leading partners, including banks, property agents and fitness equipment providers

• Fixed franchise fee, regardless of membership numbers and total revenue

• Lean staff structure to maximise profit margins

• Working with a dedicated New Openings Team and Franchise Performance Coach with a wealth of fitness industry experience

• Access to a range of experts across property, construction, operations and marketing

• Great work-life balance

How much does it cost?
On average, it costs around £620k to open your first Anytime Fitness club. This includes an approximate capital investment of £140-£220k. The exact amounts will depend on details specific to your club, including its size, location and fit out.

Anytime Fitness work closely with a number of major banks to fund our projects. Franchisees can arrange for additional funding thanks to support from the UK’s leading banks.

Offering our franchisees unmatched finance deals due to our market position and sustained success, often resulting in less personal risk and more appealing business rates.

Our sites
There are currently 188 Anytime Fitness sites in the UK, with the aim to surpass 200 clubs in 2023. Globally today, we have more than 5,000 clubs, in over 35 countries on all 7 continents, with over 4 million members.

Our members
Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Anytime Fitness provides members with convenient and affordable fitness options and leading customer service.

Anytime Fitness stands out from the crowd with our welcoming, open plan facilities, a leading online member digital offering and premium exercise equipment.

Our inclusive and supporting facilities means we can attract a broad demographic / people of all fitness levels and experience.

Our franchisees
Anytime Fitness is looking for potential owners who are passionate about improving the health of the nation and making a difference in people’s lives.

We have a broad selection of franchisees with a range of different backgrounds. Fitness experience isn’t compulsory and many of our franchisees choose to employ an experienced fitness professional to oversee the day-to-day running of their club.

case study: Opinder and Shallu Kaushal: The husband-and-wife duo making a flying start to their Anytime Fitness journey
Opinder and Shallu Kaushal are the perfect example of turning a passion into a business. The pair opened their first Anytime Fitness club in April 2022 in the Berkshire town of Maidenhead, making a fantastic impression on the local community.

While working as part of the family jewellery business, Opinder was a member at an Anytime Fitness club which began to fuel his interest in owning one himself.

“I actually trained at an Anytime Fitness club for three years and saw how the club grew into a successful business,” said Opinder. “This got me interested and having done some research, we visited the Anytime Fitness Support Office for an open day to find out meet the people behind the franchise.”

WHY ANYTIME FITNESS?

“We approached other competitor brands but felt Anytime Fitness had the best structure and support system in place to help franchisees. A big plus for us was that it was a much more established brand with an international presence which made us feel much more confident in what we were investing into.”

Having signed their franchise agreement, Opinder and Shallu quickly identified Maidenhead as their preferred location. As well as living in Berkshire themselves, the pair noted the significant investment in redeveloping the town centre as well as the upcoming arrival of Crossrail, increasing its appeal to commuters.

Having secured the territory in early 2021, they were able to secure a property within a fortnight. The building was a new-build at the heart of the town centre and near to several new residential developments.

PREPARING FOR OPENING

Having waited for the construction of the building to be completed, the team received the keys in February this year and swiftly transformed the empty shell of the building into a premium health club in just over ten weeks.

With the support of Anytime Fitness’ dedicated New Openings Team, Opinder and Shallu were able to execute an excellent pre-sale strategy. The pair recruited early and recruited well, appointing a proven and experienced Club Manager from within the Anytime Fitness network as well as team members with health and fitness experience. Having this established team in place well advance of opening allowed them to generate significant excitement around their opening and gather prospects from the local community and surrounding areas.

The team enjoyed their grand opening on 29th April 2022, with the ribbon being cut by Theresa May, former Prime Minister and current Maidenhead Member of Parliament.

EXCEEDING TARGETS AND AWARD NOMINATIONS

The Maidenhead club has made a fantastic start since opening and exceeded its 12-month projected revenue target in just three months. Its premium offering and personable approach has resonated with the local community and it has rapidly exceeded the 1,000 member landmark and is going from strength-to-strength.

