Published on 9 Nov 2021 Time 11 min read Last update by 20 Jun 2024

Orangetheory Franchise Profits Do Not Keep Up with Gym Openings (2024)

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This article is based on its 2022 FDD

The Orange Theory Franchise was founded in Boca Raton, Florida in 2009. Co-founder, Elle Latham, decided to open a gym to implement her personally designed workout, which eventually became the basis for Orange Theory‘s system. After establishing a strong reputation across the fitness industry, Latham decided to seek a larger challenge and transitioned from the study of physiology to owning a gym that implemented a business model that remains in place across all studios to this day: offering trainer-led group workout sessions, which are broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training.

Franchising began one year later, and today Orange Theory studios can be found in 18 countries, and across 49 states. The concept currently has over 1,400 franchises in the United States and another 150 international locations and is a subsidiary of Ultimate Fitness Holdings. Orange Theory is currently headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, and is run by its CEO Dave Long who previously served as the main developer and owner of the European Wax Center.


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So, Orange Theory‘s success is quite similar to Peloton’s rise to fame. Both of these fitness companies, while they differ in business models, use your fitness data and others to create a competitive atmosphere. Orange Theory uses your heart rate to show your exertion potential compared to maximal effort and compares you to your peers in classes. This model has become extremely sticky in the fitness industry because while many people want to achieve their fitness goals they innately lack motivation. By building in competition to workouts it enhances one’s motivation and keeps consumers coming back.


Orange Theory Investments in Franchisor

Orange Theory Fitness has raised a total of $4.8M in funding over 3 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Sep 10, 2018, from a Private Equity round. Castanea and CreativeCubes.Co is the most recent investor in Orange Theory. Both of these private equity firms invest in consumer-related services and thought the business model of Orange Theory and its projected growth strategy was a selling point to invest in growing the company. This is a good indicator that reputable firms backing Orange Theory and are behind the company’s growth and profitability initiatives.

How Much Is an Orange Theory Franchise?

Orange Theory Franchise Fee

The Orange Theory franchise fee is $59,950. This is the upfront fee that must be paid when opening an Orange Theory franchise.

Orange Theory Franchise Cost

The estimated total investment necessary to begin the operation of an Orange Theory Franchise ranges from $657,542 to $2,105,322.

Additional Cost Breakdown

The following costs are part of the upfront costs included in the initial investment. Many of these are one-time fees that are needed to launch the franchise.

Orange Theory Franchise Cost

Travel and Living Expenses During Training $1,200 – $4,800
Deposit for Leasehold $3,360 – $206,000
Rent (One Month) $3,360 – $38,000
Leasehold Improvements and Construction Costs $309,000 – $1,309,000
Fitness Equipment $140,000 – $210,000
Technology – Software Licensing Fee $3,272
Fitness Equipment Maintenance $900 – $2,400
Initial Inventory of Retail Merchandise $4,000 – $6,000
AED and First Aid Equipment $1,000 – $5,000
Exterior Signage $5,000 – $14,000
Technology System $60,000 – $88,500
Pre-sale and Grand Opening Advertising $30,000 – $40,000
Presales Training Program $0 – $4,900
Business Licenses / Miscellaneous Opening Costs $1,000 – $3,000
Insurance $3,500 – $5,000
Additional Funds – 3 Months $32,000 – $105,500
Total $657,542 – $2,105,322

Leasehold improvements and construction costs are the highest expenses, ranging from $309,000 to $1,309,000. This large discrepancy indicates the potential different costs you could face when building your Orange Theory franchise as a franchisee. Depending on the location and pre-existing structure that is being purchased you could see your expenditure being on the lower or higher end of this spectrum. It is important to talk to other franchisees and see what their costs are for leasehold improvements and construction.

These costs can be a large determinant if you have the available funds to begin an Orangethory franchise.

Ideal Franchise Candidate

The franchisor is particularly looking for candidates who are enthusiastic about fitness, are willing to run the business daily, and have the required capital to fund a location. That said, the minimum net worth required to own an Orange Theory franchise is $500,000 and the applicant must have liquid assets of at least $150,000.

Orange Theory On-Going Cost and Fees:

Royalty Fee: 8% of Gross Sales

Marketing Fee: 2% of Gross Sales

How Much Do Franchise Owners Make?

