Is Curves for Women a Good Franchise Investment?

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Wed, Mar 7 - 11:12 am EDT | 11 years ago by
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Do you own a Curves for Women franchise? Have you owned one, or know anyone who has? What are your thoughts on this franchise?

Curves For Women is one of the fastest growing franchise companies of the decade, having now topped 10,000 locations. I know in our area the concept seems to have passed the test of time. However, according to Franchise Pundit, 8% of the current Curves franchise locations are for sale.

What’s the inside scoop on the Curves for Women franchise opportunity?


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  • nirmala pillay

    I would like to know more information on curves franchaise. For instance if i wanted to buy in the franchaise, would i be able to do so. What are the rules and regulations of the company. I am interestsed, please inform, thank you.

  • Graeme Townshend

    Worst investmrnt I ever made. Lost $150K. Virtually no support from franchisor. You’re crazy to even cosider this dying fad!

  • sean

    Could you share more about your experience? Do you think the concept works, if the support was there? Why is it a fad?

  • Graeme Townshend


    Curves places too many units close together, I had 4 within a 5-7 mile radius. My lack of experience really affected my decision to purchase an existing location. Curves tries to convince you that you are working together with the other locations and that you are not competing.

    There is no creative thought as to what marketing strategies to use. Our competitors have much better equipment. Because the equipment is based on a hydralic system the women do not have to work to move the apparatus, thus they tend to get very little resistance and poor results.

    I currently own a Hollywood Tans franchise and feel that I got much better support in every facet of my business. Also I resent the fact that Gary Heavin uses his christian faith to lure people into the Curves concept. At Hollywood Tans, if I need to speak with management, they take my calls, but try to contact Heavin and it will never happen.

  • sean

    I have toured Hollywood Tans, interviewed Ralph and Ralph Jr. (the founder and president) and worked with Bob McQuillen, the VP Franchising. It’s an impressive organization and a very unique system.

    I can see how the contrast could be very striking.

  • Mac

    how can you categorize as a fad a company that has grown 10,000+ franchisees?

  • Graeme Townshend

    Because once you have owned one you’ll see what I mean. People are not signing up for the Curves program, because they are getting better deals and trainging at their local gym. The equipment allows you to cheat on your workouts and therefore you do not get the results you are looking for. Membership continues to plummet, at least in Maine. There is a Curves on every corner. The only one making money is the franchisor who sells the 10,000 plus locations. They’ll tell you you are not working hard enough, I have a Hollywood Tans franchise and I receive an incredible amount of help. You end up competing with every gym in your trade area and 3 to 4 other Curves as well. Open one up and you’ll see what I mean.

  • sean

    Graeme said: People are not signing up for the Curves program, because they are getting better deals and trainging at their local gym. The equipment allows you to cheat on your workouts and therefore you do not get the results you are looking for.
    Graeme: What do you mean about “cheating” on their workouts? Is it that the routine never gets any harder? I’m interested.
    Someone in the industry made the point that Curves & others similar did a great job getting couch potatoes off the couch, but they are too limited to retain members. Some will drop out because they’re not committed to health. those who are committed will graduate to a full gym. Do you agree?

  • sean

    Mac asked:how can you categorize as a fad a company that has grown 10,000+ franchisees?
    Mac: A fad isn’t defined by the growth, but what happens once the growth occurs. Is it sustainable? They may have sold millions of Pet Rocks, mood rings and leisure suits, but did they make a lasting contribution or were they a flash-in-the-pan. When investing in a business, it’s an important question. If it’s a fad, you better get in early, make your money, and get out before it busts.
    See my question above. This is the concern. Did Curves appeal to people initially, but is it too limited a concept to be sustainable? What’s your opinion?

  • Mac

    I just don’t know, I’m trying to work it out but I certainly see that the circuit can get boring after a while (I’d be bored to death), but in the US Curves seem to have won the ‘test of time’, haven’t they? They’ve been around for ages!

    How fail to see how you can compare Hollywood Tan with Curves though, different business, budget, etc… Comparisons should be done with Ultimate Woman Fitness, Contours and so on.

  • Graeme

    The Curves equipment is based on a hydraulic system, just like the shocks on a car, in fact, they are automotive shock absorbers, just painted white. Being a former professional hockey player, I am very familiar with training and when I tested the equipment, I got a decent workout. For the equipment to function properly the client has to give a good effort (the harder you push, the more resistence). Most of the women who use Curves do not give maximum effort. That’s why weight training with a personal trainer is more beneficial, because you can’t fool the equipment and cheat (you can either lift 5 pounds 6 times, or you can’t).

    That’s why the client retention is so low. Some women do acquire an interest in joining a traditional gym, but that is not good for the person who owns the Curves. Although it is quite honorable to encourage women to get up and be active, you still have to pay your bills and having dozens of clients leave is not a favorable result for a business owner.

  • sean

    Doesn’t Curves and the others offer personal training for an additional fee? This would seem to be a no-brainer as both a way to increase incremental revenue and retention.

  • Graeme

    No, the monthly membership fee covers the personalization of the workout. You get a consultation and measurements done for the sign-up fee, which is usually waived 90% of the time. The attendant is the personal trainer, and is simply there to encourage the clients to make it through the workout.

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  • sean

    I think you’ll all find this post very interesting:
    Franchise Dreams Becoming Nightmares for Many Fitness Club Owners

    Nearly 60 Contours Express franchisees are alleging fraud and breach of contract. There’s a link to the Petition for Damages document that has not been circulated publicly until now. They also complain of unrealistic start-up costs and breakeven projections.

    Question for those who have opened Curves franchises: In your opinion, what is the REAL initial investment number they should be using? What was the actual cost of opening your facility? What was the actual working capital (dollar figure) needed?

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  • DonBeau

    Comment on Curves. As a franchise consultant for many years I was contacted by a number of clients to give my professional opinion on Curves. This was a few years back but I did a regional survey of owners and could not find any validation. Most got a lot of spinning in the begining but the concept just didn’t work. I also did a national survey an found the same. Why then have they grown so well? One key is that the initial investment is relative low and most put up cash for the franchise and all were of course women and most could survive as they were busy and had in most cases a spouse income. I then did a franchise evaluation of the system and it failed in almost all areas. This system rates how well the zor provides the synergy of the seven wonders of franchising. What the group can do as a group that can’t be done individually. This concept is just among many today that the zor takes most the earnings. Franchising is at a new low today as many zors and businesess are taking advantage of the middle america. (another story)

  • Pkj

    I am the owner of a Curves. I have owned it for 5 years. I think a large number of people, including myself thought that this was the kind of business that would run itself and all we had to do is collect the money. Well, it is not that kind of business. You can make money if you work at it. I find that Curves Corporate offers a lot of help and encouragement. I am part of a great Co-op and we are not competing with each other. We meet monthly and come up with many ideas, promotions, and advertising ventures. We strugle sometimes but I think that is part of every business.

  • J A Berberick

    I have owned two Curves franchises since 2002. Both of my franchises are profitable and have been profitable since 2003. The franchisor provides very good support and they have fulfilled all promises made in the UFOC. I agree that they have oversold the number of franchise units in the US and this is causing some Curves clubs to close due to lack of market. Also, some franchises were sold in small communities that did not have sufficient population to sustain the franchise long-term, and those clubs are also closing. Like any business, a Curves franchise requires continuous marketing and good business management.

  • Kunst

    I will second (or 3rd) Pkj and J A Berberick. Yes, there was a fad factor involved in Curves’ growth. For a while, it was easy, too easy. Yes, they sold too many Curves, but buyers went in with their eyes open, and most did well for a while. The problem is human nature: people don’t really want to exercise, and that is doubly true of Curves’ target market. Women sign up, come for a while, and then stop coming (true of all gyms — at least Curves calls them). On the other side, most Curves owners had little if any business background going in, and while that may not have mattered much a few years ago, it’s significant now. This is no longer an easy business. You can’t just sit back and let the money roll in. Some Curves are going out of business, and that will be more true if the economy turns downward. The ones that survive and thrive will be the ones with committed and dedicated owners, with a well-trained and managed staff, that actively help their members improve their heath. Personally, I think Gary Heavin has done a great job so far. He has stepped up to the next level several times (I am not in sync with his religion, and that hasn’t been a problem). I hope he can do it again, because these are challenging times.

  • Tessie

    Do franchise owners pay a flat fee (to Curves)? Or a percentage?

  • Curves owner in CA

    I agree that Curves expanded much too quickly and were too aggressive in dividing up franchise territories. Before I bought the club, there used to be a competing Curves in all four directions within 1-3 miles from our location, each club cannibalizing each others’ businesses and overspending in order to “up” the others in appearance, equipment and hours. Two of them have gone out of business within the last 18 months, and one is struggling. I think Curves hype hit its’ high about 2-3 years ago, and since then there’s been lots of disappointed owners. Personally, I think the franchisor was a bit slow in reacting to the market and supporting the franchisees during the down-turn, but I think they are doing a better job now, and the business will stabilize.

    My experience with the equipment and attrition rates are very favorable. I think Curves has two key strengths: 1) it’s short and convenient (30 min), 2) well run clubs foster a real sense of community among women. Whether the equipment lets you “cheat” is not a very relevant question for most members. Many of them would not be working out at all, or even worse, might be injuring themselves with improper use of weights. Better they work out less strenuously, but still work out, than to just quit (experience of most of our members with other gyms). A more relevant question is, are your members consistently coming and working out? The two key factors I mentioned definitely help increase consistency and lower attrition — better than most “full” gyms in the industry.

  • Money Baffling

    Still waiting for some answers to questions in this line previously asked regarding money and franchise ownership. One question from Sean was,
    “Question for those who have opened Curves franchises: In your opinion, what is the REAL initial investment number they should be using? What was the actual cost of opening your facility? What was the actual working capital (dollar figure) needed?”
    My google search lead me here and these are the questions I’m most interested in today…although I found the entire conversation enlightening.

  • Pkj

    Well, to answer your question, since there are no new territories to buy, you will have to buy a resale. To open the doors today would cost about $70,000 then the membership income should be given a value.
    Working capitol needed will be dependant on the income that is generated by memberships minus the expences. It would be hard to put a dollar figure on that because depending on what part of the country you live in the cost vary dramatically.
    My suggestion would be to look at their books. DON’T ASK HOW MANY MEMBERS! Look at income and outgo from bank statements. See if there is anything left over. Ask if the owner worked at the facility, if so how many hours. Most to of the Curves are run by employees and as good as they are (or are not)they do not care about your wallet as much as you will. How much advertising did the previous owner do? This is important, because if the owner just sat in club and did little to nothing to bring in new members, then you’ll know there is a possibility for growth. When looking at bank statements ask about any deposits that are unusual. The owner might have subsidized from a personal account. Then make your decision. Good luck

  • Scott

    I have worked with over 300 Curves locations and have noticed a dramatic fall in closures and owners just wanting to get out. It peaked around 2004 and has been in a steady decline ever since. I would not recommend investing in a Curves franchise, especially buying a location from a previous owner. The reason why they are selling is because of declining membership base, due to various reasons. Since they can’t lose any weight, it’s become a social club for women. You have set costs per month no matter how many members you have.

  • Patricia

    I consulted with Franchise Foundations about buying a Curves franchise and they steered me away from it. Too much competition, high turnover rates, long hours and the employees that you hire to help run the business are paid close to minimum wage, so they’re always quitting or now showing up. There’s a really good article on their website at:

  • sean

    There are a number of good articles on attorney Kevin Murphy’s Franchise Foundations site. His own foray into franchising was pretty illuminating.

    On a completely unrelated subject, he also has a fascinating story about his Vietnamese wife Linh Murphy’s family history…

  • Donna

    My husband and I are considering a purchase of a Curves franchise that is losing memberships. However, the owners have been absence from the business with little or no investment in the last 3 years. While in the last 3 years this Curves location has changed my life with weight loss and physical endurance. Both my husband and I have successful sales careers that we believe can bring about a new prospective to the location. Can my passion for Curves and my passion for sales bring success? We think it can!

  • Patricia

    The history of second-hand franchises that are losing money (or are barely breaking even), and are sold over and over again to persons who think they can turn them around, is pretty consistent. They continue to lose money under new ownership. I know a couple who bought a second-hand Curves. She had a strong sales background and he was a management consultant. Perfect background, but history didn’t change. After a year, it’s still losing money and they’re now trying desperately to sell it. They say they each put in about 70 hours a week and leaving their former jobs to take on a Curves was the biggest mistake they ever made. Passion, as the prior poster notes is good. But common sense is even better. Read what Mr. Franchise has to say at

  • sean

    Patricia said: The history of second-hand franchises that are losing money (or are barely breaking even), and are sold over and over again to persons who think they can turn them around, is pretty consistent. They continue to lose money under new ownership.
    What Patricia is referring to is a practice (or phenomenon, depending on whether it’s intentional or not) in franchising called “Churning.”

    Say a new franchisee invests $250K to open a sparkling new location, new eqpt, signage, the works. After an optimistic opening, their sales volume can’t support their expenses or debt service, and they’re forced to sell for $125K. The franchisor is paid a “transfer” fee (Say $10K in this case) by the new franchisee, who thinks he can make it work since his investment was lower. But he can’t, so he’s forced to sell it for $25K just to get out of his lease and franchise obligations. The franchisor gets another transfer fee and the new franchisee is able to operate at a low volume because he/she got it for a song.

    The first franchisee loses $125K+
    The second franchisee loses $100K + $10K
    The third franchisee has $25K + $10K on the line

    The FR received an additional $20K in transfer fees & does not show any failed franchises on his record since the first two franchise failures are listed as “resales” or “transfers.” If this scenario occurred 100 times, 200 franchisees could have walked away at a substantial loss yet the franchisor could boast that they’ve “never had a store close or fail.” As many exiting franchisees are required to sign a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement, you may never know that this is going on.

  • Anita

    My wife and I have owned 3 Curves franchises over the past 5 or 6 years. 1 has been highly profitable, 1 slightly profitable and 1 barely bread-even. We have successfully sold 2 of the clubs and have assisted the new owners in the transition so that they continue to be successful. Of those 2 sales, 1 of the new owners is doing incredibly well and 1 is doing so-so. Curves is a very simple business — the revenue from membership is straightforward and the costs are also pretty easy to get your arms around. There should really be few surprises when you buy a franchise from an existing owner. Check out the lease to make sure it is transferable and the can’t be increased immediatly on transfer. Look at the franchise territory. If it is in a very small town, growth prospects are minimal but in bigger areas there can be good upside if you market and manage the club better than the past owner. The new Curves Smart equipment is being installed soon at my remaining club and the buzz has been very positive. I believe that rollout will re-energize these clubs and increase their value far more than the investment required to install the new equipment. Do your homework, but I would not rule out investing in Curves.

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  • Current Curves Owner

    We bought our club in 2006 as a resale and never looked back. It was one of the best investments we have ever made. The previous owner did not work the club and relied on employees to run it for her. I can tell you first hand that having your employees run your business and you having no hands on is not in your best interest. We did not buy our club to get rich quick like most others thought they were doing. We purchased it so that the women in our community would have a great place to go workout and enjoy themselves with no men, no makeup, no mirrors!
    With the new CurvesSmart up and running in a few states, it truely is the best workout you will ever get! You will not get bored and you will always be pushed to do more based on your current workout level. It is like having a personal trainer on each and every machine! If you do purchase a Curves franchise and they don’t have the CurvesSmart, I encourage you to get it as soon as possible!
    Don’t rule out purchasing a Curves franchise! Talk with the current owner and get all the information you can and run with it if the numbers fit your budget. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!

  • Chris

    My wife and I purchased a Curves re-sale in May 2005. Lets just say it has been a real learning expierence. I would never purchase a Curves franchise in a small community. There are about 3000 people in our Curves territory. You need a lot of people to draw from because there is a lot of turnover in membership. Women are always quitting for one reason or another and you need to be constantly bringing in new menbers. If you don’t have a lot of women to draw from you will exhaust your new memberships quickly. I feel that Curves was greedy in selling Curves franchises in these small communities. But when Curves was going good they could sell in these small communities because people wanted a franchise and Curves was not going to deny a sale. Looking back we should of been smarter and done more research before we bought our club. The Curves work out is good for women who don’t want to go to a more traditional gym but it will be hard to keep these women coming day after day.
    We’ve had our Curves for sale for over a year and have no offers. I’m afraid that we will be forced to close our club. It just isn’t enough income to pay the loan we took out to purchase the franchise.
    If you are looking at purchasing I would research, research and research the club and area. Maybe even work at the club before purchasing to get an idea how the club is run and the mood of the members.

  • Kylie

    Current Curves Owner: Would it be possible for you to contact me? I am in the process of developing a new location and would like some input.

  • Jose

    Opening any womens only at this time would be a bad decision. Especially a Curves. Beware of the owners of curves who tell you they are doing great, It is a lie. Their PRIDE will not let them tell you the truth. Many owners are not willing to admit they are just above Bankrupcy and the 2nd morgaga on the house is due. Truth be told if they told you they were doing poorly they could not resell there poor business to someone ignorant of the downturn in this quick money operation the Curves company created for them selves. To put Frosting on the cake now they sell Trash they call food, Candy bars they market as Curves food, making anyone who eats them FAT. Please see for yourself. Read the ingediants. Lets be Honest people, over 1000 curves acroess the nation have closed yet you hear nothing about it. If you want the facts look in an old phone book 3years ago and look at a new one and count the Curves that no longer exist in the phone book in you area. It will open you eyes. One last thing/ because a curves is open does not make it profitable. many of the owners are stuck into 5-10 year franchise agreemtns and leases that they would have to file Bankrupcy to get out of, so it is a matter of time before the name Curves no longer exists. it will be a “Remember when”. Many of the ones going out of business have donated the quipment to the local city center where people can use them for free, I did. And now all the seniors are quitting curves and going to the senior center.
    Kylie do not waste you tiem trying to contact the curves owner he will never speak negative of his company nor would you speak negative of your baby.
    Please listen to the people who have lost and do not make the same mistake, stay away from all womens only franchises at this time, it is not worth it.
    Good Luck.

  • pkj

    Well, Jose has got his facts incorrect. Yes, there have been Curves that have closed but it has not been 1000, it was announced at convention that 548 have closed in this last year. That is about 5% of all the Curves. There will probably be more so if you are looking to buy one PLEASE look at the bank statements and question all income (deposits that are unusual). When a Curves closes the members go to a neighboring Curves and makes the remaining club(s) stronger. A weak club that had 100 members closes, about 80% of the members will transfer. That is a $2400 -3600 per month more income for the neighboring clubs.
    Curves will let owners out of their contract, so none has to stay in this business. Curves does require that all equipment goes to other Curves owners. I don’t know if Jose has had a bad experience but remember there are two sides to every story
    My membership continues to grow after 5 years and although I am not making an enormous income but I can bring home about $4000 a month if I work the club about 40 hours per week. Not bad considering I do not have a college education and I spent about $50,000 to open my doors. I am also very excited about the new Curves Smart coming this year. Our members are very excited, old members are coming back. I believe that Curves offers the best and most important 30 minutes of the members day
    If you are considering buying a Curves please do your due diligence. Go to other Curves owners and ask questions I think you’ll be pleased with the warmth of the owners they are incredible group of women and men.
    Good Luck

  • Jose

    pkj must work for Curves because he thows alot of numbers around. These are not facts but wishes. Most of all Curves members of closed clubs do not go back. This 80% is not factual but numbers some bean counters like to throw out there so everyone thinks Curves is such a good investment. No MR PJK I am not emotionally hurt by your comments, I am not a former curves owner I am tired of these franchises taking advantage of the little guy with the 401 K. Working there whole life to make nothing once Curves promises fail them. By the way $4000.00 a month is nothing. A good business will generate more than that with no college degree. Lets not compare owning a business with someone who has a JOB. The Job person with a degree in a good field makes more than $4K month with benefits, no rent no headache. The mere fact that PJK brags about how he is making more money on Left overs from failed Curves does not surprise me. The turnover rate is so high he cannot get more New members. It is sad that the owners who lost everything when their Curves went out of business are subject to this abuse with FACTS. The FACT is the Curves should never have closed over 500 or more clubs and every year they have a “New Thing” Last year it was something. I guess what they have is not Good enough.
    If you want to buy a womens only franchise. Don’t. Save your $50K
    You will thank me for it. Invest it into a managed money account with Charles Scwabb, Now your making money and not losing.
    That’s good advice take it and do your homework.
    I know you will do the right thing.
    If you agree post me an email.

  • Patricia

    Jose makes some very valid points. The research I’ve done (and I’ve considered almost a dozen different franchises from different companies at this point) indicates there are major flaws with not only the Curves business model, but also the other “womens only” fitness frnachises. The high franchise owner attrition and turnover (resale) rates, lawsuits, etc. all support this business metrics flaw. I’m not being sexist (I’m female), but it appears Curves (and others) constantly need “new blood” i.e. new members to replace those who have left the club. The profile of a woman who joins a Curves or Curves-type club is a person that doesn’t stick to a regular exercise program. They start with a bang, but end in a fizzle as other priorities dominate and replace their Curves membership. Jose also makes a good point about current Curves owners overestimating their “success” with the franchise. My personal experience bears this out. A lot of franchise owners start out saying they’re doing really well, “very profitable,” etc., etc. But when you start questioning them for specific numbers (after learning their Curves is for sale, “Oh, by the way, my Curves is for sale, if you’re interested”), the story changes. The lucky ones are making like $2,000 to $3,000 a month and are working 60-plus hours a week. That calculates out to $8 to $12 per hour, with no overtime pay, benefits, etc. All the lucky one’s have done is bought themselves a close to minimum wage pay scale job with a lot of headaches, financial exposure and zero return on their investment. And the majority of owners who are not in this “lucky” category? It’s just not a pretty picture.

  • Jose

    I thank You Patricia for being open minded and Honest and doing Your Homework. I am a business owner and am very successful but not without hard work. Many of my close friends are Multi Millionaires and all started with their own business not a franchise. I have spoken to several owners I know of Curves, Contours, Slender Lady and Ladys Workout Express, all of which went out of business and I assure you they worked 60 hours a week lost there savings and more. The number one reason is ( No new members, boredom and the high costs of Rent and staffing.) Not one of them wanted there business to fail, but one interesting comment from the owners of Curves and Contours was not real support from a marketing prospective. Only a commercial here or there in Dec or Jan on Lifetime for women channel but thats it. No local commercials targeting the area in which they reside and do business. The commercials were ran on a national level so that Curves and contours could justify the $250.00 extra monthly advertising fee they made profit on which equates to about $2.5 million yearly in Gross revenue for the franchisor not the franchisee. If you want additional advertising you must purchase it on your own and all ads must be approved by the franchisor no matter how bad they are or if they even work.
    When you decide to close or relocate to tap into a better market you cannot because you are locked into an area they set up for you regardless if the area has been tapped and there are no new resources for you.

    Supply and demand dictates that the more Curves you have the less the demand and the less you make. This is the case with womens only clubs in general. Again invest in a sound Managed Money account with Charles Scwabb and you can have peace of mind knowing your money will grow. Never invest your savings into a business investment. Borrow the money from the bank and let your credit do the work for you, if you have bad credit do not go into business without proper financial counseling, its hard work.
    I hope everyone makes the right choice.
    Wishing you Health and Wealth.

  • pkj

    I was not boasting about my income, just being honest. My membership has increased by about 30% this year which tells you that I was making 0 a year ago. I expect my income to go up by 30% again this year. The difference between this year and the year before is my attitude and my efforts in marketing. I am not trying to talk anyone into buying a Curves, I do not work for Curves International, I am not a MR either. There are problems to be sure with all that said for a small investment you can buy your own business. I have looked into many franchises and for the investment Curves is as good as most.
    Does Jose work for Charles Schawb? Investing your money is no guarantee either.
    Buying a franchise is not for everyone.
    But there are several of us that like owning a small business calling the shots and as in the case of owning a Curves, helping people get healthier.
    I wish everyone on this message board a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year
    (including Jose)

  • Jose

    Sorry about the MR. Mrs PKJ.
    I was not aware you were female by the initials. I assumed!
    Of course all Curves are offered to women only owners, not men. I forgot that. Well either!
    A smart investor or business person will not gamble on if’s or what or good intentions. Attitude is no excuse or reason to buy a franchise. Some of the best people who have lost money with curves had great Attitude but now a bad attitude. Attitude does not drive the market or demand. If that is the answer then Good Luck! And anyone reading this should know that a Managed account is safer than any Mutual Fund. For the record I do not work for any investment firm, I have of money invested so I know what makes money. Not Curves. Or any other womens Only franchise.
    The statement I estimate a 30% increase on my investment for Pkj is just pure ignorance. Maybe if you have 100 membes 30 would be 30% but still not enough to pay yourself. and the comment you made Zero ( 0 ) is a little scary.
    Quote from previous response PKJ said
    ((((( I was not boasting about my income, just being honest. My membership has increased by about 30% this year which tells you that I was making 0 a year ago. ))))
    Sorry I call it what it is, no one can make such a narrow prediction based on the fact that 564 Curves a year fail at an astounding 5% rate. That is quicker than the Curves growth rate and for one person to say they will beat these facts is impossible especially owning a franchise with this loss. I predict (based on facts) that at the current fail rate from the 2006 report of a net loss of 548 franchises yearly+/- 10. All curves franchises will close in approx 4 years. This is based on the fact that the fail rate is exponential in nature as the growth rate. This fact is real. Exponential Growth tends to occur after the 15th franchise is sold. In the case of curves they have already closed in my research over 1000. franchises. Not only the 564 in 2006 but in 2004-05. Please read Pkj fact she quoted,
    (Well, Jose has got his facts incorrect. Yes, there have been Curves that have closed but it has not been 1000, it was announced at convention that 548 have closed in this last year. That is about 5% of all the Curves.)

