Promise of healthy profits (Daily Mail franchise story)

Promise of healthy profits


By: Linda Whitney

WITH 13 million people in the UK forecast to be obese by 2010, franchises specialising in health and beauty are booming.

You don’t usually need experience to get started, but you must be interested in diet, fitness and nutrition. The key to success is a keen interest in people.

‘You have to be able to support your clients through their fitness regime. If the franchisee is directly available to clients, the business is more successful,’ says David Weir of the Energie Fitness Clubs franchise.

Energie offers complete gym franchises, including therapy rooms and exercise studios, for an investment of £100,000-plus, or smaller centres offering simple half-hour workouts to women, for £19,000.

‘It is extremely rewarding to help others achieve weight loss and adopt a fitter, healthier lifestyle,’ says Rosemary Conley, founder of the Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness Clubs. Franchisees run sessions that combine diet and fitness instruction in locations they have found themselves.

The £18,500 plus VAT investment includes Oxford Cambridge Royal Society of Arts training as an exercise to music instructor, and a certificate in Applied Nutrition and Weight Management accredited by the University of Chester. You need plenty of enthusiasm to keep clients going throughout their programme, and with some franchises, such as Slimming World, having had weight problems yourself is considered helpful.

Caryl Richards, of Slimming World, says: ‘We look for franchisees with warmth, energy and enthusiasm, good listening skills and a genuine desire to help people lose weight’. You can start for £500 and training includes a diploma in the psychology of slimming. You must be business-minded too.

‘We look for people who understand the problems of obesity and have the passion to tackle it, but also the skills to market, manage and grow a business,’ says Octavia Morley, of business opportunity LighterLife.

Counsellors help obese people look at the psychological and emotional causes of their weight gain, offer formula foods and lifeskills coaching. You can work flexibly, and investment costs £14,100.

Some franchises in this field involve opening a clinic. Sureslim franchisees offer weight loss and nutrition advice based on blood tests carried out by a GP.

All franchisees take part in the programme first so they understand clients’ needs. Investment is from £15,000, and you find your own premises Motivation franchisees visit care homes to deliver a programme of mental and physical exercise researched by geriatricians.

‘You must have an empathy with older people, combined with business skills such as sales and marketing,’ says Elaine Everett of Motivation.

Training takes two weeks and the investment is £9,500.

Beauty is also big business, and a franchise can help you get in.

Meditech franchisees provide fat reduction, cellulite treatment, skin tightening, facial toning and treatment for acne and scarring using a Beautytek machine, which stimulates cells to shed toxins.

Cost is £15,500 plus VAT, including training in the science and use of the leased machine.

Energie 0700 345 1091, Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Clubs 01509 622 000, LighterLife 01279 636 998, Sureslim 0870 321 4014, Motivation 01937 557 166, Meditech 02392 415 000..

CHECK BEFORE YOU SIGN UP

YOUR franchise may be the biggest investment you ever make, so ensure you know what you are letting yourself in for.

Your rights as a franchisee should be set out in the franchise contract, and a solicitor who understands franchising can explain what they mean for you.

‘No business contract is an easy read, so I took my franchise contract to a solicitor for an explanation of the implications,’ says Henry Dawes, 29, who went on to invest in the Domino’s Pizza franchise in Dundee.

‘As well as a check that there was nothing untoward in it, I wanted to know what would happen if things did not go to plan. If a problem arises, the last thing you want is a surprise in your contract.’

The contract check cost £300 to £500, only a small percentage of Henry’s £300,000-plus investment in a Domino’s outlet.

Many franchise lawyers offer to check contracts for a fixed fee, typically around £400 to £700.

Using a specialist lawyer can save you money because they will be familiar with the typical contract and will know what to look for.

For a list of British Franchise Association-affiliated legal specialists see www.thebfa.org.

Domino’s 01908 580 000.

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