Despite competition in the area from low-cost gyms, the club continues to significantly grow its membership base month-on-month. With a premium offering at an affordable price, the team has perfectly identified its place in the market and continues to amass 5-star reviews from its delighted membership base.

Their efforts were recognised just six months after their opening when their high-performing team made the shortlist for Anytime Fitness UK’s Club Team of the Year Award. The franchisor was incredibly impressed by the consistent performance of the team, their rapid membership growth and the fantastic experience they consistently deliver for their members.

Opinder and Shallu’s confidence is sky-high after this their first club opening and are full of praise for their experience. “This industry really makes you feel that you are driving a positive change and making people feel better about their overall wellbeing, whether that’s physical or mental. The training and support from Anytime Fitness is excellent and some of the head office team are just like family now!

“We are in a great position at the moment and we hope to open multiple clubs over the next few years. We’re already looking at future territories!”
case study: Connor and Steve Thorne: The father-son duo on their way to owning five Anytime Fitness clubs in five years
Connor Thorne and his father, Steve Thorne, have opened their fourth Anytime Fitness health club together and have broken new ground for the brand.

The opening of Anytime Fitness St Helier on the island of Jersey and St Sampson in Guernsey represents Anytime Fitness’ first health clubs on each of the Channel Islands; two exciting new territories. The openings follow on from the pair’s highly successful first two clubs in Ringwood, Hampshire and Ferndown, Dorset.

PASSION FOR FITNESS

The pair’s ambitions to franchise with Anytime Fitness date back to early 2018 when Steve saw an advert for the brand on a flight back from Holland. They had both already openly discussed running a gym together and with Connor completing his degree in Business Management at the University of West England, the timing and the opportunity were perfect for the two.

“We both have a shared passion for fitness and had been talking for a long time about running and owning a gym business together’” said Connor. “I decided to go down the route of ensuring I was university qualified and studied Business Management with the goal of getting into it as soon as I graduated.”

FINDING FRANCHISING

Having ruled out owning a gym independently, they quickly came to the decision that franchising represented the greatest potential for business success and scalability. “Anytime Fitness was the standout choice for us,” added Connor. “The way it operates in the industry means it’s not pinned to one type of demographic and you can attract a broad range of members. Other brands focus far too much on a particular demographic and franchising with Anytime Fitness would allow us to interrupt that approach and target higher calibre, more loyal members.”

They opened Anytime Fitness Ringwood in December 2018, a location close to where they live and one they knew had a need for a quality, 24-hour health club. Despite a modest population of just 16,000 in the town, a strong presale and community ethos meant that within a year, they had recruited over 1,800 members and on their way to being cash positive within 18 months. Their strategy was built on providing quality customer service to members and treating it beyond just a leisure business.

“The way I’ve always wanted to run a health club is a combination between hospitality and leisure,” said Connor. “Some gyms focus far too much on leisure and I wanted to do something different and put more of an emphasis on quality service. We went a bit off the beaten path and employed staff that used to work in bookshops and cafes rather than the fitness sector. I think people appreciated that more as there are people that are a little more hesitant to go to the gym and they prefer speaking to someone who isn’t necessarily an avid gym go-er themselves.”

SCALING THEIR INVESTMENT AND GROWING AT PACE

Under a year later in November 2019, Steve and Connor opened Anytime Fitness Ferndown, located just over five miles from the Ringwood club. This initially saw over 120 members from the Ringwood club leave to join the Fernwood club but as Connor commented, “you’re only losing members to yourself and you’re in control of the situation.”

The pair are delighted at the pace that they’ve been able to expand their business and Connor has been particularly glowing in praise for the support given by Anytime Fitness UK.

