Curves Fitness Center was founded in 1992 by Gary Heavin in Harlingen, Texas. A decade earlier, Heavin started his first fitness gym, saw it grow to 17 centers, and then it crumbled. Persistence, however, prevailed as Heavin opened his first Curves for women in 1992 and then began franchising in 1995. Fourteen years later, in 2009, Heavin had over 5,600 franchise units in the United States, nearly 650 in Canada, and over 2,700 on foreign soil. The corporate headquarters is now in Woodway, Texas. Curves is currently seeking franchisees worldwide and they do offer exclusive territories.
The Curves Fitness Center franchise fee ranges from $19,900 to $24,900 depending upon location and it is estimated that total startup fees will vary from $28,170 to $39,595. Curves does offer financing help with the franchise fee but not with other startup costs. However, they do allow for third party financing of all startup costs and equipment. The minimum net worth requirement of all new franchise owners is $75,000 with a cash liquidity of at least $50,000. You do not need to have any special training or licensing to own a Curves Fitness Center, but new franchisees must show a history of financial stability in order to be considered. About half of all Curves franchise owners have more than one unit. Absentee ownership of the franchise is allowed and this bodes well for someone hoping to develop a passive income source over time. The company recommends a minimum of 2 employees per location.
Curves corporate offers training and support in a number of different ways. First, there is a one week training course held at company headquarters for new franchisees. This is followed by a 4 day training at the franchise location. There are also regional meetings, conventions, and local events scheduled throughout the year. Each franchisee can participate in co-op advertising on a national and regional level. The “Curves” name is well known in many parts of the US and this definitely benefits the franchisee.
One bit of information that may be troubling, however, is that Curves franchises in the United States have decreased significantly since 2006 with nearly 8,000 units becoming less than 6,000 by 2009. I do not know the reason for this but suspect that it may be due to the recession plagued economy. With millions of people out of work, often one of the first luxuries to be discarded is the gym membership. This should be thoroughly investigated by any potential new franchisee prior to investing as there are other business avenues that may be on more of an “upswing”.