DOVER, NH -- Although World Gym’s new key-card club model is open 24 hours, seven days a week, its name, World Gym 1440 All Axcess, doesn’t initially seem to imply that. That is, until you understand that there are 1,440 minutes in a day.

World Gym is entering the world inhabited by around-the-clock club companies such as Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness, which were recently ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, on Franchise Market Magazine’s top 100 new franchise list.

“We didn’t want to say 24/7 or key club or 24-hour club,” says Ben Midgley, World Gym president. “We didn’t want one of those terms that is kind of being beat up. We’ve been looking for a way to keep World in that urban, edgy feel. It’s about taking the World brand name and bringing it out more rapidly into the industry. You’re taking an internationally recognized brand name and wrapping it around a proven concept.”

After word got out last month about the new World Gym key-card model, World Gym sent a letter to its World Gym owners and managers explaining the new model. World Gym can help franchisees save money, Midgley says, by getting favorable pricing on equipment. World Gym also can provide better warranties, he adds, because of World Gym’s volume purchasing.

“We have complete marketing support built into the plans for these folks in their operating model,” Midgley says. “We’re basically 100 percent sure we can give operators a better profit-making model than any of the other competing 24-hour or key-card models can.”

The franchise fee for a World Gym access club costs $6,500, Midgley says. The royalty schedule starts at $250 per month and can scale up to $1,000 per month, provided the club’s EFT meets certain levels, Midgley adds.
“It works out to be less expensive than any other model,” he says.

The World Gym key-club model can be placed wherever the demographics can support the club, even in the same territory as a traditional World Gym model, Midgley says. As far as giving traditional World Gym franchisees the option to open an access model within their own territory, it depends on the territory, he adds.

“Some [territories] are protected, some are not, but we will always think of our existing franchisees first,” Midgley says.

The first World Gym key-card club could open as early as the end of this month, says Midgley, who adds that World Gym has close to 10 franchise agreements for the access model. World Gym expects to have 100 access clubs open by this time next year, which would bring the total number of World Gyms to more than 360.

“We’re pretty excited,” Midgley says. “I didn’t know 100 percent how well it would take off. I didn’t think it would jump off this quickly. I think people wanted to see a bigger brand name come in and do this. But that will have to prove itself out.”

Planet Fitness bought World Gym last year. Since the Planet Fitness/World Gym information forum in September in Las Vegas, communication between World Gym executives and franchisees has improved on a daily basis, Midgley says.

The World Gym access model will average about 3,500 square feet, and membership rates will be about $30 per month, Midgley says. The World Gym access model is not an attempt by the company to be more like the Planet Fitness, $10-per-month model, Midgley adds. It is, however, an attempt to keep pace with the trend set by other key-card club models.

“Is the key club the model of the future? Not necessarily,” Midgley says. “But is it a model that any franchisee can take advantage of? Of course. You can make just as much or more money from the key club model or several of them as you could from the primary club.”

World Gym has other marketing opportunities in the works, Midgley says, including a World Gym supplement line and a line of World Gym equipment.