“At the beginning, we didn’t even consider franchising as at first, you always think you can do it yourself,” said Connor. “However, when you start looking into it, I honestly don’t think we could have done it not in a franchised way with the pace that we’ve worked at. The connections that we’ve had through Anytime Fitness, the models we used at the beginning, the designing, the recommendations of kit and the professional marketing are all priceless.

“If you understand business and you understand quality, you can run a really successful club. Like in any business, you can find professionals that love the sector that they’re in; you don’t have to be a personal trainer or massively interested in fitness to make it a success.”

“It’s still the perfect time to get into Anytime as it’s got a reputation for growing and growing, and that’s not going to change.

“If you’re a hard-working individual that’s going to put in the time or find someone that will and feeds back to you, it can be hugely profitable and successful. We’ve rolled it into three sites already and are still on track to do five in five years which I think you’d struggle to do in many other franchises.”
case study: Sharon Thandi: enjoying the benefits of franchising with an established brand
Entrepreneur Sharon Thandi opened her first Anytime Fitness gym earlier this year in what has been a successful return to the world of franchising.

Having previously been a franchisee with Dominos, Sharon wanted to pursue her passion of health and wellbeing by starting her own independent food brand. With the launch of this brand being a long-term project, as well as unfortunately coinciding with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharon turned back to franchising to run a second business within the health and wellbeing space.

“If you’re starting your own business, you need to be prepared for it to take some time to become established and gain brand awareness,” said Sharon. “With existing knowledge and experience of franchising, I knew that being part of an existing, established brand would help me enjoy a quicker return on investment.”

Deciding on Anytime Fitness
Having explored several sectors within franchising, Sharon quickly set her sights on the fitness sector and in particular, Anytime Fitness.

“I wanted to invest in something that’s a growing market and fitness definitely ticked the box,” added Sharon. “Once I’d decided on the industry, Anytime Fitness stood out to me due to its global presence and its existing brand awareness. Investing in a franchise is a big decision and I’m sure like everyone else, I did some thorough research and what’s instantly noticeable is that Anytime Fitness is a brand on the rise and demonstrates continued growth.”

Location, location, location
Having made the decision to become an Anytime Fitness franchisee, Sharon’s focus immediately turned to finding a location for her first gym. She was able to leverage the expertise and contacts from Anytime Fitness’ New Openings Team as she searched for the perfect location within a thriving property market.

“The team at Anytime Fitness has so many great contacts and a level of knowledge which can help you get to the right place. Working with a franchisor is a two-way street and to take advantage of that knowledge, you must be proactive and have as much involvement as you can. We had to be agile with the locations and properties we were looking at and we eventually found the perfect site for our first location.”

Independent gym acquisition
While most new Anytime Fitness gyms open from scratch, Sharon was given the opportunity to acquire an existing gym in the Derbyshire town of Swadlincote. Previously an independent, members-only gym called Evisa Fitness, the team were able to source the opportunity to acquire the business and subsequently, open it as an Anytime Fitness.

This approach to opening a new gym came with significant benefits for Sharon, including significantly reduced construction time, no requirement for change of use on the property and a small, existing membership base. However, while the property already had the shell and layout of a gym, Sharon realised the importance of investing in the facility to bring it in line with the quality that consumers expect from Anytime Fitness.

“The first thing we decided to do was open up the space as the previous layout meant the group exercise studio took up far too much floor space,” added Sharon. “By changing the shape and location of the studio, we were able to maximise the space we had available. This also meant we were able to install additional equipment and I took the decision to replace all the previous equipment from one of Anytime Fitness’ suppliers. It was a really important thing to do and the member feedback has been great, members of the previous gym still comment today on how much bigger and open the gym feels.”

The rewards of the fitness industry and looking to the future
Having opened at the beginning of 2023, Sharon and her team at Anytime Fitness Swadlincote has eclipsed the membership numbers of the previous gym by nearly 800%. Sharon highlights the importance of a strong presale in laying the foundations for a successful Anytime Fitness gym.

