Author Topic: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?  (Read 12555 times)

meadow lark

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Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« on: May 27, 2014, 12:44:27 PM »
Daydreaming about owning a Curves.  This is the very beginning of exploring the idea.  Anyone have experience with it, that particular company, etc?

CONS: I am not an experienced business person ( always been an employee.). I would have to learn A LOT.  I enjoy my down time. I  want to travel more.  My day job pays okay ($34.50/hr.) and I am not actively looking for more money.  The company seems crazy Christian.  I would have to explore that more to see how much it bothers me and how much I would bother them.  The company peddles these stupid protein bars, protein shakes that give me pause.  This is definitely not elite fitness!

PROS: The money?  I haven't seen any numbers yet so I don't actually know how profitable it is.  I enjoy learning.  I used to work for Curves so I knows a bit of the day to day work and it is pleasant.  I love how inclusive Curves is - I worked out next to a blind woman today!  It is a very welcoming spot for people who really need to work out (especially the very overweight) and wouldn't go to another gym.  It would be good for me physically to be connected to the fitness world that closely - you definitely work out more when you work at a gym.  My current job is 2 days a week, one of them on Sunday when Curves is closed so there would only one day a week when I would have a crisis if the employee didn't show.  I could convince my wife to always take off the other day of the week from he job.  The Curves for sale is 4 blocks from my house.
  Hmm. 

Sparafusile

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 12:59:14 PM »
Down time and business ownership do not mix. My wife owns a small business and I have started a business while working a day job. We both basically work all the time. Don't start a small business if you want more down time. Don't start a small business if you want to be your own boss either - it never works out that way. The people giving you money are your boss, whether its the CEO of your day job, or the customers at the gym you own.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 01:14:53 PM »
From past threads, I get the impression there's little money in being a franchise operator. The only money made in franchises is the parent company.

Rachelocity

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 01:21:54 PM »
A lot of Curves franchises in Montreal seem to have closed, leading me to wonder about the financial health of the franchise in general, although perhaps the partnership with Jillian Michaels may be bringing new people in.  In any case, I would want to know why this franchise is for sale.

meadow lark

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2014, 01:22:38 PM »
Thanks!  I read some reviews of the company online and have firmly decided not to do it.  Which is too bad.  When I worked there in 2007 it looked like a good thing.

iris lily

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 07:00:55 PM »
My friend owned a Curves in (purposely vague) a midwestern town of around 15,000. She lost her butt.

She paid around $50,000 for it in 2004 and closed it about 2010.  When she showed the numbers to her entrepreneurial friends who have owned franchises they said Do Not Buy it, she bought it anyway.I'm not sure that it ever made money.

However, she never ran it herself, she always had a full time job and hired people to "manage" it.

chasesfish

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2014, 07:42:52 PM »
I'm a banker and finance small businesses for a living.  I would recommend not opening a curves and going directly to see a bankruptcy attorney.   That'll save about 5 years of your life. 

If you're really interested in the gym business start working as a manager at a local place and learn the business.


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Nords

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2014, 10:34:20 PM »
My friend owned a Curves in (purposely vague) a midwestern town of around 15,000. She lost her butt.
At first glance this seemed like a punch line...

Boz86

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2014, 07:09:54 AM »
Although you've decided not to buy, having owned a franchise before, I'll go on the record as saying my default position is to never do it again. The only way I would do it would be if I could see a number of franchisee's tax returns. See what they report to the IRS, you can bet they minimize the profit and emphasis the expenses on those forms.

If I can't do that, oh well, back to my default position.

I'm not a lawyer but here's what I gleamed from reading up on the statements by franchisors that the FTC won't let them make income/profitability claims -- the FTC won't let them make "unsubstantiated" claims. So rather than run the risk of being sued over that they try to make it sound like the greatest thing ever without actually giving numbers.


nikki

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2014, 07:12:18 AM »
There are Curves in Korea now.

Just thought that tidbit might interest someone.

arebelspy

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2014, 09:37:29 AM »
My friend owned a Curves in (purposely vague) a midwestern town of around 15,000. She lost her butt.
At first glance this seemed like a punch line...

Hah.  Well played, Nords.  I laughed.
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iris lily

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2014, 07:31:03 PM »
My friend owned a Curves in (purposely vague) a midwestern town of around 15,000. She lost her butt.
At first glance this seemed like a punch line...

Hah.  Well played, Nords.  I laughed.

I know, it was funny. I might have subliminally meant that. Yeah, that's the ticket.

The Resilent Dame

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2014, 07:36:03 PM »
I own a franchise. It is very profitable. However, it is not a curves.

