When it comes to buying a franchise, choosing the right one is everything. Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done – especially in the world of fitness franchises, when many of the offerings seem to share a lot of similarities. In this article, we will share the benefits of a smaller franchise concept like Alloy vs Planet Fitness, which has a larger franchise facility design and many members.
To help you decide, we’ve started a series that compares top fitness franchises to Alloy. Last month, we looked at how F45 Training stacks up to Alloy. This month, we’re comparing a slightly bigger name: Planet Fitness.
In this blog, we’ll compare Planet Fitness’s services, investment requirements, demographics, and more to the Alloy Franchise opportunity, and help you choose the right fitness franchise opportunity for your unique situation.
Who is Planet Fitness?
Planet Fitness is a popular fitness franchise that started offering franchise opportunities in 2003. Headquartered in Hampton, New Hampshire, the franchise has about 2,200 units around the country.
Like many other fitness franchises, Planet Fitness offers a large quantity of cardiovascular machines, selectorized strength training machines, free weights, massage and tanning beds at its locations. They do not have group fitness exercise classes or one-on-one personal training. They do have a small group circuit equipment workout and small group appointments to learn equipment and workouts with a staff member.
Services: Planet Fitness vs. Alloy
As mentioned above, Planet Fitness locations do not offer a large variety of services for customers. The major focus is on getting as many members as possible and providing an extensive selection of cardio and strength equipment in a clean facility with additional services like tanning and massage beds. They do offer a mobile app with many workouts available for members. They do not have group fitness or personal training services.
Some of their most popular offerings include general equipment and workout training, a timed circuit training area, and a program that they call the Planet of Triumphs – a digital platform where PF members share their fitness journeys, motivate, and support other members.
Facilities are open 24 hours a day and we know them for ample cardio and strength equipment for members who’d rather create their own fitness programs.
Alloy Personal Training
Where Alloy really stands out is in its small group personal training at a reasonable price. Where one-on-one personal training is between $75-$100 per session. The small group ratio of 1 coach to 6 clients helps to bring the cost of training down to $30 per session.
While franchises like Planet Fitness have some training available, a coach does not design and track a personalized training program for each client. Alloy locations provide fitness prescriptions for each client in the small group to suit every client’s personal training goal, budget, and fitness level. A coach tracks and adjusts every session in the facility and provides fitness guidance outside the facility to help individuals achieve their goals. The Alloy App also follows the individual prescriptions for each client and helps track their progress in and out of the studio.
Members of Alloy locations get highly personalized, one-on-one attention designed to help them navigate injury prevention and recovery, body composition, protein intake, and nutritional guidance. .
Initial Investment: Planet Fitness vs. Alloy
Starting a Planet Fitness franchise will cost you a pretty penny! FranchiseDirect.com says interested entrepreneurs can expect to spend between $936,600 and $4,558,500 in initial out-of-pocket investments to start their own PF location.
Even if you have that kind of cash, PF is not accepting new franchise applications for US expansion at the time of this writing.
Compared to Planet Fitness, Alloy makes opening a new franchise location much more accessible.
While Planet Fitness requires nearly half a million in cash, Alloy only requires interested parties to have a net worth of at least $300k, with the ability to invest a minimum of at least $125k.
Alloy’s founder requirements are also more lenient than many other fitness franchises (including Planet Fitness), allowing more people to fulfill their business ownership goals.
Demographics: Planet Fitness vs. Alloy
At one point, Planet Fitness members ranged in age from about 30-55. Today, however, the franchise is seeing an influx of a much different demographic: Generation Z.
According to a recent interview with the CEO of Planet Fitness, Generation Z (people younger than 25 years old, born between 1997-2012) is currently the fastest-growing demographic for the Planet Fitness franchise.
Alloy wants to give franchise owners the best possible chance of success, so the Franchise team pays close attention to demographic metrics.
Before giving the go-ahead to a new location, Alloy conducts careful research to ensure its target market is present in the area. As a franchise that caters to the Active Aging population of people 45 and older, Alloy looks for mature clients between the ages of 40-69 with a household income of more than $100,000 annually. This age group typically has more discretionary income to spend on fitness and health improvement.
Alloy also carefully looks at radius size, which measures how far potential members would have to drive to work out at their new Alloy location. As a general rule, Alloy wants to open new locations within two miles of most of its target demographic.
Finally, Alloy works closely with its real estate partners and individual franchisors to find the perfect facility and complete any needed build-outs.
Revenue: Planet Fitness vs. Alloy
In 2021, Planet Fitness reported annual revenue of $0.587 billion, representing a 44.37% increase from 2022. The company also reported gross profit for the quarter ending March 31, 2022, as $0.164 billion, a 58.16% increase year-over-year.
Despite those impressive revenue numbers, there’s some evidence that Planet Fitness’s customer service may be slipping.
Recently, customers have complained that Planet Fitness makes it nearly impossible for them to cancel their memberships. Consumer Affairs says this is a “calculated move designed to keep people paying.”
Facility & Membership Size: A typical Planet Fitness facility is usually around 16,000 – 20,000 square feet and the average Planet Fitness has about 6,000 – 7,500 members. Membership rates are usually very low around $10 – $23 per month, but the flip side is they have higher membership numbers with this big box club concept. They also have a lower retention rate of 66%, which means they need to spend more money on marketing and obtaining new members. Each gym has 10-12 employees.
By remaining an exclusive boutique fitness franchise and focusing closely on its target market, Alloy has secured some of the best revenue per member and retention numbers in the fitness industry.
Recently, Alloy awarded its 50th franchise. Alloy locations exist in 12 states today, including Montana, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Nevada, Michigan, and Missouri.
Alloy helps franchisees with site selection and lease negotiation. Alloy is also working on new franchise development deals to drive aggressive and upward growth in the coming years. Pre-sales for the new franchises have been strong, and Alloy is holding nationwide franchise discovery days – all of which are good news for interested investors.
Facility & Membership Size: Alloy has 2 facility sizes available for the boutique studios. Each size has a recommended number of members, which you will see is limited. One model is 1,500 square feet with 130 members and the other model is 2,500 – 3,000 square feet and 250 members. As you can see, having a smaller membership supports the ability of staff to keep a clean facility, provides a more personalized small group personal training atmosphere, and less competition for equipment. Typical prices are $30 per group training session and about $300 per month. Alloy has one of the highest client retention rates of 97% and the longest client longevity rates of 36 months, which is one of the best in the fitness industry. All these factors result in one of the highest revenue per square foot in the fitness industry.
The Verdict: Alloy or Planet Fitness?
Both Alloy and Planet Fitness are leading names in the fitness industry. Despite their relative strengths, though, there are some significant differences.
While Planet Fitness has a lot of equipment with a lot of members, it’s hard to provide personal attention and not to feel you are just a number. The Alloy small studio model is based on personalized prescriptions, high accountability within small group personal training. The ratio is 1 coach to 6 clients.
Planet Fitness is a larger 20,000 sf facility with 6,000 – 7,500 members, so naturally you will have a higher overhead to deal with than a studio with 1,500 sf and 13 members. Sometimes, less complicated is best!
Alloy has a much stronger target demographic with more discretionary income than Planet Fitness, which currently seems to be in the middle of an all-out demographic shift.
Finally, Alloy is still offering new U.S.and international franchise opportunities and won’t charge interested franchisors an arm and a leg in startup fees. Also, you don’t have the large facility to design and operate. Unlike Planet Fitness, they are currently not accepting franchises for the U.S (at the time of this writing).
Ready to learn more about the Alloy opportunity? Reach out to request your free information packet today. We look forward to hearing from you!
Article by: Rick Mayo
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