    Now the truth be told 548 curves closed. 548 curves owners lost their money, this last year alone!! WOW!!!
    Now if anyone can beat the facts , I will forever keep my facts to myself. This forum is to disiminate good info in my opinion based on the facts not feelings. So once again. I state to all reading and to Mrs PKJ Good Luck on the Gamble . Thanks for your well wishing but I do not need it, I do not own a Curves and plan to advise others not too also, and if you do, Dump it before you loose. and do it quickly before people find out what a bad investment it really is, and please be wise and do not listen to PKJ. It is clear her response is in her best interest and not the many. If Curves were a good investment I would be the first to admit it, but it is not such be the case.
    Happy New year and Best to all 350 million AMERICANS. I wish you a prosperous and Wealthy Future

  • Hope

    I appreciate hearing both sides.. those that are current owners (doing well or not doing well) and those who are cautioning potential Curves owners or giving us things to consider before making the decision to get into the business or not get into the business. I am considering buying the Curves that I work at and I am thankful that I have a place to gather information so I can make an informed decision… and to clarify I am aware that results vary and after weighing the pros and cons “I” have to decide if it is worth the risk.

    I think fitness clubs in general are a hard business to own or be successful in because a lot of people don’t really like working out so there is always going to be turn-over. I have seen several (Beyond Fitness, Peak Fitness, Curves etc.) change hands or close. I have a business degree and am currently studying to get my personal training certificate so health and wellness is my passion. I think attitude is important to success.. in business/career and life in general. You have to be in the right business.. something that is your passion and also gets you a return on investment.

    I hope people will continue to contribute and make this a place to not pass judgment on other peoples opinions or ideas but truly share their real life experiences, the facts and help others.

  • Jose

    Great comment Hope. It is great that you are passionate about helping people. I think is admirable that you have taken the time to get your Certification but Helping people and running a business are 2 different animals. When you consider buying a business you are diving into a whole new realm. Now you are the one who is stuck into a lease and paying your trainers when money is tight. I would strongly advise you to take the time and work with people training them before buying a Curves. The reason is, once you see how quality workout equipment biomechanically works with the human body you will realize that the Curves equipment ( Made In Mexico at a cost of Only $3000.00 ) will not be your first choice of fitness equipment. Secondly investigate the downturn in the trend and realize that you are buying a dieing trend, therefor your more likely to lose than win. Rule number one in making money. Always follow the trend when it begins and get out before it stops. It is like the Stock market you might say. If you go on the web site you can view many Curves franchises selling for as low as $20,000.
    Infact the gross receipts are not much more than $75,000. Year for a good location. After paying rent and all the bills, You realize you just bought a Job that pays $8.00 Hr no benefits and headaches. One last thing. Sometimes the money is not in the industry you love so do not invest too much for love, invest for profit and work doing what you love part time. Once you build you wealth you can commit full time without the worry. God Luck

  • Cassie

    The comments have been extemely informative and interesting. I am considering buying a Curves franchise – do the problems relate to other countries eg: Australia where the franchises are more evenly distributed and not 1 on every corner so to speak.

  • Jose

    Cassie it typically similar all around the world with Curves and other franchises. The Franchise is pushing itself into new markets on the fact that they ( at one time had!!!!!!) 10,000.00 Franchises. Not the case anymore. This hype will draw many into the buiness in other countries before they realize they have been mis-informed. Please request a UFOC and you will find out over 100 pages in the UFOC are names of franchises that have either gone out of business in the United States or closed. If fact the list of Curves franchise that went out of business makes up more of the UFOC than the agreement itself! Do not rely on data from a new country it may not be accurate for a long term evaluation of the investment. Try and get a UFOC from a US market and you will see that Thousands of Curves have gone out of business.
    This trend will come and go in all markets so be very cautious before buying a dieing trend.

  • Donna

    It’s almost been 1 month since I began reading the comments that have been both positive and negative about pursuing a Curves franchise. It’s certainly been a wild ride since I first shared my husband’s and my intent to purchase a currently owned franchise. Just yesterday we put down a deposit for the franchise and we are both very excited. Jose I am sorry you have had such a bad experience. I have a great peace in my heart and soul to move forward. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and build your wings on the way down!

  • Patricia

    Donna, are you nuts? After reading about the reality of what’s going on with Curves, the sound advice offered by Jose and others – you’re still moving forward? Jose, by the way, wasn’t a Curves owner – he’s just giving good advice. Taking a leap of faith and hoping to build your wings on the way down? That’s just another definition of “suicide.” I guess Mr. Franchise at is right. A lot of uninformed persons plod ahead making franchise investment decisions based on emotion and in the face of facts that foreshadow their financial downfall. I’ll bet you haven’t invested a dime in third party professional advice. If you had, they’d tell you to keep your money and run. All of this is just too incredible to believe. – Patricia

  • Jose

    Donna I believe I have been forthright in giving you unbiased advise, not based on emotion. I have placed before you evidence and even web sites to intelligently make a business buying decision and you make an emotional decision. Your emotional purchse proves without a doubt why Curves will not survive long term. Curves should never sell a franchise to someone who does not understand how businesses are operated. Your statement Leap of faith only applies to a slot machine! and the comment build your wings on the way down only applies to those foolish people who go bungee jumping with no bungee. Unfortunately you will be another statistic that no one will hear about, because I can garuantee you will never admit when you go out of buiness only how much money you ae making. I respect that you sound like your faith in God is strong, but your knowledge of scripture very very weak, and your ability to make a good business purchase severly hampered by your emotions.
    To those reading this blog, Do not make this mistake, do your homework and investigate the facts before committing financial suicide. Your Better off investing your hard earned cash than buying a iffy franchise that statistically will not make money. Also I can tell you many of the Curves owners are exactly like Donna!
    Thank you Patricia for your common sense.

  • Donna

    Patricia and Jose,

    It’s unfortunate that both of you make an assessment of my business sense and professional abilities to make a good decision based on a couple of paragraphs I have written with regards to my enthusiasm and faith in myself and my husband to “win” with a Curves franchise. I am a retired corporate executive with a major Fortune 100 company, presently working on a second career making over 6 figures and now investing in a Curves franchise. The adjectives you both so quickly discribed me with “nuts” and “my knowledge of scripture very, very weak and my ability to make a good business purchase severly hampered by my emotions” was very inappropriate based on what little knowledge you have of my abilities, past performance and capabilities. Negative attitudes never win in the business world. Another quote I send out to both of you is this, “Surround yourself with people who BELIEVE you can.” You definitely are not in that circle. I am sorry that such negativity appears to come so easy for both of you. Jose, I have enjoyed a very successful life and career and do not intend to stop now. You have magically “fueled my fire”! Thank you!

  • Hope

    I was wondering what current franchise owners think about the franchise agreement. It seems pretty scary to me.. like they can just change the rules on you and that could lead to unforeseen expenses. Just wanted your thoughts. I have included a link to the franchise agreement but of course I am not sure if this is the most up to date version either.. after reading the non compete part it looks like I won’t be able to pair my personal training with the business… and I am also concerned that I will have to buy the new smart equipment which according to the current owner it will cost $5000 but she also said it was not required but if they can change things it might be required later… like right after I buy into the business. Don’t get me wrong from what I have heard/have seen it sounds like a good system but I am not ready to do this and still make a profit.

  • sean

    On, we deal with some very volatile and emotional issues. Add to that the entrepreneurial spirit, egos and the potential for unintended connotations when strangers are dashing off quick posts to one another. Sometimes you have to step back, take a breath and realize this isn’t personal. Keep in mind that any warnings you receive are with your best interest in mind. No one here is getting a commission by you NOT buying a Curves franchise.
    I have 20 years of experience putting together programs, marketing programs, sales scripts and manuals for those who SELL franchises. I can tell you that several statements you make would have an unscrupulous franchise salesperson salivating. For example:
    When you say “my enthusiasm and faith in myself and my husband to “win” with a Curves franchise…”, the salesman hears Cha-ching!. When the sidebars on the site reappear (they’re down temporarily) read the comments of all the people who lost $250K plus with concepts like eBay Dropoff stores iSold It, Snappy Auctions, 30 Minute Fitness concepts, Quiznos, The UPS Store. Yet many continue to sell franchises. How do they accomplish that? Because there are enough people who think they can “believe” their way to success, even with a concept that’s not working.
    “…I am a retired corporate executive with a major Fortune 100 company, presently…making over 6 figures…” Cha-ching! The unscrupulous salesman LOVES the corporate exec that boasts of success in a large company, achieved with departments, secretaries, memos, quarterly projections, budgets, performance evaluations, sales and marketing departments, etc. Why do you think they target people with “no health club experience.”? The same reason the Army recruits 18 and 19 year olds: They think they know everything, can do anything they set their minds to, while simultaneously are willing to follow orders. Your experience with a Fortune 100 company has little relevance – and may be a detriment – to being able to run a local franchise with little to no support.
    “…I have enjoyed a very successful life and career and do not intend to stop now.”
    While this and the other comments may have hurt your feelings, they were intended to help you continue to enjoy the rewards of your career of hard work and accomplishment. If you want to hear that if you believe, you’ll succeed, that with franchising you can “be in business FOR yourself, but not BY yourself,” that it’s time to “control your destiny,” and “be your own boss” Entrepreneur magazine and a zillion other franchise sites and publications will be happy to oblige. They are making a lot of money doing so. Richard Quick at will tell you anything you want to hear.
    There are 400 franchise opportunities listed at Some are good, some are bad, but most of them aren’t having the widespread failures of 30 minute fitness clubs.
    Obviously, everyone needs to make their own decisions. But you should be thanking Patricia and Jose for at least giving some hard things to consider. Your friendly franchise salesman will be happy to provide the wind beneath your wings. Unlike P&J, he stands to make a nice commission for doing so.

  • Graeme Townshend

    I have been reading the comments posted for the past several weeks. Just like Donna, I thought I could make this thing work and turn it around. Against my wife’s resistance I forged on with my dream. What I found was a group of 40 other Curves owner in my marketing group who were desperate to get rid of their headache too. Just like Donna, no one, not even my spouse, could have stopped me. The best thing that has ever happened to me is losing that $150K. If you can afford to lose it (which I can’t), then go for it, I learned a lot. Franchising is NOT a good option. Don’t be fooled by the corporate advertising and your friends who tell you they are making it. The Franchisor always wins. Instead, go and work for one of the Franchisee’s and once you’ve learned the system, do it on you own.
    Every time you make a buck the Franchisor takes two back. I am now deep in debt and my wife and I are working 70+ hours a week to dig ourselves out. This adversity was a test on our marriage and I found that my wife is the biggest support I have ever had, even though I messed up. So the relationship we have now was worth the $150K loss, too bad I had to learn the HARD way. I wish I would have done my homework and found this site, I would have asked a lot more questions and I know the man I bought the club from would have been sweating trying to answer, because I know I would not be able to sell my club in good conscience to some poor man or woman with big dreams. I recently sued the man who sold me my club and won, however I will never see the money. Donna, I hope your ego will allow you to listen to Sean, because although you have faith in your abilities, Sean is right. I have been where you are and I can tell you one thing, you are about to place your hands on a red hot stove, and you know what will happen next, a year or two from now your comments will most likley be replacing mine as the next victim. Remember, I was in a group of 40 Curves owners, and they were all once just as optimistic as you. I am sure they will sell you their clubs if interested (all 40 are losing their shirts).

  • Patricia

    Donna, my comments were based solely on what you said. They were intended to bring out the facts and make you think twice. I don’t have a hidden agenda and I’m not making a dime out of taking the time to give you all this information. My hope was this would jolt you out of the emotionalism that’s driving an investment decision that makes absolutely no sense. You’re supposedly a retired corporate executive. If that’s true, why aren’t you using your business sense and business skills?

    And it’s not just me and Jose that are on the same frequency here. Look at Sean’s lengthy comment, and the most recent one by a Curves owner, one of many who are losing their shirts. And the many, many comments above this one. With your 6-figure income, why haven’t you invested $500 to $1,000 or so in sound professional advice from a third party before putting down your deposit?

    At this point, I think the answer is obvious – you don’t want to hear anything that goes against something you’ve already made up your mind about. That simply is not good business or common sense. The only one applauding your (increasingly) emotional decision that ignores business reality is Curves.

  • Patricia

    Interesting to see Mr. Franchise has been following this saga. The following is posted at

    “And just because you’re a business executive making a 6-figure income now, don’t assume this level will be duplicated in a franchise investment just because the company “approves” your application. One such executive, despite a plethora of negative feedback from current and past franchise owners who’d lost everything, marched forward with her franchise investment in a 30-minute fitness concept. Despite her 6-figure income, she didn’t invest a dime in professional, evaluation advice and stated she was taking a leap of faith, hoping to build her wings on the way down. Sound crazy and suicidal? It is, but this happens all the time. Due to the ploys of the franchise salesperson, too many franchise investment decisions are based on emotionalism. Prior business skills, business sense (and even common sense) are short-circuited. Needless to say, if this business executive made a similar decision for her corporate employer paying the 6-figure salary, she would be promptly fired.”

  • Russ

    All of you amaze me! Rather than discuss, you batter. Your communication and business sense leave a lot to be desired. I will no longer visit this site for true, solid information regarding
    Curves. The Administrator to this blog should discuss with all of you the meaning of “business”. All of you are dedicated to venting your emotions and anger, rather than disucssing the possibilities or Curves – both and negative.
    Goodbye and good luck!

  • Current Curves Owner

    I can’t believe all the negativity there is amongst you people that have NEVER owned a Curves franchise. You have no insite on what happens inside the club but yet you are quick to say don’t do it. I did my research and purchased a franchise. I am just glad I didn’t come across this site before making my decision. I am extremely happy with my business decision and will never regret my purchase. Curves stands behind you in every aspect of the business. They provide you the tools to run your business the best way any business can truely be run. If you are considering purchasing a Curves franchise, please don’t listen to the negativity of these people that have NEVER owned one let alone stepped foot in one. Lord knows they probably need to but are afraid it just may work then they will have to bite their tongues on all they have said. As for the men on here posting…do you really have a clue about Curves? I think NOT!!! Potential business owners…please talk to the current owners that DO OWN one and listen to them. They are the ones that have the insite on the business. Of course you will find ones that have failed, but they were obviously not running their business the “Curves Way” or they would still be in business. As for the comment on not purchasing the “CurvesSmart” it is the most fantastic, awesome, amazing, fabulous upgrade on the market! When you have the opportunity to upgrade…DO IT…DON’T HESITATE OR YOU WILL REGRET IT!

  • Patricia

    To The Supposed Current Curves Owner:

    It’s true I haven’t owned a Curves, but I’ve visited and spoke with over a dozen Curves’ owners. After doing my homework (see my previous comments), I discovered Curves is an incredibly bad investment. Also, there are the many, many comments here from Curves owners saying the same thing. Finally, Sean, the moderator of this site, with over 20 years experience in the franchise industry, has pointed out the pitfalls of the 30-minute fitness concept – it isn’t working in the marketplace (see his box above).

    I think the Current Curves Owner who posted above is someone affiliated with Curves. He/she gives no specifics. For example “I am extremely happy with my business decision and will never regret my purchase.” That statement is not even logical. What if he/she is lucky enough to be in the top 5% of the network and is making $4,000 a month (which is still not a great income level these days). Is that anything to be happy about with all the headaches of always hiring and firing staff who are paid minimum wage, working long 50-70 hour work weeks, financial exposure on the lease, etc., etc.

    And saying “I will never regret my purchase” is ridiculous. Never, no matter what? What if membership dropped and you’re suddenly losing your shirt, like the 40 other Curves owners noted in a prior post? You’re still not going to regret your purchase? Give me a break.

    This mentality (“never regret”) and the religious reference to Lord in the post, are additional hints the poster is from Curves, which is a very religious-oriented company. Finally, the post ends with ‘DON’T HESITATE OR YOU WILL REGRET IT!” A typical franchise sales ploy that’s been tried (unsuccessfully) on me quite a few times now.

    ALWAYS HESITATE BEFORE MAKING ANY SERIOUS, LONG-TERM INVESTMENT DECISION, FRANCHISE OR OTHERWISE. That’s only common sense, something many franchise companies program us to disregard.

  • Current Curves Owner

    You are all pathetic! I agree with Russ, I don’t believe that I will visit this site again. MOST of the negative comments about Curves are from people that have never owned one…they did their just so called “homework” and have many opinions that they should keep to themselves not actually being in the position. Quoting Patricia “Also, there are the many, many comments here from Curves owners saying the same thing” From the posts I have read…there are 3 I repeat 3 Curves owners that have posted comments…the others are bogus claims that they know what they are talking about.
    If anybody visiting this site is interested in a Curves Franchise, PLEASE SPEAK DIRECTLY TO CURRENT CURVES OWNERS and get the insite to their business. Everybody has an opinion on everything…and there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG you go with what your gut feeling is.
    If I had to close my doors tomorrow for some unforseen reason, I WILL NEVER REGRET OWNING A CURVES FRANCHISE…and YES Patricia..I CAN SAY NEVER, NO MATTER WHAT!
    WHY SHOULD I GIVE SPECIFICS TO SOMEBODY THAT IS JUST GONNA DOG ME…AND SAY THAT I AM STILL WORKING FOR NOTHING EVEN THOUGH I AM NOT…You have no idea what my financial situation is, lease, monthly payments, payroll, hours etc….so how the hell can you be so negative! Maybe you should actually go to a Curves and do a workout and relieve some of that stress you have built up, LORD knows you need it!

  • Patricia

    To: Current Curves Owner

    I’m only offering the fruits of my research and passing along other information and insights given by a number of franchise professionals. Funny, they’ve have all given a thumbs down to Curves. No franchise professional I’ve seen has given a thumbs up. Hmmmm. Ever wonder why? Then, there’s also Sean, a seasoned, twenty-year franchise industry executive who agrees. What we’re posting here is information based on facts and research, not opinions and raw emotion.

    I can understand the “Current Curves Owner” predicament. The truth hurts, and no one likes to admit they’ve made a mistake (“I WILL NEVER REGRET OWNING A CURVES FRANCHISE…NO MATTER WHAT.”) His/her comment says it all – it’s so ridiculous, yet laden with so much pent up emotion. I’ll bet his/her franchise is up for sale, and that’s often the hidden agenda – preserve prospects for the sale of existing franchises.

    I’ve seen this “NO MATTER WHAT” attitude in other franchise owners (not just Curves) who don’t want to admit the reality of their situation. They start out saying they’re very successful, and, btw, their “successful” franchise just happens to be up for sale. Looking at the hard, financial numbers (which they have to show to justify the asking price) reveals a different story. They’re either not making money, or if they are, it’s close to or below minimum wage. I remember pointing this out to one owner. All he did was smile.

    Mr. Franchise is right when he quotes a franchise owner who says being successful in franchising often means having to adjust your definition of success. I’m sure there are very good franchises out there – reasonable investments, working hours, profits, market trend, etc. All I’m saying is Curves doesn’t make the cut in today’s market, from the personal research I’ve done interviewing over a dozen owners and listening to experts in the field.

    Yes, Mr./Ms. Current Curves Owner, I don’t know anything about your financial situation. You’ve elected not to share that. Instead, you end your prior post with ‘DON’T HESITATE OR YOU WILL REGRET IT!” Another emotionally-driven statement that translates to “misery loves company.” I just don’t think that’s right, or makes any sense.

    You’ve interpreted my comments as “so negative,” but I’m only sharing information and insights. Don’t take it personally. The fact that you’re reacting so emotionally shows I’ve said things that ring true in your situation. Don’t get mad at me and say everyone is pathetic. I know it’s difficult, but try to direct your anger towards the real cause.

  • Jose

    It is a welcomed Thank You to those who wish no longer to hear the truth about franchising we bid you goodbye but wish you all well. Let me tell everyone why I waited in the background to express what I do and why I am so concerned with those who attempt to buy franchises today without the proper evautional and an exit plan, (should your plan of buying a Curves or any other franchise fail.)
    I own a national franchise and in the past have hired consultants that had great sales backgrouds but that was it, the truth is they are all out for them selves. Over the past year these consultants who I will not name, Sold 5 franchises for my company. The first one opened and within 90 days the new owner thought I can run this my way. Having No experience she then began doing her thing and not operating as per UFOC. Well she no longer operates my franchise. She has been allowed to run her own in her own name but she is failing. The second female decided she would pay the franchise fee, lie on the application and then later admit she had no money to open but felt compelled to buy because she liked the salesman. She is not in business now. The 3rd a man decided he after paying his franchise fee, he did not want to do it anymore and lost his money although rumer is he went and opened his own. and the forth the man and wife opened and after 3 months failed to pay any creditor leaving over $450,000.00 debt at Chapter 7 Bankrupcy.
    Well I fired all the sales people and decided I would no longer persue selling my company to those who really have no business sense. Because I can make money does not mean I can make others money. I have found that people today want to get rich quick and do not understand there are no promisses in business. you must work hard and you must be willing to have an exit plan. I also realize that no sales person is truely interested in what I was trying to accomplish. I truly intended to help those around me make money by advising them but the consultants found the wrong people and sold, sold, sold regardless of the loss to others.
    My company will no longer use these sales sharks! and myself I will demand that any future owners have an attorney to review and insure they are quailified to operate a business.
    So to those Curves owners or sales people. “It is about the money in the sales business, not about the client”. If I had to sum it up I would advise caution today when considering a franchise. any franchise. Do not listen to those ads that claim ( fastest Growing. or the newest craze, or entrepenuer magazines top 50 franchises to buy.) We franchisors love to place ads into these magazines to get your attention and convince you mentally that we are the best. We may not be the best for you! but for some we may. Franchising is expensive and hard work, so invest in a managed money account for security for you and your family.
    Then once your family is safe borrow to buy a francise. But remember there is a risk and you MUST have an exit plan!!!!!
    Only then You will win!
    Stay away from any womens only 30 min franchise at this time the are volatile!

  • sean

    Jose: Your story is very common for young franchise companies and most don’t survive the initial lesson that you have. Most new franchisors feel they need experienced franchise salespeople to help them quickly sell and recoup their initial investments. I argue against it, and advise them to be involved in and take responsibility for the process themselves. New franchisors want salespeople who will work off commissions and then are surprised that they do whatever it takes to get the commission. Also, there are very few decent salespeople who will work with a start-up franchisor.
    It’s critical to be sure that you are accepting the right candidate with the right expectations, and that you know they haven’t been allowed to have unrealistic expectations or provided with earnings claims or cost projections that turnout to be inaccurate. You have your work cut out for you overcoming the stigma of those early failures.

  • Hope

    I have decided not to “buy” the franchise that I work at mostly because I wanted a full service ladies gym to begin with.. I want to get into personal training, to offer classes and other things Curves does not offer or allow a franchisee to offer. I thought Curves would be a great way to enter the market and get experience mostly because the owners at the Curves that I work at are giving it away to someone who is willing to take over expenses. Yep, they had been trying to sell it for months (since September) and have resorted to just giving it away. As you can probably guess it is currently losing money but I thought I could turn it around and I still think I could have but it would require a lot of time and marketing… My plan was to hang on to it for 2 years and make it profitable then sell it and get into a full service gym. I think Jose is right about Curves being a fad.. they need to change with the times or they will be out of business. The members I work with are asking for more.. for classes like yoga and palates and other things… several of them have a treadmill or elliptical at home and one member actually joined a fitness 18 to step up her game she said she was going to do both Curves and fitness 18 but how long will she pay for two gym memberships??? The personal trainer in me wants to give my members all they need to have a well balanced fitness program. I do like how Curves appeals to women who would not workout if it wasn’t for the 30 minute circuit and I think the new smart equipment might revitalize the current fitness program and make it more valuable (i.e member will get more out of there workout and see better results) which will help the business. I do not have anything against Curves and I have actually enjoyed working there but for me it was not the right investment. I do wish people would stop getting offended so easily and stop making blanket statements about everyone here.. I do feel it is meant to be helpful. I did not like everything people have said either but I am glad this site had both points of view because I really was excited about becoming a fitness center owner and I really needed to see the obstacles because I already had the optimism.

  • Jose

    Good Decision Hope. I am a 3rd level Certified Personal Trainer also and feel strongly in the quality care of people. Like doctors we have to earn the trust of people we help. We do no have members, we have clients to which we grow very close too as we train them. Our Clients love us sometimes more than family because we truly understand that we all need help. CPT’s are always there to help, and we pour our heart into what we do. Hope, you will do well in the future to open a club of your own but it will be hard work and not always profitable. I can tell you that I have had many negative cash flow months, but I have had some great positive cash flow months. Your focus has to be on the business or it will never work. Curves is not the fit or the answer for anyone, it is a fad and very risky.
    The new smart equipment is simply a devise that reads green for go and red for nogo. It works on the priciple that if you push and pull harder you will do more work. The problem is people, and the fact that the Hydraulic equipment is cheap and offers no negative muscle building potential.
    Boring workouts and limited excitement. I think it is a last ditch effort to keep Curves alive. You might call it a defibulator for curves attempting to restart the dead heart.
    One last thing. Becoming a fitness center owner will not be profitable in one year so you must put savingS away AND protect your finances. Never, ever spend your retirement or 401 k or absulutely never use your home to finance your business. Insulate yourself from it and protect yourself should it not work. A wise man once said ( Hine site is 20/20 Be optimistic not stupid! Do not let your dreams blind you of the reality. Hard work pays off if one is wise. The quick to get rich soon finds themselves poor.
    Wishing you Health and Wealth

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Four years ago, our Curves once had 1,100 members and was named franchise of the year for the Southeast region. Money was pouring in. Life was good.

    Then Curves split our territory. Rather than lose half our membership, we foolishly purchased it, doubling our expenses. Our state also suffered through eight hurricanes and a tanking housing market.

    To make a long story short, we were forced to sell the two clubs last July to a relative and former co-owner for a measly DOLLAR to avoid being sued by that relative. We’re $270K poorer and I’m currently filling out bankruptcy paperwork. We’re barely hanging on to our house. We have two young children who likely have lost any chance of attending college someday unless they win scholarships.

    The Curves dream became a nightmare for us. Don’t let it happen to you.

