(The views expressed in this written blog post belong solely to the author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of FIT4MOM.)
June of 2018 will mark my third year as a franchisee. It also marks my franchise contract renewal. It’s a major decision for me. Will I renew? Yes, I will! Before renewing though, I’d like to take a moment to write a detailed review to shed some light on the pros, cons, and what it’s really like to own a FIT4MOM franchise.
Becoming a FIT4MOM Franchise Owner
I purchased the Honolulu franchise June 2015 (read the full story here) and my initial plan was to teach two to three classes per week and build up a ‘cute little community of moms’ to do fitness together. I stuck to my plan the first three months. I taught two out of the three classes we offered, I connected with the small group of moms who attended classes, and it was all good.
Then, something happened.
I LOVED it.
Yep. I literally LOVED it! And, I knew I just had to grow it. I loved the fitness, the moms, the kids. I loved the business. I loved that I could bring my kids to me to work and it is never a BAD thing. I loved the sense of accomplishment of bringing moms together. Every time I drove away from the park I’d just instructed a class, my body felt good; and my HEART felt even better.
FIT4MOM is about way more than fitness. We offer our moms so much more than a good workout.
Why I Really Needed FIT4MOM
Let’s be real here… I have a blog titled “Watch Mom Make $100K”. I like to earn, achieve, and I enjoy working.
Pre-kids, I enjoyed a career in Tokyo as an executive search professional in the web and tech industry. I worked twelve hour days, I brought in half a million dollars in revenue, and I took home sixty percent of that. I was the third top biller in my company and the first female recruiting partner at the company. I’m used to earning big. I’m used to setting big goals and reaching them. I’m used to taking challenges head on. Thus, going from fast-paced executive career in Tokyo with a handsome reward, to wiping butts, meal prepping, and vacuuming every day, was a BIG LEAP for me. Still is.
Thus, FIT4MOM was just what I needed. A sense of purpose and identity connected with motherhood- but separate from my own personal motherhood. FIT4MOM scratches the itch of desiring to do something in addition to being a mother, without the guilt associated with working away from home.
If you have that desire, and you shy away from mlm products, like me, then FIT4MOM might be a good fit for you.
What’s it really like to own a FIT4MOM franchise?
Owning a franchise is fun, challenging, fulfilling, and at times, hard. Like every other business, it takes a lot of work to make your business successful. Motherhood adds on another layer of complication. I’m not going to make it sound easy, it’s hard find the time to work on your business. But it can be done.
At typical day for me includes:
5:00AM Wake Up, goal-setting and planning for the day
5:30AM Admin Tasks (follow-ups, events, checking in with virtual assistants)
6:30AM Focusing on Top Priority an Project of the Day
8:30AM Breakfast/Meal Prep for the Day
1:00PM Home Tidying + Rest
4:30PM-5:45PM Biz Tasks
6:00PM Teach a Class (Twice per week)
8:00PM Tidy-Up Home
On average, I spend about five hours on my business daily (including instructor time). Saturdays, are my days to do whatever I want. I usually get in about six hours of planning and work. My husband uses that time to take care of the girls all day long.
In total, I work on my business about 25-30 hours per week.
How much does a FIT4MOM franchise cost?
A new FIT4MOM franchise starts at about $5,500 as of the publishing of this blog post. A re-sell (purchase from an existing owner) can range from $1,500 to $50,000+ depending on existing business and how healthy the business is.
The best way to look into franchising opportunities is to go here: https://fit4momfranchise.com/
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE: If you have found the blog post helpful, I kindly ask that you please use my name when asked how you heard about FIT4MOM Franchise opportunities or when asked who referred you. T A K A R A B U L L O C K, of FIT4MOM Honolulu” okay? There a referral fee provided to existing franchisees who refer new franchisees..
Are there Any Hidden Costs to Owning a FIT4MOM Franchise?
There aren’t hidden costs, FIT4MOM is upfront with franchising costs. However, as with any business there will be plenty of expenses you’ll want to budget for, in addition to the initial franchise fee. So, you’ll want to budget double of what your expect, in terms of start-up costs.
For example, you’ll need to budget for insurance coverage; startup equipment and merchandise; CPR + AED certification; indoor locations fees; instructors; training and certification; FB advertising, to name a few. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I think this gives your a clearer and more realistic picture of what opening up or taking over a FIT4MOM franchise involves, financials wise at least.
Can you actually make money owning a FIT4MOM franchise?
Yes. You can actually make money owning a FIT4MOM franchise. How much? Well that depends on you and how hard you want work to achieve your goals. (Doesn’t life always work out that way?) It IS a BUSINESS. Not a hobby. So, I’ll go ahead and let you know, if you’re not one to work hard, franchisee life is not for you. The top franchisees, I hear, make upwards $25,000 + in monthly revenue. I don’t know how much they gross, however, I’m told that average franchise margins are around 30-40%.
My first year as a franchisee I made around $11K (June 2015-December 2015) second year I made $40K (January 2016-December 2016) and last year $80K (January 2017-December 2017). That’s top line revenue not factoring in expenses. In 2015 and 2016, my margins were around 50%. 2017, however, with the addition of new locations and instructors, my margins plummeted to 18%. I am course-correcting now and my goal is to have 40% margins again this year, which is one of the reasons I started this blog, I like the public accountability.
How does FIT4MOM support franchisees?
FIT4MOM does a good job of allowing you to chart your own business success trajectory. Each franchisees is placed within a cohort of franchisees at similar stages of business. It also does a good job of training you to teach classes; especially if you don’t have an existing certification. There’s a hub of training and resources available for training and on-boarding as a franchisee. k
As far as day-to-day support. The support system is based on submitting support tickets. The average first response time is between 2-24 hours. The average time it takes from ticket submission to resolution is about 2-3 business days.
