Ever Dreamt of Running Your Own Fitness Club?

If the answer is YES then why not become a Fitness4Less franchisee – we’ll be with you all the way! 

If you’re passionate about the health and fitness industry and have always wanted your very own business, read on! Our interview with Fitness4Less franchisee, Stuart Rosenberg (pictured inset) will tell you how he realised his dream and became the proud owner of two highly successful London clubs.

Stuart, before we talk about your clubs, could you tell me a little bit about your background please?

Well, I’m passionate about the health and fitness industry and have always enjoyed training and gym work. I played semi-professional football before I went to University and managed a boxing club whilst I was doing my Degree in Business and Finance. After Uni I was accepted onto a graduate training scheme run by a major gym chain. I gradually worked my way up to a general manager position and went on to work for several other well known gyms in London.

Fitness4Less Stuart

So, how did you get to the point of running two F4L clubs in East London?

I’d worked in the fitness industry for thirteen years and got to a stage where I couldn’t see how I could progress any further without getting out of the industry or starting up on my own. Then I heard about the F4L franchise scheme and it really appealed to me. The budget market was just getting started and it matched my ethos about helping everyone access a healthy lifestyle.

I called F4L immediately and arranged to meet the Directors to discuss their business model. The rest, as they say is history. In January 2011 we opened the Cambridge Heath club. It worked so well from day one that we broke operationally even in two months. This spurred me to open a second franchise, Canning Town in August 2013.

What was it about the F4L franchise model that initially persuaded you that it was going to be a good choice?

Initially I was drawn to F4L because I knew it was a respected industry brand standing for high-quality, affordable fitness. When I met with the F4L Directors at their Bristol gym I was incredibly impressed by how well the model worked in practice. I got on well with all the team and a level of trust was firmly established. When we went through the figures it became startlingly obvious that the concept really worked and I knew this was the direction I should be going in.

Were there any other important features in the agreement that helped you make the decision to become a franchisee?

Yes, for me the fact that F4L source the locations of the clubs is hugely important. Good properties are really hard to find as it’s an incredibly competitive market. I wouldn’t have stood a chance of getting the prime locations that I got, had I tried to go it alone. F4L also undertake all the lease negotiations and can get fantastic rates. F4L then build the whole facility using their contractors who work to specific F4L criteria, ensuring the facilitymeets all industry health and safety standards. The design and layout is done by F4L professionals too, making the whole process relatively stress free for the franchisee.

Once the clubs are built, how do F4L support you in the running of the business? For example, how did they help you with your first launch?

F4L gave me some great ideas for promoting the launch and supplied me with all the materials. This led to some great pre-sales figures! I now get daily support from the F4L team and have specific monthly update meetings to go over memberships and other key issues. I always know there is someone on the end of the line who can help me. Even if there is a problem with the building, I simply call F4L and they send a contractor immediately!

What about the ongoing marketing and promotion of the club, how do F4L support you with that? Is it an easy and efficient process?

Definitely! We discuss our sales and marketing plans with our F4L representative and every quarter she sends us a full catalogue of marketing materials to choose from. Whether it be leaflets, posters or dressing up in sumo wrestler suits, it’s all there and it’s so simple to order! Perhaps the most important thing to mention is that F4L also provides us with our very own club website plus a complete membership back-room full of essential club information. We also receive ongoing technical and administrative support whenever we need it.

Do you think the technology F4L provides you with has a positive impact on your business in comparison with the other clubs you have run?

Yes, it is a major contributor to our success. Great technology is key to the F4L business model since we rely heavily on the website for sales and marketing. The entire class booking system is also handled online so it’s imperative that everything looks good and works well – and it does! Also, the biometric fingerprint entry system is fantastic and really puts us ahead of our competitors.

Are there any other aspects of the business where you feel F4L have been instrumental in your success?

F4L have played a major role in all aspects of our success. For example, they provide us with regular health and safety training together with audits to ensure we meet industry standards;they negotiate fantastic corporate rates with all our suppliers and also collect our direct debits for us, which would’ve been impossible for me to do if I’d started the business from scratch on my own.

Could you talk us through a day in the life of a F4L franchisee. How do you spend your time?

Personally, I train every morning after doing the safety checks and then opening the gym. I do this not only as I still love to workout but also because I think it’s important to get a members viewpoint. Then I meet the team to discuss staff and operational issues before checking emails and doing the banking. After that, I’ll respond to membership queries and work on the sales and marketing plans.

Overall, what do you think are the best things about being the owner of a F4L franchise? 

For me, it’s being able to have a level of control over my own destiny. As a franchisee you still have the freedom to make your own business decisions whilst having the advantage of a great brand behind you and the support of people who really stand for something in the industry.

This isn’t just a desk job either, you’re in the business of really helping people to improve the quality of their life. I’m also passionate about developing the careers of my staff and giving them the opportunity to reach their goals. Some of my management team started off on reception and it’s been great to see how they’ve progressed. It really is a fantastically rewarding business to be in.

You had a lot of experience of the health and fitness industry before starting this franchise, do you think a franchisee needs to have worked in the industry?

No, but it helps. You don’t even need a business background as F4L give you all the training you need.

How has taking the franchise on, changed you and your family’s life?

It’s certainly enabled me to have more disposable income and, most importantly, I now have the flexibility to work around my family obligations. If my kids need me to be at a parent’s meeting, I now know I can arrange my calendar and be there. It’s important to me.

Fitness4Less Stuart

Would I be right in thinking you want to open more sites in the future?

For sure! I intend to have five successful clubs up and running in the South East within the next four years. In fact, we’re already working on number three as we speak.

And finally Stuart, would you recommend to others that they take on a F4L franchise and if so, why?

Without hesitation, YES! The business model really does work so, as long as you’ve done your research to ensure your site has good demographics, you’re on to a winner. Just be prepared to put in some hard work and then go for it! You’ll have the support of a great F4L team and be part of a phenomenal, well respected brand!

So there we have it, dreams really can come true! If you feel inspired to own a Fitness4Less franchise and build your very own Health and Fitness empire just like Stuart has, then visit our profile and enquire further!

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