  • Kunst


    I am sorry for your misfortune. But there is something wrong with your story.

    First of all, Curves does not split existing territories. Either you are talking about a neighboring unsold territory that you took rather than someone else, or you chose to split your territory.

    To “make a long story short”, you say it’s all Curves’ fault. If you had 1100 members then, as you said, money was pouring in. Even half that many members is a very successful club. My guess is that you wound up with fewer members, spread over two clubs and twice the overhead.

    There are ways to cut your expenses when membership drops. It’s hard for me to understand how you could be “$270K poorer” and going bankrupt. Even a failing club has some income and can cover most of the expenses. Your partner problems are probably a symptom of something more to the story. Any legal expenses involved?

    – End of direct reply to Sadderbutwiser.

    When Curves was booming back in 2003-2005, a lot of owners split their territories or bought an additional one. We did both. A lot of owners also committed to larger spaces and/or higher rents, which made them more vulnerable when things turned down.

    Curves has definitely declined financially over the last 3 years. We own four clubs in California, none of which we work in, and are making a very satisfactory living. Yes, it is half what it was three years ago, but that was twice what the two of us had ever made combined in our high-tech jobs.

    Our territory split was ill-advised, and we are working with Curves corporate to recombine that territory into one. Even our one unsuccessful club is at or near break-even.

    A lot of Curves owners were ill-prepared for the business. It was hard not to be successful during the fad phase. Now that it is hard work and a difficult environment, a lot of owners are struggling. Often that is because of their lack of business skills and/or prior mistakes. No one is guaranteed success in business.

    I have been watching the comments on this board that correctly point to the fact that Curves is a lot less lucrative business than in the past. Curves overexpanded, aided by the greed of us owners. It was a fad to a considerable degree. While what Curves offers is good and valuable, the fact is that we’re fighting human nature. People don’t want to exercise, and can always find a reason to quit if they so choose. That’s especially true of Curves’ target market, who are quite the opposite of committed exercisers. At the same time, Curves works if you do it, and our aging population needs exercise to stay healthy.

    With the economy turning down, life is going to be difficult in Curves land. A number of clubs are going to go out of business, but many others will persevere. It may not be the most lucrative of businesses, but it has its pluses. If you’re just doing it to make money, do something else.

    Final note to those considering purchasing a Curves. The smart owners sold 2-3 years ago at the peak. Clubs go for a lot less now. The accounting for this business is very simple. Everything drives off the membership. Make sure you know exactly how many members the club has, and confirm that revenue (bank deposits) confirm that. Expenses are pretty straightforward. If the club has a clean P&L, you should be able to tell what kind of a profit it is making. If not, find one that does. You can adjust for any changes you will make, such as working in the business.

    The key is membership. Overall Curves membership has dropped on the order of half in the last 3 years. With the economy likely going into a recession, further decreases are quite likely. Some clubs have stabilized, some a happily profitable levels, some just making ends meet. If you think you can do a better job than the current owner — specifically at increasing the membership level — test and retest that theory. It may be true, but often is not. Make sure you know what the breakeven point is in terms of number of members.

    I think Curves is going through a time of trial that will be very difficult. I also think there will be a better day on the other side for those that make it there. Curves is pretty wonderful in its own way, but it may not make you rich. If you’re looking at Curves as a passive investment, buy a CD instead.

    – I will go back to reading this discussion now.

  • sean

    Kunst makes some good points. A few things occur to me.
    Kunst wrote: Curves has definitely declined financially over the last 3 years. We own four clubs… and are making a very satisfactory living. Yes, it is half what it was three years ago, but that was twice what the two of us had ever made…
    Kunst: you are fortunate to have good locations in strong markets that you could survive a 50% reduction and still be profitable even without working the club yourself. Imagine how difficult it was for those who had average or marginal locations to begin with and then took a 50% reduction. It sounds as if you had a goldmine, then had to settle for a normal, profitable business. They started with a normal, profitable business and wound up with a distressed club or outright failure.
    If you had 1100 members then, as you said, money was pouring in. Even half that many members is a very successful club. My guess is that you wound up with fewer members, spread over two clubs and twice the overhead.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but two of the main problems facing not only Curves but all 30 Minute Workout Clubs are member retention and increasing competition and saturation. Just because a club has 1100 members one year doesn’t mean they can count on that the next year, even if they do a great job. 250 of those members are going back to the couch and their new big screen with remote, 150 are going to try out one of the 5 knockoffs closer to their house, 150 are going to Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem, and maybe 100 were so successful they’re moving up to a full service club. So you need constant recruitment just to replace the members you lose… but now there’s lots of competition.
    A lot of Curves owners were ill-prepared for the business. It was hard not to be successful during the fad phase. Now that it is hard work and a difficult environment, a lot of owners are struggling. Often that is because of their lack of business skills and/or prior mistakes. No one is guaranteed success in business.
    Curves, and all the 30 minute fitness clubs that followed, made (and make) “no experience necessary” one of their main selling points. As Kunst points out, this didn’t matter much when people were streaming in the door, but now that there’s a challenge to overcome, years of experience bringing in and keeping members could make a critical difference. However, its unfair to infer that the lack of industry experience is the franchisee’s fault when they were told over and over that that wasn’t a factor.
    Experienced, successful health club owners I’ve had as clients told me that relying on membership fees is one of the major mistakes health club owners make. They contend that the membership fees pay the rent, the eqpt lease, and the utilities, but profitability depends on add-on sales and services: personal training, classes, merchandise, supplements, apparel, etc. They say the 30 minute clubs are doomed to marginal profitability because they’re just not set up for anything but membership fees. What do you think? This would explain the current struggles. A member of a full service club potentially represents thousands of dollars per year in revenue if they end up with a personal trainer, but a 30 minute club member can only represent maybe, what, $600 per year in revenue?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    I’m not laying all the blame on Curves. We made just about every mistake business owners could make. The No. 1 mistake my wife and I made was entering into business without any business experience. But a family member made an offer we couldn’t afford to pass up. Unfortunately we got left holding the bag when the smoke had cleared.

    Curves certainly could have made things easier by NOT offering so many franchises in our area. We had 18 in a 72-mile county: one for every four miles. Had we been able to keep our territory to the west without having to purchase it outright, we’d still be in business today and doing well.

    A Curves to our south once sold for $180,000. It’s listed for $35K today and STILL remains unsold.

    I feel for ALL struggling Curves owners. We’ve been there and are still trying to overcome the fiscal blow.

    A South Florida law firm is assembling a class-action lawsuit against Curves. Hundreds are participating. Club owners who had to close due to oversaturation of the market may still be able to participate.

  • Jose

    Hello Sadderbutwiser.
    I am not defending Curves, believe me, I do not care for the type of business model they have or how they created more territories than could be profitable for anyone let alone you. Their greed has caused the demise of many wanting to get rich quick Like yourself, but sadly found that it was only a dream.
    I understand the frustration you feel but it is not the time to run for the class action lawsuit. Law firms are natorious for selling you the loser a fake dream of becoming rich and regaining your loss, It is a lie, they are the ones who win not you. Take my advise and run from any law firm encouraging you to enter into the class action law suit. SHould you lose and you will!! you will be resposible for all attorney bills as if you had hired them. The legal bill could run into the
    1 million dollar range and you will have to pay a portion of the bill if you loose. Remember Class action law suits only benefit the law firm not you. You knew your rights when you bought and did it anyway. You admit that, so take the loss and learn. If you get involved into this litigation you will lose even more. The layers will make up stuff and get you to agree by twisting the truth do not be fooled or you”ll be the FOOL.
    Good Luck if you get involved You’ll need it!
    P.S. and bring your check book!

  • Been there

    You have no clue about what you are talking about. Lawyers are hired on a contingency basis so if they don’t win, they don’t get anything. They won’t take a case if they think it doesn’t have a chance of winning in court. Been there, done that.

  • Patricia

    What planet have you been living on Mr./Ms. Been there? Attorneys only take a case on contingency in personal injury matters. Have an auto accident, slip and fall in a department store, bitten by a neighbor’s dog, sure they’ll take it on contingency – but only it’s a good case.

    What Jose is talking about is not personal injury cases, but commercial litigation. It’s strictly pay by the hour, $300 to $500 an hour, these days. Doesn’t matter if its a commercial class action suit. All that means is there are more people to share the high hourly rate. If the underlying contract has a “prevailing party entitled to attorneys fees,” and that side wins, the other side is ordered to reimburse what the winning side has already paid their litigation attorney. But even here, that’s usually reduced by the court if it feels the total fees paid are not “reasonable.” Do a little research on franchise class action lawsuits before you start calling others names and exposing your own ignorance. You’ll learn a lot.

  • GT

    Hey guys, no need to be cruel here. I am a former Curves owner and I was asked to be part of this lawsuit and we are on a contingency agreement with our law firm. They will get a huge chunk if we are successful, but we are not paying anything upfront I assure you. I also successfully sued the gentleman who sold my Curves, for fraud, so there is hope for us in this case.

  • Jose

    Hello those of you who think that sueing is the easy way out. In most cases the party that is sued is forced to file bankrupcy due to lack of money trying to defend false or even proper litigation, in which case court reporter fees, deposition and other fees must be paid by both parties regardless of who wins the case.
    The reason I posted information on the site was to inform parties interested and sueing that it is not an easy road and there are no garauntees. If you have a lagitimate case against Curves I believe you have every right to seek punitive damages, but if you have made a decision like the women Donna who decided to move forward and buy Curves even after given good sound and researched advise you deserve what you get. I believe you are the dishonest person and a thief if you bring action against anyone or any company because you deciced not to do your homework and seek professional advise. In such cases I believe you will not win. This is the case with class action lawsuits. Many of these suits are filed on behalf of one disgruntled franchisee, the attorney will then call other franchisees who may be haveing a hard time and place doubt into there mind and beg them to get involved. Most of the time this is done as a tactic to pressure the franchisor to give in to the demands for fear they may lose if 20 or more franchisees make simular claims. In fact false claims such as Trademark, UFOC and other such alligations in regards to franchise operations are common in all cases. The federal trade commission is well aware of these false and frivolous suits. A smart business person will always attempt to solve problems and create more by being ignorant. Put your emotiona asise and think what is best for your family. Jumping into any suit may put your wealth and mariage in jeopardy. Focus on your family and you will hvae peace and confidnce to move forward.
    God Luck!
    As for GT who claims he successfully sued. That is non sense, no one wins and I can tell you 99% on the time he will not collect. To those who want to pay. Send him $50 dollars month for 70 years he will never collect it all.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    My wife and I can’t take part in the lawsuit even if we could, because we sold our clubs instead of closing them. (For 50 cents each, plus debt.) Only owners who were forced to close their clubs can participate.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Here’s the law firm info. I’m not sure whether they’re accepting new clients, but it might be worth a try to send them an e-mail to inquire about the status of the case.

    Good luck!

    Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito, P.A.
    Address: Bank Of America Tower
    Ste. 2700
    100 Southeast 2nd Street
    Miami, FL 33131-2193
    Phone: (305) 374-5418
    Fax: (305) 374-5428
    E-mail: Contact Us
    Contact Us
    Web site:

  • Sadderbutwiser

    BTW, we were told they were charging about $3,500 per club in up-front fees to participate, so have some cash ready.

  • Jose

    GT and (Been there) were incorrect. Please see my argument above. As I said before the Lawers win! not You.
    Thank You Sadderbutwiser for the honest Truth. Notice the $3500. retainer X 100 equals $350K for nothing. I checked out the web site and sure enough this Law firm is a Shark looking for fools to make false claims! They admit they specialize if FINDING or more like making up false claims against Franchisors. They can only make money if thery sue. No litigation, No money!

  • Vicki

    I have owned five Curves for 9 years and have had an income of $6,500,000.00 over the last five years from those five clubs. (first four years I owned one, then two, then four, then five.) When Curves was selling franchises, every woman who purchased a territory would have KILLED to purchase another. Greed was rampant. Many potential “owners” were denied territories for various reasons and were LIVID. EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT PURCHASED A CURVES DID SO WITH FULL INFORMATION IN HIS/HER HAND. Curves is a movement, not just a health club. Of course, it is a “perpetual sales organization” – anyone in their right mind should have deduced that from the beginning. So is a car dealership a “perpetual sales organization;” the difference is that Curves has a monthly generated income.
    Where in the WORLD could you make an initial investment like you make with a Curves purchase and IMMEDIATELY have a monthly generated income?
    Of course, Curves is a business. Of course, it has it’s operating modality. Of course, it is women’s fitness. It is the PEOPLE who own and RUN the business that make the business. Lots of people bought Curves that shouldn’t have bought any business. That isn’t Curves’ fault; the same people that are suing to blame Curves for their failures would have SUED CURVES if Curves had refused them the territory to begin with.
    The world is full of victims and excuse makers. The world is full of failures. ANY business has its history of failures, bankruptcies, and wimps. There may be a Curves shakedown — McDonald’s has had it, Burger King has had it, Hardees, Wendy’s….you name it. Unlike the aforementioned businesses, however, CURVES has changed the lives of millions of women for the BETTER!
    It isn’t the “palace” that makes the business; it’s the people running the business that make it work! It is the true entrepreneurial spirit that forges ahead and finds the success through hard work and hard working people.
    Curves is one of the BEST enterprises out there! Curves is one of the MOST amazing businesses I know. Curves is low overhead, manipulative expenses and payroll, cash flow business. It would be STUPID not to see it for what it is, and not to understand it from the beginning. Why would any smart person get into something without understanding it to begin with!!?
    IF there are Curves’ going out of business, the current, successful Curves owners will scoop them up and RUN THEM! There may be a shakedown, but there won’t be a death!
    Curves isn’t going away! Curves is an institution! It is a household name! Curves is a niche in the fitness marketplace that will be around forever.
    No other “copy cat” will ever be Curves. No other machines will ever out-do those little miraculous wonders! No other health club can even come CLOSE to the magic and wonder of Curves!!
    Snatch them up while you can!! Don’t buy one if you can’t run one!
    My husband and I second mortgaged our house to start our first Curves and we paid our second mortgage off in six months. We bought our $350k dream house compliments of Curves, and we both work Curves full time now and LOVE IT! We have 40 employees, and a warehouse. We have amazing members and amazing employees. We have been to Alaska twice and Hawaii once in the last three years.
    Businesses have their “ups and downs.” McDonald’s survived the “low carb” craze, and Curves will survive through all phases of business opportunities, too.
    Mega health clubs with marble floors and swimming pools go under by the thousands!! Curves, on the other hand, has a bottom line that can be flexible and manipulated through all business trends. Of course there will be times when membership is “low” or “down” from last year. BUILD YOUR BUSINESS!! Do you think that Subway doesn’t have it’s “down” months? Curves is a phenomenon!
    Seems like this site has attracted a bunch of whining, complaining, excuse-making losers!! We make the world in which we live!!!
    I’ll tell ya what — if there were Curves in my area that were “failing” because they were owned by a whiner, I’d SCOOP THEM UP and polish them up, and go to Hawaii again!!
    The successful owners will profit from the fall-out of the whiners.
    Don’t mean to sound harsh — I just want you to know the naysayers are always naysayers. The successful businesses are the ones that survive!

  • Vicki

    Oh, one more thing! I’ll tell you WHY sites like this seem to some from a negative stand: the whiners and excuse-makers have all the time in the world! The successful owners have better things to do than get caught up in this MANURE.
    so there!!
    Go out and be smart whatever you do, and MAKE IT WORK!!

  • Sadderbutwiser


    Congratulations on your amazing success. Wish you lived near us. We would have sold you our clubs in a heartbeat before it was too late.

    How many members do you have at each club?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Here’s more evidence that the Curves glory years may have passed . . .

  • Sadderbutwiser


    Using my trusty calculator I figured out your clubs would have had to gross $1.3 million a year for the past five years for you to have earned $6.5 million.

    Each club must have grossed about $260,000 a year to make the $1.3 million total. That’s roughly 550 members at each club. Am I close?

    If so, you are to be congratulated for having such high membership numbers and for being able to keep them at around that level for so long.

    But please remember that most clubs have nowhere near that kind of membership, and show some compassion for owners who did it the Curves way but were still unable to duplicate your level of success.

    I’m not here to whine and complain. My wife and I made our bed. Now we’re sleeping in it. I’m simply here as a former co-owner of one of Curves’ most successful franchises to warn others not to make the mistakes we made, and take a good look at current trends. And right now Curves is trending downward, as the above article indicates.

  • Been there

    sadderbutwiser-you speak the truth about what is happening with respect to a person buying into the women’s fitness business. Sure, maybe these people don’t understand that we are told that people with little or no experience are able to run this type of business. That’s what the UFOC states. Usally, people that claim such success are liars, and or in denial, and like to boast of unrealistic success so others will believe that they are successful. I am in a current lawsuit (not a class action lawsuit), that claims fraud, so the franchisor can file bankruptcy, but that doesn’t protect them from legal proceedings. We paid our lawyer very little to begin with and he will only take under 13% of the winnings, so I know more than they think I do. Keep up the pretense people. Good luck!

  • Jose

    I think this Vicky must work for Curves because her facts are not indicative of the truth! The overhead and cost of operating her clubs are never taken into consideration nor are the work hours or rent. I think she is making up all this stuff so that others reading this blog will want to buy into the Curves Lie. Trust me when I tell You that the curves name does not have a good response from people. it is not considered a health club and they have not helped Millions because they all quit to go to real health clubs. Sorry Vicki but you should not lie to people. I hope Curves is paying you well.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    We just got served our foreclosure lawsuit papers tonight – 8 p.m. on a Saturday with the kids (3 and 5) in their PJs wondering who’s knocking at the door so late and why daddy’s screaming in rage and frustration in the garage after the process server leaves.

    Nice timing, jerkoff.

  • sean

    We’re sorry to hear about the foreclosure papers being served. Hang in there.

  • Jose

    I am also sorry to hear about your foreclosure paperwork. I do not know the debth of the situation but Now you can attempt to sell at a lower price. Sale in Lui of foreclosure. The bank will allow you to sell below market value once a foreclosure has been posted against you. You must list it as quickly as possible.

  • Karen

    Curves got me off the couch, which was a great thing. I lost 24 inches. However, I think it’s time for me to move on and take my membership elsewhere.

    Lately, I haven’t been that happy with our owner. She pushes all kinds of “quacky” products, to the benefit of her own pocket book. Our equipment is looking more beaten up everyday. We’d love for her to get the Curves Smart equipment (and to fix the existing equipment) but her answer is always “well if you girls get me 100 new members…”

    Also, due to the constant repetition of the same muscle groups over and over and over I had to see a physical therapist for my neck and back.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Check out this article. This was OUR story a few years back. WE signed up 800 members our first year. WE were Curves Franchise of the year for the Southeastern Region in 2004.

    Today, we’re bankrupt and facing foreclosure, while the relative who forced us to surrender our two clubs for 50 cents apiece plus debt or face a lawsuit is watching membership sink to about 245 at each club. There’s NO way she’s even coming CLOSE to making a profit. We hear she’s stripped staff to the bone and has stopped handing out T-shirts and other freebies.

    Luckily for her, she’s got a millionaire daddy with deep pockets who’s probably losing a minimum $10K a month (like we did) keeping those clubs on life support while they desperately look for a buyer.

    If I could tell this woman in N.C. something, I’d BEG her to SELL HER CLUB ASAP, before the downturn starts. She even mentions that keeping members motivated is her biggest challenge. That’s the first sign of impending doom. We failed to heed the warnings in time. Maybe this woman won’t make our mistake.

    This article also mentions that Contours is predicting successful expansion. LOL! They’re on a death watch!

    In April 2003, Goodwin opened her own Curves unit. “I had absolute confidence in the program, and I went to Club Camp to learn how to run a Curves,” she says. In her first year, Goodwin had more than 800 members. And a few years later, she was named 2006 Curves Franchisee of the Year for the Southeastern Region��”and, fittingly enough, older sister Sue Mercier, in Pelham, N.H., won the award for the Northeastern Region.

    Today Goodwin says her greatest challenge (and joy, she adds) is keeping her members motivated. “For some people, it takes more than earning Curves Cash and other incentive programs,” she says. “Some people expect a quick fix or the same amount of weight loss as someone else. It just takes time for something to trigger in them, to help them use Curves more effectively,” she says.

    One of the biggest factors contributing to the continuing growth of women’s weight loss and fitness centers is the breadth of programs and opportunities they offer to customers and franchisees alike. In addition to diet and exercise programs and equipment, they combine, in varying degrees, lifestyle, wellness, and beauty programs. They also are social centers, fostering community, boosting self-esteem, and giving women much more than traditional gyms and workout centers (where membership and attendance frequently falls off after the novelty is gone).

    Franchisors in this segment have high expectations for growth. At Contours Express, with 360 U.S. sites and 600 globally, executives project at least 1,000 clubs worldwide by 2009. Liberty Fitness, with 61 women’s fitness centers in 16 states, predicts 1,500+ units within the next five years.

  • Janeane

    This is a franchise that is dying off quick. The drop out rate of members is 2 years so how is an owner to make money with no members. If you are in a small town with small demographic, good luck. YOU WILL go out of business. I owned and independent ladies circuit before there was a Curves club located in California. I have had a huge drop off in clientelle and have had to expand adding a co-ed gym, classes and other things to attract people back to my gym. I’m thankfull I never wasted the money to be part of a franchise that would die off. 10,000 locations HUH? I can almost guess that there are less than 1/3rd of them in business. DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!!

  • Jose

    The womens only trend will disappear for another 20 years for franchises and the independent ones may survive. A friend and his wife opened a womens only club called Leading Lady fitness. He told me it just hit the black after 1.5 years. I told him that is terrible. He was flouting his club for 1.5 years and still have not made any money. What I realized is that owning a extremely large or very small club has the same problems. In a large club you have too much overhead. In a very small club you cannot get enough members to be profitable. I believe you need a moderate Club of about 5 k sq ft and go into it with no debt to make any money, but you will still never get rich. The trend is gone. I think if your considering a business get into something with more Cash sales. say Ice cream. Low overhead small and easy to operate.

  • Christy

    Curves are very lucrative franchises. Look up curves smart somewhere- youtube preferably. They are the new wave in technology and definately outdoes all other gyms. Most big health clubs are so scared of a curves in their town, they try to copy one in the facility. Nothing compairs to Curves….. Nothing

  • Christy

    By the way to ALL YOU NAYSAYERS: If you have neck injuries, they are not from constant motion- I have a chiropracter who is a member of my curves. She would have something to say about that. If you are having financial issues, maybe you are living beyond your means. I cant stand when people bad talk a good pure thing. If you dont like your owner, its not why you need to take your membership elsewhere and say it doesnt work. It does. You have to believe in something completely for it to work. Have a great night!

  • Jose

    Many people are wondering why these fitness franchises as well as otehr new one’s are having problems becoming competitive. Here is one reason all must evaluate. Every franchise that sets a low fixed royalty say $399.00 per month sets you up for failure. Here’s why. In order for any franchisor to make money he must increase how many franchises he sells and attempt to saturate the market. This is the only way they can make money with a fixed royalty. This is the reason why the territories are set so close together say 3 miles or in some cases less. Franchises that charge a percentage of total gross sales work for you. They do not set locations to close together or the gross sales of each location drops and so does there overall profit. I most cases it is better for a new owner to buy a franchise that charges a percentage of gross sales, this encourages the franchisor to get involved and market. The franchisor now becomes your partner not your boss.
    Think about it and stay away from franchisors that fix the royalty, there is no reason for them to spend money to help you they have nothing to gain.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    We had 18 Curves in our county. Seven are currently for sale – for far less than they were purchased – at McCord Business Brokers, which sells Curves exclusively. Two have closed. Another club purchased less than two years ago for $185,000 was listed at $49,000 and recently was sold, probably for less than that.

    That’s half of the Curves in our county either for sale or closed.

    I rest my case.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Christy, go to McCord Business Brokers and look at the asking prices for Curves for sale. Years ago, people were asking $450,000 – $500,000 a club. One owner in Indiana wanted ONE MILLION DOLLARS for five clubs!

    Today you see many prices at $50,000 or less, owners saying “no reasonable offer refused,” etc. You RARELY see a club for sale with price above $200,000.

    I saw one club in San Antonio offered for $10,000, even less than the original franchise fee!

    Bottom line: Owners are DESPERATE to dump their Curves.

  • sean

    Sadderbutwiser said: Today you see many prices at $50,000 or less, owners saying “no reasonable offer refused,” etc.

    And don’t forget that the broker’s fees will be deducted from that amount also.

    How does the Curves resale program work? Is McCord Business Brokers owned by Curves or one of the subsidiaries? It looks like reselling Curves is their entire business. Does the franchisor make money off the resale of existing stores? (

  • Sadderbutwiser

    McCord is Curves’ exclusive broker. They charge an 8 percent commission to sell a club.

  • Jessie

    I am currently in the negotiating process to buy our local curves franchise. We are in a town of approx 7000. I have been a member for 3 year and have lost 110 lbs and many, many inches. However, I need to make the decision to buy with my head – not my heart. Does anyone out there have experience in owing a curves in a small community? The good thing is there are no other franchised fitness centers in our town and no other Curves.

  • Sadderbutwiser


    Check the number of check drafts. Do not go by total membership.

    Is membership growing, static or declining?

    Curves has always been vague about fair asking prices for clubs. I’ve heard $50,000 per 100 members. A better gauge may be multiplying the number of members by 400.

    What is the rent?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Update: Now EIGHT of 18 Curves in our county are for sale, according to the McCord listings, including two of our former clubs. Guess the new owner was wrong when she thought she could do it better than us.

    Two other Curves already have closed.

    Man the lifeboats! Abandon ship!

  • sean

    Sadder & Others:
    How does Curves react when owners close their clubs? Do they hold them accountable for future royalties? Make the sign non-disclosure agreements? Or just let them go away?

  • sean

    …And who owns McCord Business Brokers? Does anyone know?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Apparently, Curves lets them go away without any trouble, but I’m not sure. We came close to finding out last year.

