Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image credit: Leigh Hometh
Like many franchisees, Leigh Hometh discovered her future franchise as a client. Hometh lost 30 pounds in six months as a Get In Shape For Women client, gaining energy and increasing her self-esteem. Soon, she decided she wanted to help others enjoy a similar experience. Here's what she's learned since becoming a fitness franchisee.
Name: Leigh Hometh
Franchise owned: Two Get In Shape For Women locations in Brookline, Mass.
How long have you owned a franchise?
Both opened in 2011, in March (Coolidge Corner) and May (Brookline Village).
I was a client who had success with the program losing over 30 pounds in a six month period. The experience changed my life and I felt the desire to provide others with the same kind of empowering and successful transformation I had. I then researched the model, spoke to other owners and clients and became an owner.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I had a home renovation business.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I liked the personalized approach Get In Shape For Women takes with each client. Get In Shape For Women has provided an environment for women to receive the guidance, insight, and encouragement they need to attain their individual transformation goals such as increased strength, lowered body fat, and healthier food choices to improve health and weight management.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
The primary cost was the build out including putting in HVAC systems, custom furnishings, electronics and gym equipment. The total was approximately $150,000.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Most of my advice was speaking to other clients, visiting other exercise facilities, other owners, and my own personal experiences with the brand.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Building a team of A+ employees took time and was a learning process, having never hired trainers or managers from this industry before. However, now we have team members with experience in exercise science, personal training, exercise science and nutrition certifications as well as a certified health coach from the Institute of Integrated Nutrition.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
I advise people to take their time gathering facts, understand the costs involved, and if possible work at another location to gain personal experience. Also, find something that you are passionate about and go for it.
What’s next for you and your business?
To continue to reach out to the community, develop a steady client base and help as many Brookline women as possible to get in the best shape of their lives.