In an exclusive conversation with Chandra Gopalan, Founder of Contours Fitness studio (India)
I have always had a passion for fitness. This has led me to study about how exercise works on us and also be a part of various gyms. The first mistake I found in gyms was that they concentrate on revenue sales and very rarely bother about customer’s well being. Another drawback I’ve noticed as a member was gyms have high dependency on machines, still, they rarely maintain it well, leading to frequent breakdowns. I also noticed that most women (particularly the ones out of shape) were uncomfortable in working out with male members and trainers. ‘Contours’ was franchised by me in 2006 to overcome these common problems.
About Contours fitness
I was looking for ‘women only’ concept when my business partner Stephen Dance, who is Australian, had informed me about the brand- Contours in Australia. We decided to franchise it to India and turned its master franchisors in 2006.
Challenges of ‘woman only’ concept
It was never a challenge. Women were awaiting a gym like Contours when we brought it to India. They absolutely loved the privacy, female trainers and the comfort they received at Contours. More importantly, they are not conscious about the way they look. It’s a big win for us.
We are presently predominant in Bengaluru with 7 studios. Apart from this, we’ve also established our presence in other regions of country including Chennai, Vijayawada, Vadodara, Pune and Pathankot.
Fitness practices on offer
Circuit training is our USP, while, another new form of exercise we have introduced is Cardio Core. We also do Body Toning, Kick boxing, Boot camps, Stability ball workouts and various others, including Zumba and Yoga. We are not only a women’s gym, we are a concept researched and proven to provide the best fitness approach for women. Our machines are contoured for a woman’s shape and size and our aerobics board are imported and have been specially designed for female consumers.
Envisage growth prospects
We would like to grow slowly but indubitably. It’s easy to take on franchisees. But, we have a strict selection process. We do not want investors. We look for people who have passion and vision for this business.
Sub-franchise & eligibility terms
We do sub franchise and have a strict selection process for the same. Our franchisees must have US certification. They must have a decent net worth of more than a crore to start a Contours gym as the investment is close to 50 lakhs.
We have reliable software to track franchise progress and we constantly train and evaluate them as per their performance.
Training & support
Upon signing a franchise agreement, we assist our franchisees with site selection, interior planning, import of Contours machines etc. In a nutshell, we provide all assistance in setting up a new unit which also includes pre-opening marketing. We assist them with staff selection and train staff in- depth for 15 days at our head office in Bengaluru.
Franchise partner contribution
The franchisee is the face and voice of the product. They are our partners in taking the brand forward.
No. Of outlets
We have three company-owned outlets and have plans to franchise here on. Our plan is to open two new gyms every year. In the last five years, we’ve opened12 outlets and over brought 2,000 members in India. Need we say more!
Preferred franchise model
Fill in the quick facts in figures only:
Total Investment: 50-55 lakhs
Existing outlets: 3 company owned, 9 franchise
Required area for opening brand’s franchise: 2,000 sq ft
Return-on-investment: 3 years
Expected breakeven: 6-8 months
Target cities for expansion: Tier I & II cities in India
Preferred location for opening your brand’s franchise outlet: Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Surat & Ahmedababd
Year of starting franchise operations: 2006
Year of inception: 1998
Brand’s vision & mission for 2016: To make fitness a way of life for the Indian women