    I think McCord is based in Texas, like Curves. We were told of them when we put out word that we were selling our clubs.

  • Jose

    I check out the new Curves Smart system. This is not new technology. It is built my “myTrak”company of canada. I had seen and have spoken to the owner of the company years ago. at that time to install this on hydaulic equipment was $10,000 which is more than the value of the curves equipment, which cost $3000. for 10 pieces and sold for a wopping $30K to the new curves owners. mytrack is marketing this system to all strength manufactureres. 3 years ago and did a demo of the mytrak system. The system is also now used by Strive and they call it the strive smart circuit which has the same mytrak system.
    the mytrak webste
    anyone can buy this system. I have a deep knowledge of how it works if you have any questions. That said the curves equipment will still not provide its members with both positive and negative resistance for proper body toning and muscle build. This Quote new technology is basic in nature using the priciple of load vs time and the green just makes you attempt to go faster. The system works on plate loaded equipment but not hydraulic circuit equipment. Nothing replaces cert personal trainers.

  • Jessie


    I’m not sure about the growth our our club. The current owner has only had it for about one year. I’m the only seriously interested party she has had so far. It seems that the membership has declined since she purchased as she fired the manager as soon as she took over. I have an appointment with an accountant for some input on the purchase tomorrow. There are currently 187 active members. 95% are check drafts. I’d like to think I could improve upon what she’s done but its the heart vs. head thing again.

  • sean

    Open (and maybe dumb) question to all you fitness club experts:

    Does Curves – and other 30 Minute clubs – offer certified personal training? If not, why not?

    I’ve heard that the facilities don’t have A. The space, and B. the right equipment. However, I know plenty of trainers who work with clients in their homes. Certainly they have less space and equipment.

    I know this is so obvious that there must be a reason. What is the average monthly fee for Curves? $29 – $39? So the potential revenue per member is $480?

    Personal trainers charge $50-$75 an hour average. Even if the owner’s cut was $25 per session, each member with a weekly training session would represent $1350 in potential additional revenue, for a total annual revenue of $1850. And that’s using outside trainers with only a 50/50 split, and only 1 hour session (or two 1/2 hour sessions) per week.

    Each of these members would generate as much revenue as 4 membership-only members.

    This is so obvious that I don’t want to insult anyone by thinking this hasn’t been considered and tried. I’m just curious as to why I don’t see this being pursued as a solution. Thanks.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Curves advises against offering any services outside the regular circuit, such as personal trainers, tanning beds, yoga classes, etc.

    But with membership declining and Curves owners losing their shirts, I’m sure more are violating that recommendation and doing whatever they can to generate additional income to stay afloat.

    We could sell Curves clothing, supplements, and toward the end, Curves bars. The clothing and the supplements rarely sold. The bars were popular at one club, but you could buy them cheaper at a Walgreen than you could get them wholesale.

  • Jose

    Curves does not offer any type of cert per training. No other womens only clubs offer cert personal trainers. Most frachises want to keep clubs costs low so they discourage any additional services unless it benefits the franchisor. Curves for example has an agreement with my track to make money so now they have decided to promote a high cost electronic system that attaches to the machines. They make false claims that this system is better than a personal which it is not, and they forget to tell the comsumer that there is an addition $15.00 per month charge as well as the normal monthly$39.99 charge to have this service. now many new members will be convinced to pay $50.00 and month to go to curves when they can attend a full service club for less money that has everything and more. like the food curves offers it is an attempt for the franchior to make money on the franchisee with no real benefit to the customer. The average curves is 900 sq ft as well as the copy franchises like ladies workout express or contours and shapes. Anyone can buy a franchise so many of the owners are fat and out of shape and are only buying for greed thinking they can get rich quick. This flaw is why the curves and other womens only will not survive. Women deserve and want more for less. The Curves owners have no idea what this new system all about! It is funny that women on TV that talk about the new Curves Smart system are saying it is the most advanced in the world. This is totally untrue. The YMCA and other clubs have had this technology for years. Health clubs need to focus on peoples needs not selfish sales tactics for profit. As sadderbutwiser said’ Curves is promoting candybars in stores today they call food. This alone makes it difficult for people to take this franchise seriously. If cert personal trainers sold this stuff they would be laughed out of business, but it’s OK for those out of shape curves owners to sell this stuff. Sean asked the question why Curves does not offer Cert personal training. The answer is: They cannot the equipment is no good for anyone but the very elderly who can barely walk or very obese who want to talk and not exercise. No trainer including myself could give a member of curves a workout that they could change for 90 days. It just is not possible. Curves will never incorporate Cert Per trainers unless the company can make money for itself. Cash can be hidden so the company does not benefit from this service. The rule of franchising is if it cannot be tracked it cannot be done. So I think in the future Curves will start another service that they can make money on then and only then can the owners start using trainers. I know of curves in this area that make cash but not reporting sales so they can stay afloat. There is a curves 1 mile from me that is soon to go out of business because they have no members and they have already sold the other 2 they use to have which are also failing. The only one that will be left is owned by a wealth couple who have more money than they need and so it is a hobby. She is a stay at home women who bought a curves just to stay busy, her husband is a wealthy attorney. The other curves in the area are owed by average poor people wanting to get rich quick.
    Personal training is costly for the average person in todays economy so many trainers are having a hard time so they do not want to share the money with a curves if they do not have too.

    Thank You Sean for the article in this months Club industry magazine, it really highlights the problems with todays fitness franchises.
    Article “Too much of a Good thing “Pg 72 Club industry’s fitness business pro.
    I keep up with the industry news and am well informed of trends in this business.
    I think that private business that are operated by cert trainers have a higher chance of success than Curves or any other Womens only fitness franchise. Providing customer service is difficult for fitness franchises who have absentee owners.

  • Sadderbutwiser


    If you don’t mind working every single shift six days a week, then buy. Most clubs need 300-400 members just to break even.

    You didn’t mention rent. If it’s above $2,000, stay away.

    You said membership is declining. What makes you think it will turn around, especially in today’s terrible economy?

    All the warning signs are there. All the needles are pointing to the red I’d say no if I were you, unless you can financially withstand the blow of losing tens of thousands of dollars – or much more – rather quickly.

  • Kunst

    I have commented a couple times in the past (November and January).

    Jose, you obviously have a personal agenda that considerably exceeds your knowledge. A great deal of what you say is incorrect or misleading.

    Curves has done great things for many women of all ages. The Curves situation is challenging but there are arguments on both sides.

    Jose is simply not a credible voice in this discussion. I recommend that you ignore his diatribes. They are so unbalanced they are useless. Maybe he will find someplace else to rant.

  • sean

    Kunst: It would be more productive if you could attack and disprove the specific points Jose is making rather than say he should be ignored. I think he makes several valid points.

    1) Curves personal training: I did a search prior to my last comment and came across the gadget he’s talking about. It seemed ludicrous to me. By marketing a machine or gadget as “Personal” underscores how impersonal the program is.

    2) That Curves does not push personal training because it’s hard to track – and get royalties from. Jose’s point is not ludicrous in the least. One of the reasons some FRs use flat-fee royalties is because they are not making visits and don’t want a system where they can get cheated out of royalties. It’s easy to track product sales – like food and bars – but not personal services.

    3) Focusing on keeping women coming to the clubs and getting real results is in the best interest of both the franchisees and the women members. It would seem to me that if their mission to help women and franchisees is their priority, we would be seeing dramatic programs to help keep members from retreating back to the couch and the remote – and to stop falling for weight loss scams. Instead, we’re seeing Curves leverage their name with grocery store products, merchandise and electronic gadgets. I think this is a valid point – not an unbalanced diatribe.

    Kunst, Jose might have an agenda – or at least a bone to pick with Curves. He’s admitted to being a competitor. But he didn’t make up these problems & I his points are not off-the-wall.

    If women are not renewing, then they are probably not exercising – and are no longer supporting the Curves owner. This is lose-lose for both. Is Curves focused on solving this serious problem, in your opinion?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    I agree that Curves has done a great deal for women or all ages. But now that those women have gotten in shape, many are becoming bored with the circuit, or they’re going to a new generation of gyms they previously shied away from – such as Planet Fitness – which charge as little as $10 a month. And they’re often going with their husbands.

    Why pay $39 a month for one membership at Curves when a couple can work out for $20 a month total at Planet Fitness? How can Curves compete?

  • Jose

    Mr Kunst
    I believe I am bringing into this blog information that many people attempting to make a decision need proir to risking their money and saving for a ” CHANCE ‘ to be successful. It is everyones dream to win it big. Some threw Lottery as fooling as that is and some threw buying into a franchise that has a proven system to keep the risk low. Many people today simple trade Lotto for business and Gamble. I believe I bring to the table a wealth of Knowledge that may save many of the readers money. I believe unless we are honest about the downfalls of certain , not all franchises we will inevitable make a bad choice. This blog as sean said is not designed to attack Curves. Curves should be able to take care of itself. Curves is a large corporation and now its decisions are made by people who do not understand the needs of the franchisees. They have been only concerned with Utilizing the Name ( Trademark ) TM to make money. Once Curves diversify the service to its customers will deminish evern further. Now so I do not sound one sided I will point our names of other companies today that have done the same thing. Balleys Fitness Filed Bankrupcy last year with a Debt of 1.2 BILLION Dollars, stock worth at one point 6 cents a share. Nautilus, Cybez and many companies strugkling today to make make money yet still over charge for many of the items the make to the consumers loss.
    Other womens only clubs such as Contours Express, Butterfly life, Ladies Workout express Shapes, Slender lady, Lady of America, Woemens Only Workout, and I can list more are losing market share for the same reason Curves is so it is inevitable that Curves will suffer the same fate because of market saturation and lack of variety and personal service. As Sean said. the womens only clubs offer no personal training and service so women might as well go back to the coed clubs where the services are provided.
    Statistically 60% of all Coed club members are women. That is factual. Many women of whom will never go back to curves or OTHER womens only clubs. Sadderbutwiser is correct when he said that other co ed clubs are charging less. Why not put the nail in the curves coffin it is how business is done. Curves did it to the co-ed clubs and now the shoe is on the other foot. Couples today need to support each other and it is always better to exercise with your spouse or friend. I encourage it. For the homework anyone with a knowledge of nutrition, please view the nutritional inforation on all curves food products and you will see I am correct when I say Curves is more interested in pushing the name then fitness or good nutrition. A diet high in Curves products will make you fat.
    Mr Kunst I thank you for keeping up with this blog it is a good one, and probably the longest in history.
    P.S. Thank You Sean and saderbutwiser for the Logic and truth.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Looks like the downturn is affecting Curves’ exclusive broker, too. I logged on to see whether our old clubs had been sold yet. Instead I found the site was down and this cryptic message at another site:

    “Effective February 18, 2008 McCord Business Brokers, Ltd will no longer require a $2,000.00 commission deposit. We have restructured our commission rate as well. Please review the listing agreement for the new rate. This will not affect anyone currently listed with McCord Business Brokers, Ltd.”

    Under the new rate, an owner will pay the broker $5,000 if the gross sales price of the business is less than $50,000, $7,000 if the business price is $50,000-$70,000 and 8 percent if the club price is $100,000 or more.

    Here’s a link to the pdf agreement. . .

  • http://none potential

    Can anyone who is a current Curves owner answer a couple of questions for me? I am considering purchasing a Curves for sale:

    1. Can I have a male employee?
    2. Are the hours of operation limited?
    3. How much is the upgrade to CurvesSmart?

    I don’t need any advise on whether I should or shouldn’t buy-just answers to my questions would be helpful. Thank you.

  • Jose

    To potential. I think you are on the wrong web site. If you read the title it states. ” Is curves for women a good franchise investment.’ The key word is “INVESTMENT” . I think you need to seek legal advise not Blog group advise. If Curves cannot tell you what you need to know then you have real problems. If your just doing research Just come out and say, I need to know this information to tell others, or if you are another Curves owner spying on others to see if you were overcharged for your Curves Smart system , just come out and say it, but non the less. I can answer several Q’s for you.

    1. Curves discourages men in the club but male owners at times run the club.
    2 Are the hours limited? of course they are! Go to any curves and look for yourself.
    3. The Curves smart system should cost about $800.00 per machine but Curves will probably?overcharge for profit and charge about $1600.00 per machine.
    For accurate data contact Curves
    Good Luck

  • RMZ

    I would like to get some feedback from some current/previous Curves owners. I am considering purchasing an existing 2.5 year old franchise in a community of 4200 (2500 women with the median age being 45.5) that has one other full-service gym.

    The current owner is absentee and has actually moved to another state. Current membership is 223 with 07 gross sales of around $80K, expenses of $55 and cash flow of $22K. The owner has not advertised at all in 07, but spent about $2,000 in advertising in 06. 07 gross sales are about 25% less than 06.

    The asking price is $30K. What do you think?

  • http://none potential

    JOse you need to get a life and let the people who are either interested in buying a Curves, current or previous owners be the experts here. Find a job buddy. Get a life. You’re none of the above and you are on the wrong website.

  • PKJ

    Jose why are you slammig Curves? You say that we do not make enough money. If we made more our business would be worth more. I agree with the last comment Get a job and a life!
    RMZ I would proceed with caution, only because of the limited upside in member growth.

  • PKJ

    Jose must be smarter than General Mills, Kraft Foods, The Milk campaign, AARP, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Aetna and many more. All of these large companies have partnered with Curves. They must not have done their homework! Why would they join in with Curves if we have such a loosing company?
    Jose has some valid points, but his facts are incorrect. I think it is important to question why he attacks Curves. He says he has never owned one and yet he states his so called facts liberally. Where does he get his information from? I am an owner and I certainly get different information than he does.
    Well, food (Non Fattening) for thought.

  • http://ReplytoPotential Kunst

    1. Can I have a male employee?
    2. Are the hours of operation limited?
    3. How much is the upgrade to CurvesSmart?

    My wife and I own four Curves clubs in the Sacramento area. We opened two at the end of 2000 and two in the second half of 2003.

    1. Yes, you can have a male employee. I don’t know of any male employees, but I do know of male owners who work in the clubs. For the right person, this can work, but the #1 reason women are interested in Curves is “no men”. I know of one male owner in our area who is doing a great job and is appreciated by the members. That said, we have received some transfers who just didn’t like the idea.

    Related issue: my law-school-student daughter-in-law wrote me this: “Last week, in my employment discrimination class…we were just talking about when it is okay to make gender a prerequisite for a job, and the professor (who has argued more cases in front of the supreme court than anyone in history…and is a national expert in employment discrimination) asked a hypothetical about whether a Curves club could get away with hiring only women… You can just hire women since the “essence of the business” is making women feel comfortable. It seems odd that you cannot exclude men from joining, but you can exclude them in the hiring process. It’s interesting–an essence argument can only be used for gender, age and national origin (and religion), but not race.” As with any legal issue, opinions may differ. You cannot discriminate against a man who wants to join, but we have not found this to be a problem.

    2. The traditional Curves hours are morning and afternoon/evening, with a closed period between. Our clubs open between 6:00 and 7:30 AM depending on club and day of the week. We close somewhere between 12:00 and 1:30 and reopen between 2:30 and 3:30, then close for the day at 7:00 or 7:30 PM. Different combinations for different clubs, depending on local patterns (commuters, school teachers getting off, lunch crowd, etc). I know of one or two clubs that don’t shut down mid-day and just stay open from (I’m not sure exactly) 7 AM to 7 PM or so. We are also open Saturday morning and closed Sunday, both of which are typical. There is no specific requirement from Curves corporate on this.

    3. Cost for the basic 8 pieces of equipment and one stepper (it does the heart rate check): $5500. Additional machines: $350 each. If you have more than 13 machines, you have to get an extra stepper ($1300). For our clubs, two are costing $7250 and two are at $6750. We are going to take the lease option, which requires $1000 down and about $200/month for 3 years. The effective interest rate is 5.6%. The software license and support is $99/month.

    By the way, contrary to Mr. Usually-Wrong Jose, this is a customized version of the MyTrak system and Curves has an exclusive license for womens-only gyms

  • http://ReplytoRMZ Kunst

    RMZ asks:
    I am considering purchasing an existing 2.5 year old franchise in a community of 4200 (2500 women with the median age being 45.5) that has one other full-service gym.
    The current owner is absentee and has actually moved to another state. Current membership is 223 with 07 gross sales of around $80K, expenses of $55 and cash flow of $22K. The owner has not advertised at all in 07, but spent about $2,000 in advertising in 06. 07 gross sales are about 25% less than 06.
    The asking price is $30K. What do you think?

    One of our clubs is similar to this. About 10,000 population and 231 members. One full-service independent gym. Our revenue and expenses are higher (your club must be at $29/month; ours is at $39). P&L profit about $16,000 last year. The problem with this situation is the population. As with all gyms, 1/3 to 1/2 of your members are going to leave each year. That means you’re keeping them on average 2-3 years, which is good, reasonable, and normal. The problem is replacing them. It is true in general that Curves membership levels are down significantly over the last several years, and the main reason is that it’s hard to replace the members you lose. In a larger community, there are fresh faces all the time, but in a smaller community like the one you’re talking about, this is probably not the case. One reason the owner hasn’t advertised is probably because everyone knows Curves is there and either is a member, was a member, or knows people who are members. The best marketing for that kind of community tends to be people-gathering events, which is more demanding of time than money.

    Here’s what I recommend to anyone considering buying a resale club:
    1. Get a 2007 P&L from the owner, preferably with each month in a separate column. Analyze that puppy until you fully understand it.
    2. Make sure you understand the membership numbers and how they relate to revenue. Look at product sales. If this area has been neglected, it may be an improvement opportunity for you.
    3. Ask for the membership numbers by month since the club opened. You will probably see an initial spike that reached a peak and has been dropping for some time. It may or may not have leveled out.
    4. Marginal (i.e., new and cancels) membership changes pretty much go straight to the bottom line. If membership drops, revenue drops with it.
    5. Sometimes a new owner can energize a club and raise it to a higher level. Sometimes not. Do some due diligence and make the case both for and against this.
    6. Talk to everyone you can about the club. If possible, talk to the employees. Talk to members. Have your wife join if that is feasible, or work out there on a travel pass if she is a member at another club. Most important of all, talk to every Curves owner in the area. Most will be very willing to take the time to answer your questions and give honest advice.

    Is $22,000 an adequate return for you? Make sure that number is real. If you don’t have to spend a lot of time, that’s a pretty good return on $30,000 but it’s not enough to live on. Because we have four clubs, we do just fine on per-club profits that would not be sufficient for most people if they have only one club. Are you going to maintain the same staffing structure? How do you intend to run the club? It usually doesn’t work well when the female owner isn’t engaged enough. Our comparable club has 3 employees and my wife manages it by phone and by being in there 1-2 times a week. Our other clubs have managers and she spends about the same time on each of them. She does not work in any of the clubs on a regular basis. She is an absolute expert on every aspect of Curves operations, which gives a solid foundation you won’t have at first. We have really good employees who have been with us (4 clubs) on average nearly 3 years. Employee turnover is no fun, so make sure you have a handle on this and a plan for how you would handle someone leaving.

    This just scratches the surface. If you have additional questions, post them and I will try to respond. I don’t have the time to write on this board on a regular basis and I am surely not going to waste my time debating Jose.

  • PKJ

    Follow the advice of Kunst, it is very valuable. I think he is correct is his summation.

  • http://none potential

    Thank you for the input Kunst and. It is greatly appreciated. I will be looking at two clubs tomorrow and will take the advice given with regard to my due diligence.

  • sean
  • Sadderbutwiser

    Amazing. A club with 223 members is selling for less than the amount Curves charges for a new franchise – $32,000 – if they were still offering new franchises in the US!

  • Sadderbutwiser

    An update: The relatives who bought our two clubs for a measly buck plus debt have had to close another club they picked up for a dollar out west.

    Imagine that: They couldn’t make a go of a club that cost them a DOLLAR.

    More evidence that it’s not a good time to buy a Curves resale – at ANY price.

  • http://ReplytoRMZ Kunst


    1. Your relatives should stop buying Curves clubs.
    2. Don’t buy a club “out west”.
    3. If a club only costs a dollar, maybe it isn’t a good buy.

    We have a 6 year old club that made $62,000 (free cash flow) profit last year. Are you sure it’s not worth ANYTHING?

    Not all situations are the same, and your experience is does not necessarily apply to everyone else.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    And neither does yours, Kunst.

    But I’d bet money – if I still HAD any after our Curves debacle – that more Curves owners are struggling than succeeding.

    Congratulations on your success. You’re one of the lucky ones.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    My wife just worked out at a Curves in our area and the owner says ALL Curves in the county are in big trouble. Even the usually dependable food drive currently underway at all Curves isn’t bringing in donations there comparable to those in past years, let alone new members.

    Another telling note about the current state of Curves: My wife brought home a monthly newsletter from that Curves. It listed member birthdays for the month of March, and fewer than half the days had even ONE name on them. At our zenith in 2004, we had 2-3 names on just about EVERY day of every month at our club.

  • http://ReplytoRMZ Kunst

    ”My wife brought home a monthly newsletter from that Curves. It listed member birthdays for the month of March, and fewer than half the days had even ONE name on them.”

    So that club must have about 15 members? Sadderbutwiser, why don’t you get on with your life? I think you are a Curves ghost.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    No, Kunst. A year has 12 months in it. Multiply 15 x 12 and you get 180. I’m estimating the club has less than 200 members.

    Believe me, I’d LIKE to get on with my life, but it’s a bit difficult when we’ve lost just about everything. I’m here to warn people not to make the mistake of buying a Curves resale – unless, of course, it’s one of YOUR hugely profitable clubs.

    Hey, here’s an idea. Send me a check for $270,000 – the amount we lost – and I’ll stop posting here and get on with my life like this nightmare never occurred. I’ll e-mail you our mailing address, OK?

  • http://ReplytoRMZ Kunst

    OK, sorry about my lousy math. Obviously I wrote quicker than I thought.

    The point is that every situation is different. Anyone considering buying a Curves, or any business, needs to thoroughly and carefully evaluate the situation. Your particular misfortune does not necessarily mean every Curves is a bad deal or no one should ever buy one. If/when we sell, our first preference would be our managers, who are like family to us and have each been with us over 4 years. No way we would sell them a club that was going to drag them down financially. BTW, our average and median employee has been with us 2-1/2 to 3 years.

    To say that Curves is a no-brainer buy-it-now would be just as wrong as your all-Curves-are-doomed position. You had family complications that contributed to your misfortune. I don’t think they are applicable to most of the people (if any — anyone out there?) looking at this forum.

    If you are considering buying a Curves, do a thorough job on your research. Make sure you understand the business — it’s not that complicated. If you don’t understand it and have informed confidence that you can be successful, don’t buy it. It is true that some Curves are not going to be successful. This is not true of all Curves.

  • Just Looking

    I just spent a great deal of time reading EVERYTHING on this site. And being someone with no emotion toward this subject at all wonder how people with such negative viewpoints claim those who are excited about purchasing a Curves are being “emotional”? The most emotion is coming from people who are state that buying a Curves is such a bad investment. I am someone who is interested in starting my own business and I am just looking around at my different options. If Curves is such a bad investment, then what would all you nay-sayers suggest? I am looking for a career change. I have an investor, so it is not as simply putting my money in savings. If I had that kind of money, I wouldn’t be looking to start a business. And I am not from a business background, but not scared of hard work.

  • Just Looking

    Just to clarify my previous post…I am not expecting to become rich, but I would like to be able to make atleast as much as I am making now. The goal for me is the career change.

  • sean

    Just Looking:
    If you are investigating a franchise investment with logic and rational investigation, which it appears you are, congratulations. You are rare indeed. Most people buy (and are sold) with emotion, and so react with emotion when it doesn’t work out. It’s also worth noting that when many of these franchisees invested, much less was known about this concept. A few years ago, no one knew what the effects of so much competition would be, and the difficulty 30 minute clubs would have retaining members past the first year. You are in a better position to research. And also, as unsavory as it is to say, some resale buyers may be able to make lower volume clubs work because of the losses borne by the original owners.
    While they might sound negative, naysayers are providing warnings with your best interest in mind. I have seen franchise concepts fail because the franchisees were not willing to put in the hours and effort it took to succeed. I do not believe that’s the case with Curves or the 30 Minute Express Clubs. Most of these owners were willing to do whatever it took to succeed. There are definite challenges with this business model and club concept, as well as much competition. In the end, you’ve got to follow your best instincts. Just know that sometimes
    “believing in yourself” just isn’t enough…
    Entrepreneur magazine alone distributes fairy tales to more than 2.3 Million readers monthly. There are just a handful of places you can read uncensored comments about the not-so-happy outcomes that can occur. If the naysayers get a little loud at times, it’s because the corporate MUZAK is trying to drown them out.
    Whatever you decide, have an experienced franchise attorney review the documents before you sign. Invest a few grand in due diligence and it will be the best money you’ve ever spent.
    Best of luck in all you endeavor. Sean

  • Just Looking

    Thank you for the comments. And please understand that I appreciate those with less than positive comments about any franchise. I was just a little blown away by the passion in which some posted AGAINST this particular franchise. I don’t believe that a blanket statement can be made for any franchise. Some will be successful, some won’t. The Curves franchise, for example, that is located in my area is extremely successful. I, myself, am a member. I think the key is that the location is fairly isolated. The county I live in has one. The population is good to very good, but we’re are still rather rural. The Board of Supervisors see to that. The neighboring county, which has a HUGE population (urban/suburban), has twenty-seven! They make a limited profit. My point being, the people that own the one where I live are doing extremely well with no competition. However, the neighboring county, these clubs are 3 to 7 miles apart and do OK, but would do much better if there were like 13 clubs rather than 27 to choose from. I don’t know of any that closed. I did hear about a couple that were thinking of closing about 5 years ago, but sold instead. These particular owners had opened the businesses and walked away waiting for the dollars to roll in. When they sold one had less than 30 members. The new owners were more hands on and have made that particular club very successful. I believe if someone were looking to purchase a Curves franchise they really need to look at the yearly decline. This could be for a number of reasons. The “copy cat” franchises, the economy, etc. I do believe that there is a market for these club, just not so many of them. And about me being a member, I also get the fact that you can max out on the hydraulics. I have been told work harder on them to get my heart rate up. At this point it doesn’t matter how hard I try, I cannot get my heart rate up to that target rate. I think Contours Express has a good idea with the equipment, but everything I have read is negative about the franchise.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    If you don’t mind buying yourself a $30,000-a-year, 60-plus-hours-a-week job, go for it.