“The most important advice I can give is to ensure you have the right team on board and that you build up your prospects in advance of opening. Opening a gym is a very sales-orientated operation so you need a good balance of strong salespeople and personable individuals with expertise and qualifications in fitness. One of my main learnings has been just how important your team is; we had some initial challenges with recruitment but once you find the right team, you’ll be in a great place to grow your business.”

Despite still being in the early stages of her Anytime Fitness journey, Sharon speaks highly of how rewarding its been and has already set her sights on growing her portfolio.

“It’s a really rewarding business to be involved with as you’re seeing your members’ journeys first-hand and the individual growth they’re enjoying from sticking to a plan. As soon as I decided on opening a gym, I wanted to make sure it was community focussed and be a place where anyone and everyone feels comfortable. We’re already receiving great feedback with people saying exactly this and it’s so rewarding for me that people really like the gym, the team and the ethos we have here.

“I want to be a multi-site operator at Anytime Fitness and I’m continually looking at the routes available for me to do that. Whether that’s another acquisition, a rebrand or an organic opening, there’s plenty of opportunities out there.”
Anytime Fitness UK video gallery:
Plans for the next 12 months
Anytime Fitness continues to grow the number of clubs across the UK with plans to reach and exceed 200 clubs in 2023 whilst continuing to put coaching at the heart of our member proposition.
Key personnel
Andy Thompson, chairman
Testimonial
“Anytime Fitness had the best structure and support system in place to help franchisees. A big plus for us was that it was a much more established brand with an international presence which made us feel much more confident in what we were investing into.”
– Opinder Kaushal, franchisee, Anytime Fitness Maidenhead
“Anytime Fitness was the standout choice for us. The way it operates in the industry means it’s not pinned to one type of demographic and you can attract a broad range of members. Other brands focus far too much on a particular demographic and franchising with Anytime Fitness would allow us to interrupt that approach and target higher calibre, more loyal members.”
– Connor Thorne, multi-site franchisee
"Anytime Fitness are the fitness experts and it’s a two-way partnership ultimately between you and them as a franchisor; the brand is there and they give you this great blueprint for success but you’ve got to work hard to take advantage of what’s available to you and make your business successful.”
– Raj Hasib, two-site franchisee
Anytime Fitness UK
Tel: 0330 332 2361
Address: Unit 14, Building 6, Croxley Business Park, Watford, WD18 8YH, United Kingdom
Andy Thompson, chairman
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Gold company profile

Anytime Fitness UK

About us   |   Contact us   |  Company blog
As a globally recognised brand, Anytime Fitness provides the most comprehensive support structure and training in the fitness industry, giving you the chance to prosper and thrive by owning your own health club.
Find out more about Anytime Fitness UK here...
Anytime Fitness UK: News and press releases
16 Oct 2023
Fitness franchise opens new sites in Birkenhead, Upminster and Leigh-on-Sea as new franchisee enquiries rise by 60%
30 Aug 2023
Dave Mortensen, co-founder of Self Esteem Brands (SEB) – the company behind a raft of wellness brands, including Anytime Fitness – says the company is driving to reach 10,000 units globally in the next five years, which would make it the biggest wellness franchiser in the world.
03 Aug 2023
Leading gym provider Anytime Fitness is continuing to reap the rewards of the ‘donut effect’, with its suburban locations enjoying a significant increase in revenue and member usage.
20 Jul 2023
Anytime Fitness’ suburban gyms post strong uplift in performance due to increased spending
11 Jul 2023
Self Esteem Brands (SEB) is taking its Anytime Fitness brand to France, following the signing of a master franchisee deal.
14 Apr 2023
Fitness franchise operator Anytime Fitness has launched a new app, offering members 24/7 engagement with their fitness inside and outside the club, as well as personalised coaching they can access anywhere.
05 Apr 2023
Leading fitness franchise Anytime Fitness has been recognised for its ongoing success with two recent award wins.
Anytime Fitness UK: featured in HCM and Fit Tech magazines
Interview: Dave Mortensen
Health Club Management 2023 issue 7
Further global expansion is on the cards for Self Esteem Brands, as Anytime Fitness heads to France and its other brands are set for overseas growth. Its president and co-founder speaks to Kate Cracknell
About Anytime Fitness UK
AF Coach training a member at Anytime Fitness / Anytime Fitness
Anytime Fitness Maidenhead cardio area / Anytime Fitness
Dumbbells at Anytime Fitness Borehamwood / Anytime Fitness
About us
Anytime Fitness is the UK's largest fitness franchise and fastest growing gym franchise in the world. Established in 2002 in the US and then 2010 in the UK, the brand has been on a constant growth trajectory and now serves over four million members at over 5,000 clubs across the world.

