Common Franchise Questions and Answers with Total Row Fitness

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Common Franchise Questions and Answers with Total Row Fitness

by | Oct 8, 2019


Common Franchise Questions and Answers with Total Row Fitness

Have franchise questions? Interested in learning what a Total Row Franchise is all about? You came to the right place!

Total Row is a rowing-centric fitness franchise. During discussions with franchise candidates, we’ve encountered many of the same questions. Further, many of these questions are common to the franchise industry. So in this article, we’ve put together the most common franchise questions we get, and our best shot at the answers!  

Don’t see your question in the list below? Shoot us an email at! You can also visit our franchise site at!

Keep reading below for common franchise questions and answers with Total Row Fitness.

What is a Franchise?

If you are looking for an actual definition of a franchise (that I borrowed from another site): A franchise business is a business in which the owners, or “franchisors”, sell the rights to their business logo, name, and model to third party retail outlets, owned by independent, third party operators, called “franchisees”.

For this to make a little more sense, it helps to think in terms of a real-world example. Total Row Franchise owns the rights and intellectual property to the Total Row name, brand, copyrights, and images. We also have years of practice implementing the system, gathering invaluable pieces of experience. Rather than keeping this to ourselves, we are looking for partners to help us grow the Total Row brand through different local communities – this is done by the franchisees.

So at the most simple level, a franchisee buys the rights to use Total Row branding and intellectual property. On top of this, they receive training from the franchise staff on how to run their business. The franchisee then takes this knowledge to open their own Total Row studio, rather than having to start from scratch!


Why buy a franchise instead of starting my own business?

This is a really common question that we touched on briefly when defining a franchise. At it’s core, buying a franchise is all about skipping many of the initial trials and tribulations of starting a new business. In Total Row’s case, you are getting years of experience teaching classes, developing the program, and building the marketing plan. Ideally, this not only makes the first years easier, but it also helps you get up and running (profitably) sooner.

Being part of a good franchise system doesn’t just help you in the beginning. The best franchise programs will continue to work and develop franchisees by leveraging the knowledge gained in other studios. When starting your own brand, you may only get one set of eyes on your product. With a franchise, the best brands will create an atmosphere of sharing and building together. So when your business undoubtedly hits a few bumps in the road, an experience brand may have already gone through them. 


How much does a franchise cost?

It’s important to look at buying a franchise in terms of “total upfront cost,” which includes a few things. 

  • Initial Franchise Fee: The initial franchise fee is the cost to purchase the rights to the franchise and your territory. This money goes directly to the franchise, and it is normally used to fund franchisee training and travel, franchise marketing, broker incentives, and franchise operations.
  • Equipment: You will need to buy (or sometimes lease) all of the required equipment for your franchise. Total Row has preferred vendors, and it can source everything you need for the best price.
  • Studio Build-Out: Different organizations will have different studio/location requirements. This can be a substantial cost for larger franchises, and it is important to know what is required. Don’t forget that some construction will require an architect, pulling permits, and paying extra fees. 
  • Grand Opening Marketing: You want people to come, right? This requirement varies dramatically among brands, locations, and industries. This is another important aspect that you should understand at the outset. 
  • Operational Float: No matter how smoothly things run, it is difficult for any new business to make money from day 1. To be safe, make sure you have some extra cash to cover AT LEAST the first 3 months of operating expenses. While this money may never be used, it is a very good idea. 

At Total Row, we hate unnecessary upfront spending. As you can see from the below exhibit, we offer some of the lowest Franchise costs among our fitness peers.

Where can I open my franchise? How long will it take to open?

This depends entirely on the franchise. For mature franchises that have been open for many years, they may only have certain markets still available. For new brands, like Total Row, there are likely many prime territories available. Generally speaking, the franchise organization will determine the geographical availability based on set requirements (average income, distance to other locations, etc.).

Most franchises with a physical location will take at least 3 months to get open, with 6 months more likely. Again, this depends almost exclusively on what the franchise requires of its locations. Few franchises will take more than 6 months to get open, barring any significant issues. 


Why do I have to pay monthly fees?

Each franchise organization will have a predetermined fee/royalty structure. In most (but not all) cases, the larger and more mature the franchise, the higher the fee structure. At Total Row, we keep fees at a minimum by requiring only a royalty on revenue plus a small website fee. Many franchises will have a much larger fee structure.

In most cases, the royalty fee is how a franchise “makes its money.” Very few franchises will actually turn a profit on the initial fee, as that mostly covers organizational costs (see above). For a franchise to grow and be profitable, it needs a recurring revenue base from its royalty stream. As a positive, this means the better you do (as the franchisee), the better the franchise does!


What is my role as a Franchise Owner?

As an owner, your role is usually shaped by desired involvement and financial return. As a franchisee with Total Row, you will have 3 options for your role as owner:

  • Absentee owner or pure investor model: Very little daily involvement. Owner’s task is managing a manager or territory. This model usually requires a multi-unit investment to see enough scale, but can be common at larger organizations.
  • Owner-Operator model: Lots of daily involvement, with the unit management normally your full-time job. This structure works great for smaller franchises, or for keeping operating costs down early on in the business life cycle.
  • Mixed Model (a combination of 1 and 2): Very little does life fit into 1 of 2 baskets. The mixed model is a combination of the 2 extremes above, and is the most common. In this scenario, the franchise owner will likely have at least some daily involvement in the running of the business.  

Each model has positives and negatives. However, not all franchises offer all 3 operating models. This is an important consideration during your franchise vetting, and it deserves considerable thought. 


Will I have any support running my franchise?

While we can’t speak for other organizations, at Total Row this answer is a resounding “YES!” We make sure and have sets calls and meetings every month between local owners and their franchise rep. This helps to catch small obstacles before they become big problems, while also searching for new growth opportunities. 



Franchises are a big investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. However by asking the right questions and making sure you feel comfortable with the franchise organization, it can be a wonderful investment!

Didn’t see your franchise question listed above? Send us an email or or visit our franchise page through the link below!