    But if club membership is below 400 members, RUN AWAY.

  • http://ReplytoRMZ Kunst

    400 members times $39/month = $15,600. You can add another 10% for service fees and product sales, so $17,000 in round numbers.

    Rent $2500 (our highest), employees $4200 (our average, including a manager), other expenses considerably less. How do you get $17,000 in revenue down to $2,500 profit, while working 60 hours/week? You don’t.

    We made $61,000 clear profit last year on a club that averaged 378 members. 300 members is a successful club, 400 members is great. 200 is a little over break-even — don’t go there unless you have reality-based reasons to think you can improve the situation.

    Sadderbutwiser, you are a bitter ghost. You already died, apparently due to problems with relatives. Please go on to the next world and quit haunting those of us still living with your sad story.

  • Jose

    sadderbutwiser is correct in being cautious. He has felt the reality of owning a failing franchise concept designed only to make the Franchisor money. I agree some make money but many more are failing. Just yesterday I noticed another Curves with a For lease sign in the window. I know the owner (had) 3 of them and now he only has 1 and it will be closing by the summer. Women I talk to do not want to go to curves because they get not results. Curves now just raised there monthky rate to $39.00 month, $10.00 more for the same old stuff. This has pushed women to join coed clubs or other womens only clubs that may still be in bussiness. I would advise you stay away form any womens only francise and if you like fitness buy and exisiting coed club and open a womens only area within the club. Women like that better and Kunst is very biased in his opeinion I thisnk anyone reading the blog should get neutral advise and honest advise from someone who has no interest in them buying a curves. After all anyone reading this blog wants the pros and cons about Curves and right now there are no Pros, Only Cons
    Good luck.

  • http://ReplytoRMZ Kunst

    I will leave to the readers to decide who is biased. Jose leads the band on that one. Sadderbutwiser had a difficult family situation that seems to have been a key factor is his experience. Jose has peddled the same bombast since the beginning of this discussion. “There are no Pros, only Cons.” I guess that’s his idea of neutral and honest advice.

    I completely agree that any potential buyer needs to be cautious. I have acknowledged that Curves is a much more challenging proposition than it appeared in the early days. I do not agree that it is all doom and gloom. In the Sacramento area, I am aware of three local towns that have consolidated from two clubs to one or three to two in the last year. It would not surprise me to see some closures over time, especially if the economy turns down seriously. That said, there are quite a few clubs that are successful or very successful, as well as a number that are marginal — making some profit but not enough for comfort. A key indicator is that the Curves Smart equipment is coming to our area next week and only one club in the local Co-op is not taking it. That’s also the club most likely to fail.

    There is a difference between being cautious and being negative. Jose and Sadderbutwiser are flat-out negative. If you are interested in buying a Curves, do your research. I have given information on how to do that before. Some clubs are quite successful and stable. Obviously those will cost more. Some clubs are not as successful and will cost less. Look at membership and profit. Do not assume you can make them better unless you have a definite plan that holds up under severe analysis.

    The main problem with member retention is the same as for every other kind of gym. Most people like the idea of being healthy and in shape, but when it comes down to the reality of working out regularly, they don’t do it. Members who “aren’t getting results” are invariably members who aren’t coming in.

    And by the way, I have no interest in you buying a Curves. Also by the way, I think very highly of Gary Heavin and Curves International. Although there are always things to gripe about, Jose’s description of Curves as “a failing franchise concept designed only to make the Franchisor money” tells me 1) he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and 2) therefore, his advice is worthless.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    I wish I’d known about this site back in 2002. We’d have avoided the biggest mistake we ever made – buying a Curves.

  • sean

    Sadderbutwiser: Thanks for sharing your experiences with those who are considering it now. small consolation, maybe, but your experience is helping others make a more informed decision. That’s something.

  • Ex Ms Contours

    Sadderbutwiser: Not only thanks, but kudos to you and your family. I know I’m in a different blog than usual, (you have posted in Contours Express blog at one time and you caught my eye, and now I read when you post something because I’m in the same boat as you). I have seen where some people think that your family has caused your downfall. I know that was not the case. It may have contributed to it, but I’m tired of reading that it’s the only cause of your unforunate demise. People sometimes are so unfeeling and cruel when they think they are doing something different than you did to be successful. Women’s fitness gyms are becoming a thing of the past as Mr Jose has pointed out. I lost over a $100,000 in my endeavor, I know you lost more, and you have young children. Just for example, when you go on Contours website it makes me want to puke! We are the best, we will help you and support you. All lies. You were a Curves. We all thought Curves couldn’t go wrong. Well they are going under too! So Kunst, you are one of the ones who think it’s who runs the business and how you run the business that matters–no, these women’s only businesses are all going under, it’s just a matter of time. Butterfly life couldn’t even make it in my city!!!! What happens is that women will join in your area, and then quit after a while. Then new women move in and around your area and they might join, and quit. The problem is that even the new people aren’t enough to keep you in business. So you aren’t Superman any longer, and the money runs out. It’s not negativity as you say, it’s reality. God bless Mr Sadderbutwiser and his family. He had over 1100 members at one point and guess what?, it still tanked!

  • Sadderbutwiser

    I must admit that our circumstances are probably a lot different than most. We had two co-owners – my wife and her niece – who each earned a salary and split the profits.

    We had a single club in 2003 that we turned into a double club n early 2004 when membership hit 1,000 because members were complaining about the wait for machines. That raised our rent from $2,800 to $5,700 a month.

    We live in a state ravaged by an precedented total of eight hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 that caused homeowners’ insurance rates to soar, and a state that also got caught up in a housing boom that sent property taxes skyrocketing. Suddenly, the members weren’t coming through the doors like before. We started seeing a dropoff in membership in late 2005, and it has continued for the new owners.

    We also purchased the rights to an unsold, available territory to our west – where most of our members lived – to keep any potential new owners from luring them from us. Unfortunately, there was no available retail space in that new territory, so we had to wait for a shopping complex to be built. Delays pushed back our opening date from May 2006 to November 2006 and cost overruns just killed us. Since we had signed an agreement with Curves stating we’d be open by May, we paid franchise fees for six months on a club still under construction. Rent for the new club was – and still is – $3,200 a month.

    We also reduced our original club to a single club in anticipation of losing half our membership, but we were still paying $5,700 a month until June 2007, when a new tenant moved into the office space we had walled off. Drained of all cash and unable to make rent and payroll, we were forced to surrender the clubs the following month.

    Our circumstances might be unique. But member retention was our downfall and the same problem appears to be hitting Curves across the board. Our original club had 700 members in December 2006. We lost a staggering 97 members in the following month. No reason. They just quit, even original members who signed up in 2002 under the first owner. We started losing 30-40 members a month while signing up only about 8-15. Today that same club has about 250 members, while the newer club, which never got over 310 members, is at about 240. They’re both doomed clubs. I doubt they can be sold.

    God bless anyone who can make Curves work these days. Considering 80 percent of ALL businesses fail in five years and 80 percent of those businesses fail in another five, I have a newfound admiration for anyone who succeeds in business. I thought we would be among the lucky ones. Knowing that members seem to drift away from health clubs after about two years, I wanted to sell our club in 2005, and cash out while we were still on top. Instead we lost just about everything, and our relationship with other family members is badly strained.

    We were incredibly foolish and prideful and now are paying the price. Our young childrens’ future may be forever altered. We’re considering applying for food stamps.

    Such a fate seemed inconceivable in 2004 as we accepted our franchise of the year award. The future appeared to be incredibly bright. Now it’s a nightmare from which we are desperately trying to emerge.

  • Jose

    Great comments by Ex contours and sadderbutwiser.
    They spoke experience not dreams. They are correct about the attrition rate of curves and all womens only franchises in general. The attrition rate for all clubs both Coed and womens only is high in the United States because of lack of dedication not money. People have the cash for fitness they do not have the dedication. We have raised our kids with the video game mentality , quick and easy fun. This mentality continues in the work place and in society, and this is why fitness is a difficult business. If you want to succeed you Must have an Exit plan when you buy. You must also know that your rick to success is 20% . You are fighting an up hill battle. I have stated many times in this blog that ” All womens only franchises at this time are risky” not just Curves. Some in this blog state that I am against womens only but I am not. I think a full service womens only will work in a coed club because it allows you to gain access to families, husbands and wives who want to join as a family.
    If you love fitness you may think franchising is the way: for some it is, others can do as well on their own providing they have business training and are certified personal trainers with money in the bank to help in down times. Put away money in case, and your can make it. Keep cash flow coming in the door and you can make it. Do what ever you can to add activity to your business and is will grow. You can do more on your own than with a franchise because of regulations and rules, so if you can start your own do it. Fitness is Fun but can be a tough poor mans business.
    Think before you buy.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    What’s most frustrating is that had Curves NOT made that territory to our west available, we’d still have a single, profitable club with nearly 500 members and our savings wouldn’t have been ravaged by trying to pay the costs of TWO clubs instead of one for basically the same number of members.

    Curves clearly oversaturated the market. It eventually will be their undoing.

  • Jose

    You are correct sadderbutpoorer: Curves market saturation stratagy worked as it should. By opening as many curves as possible in one area and locking franchisees into a fixed royalty Curves makes money. Unlike the more successful frachises that charge a percentage of gross sales, those franchises benefit by not oversaturating and allowing each location to profit. Recently I met the owner of 3 coldstone creamery stores. He lost all of his money when the frachisor allowed several people to open locations adjacent to his taking not only all of his profit but killing the market also.
    Every location must have a significant amount of new clients from a large area to stay in business. This is why all of the FIXED franchise fees do not work and in the long run the franchisee loses. If a franchisor is to make more each year they must do 2 things. 1. Sell alot of franchises with a fixed royalty or sell a few that make alot of money. Everyone that buys frachises think the Royaty is a bad thing, when in actuality it is a good thing provided it is based on a percentage of gross sales with a minimum cap. I think sadderbutwiser may have thought the same thing when he bought Curves, How much money could save not how much money you can make.
    Please NOTE::: You do not go into business to save money, you go into business to make money. And you must spend money at some point to make more.

  • SadandStressed

    I am closing my club that I bought as a resale in 2005. No one ever contacted me from Curves until last summer and that was only to try and talk me into buying the Smart Equipment. All they care about is $$$. As long as they are getting your money, everything is great. But once you stop the monthly draft to them, it’s a whole different story. Then they call and tell you to close up shop asap. They don’t even ask how they can help you. For example, I never see any commercials for Curves, only for the cereal, which does nothing for my club. They only people who make $$ off of that is Gary and his wife. Plus Curves wants you to give out free things to the members, but they don’t give anything for free to the owners or even at a discounted price. I bought my Curves for cheap, since the other owner had to get out and file bankruptcy because she closed her other club. I should have thought twice, but I had a friend who owned one and she was doing great. Well now her business is in the crapper as well as about 10 others in my immediate area, they are all for sale. But how long can you wait for a buyer, who probably will never come. And how can you honestly tell a prospective buyer they are getting into a great thing, when you know they aren’t. The only thing I will miss, is seeing my devoted members who are wonderful. If it wasn’t for them, I would have closed a year ago. But I kept thinking things would get better, but they never did. I followed the “Curves way”, though not all clubs do in my area. And they seem to be the clubs that are doing better. Some carry other supplements, have special classes and use extra equipment, like exercise balls, hool-a-hoops, etc. Well it’s time to cut my losses and move on to a more lucrative career. My advice, don’t buy a Curves and if you have one now and it’s going down hill, get out as fast as you can!

  • Sadderbutwiser

    SadandStressed, I am sorry to hear about your plight. We did it the “Curves Way,” too. That worked for a few years, until the downturn started. Then Curves had no answer for its franchisees.

    My wife still sees members all over town, and they ask how she’s doing, where she’s been, how much they miss her, etc. (The new owner prefers my wife not work out at her old clubs, saying it might make her feel uncomfortable to see all the membership-boosting “improvements” the new owner has made – what sheer GALL, considering membership at the clubs is STILL falling!). It takes everything my wife’s got not to tell them our sad story, but she puts on a brave face and a bright smile and tells them everything’s OK. And she still has only nice thigns to say to them about Curves. If only those members knew of the financial catastrophe that has befallen us.

    The biggest thing I miss, besides my peace of mind, was the enormous sense of PRIDE I had in owning a successful business. It made me proud to be able to deliver a ton of donated food to the local food bank, to donate hundreds of toys to needy kids at Christmas, to provide an underachieving school with boxes of donated school supplies.

    How did it all so wrong so quickly?

  • Jose

    Sadderbutwiser, sadandstressed and Ex contours owner are all victims of corporate greed. It is not enough for the franchisor to make a few hundred thousand dollars yearly, they must make millions. Its the American dream to be wealthy no matter who you have to step on to get there. I will tell you of another franchise that is boasting of growth but what they are not telling you is how many over the last 6 years have failed. Anytime Fitness. Several years ago I did work for the company when they first started, I had close ties with the president and manager. I notice them boast of having 1600 franchises, Now they only have 1000. They never say what happened to the 600 lost. Same situation. The owners from Minnisota got greedy and now they sell to anyone. and they keep lowering the franchsise fee. Now I think it is $7.000 when in the past it was $15,000. The same fate will overtake the new owners. They also changed there web site which used to boast on how you can get rich quick and not work more than several hours a day. Today they push how great they are because they have a 1000 locations. Well Curves at one time had 5000 locations in the United States alone, now they JUST SAY WORLD WIDE. DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW MANY ARE REALLY OPEN TODAY. PLEASE POST THAT NUMBER FOR THE READERS SO THEY CAN SEE HOW DECEIVING NUMBERS CAN BE. To those who are victims of the franchise war, Hats off to you, Youall are brave men and women and deserve better.
    I hope this blog helps others avoid buying these franchises. I think the Curves Smart will be the nail in th coffin the the struggling franchises, making no money losing all customers and now at the end trying to convince them that they need to spend more the get the long gone customer back, they would have been better off keeping women happy.
    God Bless

  • Jose

    Update I thought I would go on the Curves web site and add up all US franchises still reported. According to my calculations Curves has declined from 10,000 locations to just 6,530 locations and dropping. This is a 65% fail rate. I believe this is the highest failure rate in history of franchising. This rate is just since max territory sold out 2 years ago. Still a 2 million a month in generated royalties the Curves Franchisor !!!
    Now thats Curves SMART !!!!!!!!
    Smart man.

  • sean

    Did you actually add up 6,530 locations one at a time?
    It is not enough for the franchisor to make a few hundred thousand dollars yearly, they must make millions. Its the American dream to be wealthy no matter who you have to step on to get there.
    I don’t see a problem with businesspeople wanting to make millions as long as they play fair. I doubt you were attempting to franchise your business without some dream of cashing out for seven figures plus, right.
    The thing I can’t understand is why so much of the health and fitness industry is geared toward tricking others rather than providing actual education, instruction and support to the millions of couch potatoes who will keep spending if they get actual results, feel better, look better and have more energy. Isn’t there any money in real health?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    The new phone books come out this month. Compare the number of Curves in this year’s phone book to clubs listed in last year’s directory. It might make you think twice about buying a resale.

  • Jose

    I agree with you Sean. I educate inform and attempt to help people live a healthy lifestyle but in the franchise world we are told by corporate giants and consultants that helping people is just not good enough and no one every got rich by helping people. Consultants paint a picture of wealth and fame, power and influence and the first thing they say is ” At what price are you willing to sell your franchise” they plant the seed of deception by making you think that some large corporation will want to buy your business for hundreds of millions once you get so many franchises open. In fact they BANK on it and they hope you do sell alot because in there contract it is clearly indicate that they receive a 30-50% interest in all future royalties up to 3-7 years and a lump if you sell the company. Today americans and others fall for the same lie they have always done. You can take a pill and lose weight or count points whatever they need to sell. I know it is everones dream to make millions I would love too but not if if means selling territories and saturating the market to the point that the franchisees lose all of there money. I believe in the american dream but I value Family and strongly want to see todays families financially able to provide for there childrens future. The saddest thing is seeing how the Curves and other franchise sales models has taken advantage to ignorant people who want to live the American dream, not get rich. I also believe that many who owned several locations just got greedy, but not without prompting from the franchisor who told them that if they did not buy the territiry would be sold to someone else and they would lose money. A wise man told me that ” the fear on loss is greater than the fear of success” this sometimes paralyzes people to make wrong choices for fear they might lose out on something. Commercials sell us on fear of loss all the time. The term, DO IT NOW, or DON’T WAIT! or Sale ends TODAY all drive us to react to the fear of losing something. This drives the stock market, housing market, this is why the country is in such turmoil. My advise to my kids is “nothing is to great that it can’t wait!” Take time to analyze, educate yourself and seek experieced advisors that have nothing to gain by your decision in buying a franchise and it may be the best decision you could ever make.
    If you need to know how many curves are still in existance go on the curves web site and click on your state. The web site tells you how many per state. I did check and notice that the Curves in my area that just went out of business was not on the web site so I believe they keep it current somewhat. As I said before, Several years ago all territories in the US were sold out and now there are 4772 territories available and counting.
    I appreciate the intelligent conversation with You Sean, it is refreshing.

    Yes I went on the Curves web site and counted every state in the United States and the numbers you see are correct according to curves. I included the 2 in Guam but not the 19 in Puerto rico. Total is more like 6548 franchises to be exact.

  • Marc

    As a franchisor I fully understand the concern of all the ex and actual franchisee of Curves and the thing is that Curves literaly exploded and oppend to many franchises too fast
    Curves is the inventor of the 30 minutes fitness mania and got copied by many ( I feel that they got robed out of a great idea) As an actual competitor of curves with only 60 franchises in Canada in 4 years there is one thing I made shure of and that was not to copy the original
    SWANN fitness reinvented the whole concept and we are very close to all our franchisees they are our bread and butter and we love them all
    I have a controled growth policy so does my wife
    and the most important thing for us is that all of our franchisee make money and that all their costumers get results this way if we see that some of our franchisee dont make the money they should we will reduce the sales and focus on helping them get back on track. Last year at our annual meeting My wife and I got an standing ovation and I wish that in 10 years from now we get the same. So it is up to us to make their dreams come true. I think that the trick will be to keep listening to them as they are on the feild and are our eyes and ears We will be oppening some centers in the USA in the next few years. However we will first make sure that
    the market permits. As a manufacturer of fitness equipment we sell exclusevly to our franchisee
    SWANN For Women and GYMM for men this way the franchisee are protected and we do not use Hydraulics only Pneumatics that offers Positive and negative motions.. Even if Here in Quebec there has been quite a few Curves closings we are still hoping that Curves will still be standing in the years to come I feel the anyone clubs that have copied the Curves systems will not be there in the long run . P.S we lost the bid to Curves for the Mytrack smart systems while we where studing it with our franchisees .. Ironicly we are glad we did and our franchisee are too since we have 30 stations in our centers it would have cost 20,000 $ per location to much$$ for our franchisees and since 90% of all centers have more than 480 members the time to instal the systems would have been costly and frustrating
    for members. I wish the best to Curves..

  • CurvesMemberProspectiveBuyer

    I just HAD TO comment on the couple of people who wrote that the “nay-sayers” here are so negative, emotional, attacking, etc. As a reader, it comes off the exact opposite. Those cautioning against Curves ownership are citing facts, stats, etc. The majority of comments in support of curves consist mainly of emotion-filled cheerleading-like comments: “Have faith! Work hard! We can do it! Yipppe! Curves is an institution! The BEST!” (Jeeez, where are your pom-poms??)

    I’m thrilled I found this site. Much good info to add to my research. Thanks!

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Sure enough, our phone books came out today and there are three fewer Curves listed, a 35 percent drop in one year.

    Two more years like that and it’s bye-bye Curves in our county.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Oops, my calculator says its nearly a 17 percent drop. My bad.

    Still, only one club I know of in this county has more than 500 members. The rest are struggling to stay open.

    A nearby Express Fitness and a Contours just closed their doors. The downturn is taking its toll.

  • pkj

    Just a note for all those out there who say things are getting worse. I just compared my numbers from March of 07 to March of 08; my membership is up over 50% in one year. In February 06 I had 229 members today I have 472. My business has more than doubled in two years. The difference is me. I made the decision to get busy and find ways to make my business more profitable. I work at my club. I find the clubs that are struggling the most are the clubs that have absentee’s owners.

    I think I said this before and I will repeat – that Curves had a very low buy in and that afforded many of us that had no business sense to get in. With that said I was one of them. I am learning through the school of hard knocks. Curves has given me many tools, recourses and support. I could blame them and I’m sure that they deserve some but making my business successful falls on my shoulders.
    If you are looking to buy a Curves, there is no doubt that you should do so with caution. That is so for every business.
    I love my Curves.

  • http://ReplytoRMZ Kunst

    Sadderbutwiser: a 17-% drop means your area went from 18 Curves to 15. Then you say, “Two more years like that and it’s bye-bye Curves in our county.” Bad math.

    There are strong clubs and weak clubs, for a variety of reasons. Small business is inherently risky; only 20% survive 5 years.

    You want to see nothing but bad in Curves. That is as wrong as seeing nothing but good.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Good for you, pjk. To be able to increase membership while the country sinks into the worst recession since WWII is an amazing feat.

    I have a feeling that you’re one of the lucky ones. For every success, I bet there are 3-4 failures.

    Enjoy your hard-earned success it while it lasts.

  • Jose

    Comment to Marc. and others!
    You have a good business mind, keep your customers happy. That is what people want, do not over saturate your market and make sure all franchisees make money by taking the time to listen to them. As far as those who think Curves will have a long run. I believe it is wishful thinking. I believe many companies like marc’s who focus more on owner success then numbers will win out in the long run and many more curves will fail because of lack of business sense form its owners. Just because you do everything the franchise wants you to do does not Garauntee success. The fact that curves is now trying to push the Mytrack system during a downturn is in my opinion a good idea, BUT can they really expect the franchisees to take the risk when they have such a high attrition rate?
    If you owned a curves and were just on the brink of losing your home would you take that risk?
    I myself would not. Now I on the other hand believe that a club should offer more for less during this down turn. The owners must spend more time in the Club then at the bowling alley or on the couch. Look at your books and intelligently see if it is worth the extra money for 50 new members or so , call other clubs that have the system and ask for the darn truth not a wish and see if they are really making more money. Rule : If it does not pay 3 time more than it cost you, then it is not worth buying for your business. So if you pay $10K then you should make $30K the first year not 2 or 3 years later. Those of you wanting to buy Curve’s must use some common sense and quit defending the franchisor, let them defend themselves. In time you will see the truth. I know for fact that every curves in my area is in survival mode. I also know of a Dance Studio that made thousands month years ago, and are barely hanging on here. I spoke to the owner who has been in business for 25 years with a business degree, so it is wishfull thinking that anyone would open a new Curves at this time, it would be foolish.
    And PJK you have to count paying members not members in the past, I can tell you that you are fudging the numbers a little to make your point and that is wrong. I would believe you if your club was a full service club Like power house but it is not and I know for fact that Curves around the country is having a hard time with people losing there jobs. NO WAY JOSE!!!!!
    To the considering buyer, her is what you have to contend with, IF YOU BUY A CURVES YOU WILL BE GIVEN AN AREA THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN PROVEN BAD. THAT IS A FACT! CURVE SOLD OUT IN THE US YEARS AGO, SO IF YOU BUY A LOCATION YOUR ODDS ARE SLIM THAT YOU WILL SUCCEED WITH THE CURRENT TERRRITORIES. Remember once a territory has been established it cannot be easily changed and that is the problem with curves. They have not done the demographic studies necessary to justify the investment. People do not care anymore that there are thousands around they just want to know that it is affordable and will not go out of business.

  • http://ReplytoRMZ Kunst

    The Curves Smart equipment was installed in the Sacramento area last week. I have previously posted the economic numbers on buying/leasing the equipment. It seems to be a great success. Members are signing up for it and liking it. Only two clubs out of 35 did not install it.

    Jose does not know Curves. Most of what Jose says about Curves is untrue.

  • Jose

    I must refute the kunst statement. I only provide information I believe will help others make there own decision, I provide facts NOT emotional blib blab like many do. I am in the industry and know more about this that does Kunst. I have been in the industry for years and I know the hard facts. I think anyone reading this blog should consider the source as well as doing an investigation. If this blog causes you buy or not buy a Curves , you are foolish, this is an open forum for those attempting to get a curves. It is always smart to proceed with caution when buying any business. Past sales do not reflect future profit, it is only and indicator or market conditions. This statement fairs well at this time. Market low, less expendable income= more cost to advertise and higher overhead. The fact is buying now will cost you more. Maybe $30K but do not forget utilities rent TAXES, payroll, Repairs toiletries, accountant and cancellations.
    Notice Kunst knows too much about what and where curves is doing business, the fact is he works for Curves and is probable on all the blogs helping hide what the downfall of curves is. Do your own work and make up your own mind. Whatever you do it will not effect me. I am having fun on this blog.

  • http://ReplytoRMZ Kunst

    Arguing with Jose is like wrestling with a pig. You get muddy; the pig is happy.

    I have said several times that my wife and I own 4 Curves in the Sacramento area, since 2001. I do not work for Curves and do not post anywhere else about Curves.

    I repeat, most of what Jose says is garbage. Judge for yourself.

