With the start of a new year, many people have self-improvement—especially becoming stronger, leaner and healthier—on their minds. Typically, gym memberships spike during January. But many who sign gym membership contracts later find scheduling and expense more difficult than they had expected.
Bill Aicklen, who currently owns two DeKalb Workout Anytime locations, in Decatur and Dunwoody, and has just signed a deal to bring two more to the area, said the Workout Anytime gym franchise offers the flexibility and affordable cost that many gym members need.
Workout Anytime is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week fitness concept, where membership rates start at $15 a month and there’s no contract. “With the economy still in a slump, many people are having to shift their priorities and such expenses as traditional gym memberships are regarded as luxury items. We are so affordable that even some members who have lost their jobs are able to keep their memberships,” Aicklen said.
The frustrations that people sometimes have of arriving at a gym and finding all the machines of the type they want to use already in use don’t occur at Workout Anytime, according to Aicklen. “We have plenty of state-of-the-art equipment, and because we operate 24 hours a day, members aren’t all trying to fit their workouts in before closing time,” he said. “They come in and see rows and rows of equipment available and say, ‘wow.’ Workout Anytime is the best workout per square foot in the industry.”
He describes Workout Anytime facilities as medium-size clubs of approximately 5,000 square feet. Because customer use is spread out, a gym can accommodate 1,500 or more members.
Aicklen said that another thing members like about Workout Anytime is that people come just for the workout. “Some gyms have become social gathering places where people come to see and be seen. Here, it’s OK if you don’t have stylish workout clothes or if you’re not in great shape already. Women don’t have to put on make-up to come workout. We baby boomers especially appreciate that,” he observed.
He said membership demographics vary with location, but anyone who’s at least 12 years old can join. Members must be at least 16 to come unaccompanied. “We have members in their early 90s,” Aicklen added.
Founded in 1999 in Douglasville, Workout Anytime came about by accident, explained Randy Trotter, vice president of franchise development. “A salesman needed a place to show off some equipment and rented a club that had gone out of business,” he explained. The owners started letting people use the equipment at a low rate at odd hours and people liked the idea. That’s when the owners realized the business model they should be going for.
Workout Anytime sold its first franchises in 2005 and now has 50 locations in nine states. “It’s a great franchise,” Trotter said. “It’s a proven business model with low startup cost and low overhead.”
The business operates even when the owner or manager isn’t present, and that makes it a low headache operation for the owner. “If you own a restaurant, for example, and a cook or a waiter who’s scheduled to work doesn’t show up, you’ve got problems. Only one to three staff members are needed to operate a Workout Anytime and there are hours when no staff is present. Members use their key cards to enter,” Trotter said.
Aicklen said there are people working out around the clock. “There are members in here at all hours. People who work shifts such as firefighters, police officers and hospital workers like to come in when they get off work—even if that’s 2 a.m. Also, lots of people like to come in early in the morning and work out, then shower and dress for work right here. We have locker rooms with showers for men and women so that’s no problem.”
In addition to basic $15 a month memberships, Workout Anytime also offers premium memberships at $25 a month with such extras as tanning beds, hydro massage, and the privilege of bringing a guest. Aicklen said approximately 50 percent of his members are premium members.