As a globally recognised brand, Anytime Fitness provides the most comprehensive support structure and training in the fitness industry, giving you the chance to prosper and thrive by owning your own health club.

Our brand
Anytime Fitness clubs are uniquely positioned in the mid-market, offering a blend of convenience, community, and coaching. Franchising with Anytime Fitness gives you the opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of your local community, while positively changing lives.

Becoming an Anytime Fitness franchisee provides a range of benefits, including:

• Reliable, monthly direct debit income

• Competitive financial rates and commercial terms due to Anytime Fitness’ established partnerships with market-leading partners, including banks, property agents and fitness equipment providers

• Fixed franchise fee, regardless of membership numbers and total revenue

• Lean staff structure to maximise profit margins

• Working with a dedicated New Openings Team and Franchise Performance Coach with a wealth of fitness industry experience

• Access to a range of experts across property, construction, operations and marketing

• Great work-life balance

How much does it cost?
On average, it costs around £620k to open your first Anytime Fitness club. This includes an approximate capital investment of £140-£220k. The exact amounts will depend on details specific to your club, including its size, location and fit out.

Anytime Fitness work closely with a number of major banks to fund our projects. Franchisees can arrange for additional funding thanks to support from the UK’s leading banks.

Offering our franchisees unmatched finance deals due to our market position and sustained success, often resulting in less personal risk and more appealing business rates.

Our sites
There are currently 188 Anytime Fitness sites in the UK, with the aim to surpass 200 clubs in 2023. Globally today, we have more than 5,000 clubs, in over 35 countries on all 7 continents, with over 4 million members.

Our members
Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Anytime Fitness provides members with convenient and affordable fitness options and leading customer service.

Anytime Fitness stands out from the crowd with our welcoming, open plan facilities, a leading online member digital offering and premium exercise equipment.

Our inclusive and supporting facilities means we can attract a broad demographic / people of all fitness levels and experience.

Our franchisees
Anytime Fitness is looking for potential owners who are passionate about improving the health of the nation and making a difference in people’s lives.

We have a broad selection of franchisees with a range of different backgrounds. Fitness experience isn’t compulsory and many of our franchisees choose to employ an experienced fitness professional to oversee the day-to-day running of their club.

case study: Opinder and Shallu Kaushal: The husband-and-wife duo making a flying start to their Anytime Fitness journey
Opinder and Shallu Kaushal are the perfect example of turning a passion into a business. The pair opened their first Anytime Fitness club in April 2022 in the Berkshire town of Maidenhead, making a fantastic impression on the local community.

While working as part of the family jewellery business, Opinder was a member at an Anytime Fitness club which began to fuel his interest in owning one himself.

“I actually trained at an Anytime Fitness club for three years and saw how the club grew into a successful business,” said Opinder. “This got me interested and having done some research, we visited the Anytime Fitness Support Office for an open day to find out meet the people behind the franchise.”

WHY ANYTIME FITNESS?

“We approached other competitor brands but felt Anytime Fitness had the best structure and support system in place to help franchisees. A big plus for us was that it was a much more established brand with an international presence which made us feel much more confident in what we were investing into.”