  • sean

    pkj wrote …my membership is up over 50% in one year. In February 06 I had 229 members today I have 472. My business has more than doubled in two years. The difference is me. I made the decision to get busy and find ways to make my business more profitable. I work at my club…. I am learning through the school of hard knocks. Curves has given me many tools, recourses and support…
    Congratulations pkj! It is great to hear some good news!
    I think it’s important to share the specifics of successes along with failures. As competitors close, some marginal clubs could become viable in some markets. Was this a factor in yours?
    pkj, it would be extremely valuable if you could share some of your marketing and sales conversion numbers.
    To have a net gain of 243 customers, how many NEW customers did you have to sign? What was your retention rate previously?
    How many leads did you need to generate to sign that many new customers? How much did you spend to generate those leads?
    Can you share your lead sources? How many were referral? Print ads? Radio/TV?
    As you know, marketing is a numbers game. In considering the viability of a club in a specific market, owners have to be in tune with their numbers, conversion and retention rates, ad budget, etc. Any of the specifics you can share in this regard, pkj, would be very helpful.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    And did nearby Curves fold and send you their members, pkj?

    There are a LOT of Curves owners who would like to hear in detail how you added 243 members.

  • sean

    Sadderbutwiser wrote There are a LOT of Curves owners who would like to hear in detail how you added 243 members.

    Kunst says that the average Curves franchise loses 30% – 50% of its members each year. If pkj’s Curves lost 40% through attrition, they would also need to replace 91 lost members to achieve a net gain of 243.

    Correct me if my math is wrong, but that means an impressive conversion of 334 new members signed in one year. pkj, how’d you do it? Can you sustain that growth through this year?

  • sean

    This could be a very informative and useful discussion if the experienced among you could share insights into the unit economics and the specifics that struggling club owners need to determine whether their club could be viable and if so, what investment they need to make in time & money to turn it around. The same info would be helpful for those considering purchasing one or more distressed clubs.
    The numbers I asked pkj for would be helpful, such as:
    Number of members needed to reach break even for typical city/suburban/rural clubs.
    Number of leads needed to sign a new member (range).
    Number of leads needed to replace lost members.
    Cost per lead by media/source.
    Cost per sale by media/source.

    There are a lot of struggling club owners who could really benefit from a dispassionate discussion that can get them focused on the specific numbers they’ve got to hit, what it will cost to hit them, and which methods work for recruiting and retaining new members.

    I don’t find Kunst, as Jose claims, to be a corporate shill and I don’t find Jose’s diatribes, as Kunst claims, without some valid points. You guys – and many others who have contributed – have valuable experience and insights. Can you address some of these specifics, which get lost or obscured by the personal attacks?

  • Marc

    Sean ,

    There is only one truth about all the closings
    The Amazing numbers of Curves per Area and all the copy’s of Curves , Buterfly life, Lady express, ect.. Too much of a good thing that’s the bottom line..No one reinvented the 30 minutes concept . Except for us but we are not in the USA yet!!! People here are paying 50,000 more for a SWANN center than a Curves just because of the actual reputation we have .. it is very simple, RESULTS !! Members get RESULTS and never Plateau.. No electronic voice that say’s Change stations. No Hydraulics , more equipment and a Owner opperator in place 50 hours a week , More services 1 price 39,99 per month and 99,00 initiaton fees.. Most of our franchisee break even after 2 months, We had 1 in Cap Rouge that broke even after 5 day’s only yes 5 day’s 275 members.. after 1 year 620 members
    there is a Curves right on the next corner that is doing just fine!!! also 3 more Gym’s in a 2 mile radius.
    We have worked 5 years prior to open our own franchise so that our futur franchisee would make money. If they dont, we dont.. as simple as 1-2-3.. I find that the Franchise industry is an easy model for franchisor to make a lot of $$
    And for franchisee to have the same opportunity but if they are not prepared to work the minimum 50 hours a week they should have never puchase a franchise, I can garanty you that Gary Heavins and his wife worked a lot more than 50 hours a week to get where they are as we did and still doing here at SWANN 40 hours a week is a part time job !!! I you own a fitness franchise and are overwieght how can you immagine that people will be interested in becomming members.. wake up we are in the fitness business.. If you see a shoe salesman with holes in his shoe will you want to buy from him?? if you go to a dentist with crooked theeth
    i am sure that you will run.. same rule should be applied and I see to many Curves Owner here that are overweight.. and or other concept..
    I alway’s say to my futur franchisee to take a mirror and look at themself and ask if this person would convince them to join the club as a member , you get the picture!! for me it is my duty to refuse any franchisee that do not live by the fitness rule , be in good health , and be passionate about the people that you will help.
    The succes will happen if you apply this.
    Beeing on this blog is only getting you confused and frustrated with dark ideas .,. If you still have a center take care of it like it was your own baby it need’s you, focus.. on the good , Fight
    with a possitive attitude not with negative tools
    get away from negative people, Call owners that are doing good and ask around fill youself with good emotions go to bed at night thinking of all the new members that you will get tomorow and before you get out of bed visualize the people getting in you business.. money comming in

  • sean

    Marc wrote: …I alway’s say to my futur franchisee to take a mirror and look at themself… Beeing on this blog is only getting you confused and frustrated with dark ideas .,. If you still have a center take care of it like it was your own baby get away from negative people, Call owners that are doing good and ask around fill youself with good emotions go to bed at night thinking of all the new members that you will get tomorow and before you get out of bed visualize the people getting in you business.. money comming in…

    This is the language of the “Cloud Merchant.” Appeal to ego: Believe in yourself. Believe that because you’re fit, you can run a fitness business. Stay away from naysayers. Talk only to successful people. Block out negative thoughts, because when you think bad thoughts you kill the success fairy and you won’t get your wish. Visualize all the members who will descend from the clouds and shower you with money and loyalty.
    This is called “magical thinking.”
    Marc, if this is what you tell prospective franchisees, I will venture a guess that “no experience is necessary” for your franchise, and that the most important criteria is a will to succeed. Correct?
    Experienced people know business ownership is not a fairy tale, and that you can’t believe yourself to success. You need to know the numbers of your business like the back of your hand. You need to know all those things that I asked for: What does it cost to get a new customer? How many will I need? What will happen when I’m faced with 4 knock-offs copying your concept for less?
    I don’t know Marc or the Swann’s franchise. He may have the greatest concept ever, and my reaction is to this brief statement only. But I would say that the truly successful franchisors – and franchisees – did not think they could dream themselves to success. They stressed having a strong understanding of the economics of the business, having a clear, realistic marketing plan, operational plan and systematized customer service procedures. When times get tough, friends, you can’t run back to your pillow and dream up some new customers. You better know how to make the phone ring, and what it’s gonna cost.
    Marc, I’m not questioning your integrity but if that’s what you’re emphasizing to new franchisees, you’ll probably be getting some of your own discussions here in the future.

  • Jose

    I agree with you Sean. I have been on this blog for months and have read every persons comments. Some I agree with and some I do not. Much of the time I am open to hearing what people think, it tells me several things, 1: They are dreamers, 2: They are thinkers. 3: They are winers. 4: They are pessimistic. and 5: They are Reality.
    I am the last. No one likes to take facts into consideration but you must in order to be successful. I recently hired an Honest consultant who told me like it was. There is no manna from Heaven here. You must work hard and $Market, $market , market. $$$. You must drive your business like an indy race car, as soon as you take your foot off the gas, it comes to a complete stop.
    With this said, I want to let everyone know this costs MONEY. To get new members cost money. You must advertise, people will not run into your club. you cannot wish or dream you must work and have a way of measuring your success. You must count how many people join from an ad or you will never know if it worked. We need the facts if we are to believe that a small Curves in california can exceed 90% growth when all others are not, it just makes no sense, not with the lack of equipment and surely not enough space to accommidate the members. If you saturate your club, people quit, you cannot overcrowd and keep members happy. This is one of the biggest compliants with Curves. Women have to wait, and do not tell me that when 1 gets off 1 gets on, because 5 wait while one gets on at a time. Limited hours is another problem. You cannot accomidate all members before and after work, no club can, so you must take that into consideration. The fact is you may be able to handle 650 women but you cannot keep them all happy. 30% will quit the facts prove this to be true in both coed and womens only. In fact the studies posted in Club industry show an attrition rate of 40%-50% for womens only clubs and up to 60% for co-ed clubs. I find these numbers excessive but probable. Now those of you who have clubs, calculate your attrition rate and post it! This will help many understand why you cannot make a blanket statement for one location for all locations. I have found that the 50% attrition rate is about right for womens clubs, especially during a bad economy. To keep your business open you must increase cash flow. Here’s how, you will thank me> Get teens into your club by offering low prices and no contract, they have no money so they bring Cash. They must pay 3 months up front and every 3 months to stay current. Waive the enrollment fee. This creates cash flow. You will make an extra 500-over $1000 month at first and then it will be a constant several hudred each month to help you pay you. Next get police officers and public officials in you city Cheap memberships. They know people and they talk, offer anyone thy know a cheaper rate. Sign them up for 1 year. Get the word out that you like to help people and the moneyh will roll in, this is how you make money, be the nice guy and smart guy smile and work 10-11 daily and greet everyone and hire certified personal trainers. Become a professional club and members will stay. Start there and you will survive and membership will increase slow and steady. Its like a large ship you must build momentum and keep it there, do not wait on the franchisor doit now if you are failing, if they do not let you document it.
    Start Now.
    I wanted to help sean with facts that work, I know it works i have done it! Proven:

  • Buddy

    As a person who is currently considering purchasing 2 Curves I have a ? for Jose.

    Jose, how many Curves do you currently own & are your suggestions in compliance with the franchise agreement or would those have to be back doored? If so, what fallout would the owner sustain for violating their agreement?

    btw thanks all for the info, this site has proven to be the best reality check.

  • Marc

    Dear Sean ,
    You are in the wrong , but correct at the same time , I can understand that some franchisor out there might be cloud merchants like you say
    but not here it is part as a whole package for franchisee to have with us But on is of course management skills is a priority with SWANN
    otherwise they will fail, Mcdonalds where exactly selling clouds to professionels with management skills in the beginning and look where it took them
    You are right !! to focus in all the positive way is perfect but to know where , why and when to act is also essencials.

  • Marc
    This is waht I was talking about when I say how important to choose a franchisee!! She seems nice but not in her place.

  • Jose

    To Buddy, I had considered Curve 6 years ago and decided not to because I felt when I spoke with the franchise that they were over saturating the market. In my area there ( were ) past tense: a curves every mile and a half. I felt stongly in having a market share and they put pressure on me to buy several locations at one time when they found out my wife and I were serious. I do not own nor so have I ever owned a Curves. I do own 2 health clubs currently and they are doing very well. I have been in business for 6 years and it has not always been easy, I have had to spend more money each year to get new members to replace the cancelled ones. many of my members are former Curves contours lady workout express and other clubs which have failed. (I also have male members too.) I ask them why they left Curves so many of my responses come directly from former members. Just yesterday one of my young members Rachel who is 20 years old wore a purple Curves Trainer shirt to my club. I asked her if she had worked for curves, she said she had. I asked her why she is at my Club working out? her answer was ” Curves is boring and there equipement just does not work for me” I asked her if she was certified, ” NO” I asked her who trained her ” anothergirl” I then asked her why she liked my club. ” Great equipment, Training, Open longer, larger faciliy so she did not have to wait on equipment”
    I asked her what type of people she worked with at Curves. She said and this did not surprize me.
    ” Overweight women who really did not want to work out but talk talk talk. primarily OLDER women, it was a social club not a fitness center and thats why she did not like it also” Well enough said about that. These are the real reasons opening a curves may not be the best idea, regardless of what the salesman tells you. Women have all experienced Curves and really do not want to go back to it.
    I believe the franchise agreement you speak of go 2 ways. The franchisor must provide support in order for the franchisee to succeed. Now curves is so busy promoting food, the franchise is on the back burner cooling off. Corporate greed! I also believe that if you are failing and following the agreement to the dot, you should consider getting out of that franchise before your personal finances are gone. Curves will release you if you want out bad enough. You may have to pay for the remainder of the future royalty but it is worth it in the long run. If you document your complaints and they are ligitamate you can hire an attorney that will advise you. Franchise agreements are broken each day and it is impossible to inforce them unless the company is willing to pay tens of thousands to do so and they are not! They will let you go. That is a fact! Violating a franchise agrement has specific obligations for both parties and holds the frachisor harder to the agreement then the franchisee. many states such as New York, Michigna Florida and other allow franchise agreement Non binding in many cases, Financial hardship. You can contact your local state gov and get a copy of the statute in that state regardless if arbitration is in Texas, state law takes precidence over franchise agreements. If you are having problems further you may contact the Federal Trade Commission which regulates interstate commerce and render a complaint. You might say I have a degree in this stuff.
    I hope I have helped you BUDDY!

  • Jose

    Marc what do you mean ‘NOT IN HER PLACE” do you know her?
    i am curious

  • sean

    Looks like Butterfly Life and Contours Express will both be recruiting new franchisees at the International Franchise Expo in Washington D.C. this weekend.

    No Curves, except maybe through brokers

  • Marc

    No I dont know her… She is overweight so not exactly the best franchisee to help people loose weight!! so how can a franchisor that respect his franchisee sell to someone that has many chances to fail.. Is it still the FITNESS INDUSTRY? or a social club. I think that as important as Sean mention about the Management skills, even if it is sad , the apperance factor in this business is very important. I say sad because in this business you dont see people for wath they are but how they look.. But again if this person Buy a club and then looses her extra weight she will be succesfull and even more credible since she lost all that weight!!
    We are in the wellness industry and there to help people to get in shape we need to look as if we know wath we are talking about.

  • sean

    Marc says Dear Sean ,
    You are in the wrong , but correct

    Marc is, of course, half-right. :)
    … at the same time , I can understand that some franchisor out there might be cloud merchants like you say… Mcdonalds where exactly selling clouds to professionels with management skills in the beginning and look where it took them…
    There’s a world of difference between McDonald’s signing up experienced, well-capitalized businesspeople and fitness franchises that actually want inexperienced people who do not understand the economics of either business ownership or the industry they are entering. Selling an ambitious venture to experienced people is not selling clouds.

    And anyone who has spent time in the restaurant industry knows that successful operators know their food, labor and other costs down to the penny.

  • sean


    On your website you state:

    “The benefits of purchasing a franchise have been well established. Most new independent business ventures fail within the first two years of operation. New franchise businesses have over a 90% success rate.”

    Can you cite the original source of these two statistics? Which study stated that more than 50% of new business ventures failed in the first two years?

    Which study are you quoting that states new franchise businesses have more than a 90% success rate.

    Can you link to them, or send me a copy at info[at] Thanks.

  • Ex Ms Contours

    Oh Sean, I hope and pray people will go online and check out all the blogs concerning BFL, Contours, etc. after attending this event!!! I feel for anyone if they give their hard earned money to any of these vultures!!!

  • Marc

    Sean , could I ask of you what exactly do you do in life, you must be an expert in franchises
    or did you ever start a franchise of any kind or owned a franchise, could you tell me from your point of view exactly what you would do if you where a franchisor it would be nice to hear from an expert.

  • Marc

    Sean, We took these numbers on the IHRSA International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association web site 5 years ago , you make me think that maby these numbers might have dropped from 2003 I will immediately check and if needed correct them.
    Thank you

  • Marc

    To ex Ms Contour,
    Can you give me a site where I can see those blog for BFL and Contour
    Thank you
    P.S we are not all vulture, here we have a family business wich is doing amazingly well and we just love our franchisee they are the best extention of our family,
    Did your franchisor tell you about the actual risk of owning your own business before you signed your agreement?

  • Ex Ms Contours

    marc- I’m too exhausted to reply so you can go to “franchise dreams becoming nightmares for many fitness club owners” and “is butterfly life a great fitness franchise” (among the others) and read your heart out. You’ll find the answer to your question(s). Maybe you are not a vulture. I was not refering you.

  • sean

    Did your franchisor tell you about the actual risk of owning your own business before you signed your agreement?
    Marc, by risks do you mean telling people that new franchises have a 90% success rate vs. more than 50% failure rate of independent businesses? Please give me a copy of ANY study from ANY year that supports those numbers you cited. Not another website or article, but a source of the information.
    I’m sure you have them on file, as you wouldn’t give people bogus cloud statistics for such an important decision, would you?

  • Marc

    Sean ,
    I will give me a few day’s I will find it for you
    but by the way this was a real number but it is never used in any of our sales picth since we make sure that our potential franchisee know exactly what they are getting into.
    In the letter of intent we Outline the clause stating that the fact of oppening any kind of business is a risk and they should ask arround
    (call existing franchisee) to have the exact picture , then we insist that they go out and try a SWANN first if they did not do it already ,
    then if they are entirely satisfied we begin to talk about them becomming franchisees.
    I think that we are very picky about who we want for franchisee as they should be about choosing their franchise.

  • sean

    Marc said: give me a few day’s I will find it for you but by the way this was a real number…
    Search as long as you want, Marc. Because you saw it somewhere doesn’t make it a real number. Why not think about it when you go to bed tonight and visualize all the nonexistent statistics that are going to appear tomorrow?

    …it is never used in any of our sales picth since we make sure that our potential franchisee know exactly what they are getting into.
    The franchise section of your website isn’t part of your pitch?

    In the letter of intent we Outline the clause stating that the fact of oppening any kind of business is a risk
    Yes, you make it clear that their risk of failure is 10% with a new franchise, greater than 50% on their own. Is lying about the risk better than not mentioning it at all?

    …and they should ask arround (call existing franchisee)
    Specifically, successful positive franchisees. Stay away from the negative ones.

    Marc, I’m sure you believe this or else you wouldn’t stay and debate it out here in the open. But you’re deluding yourself. Those statistics are a lie that some brokers and franchisors pass around to perpetuate the illusion that franchising is nearly risk-free. Take a step back and think about it. You are feeding people bogus statistics that they are using to make the biggest investment of their lives. And you don’t have the statistics on file?
    Tell you what. Meet me back here tomorrow with your 90% success rate of new franchises study.
    I will bring you a study that shows 75% of new Franchisors don’t make it 10 years, much less their franchisees.
    I’ll bring you a study that shows the failure rate of franchises is HIGHER than non-franchised start-ups – in part because of the franchisor failure rate just cited.
    If your study’s more credible than my studies, I’ll do a post on how wonderful the Swann franchise is. But if you lose… you need to let yourself go and eat junk food until you gain ten lbs., send us a picture, and issue an apology to the lady you said was fat.

    Incidentally, you’re wrong about that, too, but I’ll save that for another rant.

  • Buddy

    Jose, your post and my due diligence seem to be in sync. Thanks for replying & no, we’re not investing in Curves at this time. I called the sellers broker yesterday and advised we weren’t going any further and thanked him for his time.

    What I can’t figure out is how the seller & broker arrived at the asking prices for these 2 franchises. Seriously, this had to be drafted after a few drinks then added to a Christmas wish list. One location has 3 Curves in a 6 mile span. With a population of 16,000, I would love to know who thought this was a good idea. Both locations have dropped 1/2 their members in 12 months. Putting all that aside, my CPA took a look at the books and found substantial deposits from another source after all the clubs money in, money out was accounted for. I really didn’t have to go much further to realize this franchise may have jumped the shark. Again, thank you for replying, I appreciate your candor.

  • Jose

    Well I appreciate you investingating the facts Buddy and not making an emotional decision. What your CPA say was called ” Cooking the Books” The owner of the Curves deposits his own money into the company account to make the Gross reciepts look good for the new buyer. The sale price of any business is dictated by the Gross reciepts. You my friend have a good accountant! Having 3 Curves in a 6 mile Radias is crazy. Only 16000 people! No way you can survive. You would be out of business in the 1st month of opening and have to pay 10 years of royalties to the franchisor.
    Marc I do know that Sean is a very experienced expert in the franchising business. He only tells you like it is on this site, no blib blab from him, only facts. Sean is correct. Saleman of franchises always post these stats to incourage individuals to buy or take a look at there franchise. It is deceiving because the real fact is many more franchisee fail thatn indicated. The facts that sean stated are correct.
    “I will bring you a study that shows 75% of new Franchisors don’t make it 10 years, much less their franchisees.
    “”"”I’ll bring you a study that shows the failure rate of franchises is HIGHER than non-franchised start-ups – in part because of the franchisor failure rate just cited.”"”"
    A good way to gage if a franchisor is ligitimate is to see how many clubs the company owns itself. If a franchisor does not own more thatn one club , they probably are more interested in making money than having a successful model for testing future ventures and successes. I know that Curves and many others do not even own one location corporated. If they are a ggod company they should operate several.. McDonalds Corp ownes 80% of all restaurants in the world. Maybe that is why they are so successful. So do your homework and post how many loctions the franchisor owns, if they only have one I would be conserned, if they have none I would run far away from the idea. It is very difficult for a frachisor to realize how hard it is to get members and keep them when they do not own a club.
    I also agree with the franchisor fail rate cited by sean. here is why franchisors fail: Currupt and wrongful lawsuits. Many attorney firms today thrive on failing loctions and franchisees by incourageing them to sue. They play on the emotions of the franchisee who lsot their franchise for every reason but there’s. many time a franchisee goes out of business has nothing to do with the franchisor but lack of experience on the franchisees part. I do blame the franchisor in part for not discourging some from buying but this is no reason to create false suits against the franchisor.
    There is alot of money to be made by these firms and in all cases the franchisee loses! When a franchisor goes out of business there is no longer a source of guidance so the franchisee is left to fail and they all do. I discourage franchisees from getting involved with these shady law firms and incourgae them to cooperate with the franchisor for a win wind situation. When you get a lawyer involved it makes nogociation impossible and tensions high. Many time the franshisee’s are stuck with tens fo thousands fof dollars in legal fees when bankrupcy id filed on behalf of the franchisor. The Franchisor may stays open but the franchisee loses everything including there franchise operating trademark..
    So when you look at buying a franchise find a company who owns several locations if they do not. RUN!

  • Ex Ms Contours

    Jose while I appreciate your expertise on this subject of lawsuits vs franchisors and zees, I must tell you that our lawyer did not pursue all 60+ club owners and ex-club owners to get us to file a false suit against Contours. To the contrary, we pursued him (among others). When he heard how all of us had the same stories concerning fraudulent actions on Contours part it was a no-brainer to represent us. So not all is true about what you are stating.

  • sean

    Marc has not returned with his survival studies.
    And he won’t, because they don’t exist.
    Back in the late 80s, no less, I took over the marketing dept. of a large franchise consulting company. Every brochure & video we produced had similar statistics, cited from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. But no one could produce the study.
    At an International franchise conference I actually met the head of franchising for the Dept. of Commerce and he told me there was no such study. For 20 years, the industry keeps quoting them, knowing it’s BS.
    I wrote this a while back:

    Lies, Damn Lies & Franchise Statistics

    The point’s not the statistics. The point is that it’s unconscionable to tell people that there’s little-to-no risk in starting a business. There’s always a risk. Secondly, it’s bad for a franchisor to have franchisees who don’t go into it with a fear of failure. The “believe in yourself and you’ll succeed” fairy tale just sets me off some days.

  • Marc

    I did not get back to you because I did my research , and I have to admit that you are right on the numbers ,even if I saw that a lot of franchisor are making claims with these numbers
    I did not find any backing of any sort anywhere
    I made a change on my web site immediately
    Please dont turn this as a way for me to get out of anything since I have told you I dont use it as a pitch but I understand that people are reading the articles on my web site and it could be interpreted as a way of persuing potential franchisee, So I ow you a great deal, since you brought it to my attention. you helped me and my company to improove, But as for me calling anyone fat !! i did no such thing I simply pointed out the truth and why is it bad on this point to say the truth?? I dont understand since it is better to tell upfront prior to have a franchisee fail.. I think that if all is said upfront prior for anyone to purchase a franchise the better of every one will be. I can admit to a mistake but not to a conviction of mine based on personal experience. The only reason that I am in this business is because I was way overweight 15 years ago, 325 pounds 53% body fat and sick!!
    but someone told me the shocking thruth, I was fat !! and after that I started training and loosing weight (took me 5 years) my life changed compleately from that point 255 lbs at 6’5 all is great but I will be strugling with weight all my life
    so I decided with my wife to start helping others
    as personal trainers so we got our courses and certifications but espesialy did most of the testing on myself and it worked, then 5 years ago We decided to open our own 30 minutes centers and my wife did all the work in the center and for me I was by then a Fitness equipment manufacturer (AIR EQUIPMENT), after a year of testing someone asked us if we would consider to franchise a center to her, and we did
    the rest is pretty like any othe franchisor out there, we oppend a few , made mistakes , chose the wrong franchisee as they chose the wrong franchise (I think it is a two way street)we closed down 5 centers including 2 of our own and then decided to change the way we sold
    so anyone not having passion and the right profile was decline, Please find me numbers on franchisors refusing money !! I know only 2 Ourselfs and a breakfast place with 70 location here in Canada, It is not an easy place to be as a franchisor , but it has it’s rewards, yes money, but also having the chances to touch the lifes on thousands of women, So please induldge me If I am not perfect, rather than being tough on me point me the thing you think could help the franchise industry,
    Thank you

  • http://www.cwlight/ Buddy

    Ex Ms. Contours,
    Your posts & others like it shed light on the realities of 30 minute salon ownership. I recently looked into buying 2 Curves but decided not to. Among other things, I saw an immediate flaw in the 30 minute salon sales pitch, (no business experience, own your own, not alone) that seems to be across the board. I believe the intent is to draw 1st time inexperienced business owners in with little down. That said, it’s up to the purchaser to do their research prior to sale.

