(Ambrosio’s note: This is the second and final part of my interview with Maris Brennan. To read the first part, please click here.)
Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Average Member Numbers, Projected Revenues and Projected Earnings for Snap Fitness Clubs. Click here.
5. Can you share the highest point and lowest point of your franchise journey so far, and what lessons have you learned from them?
Nothing can compare to the successful opening of a new facility. My first facility hit breakeven in 30 days and was making money in 45. My second was faster still. Knowing that I was going to succeed and the gambles I took were going to pay off was a huge high! Watching the spread sheets go from red to black was a great feeling.
Watching them go the other direction was a rotten low. My 3rd location was plagued with build out problems. Instead of opening in early fall, we opened Spring Break week — the worst week ever to open a gym! Instead of 200 members the first month, we saw 35. The fear that I had opened a clunker — the one that would sink the rest — was frightening beyond belief.
The most important thing to remember about highs and lows are they are just that, the ends of the spectrum. Concentrating on the good stuff in the middle is what is going to get you through. During the dismal opening, I spent a lot of time going through my Wall of Fame testimonials — reminding myself why I do what I do. My members are stronger, healthier, happier because I took risks and worked hard to create a facility for them to use and love. And they do love it and so do I.
Members are joining that 3rd facility, slowly through the summer, but it is steadily picking up as word catches on. It will succeed.
I have learned never to lose sight of why I do what I do. Profits should never be a primary motivator. I believe in the “do what you love, love what you do” philosophy. People can sense a positive attitude and they feed off it. I own Snaps because I love helping people. By making the member’s success my primary motivator, I am creating a stronger company. The profits come as a by-product of a job well done.
6. What mistakes have you made as franchise owner that have taught you the biggest lessons?
The biggest mistake I have made to date is coasting, making the assumption that the staff didn’t need my constant direction. I assumed that my attention to detail and presence in the facilities wasn’t necessary for our continued success. I got lazy and the member retention numbers tanked, our staff started to turn over, and our profit margin shrank.
The fact is that owning a business like Snap Fitness is a lot like raising kids. They never stop needing you. The more you can give to them, the more you nurture them and take care of them, the stronger they become.
7. If you were to speak with a prospective franchisee about the profit potential of a Snap Fitness franchise, what would you say?
The fitness industry, even in the worst economy we have seen in decades, has held on and in some cases grown. Mine has grown. It is absolutely possible to open a Snap Fitness and make money at it, but don’t ever believe the “turn-key, open it, and forget it philosophy”. There is no such thing as a no-effort profit maker.
It is absolutely possible to own one Snap Fitness and work at it part time and make money, but you can’t not work. If you want to be able to support a family solely on Snap Fitness, buy them in bulk. You can (at least when I purchased them) get a 3 pack at a discount. You will likely need more than one to achieve the profits you need to quit your day job.
8. Can you describe your working relationship with the home office of Snap Fitness?
I have a great working relationship with the home office. I am currently serving a one year volunteer term on the Snap Fitness Franchisee Advisory Board. Through that and through opportunities at our Annual Conference and the Road Show educational events for franchisees, I know many of the staff by name and by face and they know me. I feel comfortable calling any number of the home office staff with questions or concerns. I have a great franchisee account manager who is available to me and my staff by phone and e-mail full time to help as issues come up. The corporate staff really is dedicated to making sure we as franchise owners succeed.
9. What do you like most about being a franchisee of Snap Fitness and what do you like least?
I love being my own boss, but part of a bigger team at the same time. I could not possibly be my own advertising executive, technical consultant, equipment expert, trend analyst, software consultant, and trouble shooter and continue to have any time for myself and my family. Having a fantastic team of experts working to make my job easier and my company better is awesome!
As far as what I like the least, sometimes I disagree with my experts but have to trust and follow their lead because we are a working as a brand and sometimes have to go with the majority.
10. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about your franchise?
Owning a Snap Fitness has made a huge difference in my life. Not only am I able to make a good living while still being “at home” as my kids are growing, I am healthier and stronger than I have been in a long time. I am teaching my own children about the importance of physical fitness and I love teaching and motivating other members of my community, young and old, to live a healthy life.