Having signed their franchise agreement, Opinder and Shallu quickly identified Maidenhead as their preferred location. As well as living in Berkshire themselves, the pair noted the significant investment in redeveloping the town centre as well as the upcoming arrival of Crossrail, increasing its appeal to commuters.

Having secured the territory in early 2021, they were able to secure a property within a fortnight. The building was a new-build at the heart of the town centre and near to several new residential developments.

PREPARING FOR OPENING

Having waited for the construction of the building to be completed, the team received the keys in February this year and swiftly transformed the empty shell of the building into a premium health club in just over ten weeks.

With the support of Anytime Fitness’ dedicated New Openings Team, Opinder and Shallu were able to execute an excellent pre-sale strategy. The pair recruited early and recruited well, appointing a proven and experienced Club Manager from within the Anytime Fitness network as well as team members with health and fitness experience. Having this established team in place well advance of opening allowed them to generate significant excitement around their opening and gather prospects from the local community and surrounding areas.

The team enjoyed their grand opening on 29th April 2022, with the ribbon being cut by Theresa May, former Prime Minister and current Maidenhead Member of Parliament.

EXCEEDING TARGETS AND AWARD NOMINATIONS

The Maidenhead club has made a fantastic start since opening and exceeded its 12-month projected revenue target in just three months. Its premium offering and personable approach has resonated with the local community and it has rapidly exceeded the 1,000 member landmark and is going from strength-to-strength.

Despite competition in the area from low-cost gyms, the club continues to significantly grow its membership base month-on-month. With a premium offering at an affordable price, the team has perfectly identified its place in the market and continues to amass 5-star reviews from its delighted membership base.

Their efforts were recognised just six months after their opening when their high-performing team made the shortlist for Anytime Fitness UK’s Club Team of the Year Award. The franchisor was incredibly impressed by the consistent performance of the team, their rapid membership growth and the fantastic experience they consistently deliver for their members.

Opinder and Shallu’s confidence is sky-high after this their first club opening and are full of praise for their experience. “This industry really makes you feel that you are driving a positive change and making people feel better about their overall wellbeing, whether that’s physical or mental. The training and support from Anytime Fitness is excellent and some of the head office team are just like family now!

“We are in a great position at the moment and we hope to open multiple clubs over the next few years. We’re already looking at future territories!”
case study: Connor and Steve Thorne: The father-son duo on their way to owning five Anytime Fitness clubs in five years
Connor Thorne and his father, Steve Thorne, have opened their fourth Anytime Fitness health club together and have broken new ground for the brand.

The opening of Anytime Fitness St Helier on the island of Jersey and St Sampson in Guernsey represents Anytime Fitness’ first health clubs on each of the Channel Islands; two exciting new territories. The openings follow on from the pair’s highly successful first two clubs in Ringwood, Hampshire and Ferndown, Dorset.

PASSION FOR FITNESS

The pair’s ambitions to franchise with Anytime Fitness date back to early 2018 when Steve saw an advert for the brand on a flight back from Holland. They had both already openly discussed running a gym together and with Connor completing his degree in Business Management at the University of West England, the timing and the opportunity were perfect for the two.

“We both have a shared passion for fitness and had been talking for a long time about running and owning a gym business together’” said Connor. “I decided to go down the route of ensuring I was university qualified and studied Business Management with the goal of getting into it as soon as I graduated.”

FINDING FRANCHISING

Having ruled out owning a gym independently, they quickly came to the decision that franchising represented the greatest potential for business success and scalability. “Anytime Fitness was the standout choice for us,” added Connor. “The way it operates in the industry means it’s not pinned to one type of demographic and you can attract a broad range of members. Other brands focus far too much on a particular demographic and franchising with Anytime Fitness would allow us to interrupt that approach and target higher calibre, more loyal members.”