    I don’t mean to sound uncaring but not all franchises have a sound plan or are profitable – short or long term. My concern is this may be a long drawn out lawsuit if all parties didn’t do their due diligence prior to signing the franchise agreement. Contigency lawsuits – the longer it takes the less $ is dispursed to the affected parties. Please take a close unbiased look at the motivation and a second look at your legal agreement to ensure the lawyer % is before fees, not after. I sincerely wish you the best of luck; your success may very well change franchising. Buddy

  • sean

    Marc said: Please find me numbers on franchisors refusing money !! I know only 2 Ourselfs and a breakfast place with 70 location here in Canada, It is not an easy place to be as a franchisor , but it has it’s rewards, yes money, but also having the chances to touch the lifes on thousands of women, So please induldge me If I am not perfect, rather than being tough on me point me the thing you think could help the franchise industry
    Marc: I give you a lot of credit for coming back, posting your last comment and removing the bogus statistic. Admitting the past closings and admitting your mistakes indicates to me that you want to do it right. If you imitate the others in the industry, say what they say, use their statistics and copy their Master Franchise/ area rep strategies, you will certainly end up doing the wrong thing. You’ve got to set your own course. Challenge every assumption.
    Every franchisor with long-term success turns down money from franchisees they’re not sure about. Only true scammers – the psychopaths who can justify anything to themselves and still sleep at night – get away with using the mirror test and the check clearance test for franchisee selection.
    I joined a startup franchise company with a $250K – 350K investment. We opened 80 new franchise stores per year primarily through single unit to a few unit operators during a down economy. While we were aggressive with PR, local and in-store marketing, we did next to no franchisee recruitment advertising. We made our franchisees’ success our highest priority. We didn’t say it, we did it. In turn, we received over 6000 franchise leads through our stores, press and referrals every year. When a location became available, we went to the file and had to choose from the waiting list of approved franchisees.
    We all knew that if the quality started slipping at store #11, there would be no store #12. The same was true at store #299 and #599.
    One of the most common fatal flaws of young (or old) franchisors is they paint themselves into a corner and have to act like they know everything. That’s one of the problems with Curves and the 30 Min. Clubs.
    Imagine what would have happened had they all recruited differently. Instead of just saying: “Follow our brand new, untested system, believe in yourself, and you’ll succeed,” they had recruited people by saying: “Look, this is a brand new idea. We think it’s cool, but we don’t know WHAT will happen in the next few years. We WILL promise that we’re in this together. If we have to adjust, test, fine tune, we will. But whatever we do, you can be sure that our priority is the best interest of the brand and our mutual success, not simply our own.”
    Even franchisees who didn’t make it would have felt that they were part of one of the most exciting business ventures of the time – not the Scam of the Century.

  • sean

    Buddy said: Among other things, I saw an immediate flaw in the 30 minute salon sales pitch, (no business experience, own your own, not alone) that seems to be across the board. I believe the intent is to draw 1st time inexperienced business owners in with little down.
    Well put, Buddy. Where else is inexperience considered a virtue? In franchise sales mythology, experience = “bad habits to unlearn.”
    In truth, experience = “tough questions to answer.”

    Buddy said: Please take a close …look at your legal agreement to ensure the lawyer % is before fees, not after
    This is even better advice BEFORE you buy a franchise. Pay an experienced franchise lawyer to review your agreement before you sign, invest, open and get in trouble. It will cost you a lot less before you sign.

    Franchisor attorneys do not draft those big fat agreements you sign to make it a fair fight if things go wrong.

  • Marc

    Hi Sean and all the others, Finaly I found those numbers on this web site see adress below..
    [Editor's note: I rarely add to comments but don't want someone coming across this and believing it. Bold comments mine.]
    I understand that they are a consulting firm for franchisor but again .. I am sure that they did their research.. [Then you would sure be wrong. They know the statistics are fraudulent and they use them anyway. What does that tell you about them?] I hope..

    Still I decided not to put those Numbers back on my web site since I dont need them at all , I went tru all the pages and even find another place that talked about numbers I will remoove it too, I dont know if the actual job of investigating the numbers has been done , but the 95% seem’s to be everywhere.
    [It seems to be everywhere where people are promoting franchising. Where are the studies? They don't exist]
    Franchising is big business. (See Franchising Industry facts and statistics.) Studies show that 95 per cent of franchised business are successful, compared to only 55 per cent of non-franchised businesses.
    [This is a lie & the people who use them are liars. Or they don't have a clue. In either case, grab your checkbook & run]

    Franchised businesses are tried, tested and evolving business concepts. That’s why banks love them. There’s much less of a risk involved in lending money to people to buy into them.
    Franchising provides you, the Franchisor, with the ability to expand your business much more speedily and with less of a financial risk than if you were to invest in, or raise the capital, to open new outlets yourself. [Banks LOVE them? Who wrote this? Barney?]

    Franchising gives you a brand that will be chosen over other products and services that might have the same function and possibly the same quality. Behind the consumer psychology of it all, people will go for a brand they know and trust when there’s a choice between similar products or services.

    Your profits are higher because your costs are substantially lower than they would be if you owned and operated all the outlets. You can use the franchisees’ contributions to a general marketing and advertising fund to promote your business nationwide. You and your franchisees can use your combined muscle to achieve greater purchasing power with key suppliers, enabling franchisees to compete on price with single unit operators. [I bet you franchisees love seeing this. Let the franchisees take the risk while you spend their money to promote YOUR business nationwide. I didn't know Capt. Hook did franchise consulting]

    [I did it. I got out of here without violating my no profanity policy. Just barely.]

  • Ex Ms Contours

    Thanks for adding your comments to this franchisor’s blog. See, this is what zees are up against.
    And Buddy- maybe we all didn’t do the due diligence as thoroughly as we should have but look at Marc’s comments, and he is suppose to be a zor who is trying to do what’s right!! And I do happen to know what our lawyer will charge when all is said and done. If it takes forever it still is worth it if they don’t sell one more franchise, and hopefully this site is helping us do just that.

  • Marc

    Sean ,
    I wish to thank you for the comments you made they are eye oppening for me
    I just had a meeting with my sales team, and made sure they understood that even if sales drops we have to be able to give more time to our potential franchisee to actualy find if they are right for this business, so we did a actual questionair form them to fill out , I knew that my team would accept this because we already applied it but from now on before signing a franchise agreement they must all call at least 5 centers to have referal , we even gave them a list of questions to help them ask our actual franchisees the major things they should know, as : how many members at the oppening, how many hours did they do first 6 months and after, how is their relation with the franchisor , are their ideas welcome with us , are they making the money they wish they made , if it was all to do over would they ? are the overhall cost of the start up was respected by the franchisor, delays in recieving the equipment , date of oppening , assistance for pre oppening and after the oppening , was all of this respected and enoughf,
    the rest should be at their discretion , after that
    they will be more aware of the many thing to do
    and the actual implication of owning a business,
    Sean , my plans are to start selling franchises in the USA very soon we already have our UFOC document and we will register for the state of Texas next month, We have a great product and system to present nothing comparable to the actual 30 minutes centers, Over 70% of our own franchisee here (we have the numbers) where profitable before 1 year the other 30% are open less than 1 year but are all following their projections, as I said we are very close to our franchisee and every 7 +/- locations we oppen we hire a new team member here at the head office to assure the assistance they need,
    I am wondering if I should sell to a master franchisee or to individuals, my lawyers are telling me to sell to a master for support to the franchisee, if you have an oppinion it is welcome.
    That said
    Thank you

  • sean

    You’re welcome.
    My impression is that the Master Franchise (or Area Developer) structure, especially in the fitness industry, is perhaps the franchise fraudster’s finest work – a masterpiece of malevolence and misdirection. But I’m not the expert – the ADs and franchisees here can confirm or dispute my impression.
    Here’s an example of how this works:
    Fitness Fred decides to buy a franchise with a 30K franchise fee and a flat $1K mo. royalty.
    “But wait!” says Salesman Sal to Fred. “I will sell you the right to sell and support 50 units in your territory for $250K. We will split the 50 franchise fees even steven. Fitness Fred, you’ll make $750K on franchise fees alone!”
    “Wow,” Thinks Fitness Fred. “I could help a lot of people get fit and build great businesses for $750K.”
    “But that’s not all!” says Salesy Sal. “We’ll also split the monthly fee. $500 a month x 12 months x 10 years x 50 franchisees = $3,000,000.”
    Wow! Fitness Fred can make $3.75M plus all free protein bars he can eat all for only $250K plus opening his own club. He leverages out to the hilt to come up with it.
    Let’s say Fred opens his club and five franchisee clubs in the territory. Things are OK, but they are in startup stage in tough times. Franchisees are needy and complaining. His club is no homerun, and as he’s feeling the economic strain, having a tough time paying his own mortgage. FR hits him up for franchise marketing dollars. His own club becomes a burden, like the whiny franchisees. One of his 5 franchise clubs closes. Where is Fred going to put his focus and energy: supporting needy franchisees or trying to sell more franchises? Is he going to acknowledge the problems, or sing the company song while the franchisees in his territory are more and more angry at him?
    Here’s the evil brilliance of it: the franchisor sold 30 of these things for $7.5M upfront and doesn’t have to do a dang thing but wear bulletproof jammies to bed each night. If there’s no franchisee support, it’s the AD or AR’s fault. And the AD can’t speak out or bye bye investment. House. Car.
    Marc, ethical franchising involves a win-win arrangement, not a win-lose-lose. Unless there are performance & operational requirements that ensure Masters provide the same or better support no matter what their economic incentive, it’s just, it seems to me, an insidious arrangement.
    However, there may be exceptions and I may be wrong. That’s never happened before, but it’s theoretically possible.

    Franchisees please share your experience and observations.

  • Jose

    Well You are correct Sean. Many consultant firms will attempt to sell your concept to some wealthy ignorant man or women by filling there head with big dreams of getting rich. This hurts the franchise concept because you have handed control over a large region to someone who may not have your companies best interest at hand. The franchisor still remains responsible for the negative actions of the Area developer. The only one who makes quick money is the sales attorney who takes the profit and runs. Most want nothing to do with the company once the sale is consumated. They move on to the next company and so forth. I would not consider an area developer for any franchise. If you want to sell you company fine but do not let anyone get in the middle of your power to lead your franchisees.

  • Jose

    Just last week one of the largest womens only clubs in the area closed due to lack of membership. Femme Fitness a Canadian franchise closed its doors without notifiing members. I spoke with a former member and she said she lost $600.00 in future fees. She like many women today do not trust womens only clubs for this reason. When a club closes it effects how many view the concept, which in turn hurts new womens only clubs. Stability of the Larger Co ed Clubs is why women join. I know of 20 womens clubs that have closed here in my area leaving thousands out of a gym. This is another reason I tell people not to consider buying a womens only club at this time.

  • Wendy

    So, what is a good business to invest in? I was sold on Curves or Emerald City Smootie – now, not so much. Thanks, Wendy in Woodinville Washinton.

  • sean

    Wendy said: So, what is a good business to invest in?

    Despite some of the worst-case scenarios that you see here, Wendy, franchising CAN be a great way to start and operate a business. But you have to do your homework (as you are doing) and see it for what it is: the licensing of a system, tradename, and support services exchanged for fees and the freedom to make your own decisions. There’s no magic. It’s still a business and you need to decide whether the tools you are receiving will increase your sales & profitability to the extent it will more than offset the fees required and freedom relinquished. Here are some hype-free articles on the subject:

    FranBest Franchise Information Guide

    Request information on as many concepts and companies as possible, and dig in to how they work:

    FranBest Franchise Directory

    Talk to as many franchisees as possible, and always beware of ulterior motives – some are also salespeople and others may be trying to pass off a troubled unit as successful.

  • Jose

    Wendy take note.
    When you interview and franchisor, they will give your references. These references are 100% of the time paid to tell you nice things about the business. Franchisors pay franchise’s a referral fee should you buy after talking to them. No one will turn down $5000.00 referral fee to tell you the truth. If you interview franchisees remember they will always tell you nice things and how great things are and beware of when the tell you they make tons of money. This gimmick hooks you into thinking you will be rich.
    When you buy a business do not expect a profit for several years. 3 minimum 5 maximum. You may be able to pay yourself a small salary but not much more. If anyone tells you the break even is within the first 12 months they are lieing. I have been in business 6 years and I can tell you that the first 2 I was broke paying off bills and working 2 jobs. I made alittle money the 3rd year, the forth I made $258,000.00 of which $110,000.00 went to bills. Nice money! The following year due to downturn in economy it dropped to to $189,000.00 and remained steady. I had to reinvest in new equipment inlarge my club and now I am growing. Now this cannot be done by the average person with limited money. I happen to have had a large bank account which allowed me cash to spend, many people cannot do this so I always tell people, if you do not have one years rent and utilities and salary covered do not even think about going into business. The first year will break the bank if you do not have savings to float your rent and bills. If you Pay $30 K for the business you should have $90K in your bank to grow the business. Wendy have an exit plan and a good business attorney and accountant look over all books and legal obligations. Signing a franchise agreement will bankrupt you if you are not carefull.

    I wish you all the best,.

  • packerfan

    Does anyone know anything about the ‘new’ Club Closing Rule? Curves is advising me that its a $10,000 ‘penalty’ for us to close our doors, AND we need to return all our euipmment to them (of course, at our cost). Please help! Thanks!

  • Wendy

    Thank you Jose, your words of wisdom hit deep with me. I left corp America just recenlty and although giving up well over 6-figures was risky, I was tired of working for the man. I thought buying a business would pay off in the long run because I am a smart business woman, know people pretty well and am a hard worker. I did not expect to get rich, I expected more freedom after a year or two. At 40, I was ready for a change and could not focus on that change working 60 hours a week. Now, I am a bit disheartened as I really thought this was it (the time), but I cannot find a franchise worth investing in throughout the area of Bothell, Woodinville or Redmond WA. Again, I sincerely appreciate the sound advice.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Unless they’ve charged the rules since last year, Curves does not charge clubs that close. Matter of fact, they HELP you close.

    They also recommend you donate your equipment to local schools or charities.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Update: ANOTHER Curves in our county is now for sale at McCord Business Brokers. That’s 10 of 17. An 18th club closed.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Looks like some ladies in New Hampshire are unhappy with Curves . . . only 400 members total at two clubs? No wonder they closed so abruptly!

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) The New Hampshire attorney general’s consumer protection bureau is reviewing complaints against Curves for Women gyms that closed in Concord and Penacook.

    The gyms closed last month without notice. Members complained they didn’t get refunds for membership fees.

    The closings displaced about 400 women who used the two facilities. The memberships are transferrable to other Curves gyms but compensation was not offered to some women who decided not to transfer.

    Information from: Concord Monitor,

  • Jose

    Wendy , Thank you for the kind words. I understand your frustration! Years ago I worked in corporate america and found out quickly that trading time for money was not the way to build wealth. In 2002 I opened my own Fitness Business, not a franchise, I thought about opening a franchise but after interviewing Curves, Contours, and others I found the common flaw. Lack of freedom to incorporate my own programs and to help people. All franchises wanted me to be stuck in a rutt and limited my ability to grow and market, so I decided to openn my own club. As I indicated earlier, there were some tough years but soon i will have several clubs open and making more money than I ever have in the past. I am also going to diversify my business and open several new companies other than fitness. If I were you wendy I would investigate many options and move slowly before getting into business.

  • Jose

    Curves are failing even faster since the price increase of $39.99 month. All curves have taken this suggested price from the franchisor even though the do not have the Curves Smart equipment. Women will not pay more for this equipment. THe price of $29.00 curves had for years have diminished the ability for curves to charge more. In the past this price was the lowest in the industry. I believe this is why Curves grew so fast. They did not grow because they had good equipment or weight loss, only because it was affordable. Women will not easily pay more than $29.00 per month for any membership long term so the attrition rate for higher priced businesses are higher. Many people just want to feel like the belong and never use the club. Balleys and Fitness USA are great examples, in the 80′s they sold thousands of life time membership. 95% of the people never use the club but pay the $120.00 year, renewal fee. 20 years later They are enrolling new members and still collecting from people who never use the club. People are fearful of losing the deal so they pay. It is still a waste of money but people still pay. I have found that if you allow month to month you will go out of business quickly. Curves cannot stay long term with new private clubs opening around them charging less per month with more equipment. I say good bye Curves and all other womens only franshises, they will become at thing of the past. Small towns may still have the Curves but the larger profit markets are moving to Co-ed clubs.

  • sean

    Thanks for the tip. See my post:
    I’m going to do several this week on a questions this article raised, including the seeming indifference of the spokewoman in this article to club closings, the lack of interest in why 20%+ MA clubs have closed and doing something about it, the responsibility of nearby franchisees to fulfill the club contracts, and the failure fee of $10,000 levied on owners closing their clubs.
    Can anyone confirm that the last point is accurate and being enforced?

  • packerfan

    Curves will HELP you sell? Good Lord – I have been trying to sell my club for two years with absolutly NO help whatsoever from corporate. This ‘new’ 10K rule to close went in effect on February 1st, 2008. They are telling me that if we need to close, they are doing us a favor by charging us that so we can get out of our franchise agreement.
    Anyone know any details on this?? If we had that money, we wouldnt be closing!!!!

  • Sadderbutwiser


    Sorry to hear about the new $10K rule. I guess Curves saw another opportunity to cash in, now that Curves are closing left and right. They already charge $5,000 to transfer ownership of a club.

    And what I meant to say is that Curves will help you close, not sell. At least that was the policy LAST year. Now it seems as if they’ve gotten a lot tougher on their franchisees.

  • sean

    Can someone please post the official wording or explanation of the $10K Rule? or email it to me at info[at]

  • Jose

    One more reason not to buy a Curves.

  • Jamie-Lyn

    I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s thought/facts and feelings. I worked at aCurves for 8 months and saw the potential for my own busness. I saw so many ladies happy to be “working out” but they were no longer getting physical results (same work out = same result). So I opened my own club 2 minutes away from the Curves that I worked at. I had looked at franchises but the local one (BC Canada) Express fit (now out of business) seemed shady and I decided that I would rather have the freedom to play by my own rules. I have been in business for almost 4 years now and I love what I do. I did think of franchising my concept but after reading this I will rethink it.

    I just wanted to add to this topic that with the introduction of “Curves Smart” Ladies have been leaving Curves to join my gym (like crazy)

  • Jose

    Jamie- Lyn
    I laughed out loud after reading your blog. You speak so honesty it shocks me. Many of the people supporting curves on this blog are
    ” Curves lovers” and wish to only speak positively about curves regardless of the facts that are apparent. You oepning your own unique club speaks highly of your desire to succeed and not be locked into a narrow fanchise concept like curves, only interested in making the corportation more money while you lose your life savings and then to top it off Curves is no charging the franchisees that fail $10K Now they have found away to double there money on failed franchises. What I have learned about this blog and others is that former owners of curves can speak outwardly about the failure of Curves withour recourse because the are anonymous. Curves cannot come back at them for there comments and that is Great. Why are people now leaving Curves because of the SMART system? I thought this was suppose to increase membership! What is the reason the ladies are telling you they left Curves? How well are they doing now? How did what you learn at curves help you open your own, or did you have to create your own operational plan? I believe you are correct not to franchise, you wuld be foolish to do so , unless you want to get sued like all the others. very fitness franchise out there is being sued at this time. The crooked attorneys are sharks looking for someone they can blame falsely. I wish you luck and look forward to a response.

  • positive-healthy

    Jamie-Lyn – I have a question for you. Didn’t you sign a Confidentiality/Non-Compete agreement with the Curves Owner? It is my understanding that you would not have been able to compete within that physical distance for at least two years. Just curious…

  • Jamie-Lyn

    Thank you Jose (it was your posts that stuck with me the most).
    What ex- Curves members have said about the new smart system
    1) The smart machines can’t be synchronized with the cue tape, since your 30 seconds start when you scan your tag. This messes up the flow of the circuit.
    2) It has divided members into the one who have tags and the ones who don’t so it takes away from the group feeling that they were going for.
    3) A few ladies were offended that they had to pay more when they have been going to Curves since the day it opened.
    4) Not all of the smart monitors are right in front of you, so you head and neck are out of alignment when you are watching if you are in the green or not.

    The ladies that leave Curves to come here, tell Curves that they need more of a varity of work out options. The fun ones just straight out tell them “I’m going to Ideal Fitness!”

    I loved all the members at Curves, it was a fun place to work. But then I started thinking I’m doing all this work (for minimum wage) and the owner who doesn’t live in this province. I figured that if she could run a business from far away I do it hands on and create a wonderful job for myself. One of my biggest payoffs is the difference I make in people lives

    As far as the Confidentiality/Non-Compete agreement, turns out I never signed one. And the one that I would have signed wasn’t legal in BC (I took a copy to a lawyer just to be sure incase I did sign it). The owner would of sued me if she could…that was made clear.

  • Jose

    Jamie Lynn
    It is sad that the curves owner would sue an employee because they opened another club. Non binding agreements like that do not stick and will never hold up in any court of law. It is a scare tactic that curves uses to control the employee’s and stop them from opening there own club. I see the problems that the new curves smart is going to cause thoughout the US and Canada. Not every curves can afford it and once installed it does not gaurauntee profitability. Curves threw it out there to make more money off of the franchisees, not to help them. Also the franchisees must pay curves for the new keys which cost curves $2.oo and they probably charge the franchisee’s $10.00 or more per key. Curves currently charges $39.00 monthly plus $10.00 extra for the curves smart system. That is a monthly cost of $49.00 which is more than a full service health club like mine. Just as you noticed the owners are absent from the daily operation so they really can care less if customers are happy only when they can get there money. This is typical of most fitness franchises. Most fitness franchisee’s own 2 or more because the cannot make enough money with one, it is impossible to monitor customer satisfaction. You can only monitor membership sales but retention is difficult to measure. Another warning for all prospects. Do not allow the franchisor to dictate who collects the membership dues. This is very important. I once used APEX management to collect my fees. What I found out is that they keep a portion of the fee for themselves, about $2.00per transaction plus a return fee if of $25.00 if any are returned and keep the money, they then send it to continental collections, out of oregon and keep all collected fees. They never paid my company in 3 years costing me a loss of over $15,000. and about $15,000 year to collect my membership fees. I found this out when I got a letter from the collection company that said they were told to send all collected funds to Apex not to me. I was paying all the losses while they kept all of my money. I found out later that this company ApEX management is the worst company in the United States when it comes to club management. To top it all off I found out it is owned by Anytime Fitness who owns the franchise and still use Apex for all transactions. The franchisee’s have no choice but to pay threw the noes for services they can get elsewhere for less. I FIRED APEX MANAGEMENT AND TOLD DAVE MORTINSON TO TAKE A LONG WALK.
    Word of advice: NEVER let a franchisor dictate who takes control of your money, if you do you will lose every time, they can stop payment anytime if THEY FEEL you are in non compliance and put the money in escroll causing you to go bankrupt. Curves, Anytime Fitness and all the others do the same thing, control your money. do not do it!

  • Kunst

    As usual, Jose does not let facts get in the way of his polemics. He just makes up whatever “facts” he likes, while stumbling through a bunch of disconnected ramblings.

    The extra charge to the member for Curves Smart is $5, not $10. This is true across the country.

    The ID keys cost us $2.50 each. We got 100 per club with the setup.

    Jose has an agenda against Curves. He has no real knowledge about Curves. He just repeats things he has heard or makes them up.

    Non-compete agreements are not legally binding. I have never heard of a Curves trying to enforce one against a former employee.

  • Buddy

    Non-compete agreements are not legally binding? And yet the cases filed are increasing….

    Jamie-Lyn, I wish you success in your business but your situation is why non-competes exist. Put yourself in your former employers shoes> You hire someone to help with your business, teaching them the business, sharing your trade secrets, they get the benefit of one on one mentoring in the business. They decide to take that knowledge & open their own business with the intent of bettering the product or service, possibly placing the former employer out of business. Depending on location and clients your former employer may have had a solid case. Consider yourself fortunate the nc was not enforcable in your locale.

  • Buddy

    Usually a former employer doesn’t need a signature or even a non-compete agreement to protect proprietary information. The franchisor/ee may work together in protecting that info. In your shoes, I’d watch my back esp if your current members are from that club or there are new members asking business related questions.

  • Jamie-Lyn

    Hi Buddy , am unsure about what you meant when you said “In your shoes, I’d watch my back esp if your current members are from that club or there are new members asking business related questions.”

    As far as my former employer “mentoring” me, I met her twice. I was just an employee, not a manager. I knew as much as any of the members did.

    I am one of those crazy people that believe there is enough to go around.

    Let’s pretend that I work at a lemonade stand that only sells one kind of lemonade (from Texas ;)). While the customers love this lemonade some are getting board of it and keep asking if we are going to bring in some apple juice or some sort of variety. Being a franchise the lemonade stand is force to stick with conformity; all stands must be the same.
    So seeing that there is a market for a lemonade stand that also sells others things I open my own. Yes I have lemonade but I offer 5 other thing as well. So now there is a choice.

    I did not really now anything about running business when I started. From Curves I learned what not to do. I listened to want the ladies really wanted and put together my own thing. My biz was just named the 1st finalist for a award from the Better Business Bureau.

    I always say Curves was wonderful to get so many women working out that would not normally have joined a gym. And that’s just it, Curves is a weight loss center not a fitness center. No fitness center in its right mind would tell you that working out just 3 times a week is enough, never mind the fact that you are doing the same workout EVERTIME.
    But a weight loss center would benefit from you hitting a plateau. “What’s that? your body isn’t losing any more weight or inches…well have you tried our diet program…just buy our shakes/bars.

    Hello trendy low carb nonsense is so out now.

  • Buddy

    Jamie-Lyn, 5 year non-competes are not unusual, again, if you used anything that could be considered proprietory information in establishing your business, you may have a problem. In your shoes I would consult with a lawyer versed in franchise & non-compete law. You may be okay given your locale (or not) but if you had done this to me, you wouldn’t get off so easy. I would find a way to sue. Sorry, it’s just business – nothing personal.

