bannerFranchisee Stories

How Workout Anytime Franchisees Are Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis

From relying on the support of the corporate team and other local owners to preparing for reopening initiatives, Workout Anytime franchisees break down how they’re operating their businesses during temporary shutdowns.

By Cassidy McAloonSenior Writer
SPONSORED 7:19PM 04/20/20

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies across the globe to shut down with little to no warning, many business owners had to pivot their operations — and fast. In order to get to the other side of the crisis with a strong business to come back to, entrepreneurs started looking for innovative ways to engage customers while their brick and mortar locations are shuttered.

Luckily for franchisees of Workout Anytime, the brand’s corporate team got to work on their behalf as soon as businesses started closing. 

That’s one of the primary advantages of being a part of a franchise system with a solid support structure in place. Another? In times like these, franchise owners can rely on not just a corporate team of executives for help, but also other entrepreneurs who are in their same exact shoes.

Jimmy Mak, an area developer for Workout Anytime and a franchise owner himself, set up consistent conversations between him and the other franchise owners that he oversees to ensure everyone had a place to collaborate.

“I call my owners daily to see how they’re doing and if they need anything. We also have a conference call every other day so that we can get together as a group and discuss what’s going on. And by the time we hang up the phone, I know that because I feel better, all of my owners feel better, too,” said Mak. “In times like this, it’s more about the support and communication — it’s so important that you don’t leave anybody in the dark. We’re all still a team, and we need to be on the same page.”

That consistent communication also extends to Workout Anytime members who are currently unable to exercise in their gyms. 

Said Mak, “Communication with our members is key. I think it’s made a huge difference that we’ve been answering the phone in our clubs and forwarding those calls to our phones at home to help out our members and coach them through this situation. It’s important to have a real person picking up and answering questions. Whatever we need to do, whether it’s waiving dues or freezing or crediting accounts, the main thing that we’re focused on is making sure our members are happy. Our members really care about us, and we want them to know that we truly care about them.”

Opening the lines of communication isn’t all that Workout Anytime franchisees are doing to ensure that their customers are engaged throughout the crisis. The brand has also sped up the development of its mobile app to ensure that members had access to dozens of workouts and exercises that can be done at home. Workout Anytime also introduced a “Workout of the Day” that streams online, and is added to a playlist through its new kiosk, which also offers workouts that can be conducted at home including bodyweight workouts, flexibility workouts and workouts with light accessories, which include body strength workouts targeting different areas and total body power exercises.

Additionally, Mark de Gorter, COO of Workout Anytime, sends out daily updates to the entire franchise system that are each filled with tools designed to help owners navigate all aspects of their business. Examples of the resources found in these emails include tips on applying for government relief funding programs, a new approach to club sanitation, maintenance that can be done in gyms while they’re temporarily closed, ways to train staff before grand re-openings and status updates on securing personal protection equipment for all clubs.

“When it became clear that COVID-19 was going to impact our clubs for an extended period of time, we did everything in our power to set our franchisees up for success,” said de Gorter. “In addition to ensuring that our owners are able to engage members through our virtual workouts and technology enhancements, we made it our top priority to be an available resource for our Franchise Partners, regardless of what they need help with. At the end of the day, we’re only as successful as our ownership group, and we’re now preparing to help them reopen their clubs when it’s safe for everyone to return.”

Rana Pawan, a franchisee in Durant, Oklahoma, is looking ahead to her reopening as well. She said, “When we reopen, we’re viewing it as a grand reopening, if you will. It’s all about celebrating our members because they’re a part of our gym family. That’s why we’re looking at making enhancements that have been on our members’ lists, like getting vending machines with protein bars and energy drinks.”

In the meantime, Pawan is looking at how her club is able to give back to the community it calls home. 

“We partner with a different charity every quarter. This year, we had our members pick the four charities that we’re going to help this year,” Pawan said. “Right now, we’re working with Families Feeding Families, so we’ll definitely make that a part of our grand reopening, too.  We’re a small town in southern Oklahoma, and there are families here living paycheck to paycheck. We like to help wherever we can.”

By working together with other local owners in addition to Workout Anytime’s corporate support team, the brand system of over 170 franchisees across the country is gearing up to come back stronger than ever on the other side of the pandemic. 

As Mak put it, “We’re all in this thing together, and we’ll get the clubs open as soon as we possibly can. Until then, we’ll keep providing our members with new workouts every day to keep them engaged until we can all be back in the gym together.”

The startup costs for a Workout Anytime franchise range from $555,500 to $996,400. The franchise fee is $35,000 for one unit and $60,000 for three units, but for a limited time is providing up to $20,000 in franchise fee rebates during the COVID-19 crisis. To learn more about franchising with Workout Anytime, visit