They opened Anytime Fitness Ringwood in December 2018, a location close to where they live and one they knew had a need for a quality, 24-hour health club. Despite a modest population of just 16,000 in the town, a strong presale and community ethos meant that within a year, they had recruited over 1,800 members and on their way to being cash positive within 18 months. Their strategy was built on providing quality customer service to members and treating it beyond just a leisure business.

“The way I’ve always wanted to run a health club is a combination between hospitality and leisure,” said Connor. “Some gyms focus far too much on leisure and I wanted to do something different and put more of an emphasis on quality service. We went a bit off the beaten path and employed staff that used to work in bookshops and cafes rather than the fitness sector. I think people appreciated that more as there are people that are a little more hesitant to go to the gym and they prefer speaking to someone who isn’t necessarily an avid gym go-er themselves.”

SCALING THEIR INVESTMENT AND GROWING AT PACE

Under a year later in November 2019, Steve and Connor opened Anytime Fitness Ferndown, located just over five miles from the Ringwood club. This initially saw over 120 members from the Ringwood club leave to join the Fernwood club but as Connor commented, “you’re only losing members to yourself and you’re in control of the situation.”

The pair are delighted at the pace that they’ve been able to expand their business and Connor has been particularly glowing in praise for the support given by Anytime Fitness UK.

“At the beginning, we didn’t even consider franchising as at first, you always think you can do it yourself,” said Connor. “However, when you start looking into it, I honestly don’t think we could have done it not in a franchised way with the pace that we’ve worked at. The connections that we’ve had through Anytime Fitness, the models we used at the beginning, the designing, the recommendations of kit and the professional marketing are all priceless.

“If you understand business and you understand quality, you can run a really successful club. Like in any business, you can find professionals that love the sector that they’re in; you don’t have to be a personal trainer or massively interested in fitness to make it a success.”

“It’s still the perfect time to get into Anytime as it’s got a reputation for growing and growing, and that’s not going to change.

“If you’re a hard-working individual that’s going to put in the time or find someone that will and feeds back to you, it can be hugely profitable and successful. We’ve rolled it into three sites already and are still on track to do five in five years which I think you’d struggle to do in many other franchises.”
case study: Sharon Thandi: enjoying the benefits of franchising with an established brand
Entrepreneur Sharon Thandi opened her first Anytime Fitness gym earlier this year in what has been a successful return to the world of franchising.

Having previously been a franchisee with Dominos, Sharon wanted to pursue her passion of health and wellbeing by starting her own independent food brand. With the launch of this brand being a long-term project, as well as unfortunately coinciding with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharon turned back to franchising to run a second business within the health and wellbeing space.

“If you’re starting your own business, you need to be prepared for it to take some time to become established and gain brand awareness,” said Sharon. “With existing knowledge and experience of franchising, I knew that being part of an existing, established brand would help me enjoy a quicker return on investment.”

Deciding on Anytime Fitness
Having explored several sectors within franchising, Sharon quickly set her sights on the fitness sector and in particular, Anytime Fitness.

“I wanted to invest in something that’s a growing market and fitness definitely ticked the box,” added Sharon. “Once I’d decided on the industry, Anytime Fitness stood out to me due to its global presence and its existing brand awareness. Investing in a franchise is a big decision and I’m sure like everyone else, I did some thorough research and what’s instantly noticeable is that Anytime Fitness is a brand on the rise and demonstrates continued growth.”

Location, location, location
Having made the decision to become an Anytime Fitness franchisee, Sharon’s focus immediately turned to finding a location for her first gym. She was able to leverage the expertise and contacts from Anytime Fitness’ New Openings Team as she searched for the perfect location within a thriving property market.

“The team at Anytime Fitness has so many great contacts and a level of knowledge which can help you get to the right place. Working with a franchisor is a two-way street and to take advantage of that knowledge, you must be proactive and have as much involvement as you can. We had to be agile with the locations and properties we were looking at and we eventually found the perfect site for our first location.”

