In this episode, Rick speaks with Casey Kelly, franchise owner of the Billings Montana – Alloy Personal Training location. Casey shares his semi-absentee fitness franchise experience. He discusses how much weekly time he allocates to his business and the key to being a successful semi-absentee franchise owner.

Kelly is a mechanical engineer and worked for 10 years in the corporate world. After 10 years, he really wanted to get more involved with fitness. In 2017, he transitioned to the personal training industry before becoming an Alloy franchisee. It attracted him to the Alloy brand because of the smaller personalized format and strength training based workouts versus other fitness trends based on high intensity or fad type fitness franchises.   

Kelly, one of the earliest franchisees of Alloy, knows this too well. He encountered a few hiccups early on, but quickly steadied the ship by being more involved. Even though you hire an operating manager, the semi-absentee owner needs to make sure numbers are accurate and they follow procedures. 

Two critical factors when you choose to invest in a franchise as a semi-absentee owner is to choose the right location, and hire the right operating manager. Alloy assists franchisees with demographic research and site selection based on consumer behaviors and other factors. Learn how Alloy has the systems in place to help start, run, and operate a business. 

What is Semi-Absentee Ownership?

The definition of semi-absentee ownership is a business concept that the investor can hire someone to run it on a daily basis while they have another job. Semi-absentee franchises should hire an operating manager, although the semi-absentee owner must regularly check in and help when necessary. Semi-absentee ownership typically requires 10 to 15 hours a week of time investment once it’s up and running.

Keys To Semi-Absentee Fitness Franchise Ownership

1. Hire The Right Operating Manager 

Take time to find and hire the right team. If you get this right, you are one step towards success. 

Alloy provides perks to franchisees and has a staffing agency to help find the right operating manager. Once you hire an operating manager, it’s important as a semi-absentee owner that you are involved and check in on the pre-sales and grand opening. It’s imperative that everybody knows their roles and responsibilities. Make sure the operator is following the systems, using the procedures established, and hitting the numbers as Alloy has established. If you aren’t making sure they are following the systems, it might make a difference meeting your goals and being unprofitable. 

2. Take Time To Be Involved

In the beginning, you will need to spend more time to keep eyes on the numbers. Pre-sales is a structured time to make sure you open with the target number of 130 clients to make you profitable. You will also need to communicate with construction firms and facility details. As training and pre-sales ramp up, Kelly advises increasing owner involvement to make sure everyone is meeting the sales pipeline goals, making the phone calls, following up on prospects, making sure paperwork is correct, and assisting the operator when needed.

You might even need to hire a part-time employee to help during the busy pre-sale period because there’s a lot going on with leads coming in fast. It’s a critical time to make sure they contact every person during that time. Alloy franchise now offers an internal “hit” sales team franchisees can hire to handle phone pre-sales so you don’t need to hire a part-time person. That provides the semi-absentee owner with more bandwidth.

Once you are open and your team is up to speed, you’re hitting the numbers, and everybody knows their roles and responsibilities, the semi-absentee owner can reduce the level of involvement while holding the operating team accountable. Right now, Kelly likes to be available and involved about three hours a day and eventually might cut that involvement down to two or fewer hours a day. 

3. Establish a Servant Leadership Culture

They define servant leadership as a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals and builds better organizations by creating a culture of accountability and support.

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

This servant leadership helps your team grow as you grow your franchise and want to open multiple locations. Grooming your operating managers to be regional managers is a great way to grow your franchise opportunities and provide them with growth opportunities as well.

Here are four steps to develop into a better servant leader.

  • Encourage diversity of thought.
  • Create a culture of trust.
  • Have an unselfish mindset.
  • Foster leadership in others

When many people think of being a semi-absentee fitness franchise owner, they rarely have a realistic expectation of the time you need to allocate to the business and what level of involvement is required. You might not be involved in the day-to-day operations of your business, but you are ultimately responsible for anything that happens, both good and bad.

Listen to the podcast to learn More from Casey Kelly.

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Key Takeaways

  • Casey’s journey to owning an Alloy (01:06)
  • What semi-absentee franchisee ownership entails (05:36)
  • Finding the right operator (07:34)
  • The life of an entrepreneur (10:24)
  • Realistic expectations of time you’ll spend (13:53)
  • Why you need a bigger vision as an entrepreneur (20:39)
  • The key to success as a semi-absentee franchisee (24:43)


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Mentioned in this episode

Rick Mayo 

Wes Barefoot

Alloy Personal Training Franchise


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