Do You Think Big? The Road to Multi-Unit Franchise Ownership

Planet Fitness Franchisee


Some people enter franchising planning to become multi-unit owners.

“I was in an unrelated business when I was introduced to Planet Fitness,” says Trey Owen, who opened his first Planet Fitness club in 2010 and now serves as CEO of PF United Partners, owner of 60 Planet Fitness clubs around the country. “I was intrigued and started to research the business since I was looking for one that I could replicate multiple locations.”

Franchise Business Review asked Owen to explain how he was able to expand so quickly.

“We went through several iterations of growth. At first, we grew one club per year with the backing of private investors. After four locations, circa 2013, we started to grow exponentially with the acquisition of new development territory and attraction of more private capital,” says Owen. “In 2015 we made our first acquisition of existing Planet Fitness locations and built another eight locations. Our evolution culminated at the end of 2016 with the consolidation, merger and creation of a new Planet Fitness franchisee group with five different franchisees. That transaction turned out to be large enough to be backed by institutional partners. We, now as United PF Partners, have 60 clubs and more development territory across 10 states.”

The following are a few things you should consider if you are interested in becoming a multi-unit franchisee.

“Be flexible and open to all ideas on how to grow. You’ll have to take some risks such as being a guarantor on a bank note or diluting equity in your business to investor partners if they are providing the capital,” says Owen. “Ultimately, you should view your business through the lens of multi-unit early on. Hire a CPA earlier than you think you should because having clean and professional financial statements becomes more and more important as your business grows.”

To learn more about multi-unit franchising, read our 2017 Top 50 Multi-Unit Franchises guide. For more general information about franchising, see our 2017 Top Franchises Guide, which features the 200 brands that were ranked highest by their franchisees. FBR’s Franchise Buyer’s Toolkit is also an excellent resource when it comes to how to strategically invest in a franchise.  

As the Editorial Director at Franchise Business Review, Emma Pearson reports regularly on today's top franchise opportunities and the latest trends in franchising. She also writes and oversees the publishing of Franchise Business Review's annual Top Franchises, Top Low-Cost Franchises, Top Franchises for Veterans and many other specialized franchise reports. They feature the only lists of top franchises based on feedback from those who know best - the franchisees who own them.

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