So you want to start your very own BJJ gym? You love the sport and want to turn your passion into a full-time career or a sharp investment. Well, you have two options you can either start your own independent gym or you can join an affiliation and become part of an existing BJJ franchise. The biggest and most successful BJJ franchise in the world is Gracie Barra. It is time to breakdown how the Gracie Barra franchise system works.
How Much Is A Gracie Barra Franchise?
A Gracie Barra franchise requires an initial investment of $70,000 to $200,000. You will have to initially pay an $8000 franchise fee and a $5000 uniform fee. Then ongoing you will have to pay $300 per month in royalties and $100 per month for advertising.
Before you blindly sign up to be a part of the Gracie Barra family you need to stop and think as it requires some serious money. You will have to whip out your calculator and determine how many students you need to break even and hit your profit goals.
What Are The Benefits Of Being A Gracie Barra Franchise?
Gracie Barra will help you select a location, they will give you a blueprint on how to attract and retain students. They will teach you how to upsell seminars and other extras like food and equipment. You benefit from using their famous brand and their professional marketing team.
While Gracie Barra does charge and expects a lot from its franchise owners they do offer a number of benefits. Gracie Barra runs hundreds of successful, profitable BJJ academies around the world. Over the years they have developed a specific strategy that develops well-functioning gyms. Gracie Barra will work with gym owners and teach them their strategy which will greatly increase your chance of succeeding.
You also get the benefit of using Gracie Barra’s name. Gracie Barra is synonymous with BJJ, it is one of the most recognizable brands in the industry. When new students are looking to join a gym they will often find themselves at a Gracie Barra gym. The gyms have a long history of effectively teaching students with differing goals and are able to cater to high-level athletes as well as hobbyists just looking to break a sweat.
It also helps that Gracie Barra has its own marketing department which you get to benefit from. Gracie Barra is actively running sophisticated marketing campaigns including paid search, social media ads, and content marketing.
These time-consuming and costly marketing campaigns are not feasible for an independent gym owner to run at least not at the level Gracie Barra is doing it. This big marketing budget helps more students find your gym and ultimately sign up as members.
What Are The Negatives Of Being A Gracie Barra Franchise?
The negatives are the high initial and ongoing fees. You will be expected to pay $15,000 upfront and then $300 to $500 per month on an ongoing basis. You also lose freedom, Gracie Barra will force your students to wear their uniforms, teach their curriculum and use their training session structure.
If you open an independent gym that is not a part of any franchise you can save a lot of money in both upfront costs and ongoing fees. There won’t be monthly royalties fees or thousands in initiation payments.
When you are starting your first BJJ gym and you are unsure that it will succeed it is often best to keep costs as low as possible and start small. What many new BJJ owners do is rent space in an existing gym for 1 hour a day, a couple of times a week. This keeps costs very low and typically instructors will only need a few students to break even.
By starting small you can open your gym on a small budget, give yourself time to absorb initial losses, and if it fails you will only be out a few thousand.
The risk of opening a Gracie Barra school is much higher as you will be expected to spend huge money on start-up costs. It will take you much longer to break even and recoup your initial losses.
Apart from the financial risk of opening a Gracie Barra school you also lose freedom over how you want to run your academy. Gracie Barra will set the rules.
Gracie Barra’s HQ will force all of your students to wear their specific uniforms. Then when they release new versions of their Gis and rashguards they make your uniforms purchase them whether they want them or not.
Gracie Barra doesn’t just an aggressive uniform policy. They will also dictate to you how your classes need to be run. They will design the training structure and force you to follow their rigid curriculum. If you refuse you could be in violation of your contract and face legal and financial repercussions.