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Fernwood Franchise Loan

How to profit from women’s fitness craze

When Fernwood Fitness founder Diana Williams realised that there just wasn’t enough places for women to comfortably work out, she had no idea that it would turn into a million dollar idea.

Today, you can own your own piece of its almost 30-year history with a Fernwood Fitness franchise loan.

Negotiated interest rates are available and you may even be able to borrow up to 100% of the franchise costs.


How does a Fernwood Fitness franchise loan work?

With a franchise loan, select lenders will lend part of the costs required to set up a Fernwood Fitness gym, including the franchise fee and capital costs like design and fit-out.

Like any business loan application, banks will be looking to see that you have a solid plan to run a successful franchise.

How much can I borrow?

  • New or existing gym: Borrow up to 50-70% of total business costs or up to 100% with an existing residential property as security.
  • Loan term: 5 years (as per the franchise agreement)
  • Loan term with the property as security: 25 to 30 years (standard loan term).
  • Interest only: Typically 2 years.
  • Low doc options not available.
  • Discounted interest rates available.

The stronger the application, the more you can borrow!

Like any business loan, the trick to borrowing the amount you need comes down to choosing the right lender and presenting a strong business case.

Call us on 1300 889 743 or complete our free assessment form to speak with one of our franchise loan specialists.

How do I get approved for finance?

As a general rule, you’ll need to meet the following requirements to qualify for a Fernwood Fitness franchise loan:

  • For an existing gym, some lenders may require that the business is generating 1.5x earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) per annum.
  • A business plan drafted by your accountant detailing cash flow projections and revenue forecasts.
  • Previous management experience in a similar-sized business.
  • Clear credit history.
  • Working capital that you will be injecting into the business. This is otherwise known as “hurt money”.

What's the signup process?

  • Complete Fernwood’s expression of interest form online.
  • If you meet the selection criteria, this will typically be followed by a meeting with senior management.
  • Pay $1,000 refundable application fee.
  • Read the franchise kit carefully with your legal and financial counsel.
  • Speak with your mortgage broker about getting franchise finance.
  • As per the laws surrounding franchises, franchisors are required to provide you the contact details of current and previous franchisees. Use this opportunity to speak with the franchisees to find out the realities of running a fitness centre.
  • Submit a business plan to Fernwood’s business development managers.
  • Fernwood will begin the site selection process based on its so-called Primary Marketing Areas (it has plans to increase its activities in regional towns around Australia.
  • Sign the franchise agreement and pay the franchise fee.
  • Fernwood will support you with marketing to launch your gym.

You find out more information on Fernwood Fitness franchises here.

If you’re ready to proceed to finance, complete our free assessment form, let us know about your business plans and we can come back to you with an indicative approval.


What you need to know about Fernwood franchises

Fernwood Fitness operates has been reaping the benefits of the health and fitness craze that has gripped Australia for the last few years and there’s a good reason for that.

It attracts people because of its affordability and convenience, specifically as it provides 24-hour access at select locations. Its real strength though comes from the franchise model itself.

Why Fernwood?

Fernwood Fitness was founded in 1989 by Diana Williams as a women’s only fitness club.

Williams wanted a space where women could exercise in a comfortable environment and the brand has since become synonymous with women’s fitness across Australia.

Recent IBISWorld data also points to projected strong growth for the wider gym industry over the next five years.

Much of this has been driven by the low wage costs of budget 24-hour gyms.

Not all of Fernwood’s gyms operate 24/7 but many women, like men, are still very much gripped by the health and fitness craze that hit Australia as early as 2010.

How much money can I make?

Fernwood Fitness, like other gyms, operates on a very sales-focused model.

You’re not selling “products” per se but you are relying heavily on membership signups.

The amount of revenue you could stand to make really depends on your ability to motivate and train your staff and having good management in place.

The gym and fitness industry is highly-competitive and you have to be quite aggressive with marketing in order to maximise your profits.

The great thing about a Fernwood franchise is that you have that national and local marketing support when you sign up.

What are the set-up costs?

Total capital investment costs will range from $450,000 to $500,000 and includes:

  • Application fee: $1,000 (refundable).
  • Franchise fee: $55,000 (including GST).
  • Design and fit-out.
  • Furniture and fittings.
  • Marketing for club launch.
  • Lease deposits and guarantees.
  • Administration and legal fees.
  • Working capital.

Apart from initial costs, ongoing fees include:

  • Royalty fee: 7% of gross revenue (paid weekly)
  • Advertising and marketing fund: 5% of gross revenue

Keep in mind that these costs can vary depending on the lease that Fernwood can negotiate with the landlord.

Is there always a head lease in place?

In some circumstances, there will be head lease arrangement in place between Fernwood and the landlord.

Although you are technically the tenant and operating from the premises, Fernwood will hold the lease on your behalf for the purposes of negotiating with the landlord.

For example, they might negotiate with the landlord to make cash contributions towards the fit out or to offer a rent-free period.

Fernwood will ultimately advise of the final set-up costs once they finish their discussions with the landlord.

What about gym equipment?

Like the Anytime Fitness franchise system, you can save on upfront costs by leasing gym equipment through Fernwood’s fully maintained operating lease.

They also have approved suppliers so you can take advantage of competitive pricing and quick delivery.

These are luxuries you just don’t have if you want to set up your own independent gym.

Is there training provided?

After you sign up, you will put through a training course at the same time your gym is being designed and fitted out.

The program runs for 3 weeks, with the first week at Fernwood’s national office and the remaining 2 weeks in-store.

The great part about it is that the training is essentially free, albeit you’ll have to cover your costs of travel and accommodation.

You and your staff will be trained in the following areas, with the opportunity to complete further study via e-learning modules:

  • Customer service.
  • Sales.
  • How to manage staff.
  • Industry regulations.
  • Training in marketing to the local area.
  • Ordering supplies.
  • Group fitness management.
  • Other accredited training courses( Fernwood is a registered training organisation).

How else will Fernwood support my business?

Although they’re already a strong national brand, Fernwood will support you through national and local area marketing campaigns.

They have the local demographic data so you can get the most out of your advertising dollar!

In addition to this, they have internal administration teams to help you handle gym memberships

Can I buy a Fernwood franchise if I'm a male?

Fernwood has the right to operate a women’s only fitness centre from the letter of comfort it received from the Federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission as well as its exemption from the State Equal Opportunities Commission.

In saying, males are still permitted to become Fernwood franchisees as a husband and wife partnership or even as a sole operator.

However, you cannot be visible on the floor so male franchisees operate the business in the background and appoint a female to run the day-to-day operations.

If you decide to operate the franchise as a partnership, bear in mind that there are risks.

Speak to a solicitor about putting a partnership agreement in place that sets out the rights, duties and obligations of each partner.

It may be that you provide the majority of the investment capital but don’t invest much in the way of daily operations.

Other questions to ask include:

  • How will profits be shared?
  • Disputes over important business decisions.
  • What if one of the partners wants to leave the arrangement or unfortunately passes away?

What services can I provide?

Apart from selling gym accessories in-store, you have the opportunity to deliver and complete training in the following:

  • Personal training.
  • Group fitness classes.
  • Weight management programs.

Call us today

Discover if you qualify for a Fernwood Fitness franchise loan by calling 1300 889 743 or by completing our free assessment form today.