The real support magic though, lies within the online franchisee community. Questions are often answered within minutes by other franchisees.
What type of person does well as a Franchisee?
Hmmmm…. I think a person with a strong background in sales and marketing, and comfort level using technology and social media, are in my opinion, an absolute necessity for owing a FIT4MOM franchise. However, moms from all background are owners and are successful.
If you plan to actually make money from FIT4MOM then you need to plan to own for a least five years. This is based solely on my observation of successful franchisees. The most successful franchisees in FIT4MOM have owned for at least five years. If you’re only planning to give it a try for a year or two, I would encourage you not to waste your money or time. You have to go into owning a franchise with a long-game mentality.
Allow me to stress this again- If you grow your business and see regular dependable income from your FIT4MOM franchise, you gotta PUT IN THE WORK. You must be willing to hustle, to be scrappy, and to get it done. You’ll need to teach GREAT classes, build up a team of amazing, build a community of moms, and invest a lot of your time and money into making your franchise amazing. That takes time. More than three years.
Is it worth the investment?
That all depends on you and what you’re looking to get out of it. A FIT4MOM franchise is one of the most affordable franchises you can purchase. That is intentional. The low cost most certainly is not a result of it being substandard. The low price is meant to be accessible for moms. That being said, don’t expect to see that big a return of investment, your first year. Like any new business, it takes some time.
I was able to grow my business pretty quickly over the last three years. (I think five years is the sweet spot for a FIT4MOM Franchise to figure out how to make some real coin though! Hence my $100K goal!).
PROS of Owning a FIT4MOM franchise
You can build a profitable business as a mother and business owner. With FIT4MOM, you are learning how to run a successful business, while also being a mother. It embraces motherhood instead of treating it like a stigma. FIT4MOM recognizes that moms are an incredibly resourceful demographic that should not be ignored.
The mission of FIT4MOM is “Strength for Motherhood” and it feels amazing to be a part of something with so much purpose and impact at both a national and local level.
You’re not doing it alone. The network and of franchisees cheering you on and helping you out is amazing. It feels great to reach out to other franchisees when you need to work through something. I love that.
The branding is FIT4MOM is strong. Another factor I considered when purchasing. It’s nice to have existing and beautiful branding already in place. You get a monthly social media calendar that’s full of ideas for sharing and posting.
The training is good and is continuously improving. I enjoy growing my knowledge about prenatal fitness, nutrition, and just learning how the body works.
I love learning about business, accounting, leadership, and team management. It’s fun and I feel like I’m growing skills and abilities.
CONS of Owning a FIT4MOM Franchise
There is no playbook. This is quite disappointing. FIT4MOM is seventeen years old, franchisees are still figuring it out as they go along. This can be quite frustrating and shocking for newer franchisees.
There is no regular practice of collecting or documenting best practices across franchisees. There is no system for sharing regularly, what is working amongst the most successful franchisees. Something as simple as publishing an annual best practices report that asks specific questions regarding business practices, pricing, processes, and results could be helpful.
There is a tight-lipped culture of success. I’m not sure why. It’s hard for rookie franchisees to figure out what to do. That’s one of the reasons for this blog. I want to change that culture and be truly transparent with my wins, failures, and mistakes.
There should be more numbers sharing. I have no idea if my first and second year was bad, good, or exceptional. I’d would love more benchmarks and financial trends according to years of ownership.
The home office lacks practical day-to-day operations knowledge as it relates to franchisees wants and needs. This is a big one. I attribute this to a majority of the team not having actually owned or operated a FIT4MOM franchise before. Thus, it often feels as if franchisee and home-office goals are not aligned and that the home office, simply doesn’t ‘get it’. This makes for a very strained and at times awkward communications between franchisees and the home office.
The existing technology infrastructure is lacking. Each franchise receives their own website via Spacecraft, scheduling and class management tool via Pike13, and access to email marketing tool, Emma. An official CRM has been chosen but, as of this posting has yet to been rolled out.
The existing technology systems that exist are basic and can certainly get the job done, it will just take you a LOT of time.
After the first year of ownership, franchisees who have reached a level of business beyond the basics of sending emails and scheduling classes, quickly outgrow the tech and search for technology solution add-ons outside of what FIT4MOM offers for a more robust and efficient system, in order to keep up with the demands of their business.
Knowing what I know now, would I do it all over again?
Despite the shortcomings listed above, the positives of franchisee ownership, outweigh the negatives. Here’s why:
- My business knowledge has grown.
- My leadership skills have improved.
- I have found a way to generate another source of income for my family, which feels great. (I’d like to figure out how to hold on to more of it!)
- My girls get to see mom owning and running a business and caring for myself, as well as building a community of other families.
- I have made incredible friendships both at the local community level and national franchisee level.
- I have found a second career and I gotta admit, it is perfect for me. When I teach a class, I often think to myself, “I can’t believe this is my life right now, I get to do this!” I feel like I was made to do this.
These are only a few of the many reasons why I will renew another three years.
If you are considering a career that agrees with motherhood, and you have a passion for fitness, wellness, motherhood, and building community, I highly recommend looking into FIT4MOM franchise opportunities. Be prepared to WORK when you sign your agreement.
Don’t forget to list Takara Bullock of FIT4MOM Honolulu in that “How did you hear about us” referral box please!
Feel free to comment with your questions, I’ll be sure to monitor the comments and get back to you with answers.