Orange Theory Franchise Sales Figures

Orange Theory does not make any representations about a franchisee’s future financial performance or the past financial performance of company-owned or franchised outlets. However, if you are purchasing an existing Orange Theory, the company may provide you with the actual records of that Orange Theory.

However, using the Franchisor income statement we can deduce from looking at the income statement line item “Franchise Revenue”

2019 Sales Figures and Break-Even Point:

Royalty Fee: 8% of Gross Sales

In 2019 Orange Theory royalty revenues were $73 million

Estimated Total Franchise Sales: $913 million

Estimated Average Franchise Revenue: $948,200

1- Based on a midpoint investment of $1,378,500 with estimated profits of $94,820 (10% profit margin) it would take about 15 years to recoup your investment.

2- Based on a midpoint investment of $1,378,500 with estimated profits of $142,000 (15% profit margin) it would take about 11 years to recoup your initial Orange Theory franchise investment.

3- Based on a midpoint investment of $1,378,500 with estimated profits of $189,600 (20% profit margin) it would take about 8 years to recoup your investment.

2021 Sales Figures and Break-Even Point:

Royalty Fee: 8% of Gross Sales

In 2019 Orangetheory royalty revenues were $68.6 million.

Estimated Total Franchise Sales: $858 million

Estimated Average Franchise Revenue: $707,337

1- Based on a midpoint investment of $1,105,199 with estimated profits of $70,734 (10% profit margin) it would take about 16 years to recoup your investment.

2- Based on a midpoint investment of $1,105,199 with estimated profits of $106,100 (15% profit margin) it would take about 10 years to recoup your initial Orangetheory franchise investment.

3- Based on a midpoint investment of $1,105,199 with estimated profits of $141,467 (20% profit margin) it would take about 8 years to recoup your investment.

In 2020, Orangetheory saw a revenue decrease of over 35%, and we can conclude that this sharp decrease was due to the spread of COVID-19 and the fact that many gyms and fitness centers were unable to open and operate as normal. Furthermore, we could find that the revenue in 2021 increased by more than 45% percent compared with 2020, which, to a certain degree, indicates that the Fitness industry is recovering and getting rid of the influence of COVID.

This is just an estimate of sales based on the franchisor’s income statement and can vary greatly depending on the length that the particular franchise location has been open and how well the business is run.


Is Owning an Orange Theory Franchise Worth It?

Based on the 2019 sales figures, it takes 6 years to recoup the investment for one Orangetheory franchise with a 20% profit margin.

This exemplifies the opportunity cost of investing your money in this franchise. The Fitness industry median is an average profit margin of 16.5%, so based on 2019 Orangetheory sales it would take 7 years to recoup your investment.

If you own multiple Orangetheory franchises, take out an SBA loan to finance your gym, and/or have a passion for the Fitness industry, then the investment could be worthwhile.

Systemwide sales are not keeping up with the opening of the new units. As reflected in the below chart by Franchise Times, sales are barely above 2018 levels despite 200 more gyms open. Starting in 2019, Average Unit Volume (AUV) has struggled to increase, and it was further made worse by the pandemic.

How Much Can You Sell an Orange Theory or Other Gym Franchise for?

To assign a valuation multiple for Orange Theory franchises, we leverage estimates from DealStats, a database of acquired private company transactions sourced from U.S. business brokers and SEC filings. We reviewed the larger franchise industry as well as selling price multiples for larger systems like Anytime Fitness where more transaction data is available.

Under $1 Million Net Sales

  • Estimated Selling Price = Net Sales – 0.54

$1 Million – $5 Million Net Sales

  • Estimated Selling Price = Net Sales – 0.67

Over $5 Million Net Sales

  • Estimated Selling Price = Net Sales – 1.21

When you go to sell an Orange Theory franchise based on the median multiple of .54 and net sales averaging between 2019 and 2020 of $732,600 it would sell for $395,604. This is significantly lower than the midpoint investment of $1,378,500.

However, as an owner of multiple Orange Theory franchises, you do have the ability to make a profit. Gym owners with over $5 million in sales have a median multiple of 1.21. So if you had 10 Orange Theory franchises this would be ~$7,326,000 in sales. Therefore, selling your multiunit franchise system would amount to $8,864,460. The more franchises you own, the more earning potential you have private equity firms become interested in your business instead of individual owner-operators.