SnpKraklePhyz

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2014, 03:58:15 AM »
Michelle- if you don't mind sharing, what franchise do you own?  I'm toying with the idea of buying a franchise and looking into options.  I'm a full time (somewhat frustrated) teacher with a comfortable stash but not enough to retire on. I'm considering leaving teaching and wondering what to do instead or just toughing it out for a few more years.  I realize that doesn't sound like enough to jump into a franchise.  I'm just exploring options.

deborah

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2014, 04:23:16 AM »
Someone who once worked for me with was really into buying franchises. He did it as a sidekick. They were all really small, and the previous owner had not worked them well. He would build them up and then resell them.

For example, one was a pillow sanitizing franchise. He managed to get most of the motels here to use his service. The franchise had worked out how to open up pillows, sanitize the insides, and then reseal them easily. Saved all the motels from buying pillows all the time. Once he had all the motels in the area as customers, he sold it to another franchisee.

He liked franchises that didn't employ extra people but were simple setups like the pillow one. These would have low overheads and be cheap because the whole value of the business was custom. I thought he was very clever because most of the time he worked out how he could get a squillion customers for the franchise, and make it much better (for instance the pillow franchise had never thought of motels, so he got it with almost no business). I think he made a fair bit of money. He was a good salesman.

chasesfish

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2014, 05:53:47 AM »
My first response was pretty curt, I will make some other comments about franchises over my 10 years of experience loaning to them.

They work very well in two instances:

1) Franchised Fast Food - Especially if you have the money to diversify your risk with a couple of locations.  The larger the franchise the better, but usually it requires more capital.   These tend to be mildly profitable per location, with a few of them hitting some very large numbers.  The corporate parent often will struggle with managing labor, food costs, and theft where a local, active owner is much better.   The SBA has many default lists available that'll expose the ones that work verses the ones that don't. 

2) Limited Service Hotels:  These are more of a real estate investment, but require a franchisee's reservation system and credibility.   Since the capital required is really high, it tends to be independent owners that franchise these.  The big REITs go after the $10-$20mil properties.

The other really good indication of the quality of the franchise is how much do they want up front in licensing, startup ect, verses how much do they want in on-going royalties?  The really good franchises I see will make deals with experienced operators for a very low up-front franchise fee and step-up royalties.  They would rather get a great operator on board and profit through higher sales and royalties three years from now verses the biggest fee possible up front.

Dunkin Donuts is a classic example:  They used to be family owned and just wanted to extract the highest franchise fee possible out of a new location without providing them any support.  They were bought out by a PEG and since went public, now they operate completely opposite.  Dunkin now cuts deals with professional operators to get them in and will provide them deals on royalties and advertising early on to support their growth.

I hope this helps, good luck with your decisions.

bobmarley9993

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2014, 08:15:58 AM »
Chasefish, just wanted to say i greatly appreciated your post.  Very informative.

sol

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2014, 08:51:37 AM »
A friend of ours used to work at a Curves, and the owner wanted out.  Friend bought the franchise from the old owner for a nominal fee, spent the next four years working outrageous hours with very high stress levels for very little money, and finally sold it to someone else for a nominal fee.

So that particular location has has three owners over the last five years, and none of them seemed very happy about owning it.  Looking in from the outside, I'd say buying a Curves isn't a very good idea.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2014, 09:03:00 AM »
My first response was pretty curt...

...but also hilarious! I laughed out loud when I read that. I thought, "What a great way to put it for so many of our potential ventures!" I know that after my own business kerfuffle a year ago, I appreciate this type of thought.

Re: Curves, specifically. For the short period that I was able to access it, I loved being in it. I was very comfortable there and had great results. The major downfall to Curves in my perspective is that most franchises here do not offer child care and also do not allow children inside the building. So, an eight year old can't even sit on the side for the 30 minutes and watch a video. It's targeted to women, and some women have children, but children are not allowed past the door. They recommended paying $12/session to drop a kid off at a nearby child care. Here, lots of fitness places offer the same membership price or cheaper and include child care. Needless to say, the place I was using shut down.

chasesfish

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2014, 09:28:48 AM »
I once had a prospective borrower ask my opinion on something else, I tried nicely to discourage the venture.  I finally told him I'd recommend withdrawing the cash, putting it in a paper bag, and running over it with a lawnmower.  It would save five years of his life.


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scrubbyfish

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Re: Anyone own a franchise - especially a Curves?
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2014, 09:33:05 AM »
I once had a prospective borrower ask my opinion on something else, I tried nicely to discourage the venture.  I finally told him I'd recommend withdrawing the cash, putting it in a paper bag, and running over it with a lawnmower.  It would save five years of his life.

oh goodness, belly laughing!!!!!!

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