Fitness Franchising 101: The Struggle is Real...Estate
So, you’re interested in becoming a franchise owner in the fitness industry? Congratulations! Without a doubt, helping people lead a healthier lifestyle and reach their fitness goals is one of the most rewarding careers out there. And choosing a franchise as a path to business ownership is a great decision on your part. Now that you’ve narrowed your focus to fitness franchises, it’s time to dig in and find the franchise system that best suits your needs.
An especially important component when considering franchise opportunities is the level of support you’ll receive from the Franchisor. In this article, we’re going to cover one specific area of support, finding and securing the right location for your business. Real Estate is a lot like a river after a downpour, muddy and difficult to navigate without an expert guide. Finding a franchise system that can guide you through the process of selecting and securing a location for your business is paramount to your future success.
The landscape of the commercial real estate market today presents a bevy of challenges for potential lessees. A little background may be helpful here. Let’s take a look back in time to 2007, the beginning of a major economic downturn. It all started with the residential housing market, and the failure of several major mortgage lenders and big banks. Government takeovers of mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008, followed by the rejection of a proposed $700 billion Wall Street financial rescue package by Congress, sent the Dow Jones on a 778 point downward spiral, overnight. Funds were frozen, loans were next to impossible to secure, and both residential and commercial construction came to a screeching halt. It was the worst economic crisis the United States had seen since The Great Depression.
We’ve spent the past 10+ years digging out of that hole, and with tighter regulations and government oversight, we’re starting to see the light at the end of what was a very dark tunnel. So how does all of this affect you, an aspiring business owner in search of a place for your business to call home?
When construction on commercial and retail properties comes to a screeching halt, you can expect there to be some ramifications. With many projects, construction never started, while others stopped mid-construction and remain an empty shell today. The current demand for retail space far exceeds the inventory available, making it difficult to find a suitable space, in a desirable area, to set up shop. Having a commercial real estate expert in your local market is a necessity, as they are often “in-the-know” before a property even hits the market.
9Round’s Real Estate Team works with each potential franchisee to select an agent in their local market to help in identifying and securing a location.
Financial institutions and mortgage lenders aren’t the only ones who became more restrictive in the wake of the market collapse. Landlords are asking for a lot more from potential tenants, from past and current financials to business plans and projections. If you, or your business, are deemed to be a risk, you’re unlikely to be approved for a lease. Choosing a franchise that is well established, known to bring desirable clientele to a retail center, and (most importantly) is profitable, makes you a more attractive tenant.
9Round works closely with franchisees to prepare them for the rigorous demands of landlords today. In fact, with a desirable customer demographic that is 70 percent female, and a brand with over 600 open locations, landlords often contact 9Round for placement of potential tenants in their retail center. By providing a “plug and play” business plan and signed Franchise Agreement, paired with clean credit and good financials on your part, you become a high-value asset in the eyes of the landlord.
Finding available property and gaining landlord approval is only half the battle. When it comes time to negotiate your lease, you want someone in your corner that will fight for you. Even if you’re not a prodigy in microeconomics, you probably know the basics of the Law of Supply and Demand. When demand is high, and supply is low – as is the case in the current commercial real estate market – the price is driven up. Unfortunately, some landlords may see this as an opportunity to price gouge tenants. And many tenants who are working on their own, or with an inexperienced agent, fall victim to this scheme, as they feel it is their only option. A Franchisor with an experienced real estate team, and an in-depth knowledge of the fair market value can save you thousands of dollars when negotiating the terms of your lease.
9Round’s real estate experts draw from years of experience and hundreds upon hundreds of leases negotiated to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. If a landlord is being unreasonable, it may be time to walk away and find a location more suitable to your needs.
Your ultimate goal, as a business owner, is to be as profitable as possible. You want to find a Franchisor that shares that vision and supports you in seeing it come to fruition. Navigating the muddy water of real estate, dealing with difficult landlords, and securing a location that gives you the best chance for success, is all part of a great support package. You should never undervalue the experience and knowledge of a seasoned guide who can see you through to the other side. The expert support of the 9Round Real Estate Team is included, at no cost to the franchisee, as part of a robust support package from the 9Round Home Office team. Contact one of 9Round’s Franchise Development Representatives today to learn more about the expert support and guidance provided to 9Round Franchisees.