Orange Theory Income Statement

OTF Franchisor, LLC
Statements of Income. Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019

2020 2019
Royalty Income $46,875,489 $73,052,389
Franchise fees $7,788,142 $5,769,229
Other revenue $16,211,591 $10,378,774
Total revenues 70,875,222 89,200,392
Operating expenses
Commissions, area representatives $15,313,881 $22,546,011
Selling, general, and administrative expenses $30,714,651 $21,951,360
Total operating expenses $46,028,532 $44,497,371

Orange Theory Income Statement Key Insights

Orange Theory showed a net income of $24.8 million in 2020, making it a profitable business. However, this figure represents a 45% decrease compared to the previous year’s net income of $44.7 million. Revenue declined from $89.2M to $70.9M while SGA expenses increased 28% to $30.7M.

In contrast, the net income in 2021 was $46.5 million, which was a significant increase compared to the previous year. The increase was due to the overall increase in revenue, which rose by about 46% from 2020 to 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have caused a drastic decline in revenue and net income in 2020. Gyms were forced to shut down, resulting in business-wide declines in revenue. Some states did not allow gym access for several months, and consumers grew skeptical of gyms during the height of the pandemic.


Orange Theory Cash Flow Statement

OTF Franchisor, LLC
Statements of Cash Flows. Years Ended December 31, 2020 and 2019

2020 2019
Cash flows from operating activities
Net Income $24,846,690 $44,703,021
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash flows from operating activities
Bad debt expense $248,353
Changes in operating assets and liabilities
Accounts receivable $1,405,558 ($718,403)
Deferred costs $1,853,635 ($1,391,694)
Prepaid expenses and other current assets $885,655 ($543,846)
Other assets $16,250 $13,542
Accounts payable and accrued expenses ($1,155,707) $809,408
Deferred income ($6,345,995) $5,025,394
Net cash flows provided by operating activities $21,754,439 $47,897,422
Cash flows from financing activities
Contributions from member $5,100,000
Distributions to member ($26,845,713) ($47,897,422)
Net cash flows used in financing activities ($26,845,713) ($42,797,422)
Net (decrease) increase in cash ($5,091,274) ($5,100,000)
Beginning of year $5,100,000
End of year $8,726 $5,100,000
Non-cash financing activity
Contributors from members of non-cash net liabilities $ – $(26,823,569)

Orangetheory’s net income in 2020 was $24.8 million. Their cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash were $8,726, a significant decrease from the start of the year. The cash increased back to $10,827 in 2021. The change in cash is seen in the cash flow from operations. In 2020, distributions to members were proportionally equivalent to the prior year. It accounted for $26.8 million, almost a 60% decrease in distributions. In 2021, the proportion of distributions to members decreased based on revenue and accounted for $16.4 million, which is around a 60% increase in distributions compared with 2020. The end-of-year cash of $10,827 is a little concerning. However, due to COVID-19 affecting revenues, Orangetheory may be using 2022 to gain back customers’ confidence, cut costs, and grow margins to get back on a steady path of revenue growth and profitability.

How Many Orange Theory Units Have Opened and Closed?

orange theory franchise

The rate of franchise growth has declined since 2019.”Expected due to market saturation & COVID’s impact on fitness center development.” Orangetheory currently has 1,262 studios in total, and 1,247 of these are franchise locations. Over the past three years, the company has added 284 franchise locations. This expansion into the fitness market is needed to beat out competitors and establish brand recognition.

I would not expect much further exponential growth from Orangetheory but do expect that franchises will continually be added to meet consumer demands for an involved, competitive workout experience, and an alleviation of the influence of Covid in the coming years.

Should You Invest in an Orange Theory Franchise?

Orange Theory franchising is a great opportunity for those interested in the Fitness industry. The prospects for growth and success within the industry and the Orange Theory brand itself, are extensive and some markets continue to be available as they move forward with growing their presence across the country. Passionate about fitness? Budget over $589k? Orange Theory could be your perfect fit.

We strongly recommend you speak to at least 5 Orange Theory franchisees to better understand the financials (see questions to ask).

Think Orange Theory is the right franchise for you, or are you interested in other franchise opportunities in the Fitness Industry? Check out our listings page on the Vetted Biz website for thousands of franchises available for your investment.


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