Planet Fitness Franchise Pioneers to Open 40 More Locations by 2018

Recent business reports say there are telling signs of prospering franchising trends. Consumers are continuously more drawn toward established brands and businesses, often associating them with product or service quality and value. For this reason, the franchise sector is seeing unprecedented growth, with over 400 American franchise systems operating on a global scale and earning decent revenues.

One of the projected industries to continue its winning streak in the franchising arena is health and wellness services. This does not come as a surprise in the wake of the ballooning population of the 50-year-olds or the aging population. It is easy to see why there is a rising demand for services that are pushing for a healthy lifestyle and for fitness facilities.

Planet Fitness, a U.S. American fitness and workout center franchisor based in New Hampshire, offers personal training and modern fitness equipment for “Average Joe” members who are either new to the routines or casual gym goers. It was in 2003 when Planet Fitness inked its first franchise contract with Eric Dore and Shane McGuiness who introduced the gym to the Florida market.

Over the span of more than a decade, the duo has owned 22 of Planet Fitness’s 818 locations across 48 states which all have a total of roughly 5.7 million members.Their franchises are currently located in Georgia, Central Florida and Florida Panhandle.

As with any franchisee, Dore and McGuiness – long time friends who share a common interest for entrepreneurship – took that leap into Planet Fitness franchises after a well thought-out plan with an eye on long-term goals. True to this vision, the business partners are now planning on adding 18 more franchises to their portfolio over the next three years. By 2018, they target to own 40 Planet Fitness franchises across Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

While on their way to really making it big as entrepreneurs, Dore and McGuiness are extremely dedicated to giving back to the community. The tandem runs various programs to help the less fortunate and those who are in need through organizing or supporting the Coalition for the Homeless, the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure, as well as the Special Olympics, along with several other advocacies.

Dore and McGuiness tell their story to Entrepreneur Online, emphasizing how their decision to serve the health-conscious market has apparently served them well:

Why franchising?

[Eric]: Shane and I wanted to be part of an industry we loved while being able to build our own business. The model made sense to us and we were able to form a relationship with Planet Fitness founders Mike Grondahl and Chris Rondeau (now Planet Fitness’ CEO) as they had a genuine desire to help educate us on the industry and share their vision.

A franchisee with Planet Fitness just seemed to make sense as it combined an industry we were passionate about with three experts that were revolutionizing the industry. We discussed the possibility with the Planet Fitness founders who agreed to give us an opportunity to open a franchise in the Orlando, Fla. market. We established the business name Sunshine Fitness and opened our first Planet Fitness club.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

[Eric]: Working for a large fitness equipment company in the northeast, with over 400 clubs in the territory, I quickly learned that Planet Fitness clubs were the busiest. We also loved the business model and the differentiated brand positioning – great value with memberships for only $10, high quality experience, and a non-intimidating environment geared towards making everyday people feel comfortable, unlike any other gyms.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

[Eric]: Work in an industry that you love. In the early stages, especially, it is a big effort and it can consume almost everything you do, even if you aren’t at work, so you want to make sure you will be spending your time on something you enjoy. Make sure that the culture of the franchisee fits in line with your beliefs and ideas. Sometimes a good way of finding out the culture is to spend time talking to other franchisees.

Photo by Mike Mozart

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