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“The big thing we do is be a part of the community,” Gundlach said.
So he might do a food drive, offering one month of free membership to those who bring in food items for the needy. Being an active, participating member of all area chambers of commerce is also important for strengthening ties to the community, he added.
Anytime Fitness relies on membership retention, which is something the operator focuses on by providing excellent services to his members. Because many of his clubs have a high volume of members, he provides adequate staffing, with two full-time managers per location and anywhere from three to 10 personal trainers, who work various shifts to ensure members have access to them.
Choosing Right Site
Gundlach estimates that his total initial investment for a new unit is about $200,000 and it takes him about 10 months to break even with a new club and three years to recoup the initial investment.
The average size of his clubs is about 5,000 square feet. That’s a little larger than other clubs in the system, but he feels the size allows for future growth in membership without having to expand the club with additional construction. Plus, he feels it allows him to compete with some of the larger, big-box fitness clubs in his market.
Gundlach was involved in the site selection for all of his units and he looked for areas with high visibility and heavy traffic surrounded by residential neighborhoods. With Anytime Fitness, he said, it might not be as important to be near a large retail center as it might be for other franchises.
“I always look for places that are right by places where people live — high-traffic, high-visibility roads that are surrounded by houses,” he said. He believes it’s important to be accessible to people who live nearby or who might want to stop at the gym on their way to or from work. He looks for sites that have a population of at least 10,000 people living in a 3- to 5-mile radius with an average household income of $50,000 or more.