Independent gym acquisition
While most new Anytime Fitness gyms open from scratch, Sharon was given the opportunity to acquire an existing gym in the Derbyshire town of Swadlincote. Previously an independent, members-only gym called Evisa Fitness, the team were able to source the opportunity to acquire the business and subsequently, open it as an Anytime Fitness.

This approach to opening a new gym came with significant benefits for Sharon, including significantly reduced construction time, no requirement for change of use on the property and a small, existing membership base. However, while the property already had the shell and layout of a gym, Sharon realised the importance of investing in the facility to bring it in line with the quality that consumers expect from Anytime Fitness.

“The first thing we decided to do was open up the space as the previous layout meant the group exercise studio took up far too much floor space,” added Sharon. “By changing the shape and location of the studio, we were able to maximise the space we had available. This also meant we were able to install additional equipment and I took the decision to replace all the previous equipment from one of Anytime Fitness’ suppliers. It was a really important thing to do and the member feedback has been great, members of the previous gym still comment today on how much bigger and open the gym feels.”

The rewards of the fitness industry and looking to the future
Having opened at the beginning of 2023, Sharon and her team at Anytime Fitness Swadlincote has eclipsed the membership numbers of the previous gym by nearly 800%. Sharon highlights the importance of a strong presale in laying the foundations for a successful Anytime Fitness gym.

“The most important advice I can give is to ensure you have the right team on board and that you build up your prospects in advance of opening. Opening a gym is a very sales-orientated operation so you need a good balance of strong salespeople and personable individuals with expertise and qualifications in fitness. One of my main learnings has been just how important your team is; we had some initial challenges with recruitment but once you find the right team, you’ll be in a great place to grow your business.”

Despite still being in the early stages of her Anytime Fitness journey, Sharon speaks highly of how rewarding its been and has already set her sights on growing her portfolio.

“It’s a really rewarding business to be involved with as you’re seeing your members’ journeys first-hand and the individual growth they’re enjoying from sticking to a plan. As soon as I decided on opening a gym, I wanted to make sure it was community focussed and be a place where anyone and everyone feels comfortable. We’re already receiving great feedback with people saying exactly this and it’s so rewarding for me that people really like the gym, the team and the ethos we have here.

“I want to be a multi-site operator at Anytime Fitness and I’m continually looking at the routes available for me to do that. Whether that’s another acquisition, a rebrand or an organic opening, there’s plenty of opportunities out there.”
Anytime Fitness UK
Tel: 0330 332 2361
Address: Unit 14, Building 6, Croxley Business Park, Watford, WD18 8YH, United Kingdom
Andy Thompson, chairman
Anytime Fitness UK video gallery:
Key personnel
Andy Thompson, chairman
Plans for the next 12 months
Anytime Fitness continues to grow the number of clubs across the UK with plans to reach and exceed 200 clubs in 2023 whilst continuing to put coaching at the heart of our member proposition.
Testimonial
“Anytime Fitness had the best structure and support system in place to help franchisees. A big plus for us was that it was a much more established brand with an international presence which made us feel much more confident in what we were investing into.”
– Opinder Kaushal, franchisee, Anytime Fitness Maidenhead
Testimonial
“Anytime Fitness was the standout choice for us. The way it operates in the industry means it’s not pinned to one type of demographic and you can attract a broad range of members. Other brands focus far too much on a particular demographic and franchising with Anytime Fitness would allow us to interrupt that approach and target higher calibre, more loyal members.”
– Connor Thorne, multi-site franchisee
Testimonial
"Anytime Fitness are the fitness experts and it’s a two-way partnership ultimately between you and them as a franchisor; the brand is there and they give you this great blueprint for success but you’ve got to work hard to take advantage of what’s available to you and make your business successful.”
– Raj Hasib, two-site franchisee
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