  • Jose

    Hello Everyone
    Again everyone has an opinion and i see you all are using it. This speaks of the ignorance in the business world. Everyone speaks as if they would do this or that or they have experieced some kind of close encounter with Curves that they have more insight to why Curves is or is not working. The facts, are what people need on this blog. While I appreciate the helpful comments to Jamie Lyn, I believe most are helpful ignorance. Blogs are great for speaking your mind but it would be nice to have someone with business savvy on this blog. Someone in the business world who does not own a curves. Or maybe someone who has a curves and now is sharing the truth not opinion. Remember popular blogs are read by curves and they attempt to get on blogs and post Great successes and make false statements Like
    ” Curves is a weight Loss Center” BULL !!!! I am a certified personal trainer and to call curves a fitness center or weight loss center is like calling McDonalds a Health food store. Anyone who makes these claims is foolish or working for Curves. In no way is curves a wieght loss center, They are trying to sell Junk food now because they are failing. On this very blog, curves owners admitted that curves is only interested in helping themselves not the franchisees, that is why they sell stuff. not for the franchisee but for the franchisor. So when I blog I tell the facts unbiased facts. I do not care if you own a curves or not I will reveal the truth to help others reading make a better decision for themselves. If my blog helps great if not OK, either way its informative and revealing. As far as the Non- compete BUDDY!! You sueing tells me you would make a terrible franchisee or franchisor. Sueing is for cowards! It takes a good business man to see when HIS failure to help, has caused the problem and rather than sue help the franchisees make money so they never fail. Thats what a good business person does. They do not use the law to opress the rights of others. They allow them to prosper! if we all liked the same thing then we would only have one car company. It is our drive to be different that makes us successful not our drive to be the same Like all curves claims the compeditors are doing, and the are! Thats why they are failing, they took a poor Model, CURVES and did the same thing and now they are all failing! I compliment you Jamie Lynn for being better than Curves and making your customers happy, bless You. I hope more of you open your own private clubs, you can run it like you want and be better than curves.

  • mcc

    • My family and I own 2 Curves. We’ve been open for 6 years. We continue to be profitable. We work at it. We market. We advertise. We can’t always ‘count’ how many members come from a newspaper ad or a mailing. All consumers are bombarded with advertising to the point that they don’t know what they are seeing or when they see it. I judge the effectiveness of our marketing efforts by the bottom line. For instance, when we stopped doing Pennysaver covers, our appointments slowed. Even though previously members were not citing Pennysaver as the reason they came in.
    • Regarding overweight women owning Curves or being at Curves: One of our very best staff members was almost 300 pounds. She was the kindest, most caring person you could ever meet. She had gained her weight during a 5 year period when she was desperately trying to have a baby. She had more compassion for the members than anyone. She had a 100% ‘sales’ record. The members absolutely adored her — even the skinny members loved her (imagine that!)
    • Curves is a place where you can get fit and get healthy. One of my members recently had a heart attack. Her doctor asked her what kind of exercise she had been doing. She told him she had been exercising at Curves for 5 years — 3 times a week — faithfully. He told her that CURVES saved her life. She was surprised because even she thought 3 times a week was no big deal. Her doctor advised her that it was enough to strengthen her heart muscle to the point that her heart suffered no damage from the heart attack. He told her not to quit. I do not know this doctor. I’ve never met him. He’s not trying to get me business — he just wants his patient to stay healthy.
    • We have countless stories of women who have controlled their diabetes, controlled their blood pressure, decreased their arthritis pain, and improved their self esteem and mood — and they ONLY exercise 3 times a week at Curves. So I take offense to the comments by some on this board that “Curves isn’t really fitness” and “Curves is only pushing products on people”.
    • Are we a social club? Yes — for some. Some women are motivated to come to Curves on a regular basis because of the social atmosphere. Women are social creatures … don’t be surprised to learn that they enjoy social activities where they can also maintain their health & fitness.
    • The beauty of Curves is STILL the fact that busy women can drop in anytime to workout for 30 minutes. They don’t have to commit to a class time. I don’t know about the women where you live, but most of the women I know do not have the leisure time to commit to a 1 hour class, 3 times a week on a regular basis. Most of our members are running in to Curves then running home to take care of the kids, grandkids, dogs, husband, parents, shopping, laundry, cooking, etc. etc. etc. For that reason, Curves is STILL the answer to: “How am I supposed to stay healthy?”
    • Curves diet is not a diet as much as a better way to eat: HEALTHY. It’s not a fad. It’s not unreasonable. It’s hard — because changing bad habits is hard. Giving up foods you love is hard. But the nutritional advice in Curves diet is based on sound science. We always advise our diet classes to take the Curves Member Guide to their doctors to show him/her what they are participating in. The doctors are always very pleased with what their patients are doing at Curves.
    • One of the things that happened with Curves is that lots of people saw it as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Some of those people became Curves owners and they were surprised that you have to actually work your business. Others bought in to copy-cat systems such as Slender Lady & Contours. They all sold themselves as: “We are just like Curves – but better!”
    • In closing: Curves is STILL the best thing that ever happened to women. BUSY women can find time to get at LEAST 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week when it’s convenient for them. The exercise is both cardio & strength training. That’s the heart of the program. On top of that, IF they choose, they can enjoy the social, friendly, encouraging, motivating atmosphere provided by Curves. And IF they choose they can try our diet. And IF they want to eat a protein bar called Curves, or cereal called Curves or popcorn called Curves, all sold by General Mills, they can. All of those things are extras. They don’t have to buy our vitamins or shakes.

    Curves is still #1 and I don’t doubt that fitness snobs around the world will continue to try to drag it down. Were it not for Curves, millions of women in this world would not be doing any strength training. And most women who aren’t doing Curves, are simply walking on a treadmill in front of a televsion. Talk about boring!

  • Jose

    MCC or Mrs Curves.
    Once again ignorance is bliss. Statistics show that over 500 + Curves fail every year, with less than 6450 Curves left in the United States and counting down. It is so easy for you to blame the owners for not wanting to work. Why are you not blaming the Curves concept. More Curves fail yealy than all womens only clubs combined in the United States. How about that fact. Curves owner have lost over $21 Million Dollars of there own money buying a failed curves. The Cereal is more fattening than Snickers Bars. Any dietician will tell you that General Mills products are not healthy. Someone use some intelligence. Nice stories MCC but I do not believe your sales pitch ! it too is BS and thats how Curves convinces people to buy there franchise “STORIES” There is a truthful saying in the marketing business and I quote. ” Facts tell and STORIES SELL” No business person in there right mind would advise anyone to buy a curves, Your risk of failure is very very high. Nice STORIES MR or MRS Curves.

  • Kunst


    Don’t mind Jose. He just rants the same stuff over and over again, making up “facts” as he goes. It wouldn’t be quite so annoying if he could at least write intelligibly.

  • mcc

    The intent of my post was not to blame owners. Businesses in all industries come and go for many reasons — and no doubt, blame can be placed on many shoulders.

    Regarding “no business person in there right mind” advising people to buy Curves. LOL … there are countless stories of “experts” advising people to do/not do something. Fred Smith of FEDEX is one. He was advised his idea of moving packages would never work. Good thing he didn’t listen. There’s a good book out there called “The Experts Speak.” It’s about 300 pages of ‘expert’ advice that was 100% wrong.

    Many of the ‘experts’ advising against Curves are men. Men don’t really ‘get’ Curves. They don’t understand why a woman would get excited to receive Curves Cash because she worked out 3 times this week. Men go to gyms for very practical reasons. A trivia game while men workout would be ridiculous. However, women are more community minded and enjoy activities that fulfill spirit, mind, & body. Ask Oprah … she knows exactly how to market to women.

    That said there are a few Curves re-sales that are probably not good buys. But there are many re-sales that we wish we had the time, energy, and money to own. They are strong territories and some have untapped potential. Frankly, I’m surprised that investors haven’t started buying blocks of Curves in metro areas.

    The Curves product & model works.

    These are the facts:

    • Women need to exercise regularly.
    • Women need strength training.
    • Most women do not want to devote 2 hours a day in a gym.
    • Many women don’t have time to go to a gym for more than 30 minutes.
    • Some women aren’t motivated to exercise at all.
    • Curves provides personal attention, motivation & caring that is missing from traditional gym settings.
    • Curves is simple: 30 minutes, when you have time, on your own schedule
    • Curves is a complete workout that can be learned in a few visits and doesn’t require members to become experts on ‘fitness.’ Women aren’t looking to become expert on what each muscle is called anymore than they want to know how their car engine works. As long as it takes them where they want to go and doesn’t cause them any trouble — they are happy.

    If a woman’s goal is to look like a Hollywood starlet she should probably go to a personal trainer and workout a minimum of 2 hours a day. Then she should visit her plastic surgeon, dentist, stylist, and banker. If her goal is to keep herself strong & healthy so she can take care of herself and her family, then Curves is her answer. Lucky for Curves: there are more women who simply want to maintain their health and enjoy their lives than there are women who aspire to be movie stars.

  • sean

    mcc wrote: These are the facts:
    • Women need to exercise regularly.
    • Women need strength training.
    • Most women do not want to devote 2 hours a day in a gym.
    • Many women don’t have time to go to a gym for more than 30 minutes.
    • Some women aren’t motivated to exercise at all.

    The other day I had to get a car battery replaced at one of my all-time least favorite places in the world: Wal-Mart. Anyone who wants to get seriously disturbed about obesity in America, go sit outside Wal-Mart for half an hour. My God, are we fat! One guy in particular shocked me ’til I realized it was my reflection.
    Inside, the McDonald’s, & Auntie Anne’s, and bakery area were cranking. There was a line at the Taco Bell Drive thru on the pad site out front.

    I agree with mcc about the need – and many of these franchises are sold based on how much Americans need exercise. Unfortunately, bills are paid on with what people buy, not what they need. And they’re a lot more consistent with their visits to McDonald’s drive thru than they are with visits to the gym.

    Isn’t that the bottom-line problem with 30 Minute Fitness Clubs? That they cater to the segment of people who do not stick with a health program long term? If Curves and others had solved the retention problem, would all these clubs be closing or being sold for a song?

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  • Jose

    I take it MCC that you are a Fat Old women! I am not insulting you but your claims at the end of your blog indicates to me that you fit the description of many Curves owners who do not understand the fitness industry. For years the Fitness Industry has been working hard to lift its reputation to become as important and medicine. People like yourself and Curves make it that much more difficult for women to find good help.
    Your Description and I quote,”Women aren’t looking to become expert on what each muscle is called anymore, Some women aren’t motivated to exercise at all. If a woman’s goal is to look like a Hollywood starlet she should probably go to a personal trainer and workout a minimum of 2 hours a day. Then she should visit her plastic surgeon, dentist, stylist, and banker. If her goal is to keep herself strong & healthy so she can take care of herself and her family, then Curves is her answer. Lucky for Curves: there are more women who simply want to maintain their health and enjoy their lives than there are women who aspire to be movie stars.”

    This shows how little you Know fitness and women. You place women in a box, indicating by your statements that they should probably go to Curves, Stay Fat and unatractive and be POOR Or go to a real health club get inshape with a skilled CPT save money and be a wealthy Hot momma! and thats what I do for my ladies, make they Hot MOMS. YES women love to look good and get results and be educated about why they are doing an exercise OH and even enjoying exercise for 2 hours if the want, not putting up with the same boring around the circle hydeaulic workout while you gab with them, all the time they wishing you would shut up. This is why a women joined my club today from Curves. She is tired of all the flip flop mouthing and nothing ever gets done at curves. She quit and came here. Good for her.
    Sean is correct people want to have something they enjoy. They are more consistant with
    McDonalds than exercise, why because exercise is work not simple, it takes work to make money and work to get a great body, nothing will replace this fact. Exercise is a convenience not a necessity and thats why people do not stick to it. People need to get involved in a club that helps them change this.

  • sean

    Jose wrote: I take it MCC that you are a Fat Old women! I am not insulting you…
    No, Jose, I’m sure you meant “fat” and “old” in a complimentary way. If you have a serious point to make, why discredit yourself with mean-spirited and ludicrous statements?
    You presume to know mcc’s age and weight by her comments? And you, a man, tell a woman that she doesn’t understand women?
    Please stick to the guideline of attacking the argument and not the arguer. I doubt anyone here has time or inclination to revert back to 4th grade playground name-calling…

    Despite their weaknesses and limitations, Curves and the 30 minute women’s fitness clubs have done an excellent job doing something that the full-service clubs have failed abysmally at: making the average person comfortable going to work out. If you take the perception of health seriously, you should be thanking them and admonishing your fellow full-service clubs for alienating the majority of the population by implying that fitness is for 20-something supermodels and genetically gifted athletic guys.

    I think there are some serious challenges with the 30 minute club model, but they’ve done something none of the full-service and bodybuilding clubs have done: created a brand that’s about their members, not impersonal pictures of equipment and concrete abs.

  • mcc

    I do want to clarify something because it feeds into the sterotype of Curves employees. I mentioned in this post that we formerly had an employee who was very overweight.

    We currently have 15 employees — mostly part time.

    two are in their early 20′s
    two are in their late 20′s
    two are in their 30′s
    several are in their 40′s
    a few are in their 50′s
    one is in her 60′s

    Our employees look like our members. They go to college, are young moms, have kids in school, hold full time jobs besides Curves, watch their grand kids, have husbands in the military, they are widows, singles, newleyweds, have pets, drive their kids to soccer practice, etc. They represent the average American woman.

    Some of them are in great shape (including the 60 year old), some are a little out of shape and some are overweight. Some have thyroid problems, two are cancer survivors, one has lost a great deal of weight at Curves (100 pounds).

    They all have one thing in common: They are kind, helpful, happy, fun, good hearted people who know how to treat customers. And they are dedicated to helping the members who also become their friends.

  • sean

    I wouldn’t worry about that stereotype.
    I think the more harmful stereotype is this automatic put-down of women because of their weight, especially what “Marc” from Canada said up above. Marc slammed a fitness club owner whose picture was on a website. She was a big woman, but not even clearly obese.
    First off, who is Marc or Jose to judge people based on their weight. They know nothing of what they weighed before, what health or metabolism issues they have. One of the biggest problems in health is the portrayal of some absolute perfect weight or body shape. The health club pros and trainers that I respect see each client as being at different places on the journey. What’s important is how far they’ve come since last week, last month, last year.
    mcc… One club I worked with one personal trainer who was easily twice as popular as the next in line. He was a pretty jolly guy who could have lost 10-20 lbs. but he made the women laugh, have fun, and get a great workout. He would sing (terrible voice) and talk overly loud – he lit up the whole place. He generated a lot of business for all the trainers. How many have you seen whose great physiques were intimidating, or who were so predisposed to fitness and exercise they couldn’t relate to those who aren’t?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Another sad story of a Curves owner who got into the business to help women and wound up in trouble with the law . . . we know what the road to Hell is paved with, don’t we?

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  • Janet

    I am looking at a curves to buy. The owner has owned it less than 18 months. She has 200 members. She says she is selling because she has no time since she works full time at another job for 23 years. She does no adversiting, works only 8 hrs a week. Also before her it was owned by a woman who had 1800 members so the current owner says and she was going to close it. After word got out she then sold it with only 99 members, she owned it 3 1/2 yrs. Any opinions or input would be greatly appreciated. Also what is the franchise fee that curves charges? A flat fee or a percentage?

  • Kunst


    Read this whole forum if you haven’t done so already. Curves can be very rewarding, but the situation you describe is high-risk. 200 members is not enough to make a club successful. Exact numbers depend on revenue (# members and monthly dues) and expenses (rent and payroll).

    If you are not knowledgeable in this area, I would be very careful about assuming you can make the situation better.

  • sean

    I agree with Kunst that you should be very wary of this situation, for several reasons.

    Curves was the first in the market with a fresh new concept and little competition. Like every successful franchise concept, a slew of copycats and variations sprung up to compete. It’s possible your club was the only one in town in its heyday, but now the market is spread among 5-10 similar options.

    Also, some things sound a little fishy: Why would an owner close a club with 1800 members? And the second woman probably intended to leave her job, but wasn’t able to.

    Probably the most important question to ask is: What happens if it fails? Will you have signed a property lease you’re still obligated to pay? Loans, equipment leases? A Curves $10K failure fee? There are clubs being sold for $1.00 that owners see as a bad investment for this reason.

    Buy with your head, not your heart. Best of luck.

  • Janet

    I want to thank everyone so much for their input.
    Your right she did intend to quit and also when I asked her about a monthly franchise fee to Curves she said she pays $195.00 a month and the cap is 300.00 a month. I was skeptical at that and said no percentage and then she kinda said something like no I believe it’s a flat fee. I think she should know for sure.

  • Kunst

    The old franchise agreement was for 10 years and has a $395/month franchise fee and $195/month for national advertising.

    The current franchise agreement is for 5 years and has percentages for FF and advertising. I think they are 5% and 3% but our clubs are on the old FA so I’m not sure. There is a dollar cap on both, but it would not apply to a club at this level. If you buy a resale, you get a new FA.

    Buying a Curves could be a good investment IF:
    1) You are knowledgeable about business (marketing, accounting, personnel), the fitness industry, and the current Curves environment and its history. If you aren’t a member, join before you do anything else.
    2) You have concrete, reality-grounded reason to believe you can improve the club, over a multi-year period (which you should assume will include difficult macro-economic times).

    Many owners are having trouble because their business skills are weak. The right person could get a bargain and make good money on a turn-around. However, go back to point 1 — make sure you really have the skills — and then point 2 — have a reality-based plan (including cash flow projections) you have good reason to believe in. Be skeptical and run your thoughts by some skeptical advisors.

    That said, if you believe — not just wish — you can make it work, go for it.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    A Curves with 1,800 members that dwindled to 99 members?

    As someone who absorbed a similar excruciating fall and is now looking for a rental home because our family home is weeks away from being foreclosed on, I’d say run – not walk – away from this deal. When the smoke clears, you’ll be glad you did.

  • Ex Ms Contours

    Sadderbutwiser- I filed bankrupcty and my case was closed in January 2008. My lawyer told me if I couldn’t afford my house payment that it would take about 4 months to foreclose and kick me out of my house. I’ve been struggling to make the minimum payments but won’t be able to very much longer. Does it take 4 months? and how do you find a rental if your home is being foreclosed on? Thanks!

  • Janet

    The current owner said there is a 5000.00 transfer fee, i week training at my cost, 195. adverstising cost a month and 200.00 franchise fee a month. She also says she has done no advertising at all since she bought it. She is selling for 56,000.00. Is there any way to find out what she paid for it? Thank you everyone. Sounds like this may not be the best business to get into. She said that when other owner had decided to close she sent out a letter to all members stating that she was closing. That is why it went to 99. Then she sold it to current woman 17 months ago and now has 200 members. I have been looking for a business that Needs very few employees and the price seemed attractive at first.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    I’m trying to find a place before our bankruptcy is official, we lose our home and our credit is TOTALLY destroyed.

  • Ex Ms Contours

    So I guess what I’m getting at is since I filed bankruptcy my credit is bad and no one will probably rent to me. Great.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    A sad story out of Missouri that’s occurring across the country . . .

    The Cape Girardeau Curves for Women franchise at 623 S. Silver Springs Road has closed.

    The local workout center was purchased in March 2006 by Tish and Bryan Gentry, who also operate fitness centers in Dexter, Mo. and West Plains, Mo.

    Curves is a franchise-based company that offers diet guidance and focuses on a 30-minute workout for active women. But the Cape Girardeau franchise just couldn’t build up the momentum necessary to be profitable, Tish Gentry said.

    The business was in worse shape than it appeared when they bought it, she said.

    “I hired someone really great at marketing and we definitely made some huge changes but I took two steps forward and four steps back,” she said. “I finally was just going deeper and deeper financially.”

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Here’s one way to help keep a Curves suffering from dwindling membership and high rents from going under – start a co-op!

  • positive-healthy

    My Curves is for sale. How would this situation work as to transfer of ownership through Curves Corporate to the 25 women? It is a very interesting possibility. Thanks for your input!

  • Jose

    Co op franchise is no business at all. There is no profit in operating a co-op. In fact it adds more problems by putting more inadaquate people into business together which will cause more division on who pays the bills and who gets the money. This also puts customers last, because the co-op owners are interested in keeping it open for themselves, having a few members to help pay rent is only a convenience and not necessary. I do not think this is within the franchise agreement Curves has, this is a great way to dump the failing curves.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Just a heads-up. The South Florida law firm I mentioned in a post last year is no longer adding ex-Curves owners to its existing class-action lawsuit against Curves.

    The case is still winding its way through the courts.

  • Jose

    Today a women contacted my club and asked how we are doing. I told her we are growing faster than ever, even in this bad economy, she then said, she was surprised considering all the Curves are going out of business. I told her this is true because the concept has limited potential for lasting results and boredom is largely a factor with limited equipment and No cardio equipment. She agreed.
    This is from a women who used to belong to Curves. Now the failure of Curves is even apparent among consumers leaving Curves with
    a bad reputation and low customer confidence, this leads to more problems for new enrollments that do not want to sign a year contract only to be left out in the cold when the curves closes. Consumer confidence in the Curves brand once lost is very difficult to get back even impossible. This consumer confidence shows in the food products, I also noticed that the Curves cereal is 50% discounted because of lack of confidence in the name Curves. A little to late to revive this dying brand.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    I saw Curves bars for sale in a dollar store today.

  • sean

    I expect you’ll see Curves franchises for sale in the dollar store soon:
    How to Buy a Curves Franchise for $1.00… or Less!


  • Jamie-Lyn

    would you email me? I was hoping to your brain about something. Only if you have some time and don’t mind.

  • Jose

    Hello Jamie
    I would love to discuss. email me at
    I see sean has some humor. Curves for sale at the dollar store. There is some truth to this, if the owners have to pay $10,000 to get out of their franchise agreement then why not sell for $1.00 and let the new owner pay Curves $10K and RUN as fast as you can from the franchise. This is the only way now to dump the franchise and you can bet curves will sue you even if you have no money. Do you know if Curves makes you personnally secure the all assets or can your company be responsibly.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Another sad story. A Curves in Lake Isabella, CA, with only 70 members closes its doors abruptly.

    Sokoloff did contact the Sun to offer an explanation to the community and especially those who were members of her gym. After owning the business for four and one-half years, she was faced with an ever shrinking number of active members and continually rising operating costs.

    ‘To make a go of it realistically, I needed at least 200 regularly attending members. When I made the decision to close the doors, I had only 60 to 70,’ she said.

    In hindsight, she wished that she had not closed the business in the manner she did, but cites her stress level as ‘overwhelming’ and that it caused her to make a snap decision.

    Sokolff says that she is committed to repaying any monies that are owed to members and stated this in a postcard that was sent out to the ladies last week.

    On a final note, she added that she was very grateful to all of the women who had attended her gym over the years.

    ‘They were a wonderful group of ladies and they taught me a great deal. I wish that it hadn’t to come to this.’

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Here’s another article about a six-year-old resale club with “rising” membership of only 130 members that’s named business of the month. Hope her overhead is low!

  • Sadderbutwiser

    This owner was ready to sell, but is risking thousands more in hopes that CurvesSmart turns things around. Good luck!

    OCEAN VIEW — For Brenda Tilton, owner of the Ocean View Curves, the new CurvesSmart technology was reason enough to stay in business.

    Tilton said she considered independently selling her share before attending a regional Curves meeting in February where the new series was introduced.

    According to Tilton, this specialized program was a patent five years in the making and is now exclusive to Curves International.

    “The CurvesSmart program looked so promising,” Tilton said. “That’s why I invested thousands of my own dollars into this expensive venture.”

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Things are getting so bad that some desperate Curves owners are offering two clubs for the price of one. From the McCord Business Brokers for sale by owner listings:

    Buy 1 Get 1 Free
    Tallahassee Northwest
    Square Feet: 1,800
    Number of Stations 8
    Asking Price $45,000.00

  • Burned by Curves

    Look curves franchise owners it’s time we take charge and band together to stop this ego driven, self described born again christian from destroying all of our franchises. The nightmare continues to expand and we must join together as a group. Lets get the class action lawsuit started. The horror stories of what we have had to endure are overwhelming and the majority of owners feel the same way. If you are an owner who has been ripped-off please contact me by emailing confidentially unhappyfranchisee [at] as any owner who would like to join the class action lawsuit against Curves International.
    Ask for your message to be forwarded to “Curves Z” and I will email back.

  • Jose

    Now Burned by Curves.
    No one told you to buy Curves, In fact you were told to have an attorney review all of your documents before you signed them, but YOU like all Curves owners thought you would get Rich quick and decided to take the risk and buy Curves. Now you blame the Franchisor for your ignorance. Why don’t you sue your attorney who advised you? If you had one. It is so easy to blame Curves. I agree the concept was a short term gain for curves and its owners, I believe they Knew that this would plateau and they over sold terrritories, but it is your right to make the right choice, I bet you spend alot of time choosing what Icecream you want to buy, but not when spending thousands on a business. I checked out curves years ago and figured out that they were oversaturating the area when I checked and I am sure your pretty smart and knew this was too good to be true. So to all that were burned if you want to get back at curves tell the truth to others in the business and help them get out of this mess and help others not to make the same mistake and join blogs advising those interested in buying Curves not too. Share your story and this will be enough. Stay away form attorneys they only look out for themselves and they will get more of your money, do not lose Twice.

    Good Luck, Sorry to hear about your losses I wish you well.

  • sean

    I have been hearing the same story from several owners like Burned by Curves that there is a conscious effort by Curves to force out franchisees who have been around longer and pay less because they have older, flat fee contractas without all the new provisions.

    Can anyone shed some light on this? Is this true?

    From my experience, the angry commenters who invoke Heavin’s christianity, etc. tend to be the veterans who were in early and exposed to more of the early personal philosophy and Heavin’s mission. Now the ones that believed early and invested when there were hundreds – not thousands – of locations are being forced out.

    That’s what I’m hearing. Curves owners? What’s the truth?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Some good news: My wife got a decent-paying job, on my birthday, no less. She starts Thursday. It’ll be her first regular paycheck since October 2006, when things got so bad at our Curves that she stopped paying herself.

    Not sure whether it’ll help us save our house, but at least the banks have changed their surly tone a bit.

  • Troy

    My partner and I own two clubs and have been Curves franchisees for one-year. The first was a new club (one of the last before the shut the door on new franchises), and the other a resale days before the previous owner was about to have the landlord shut the door on the facility. I’m happy to say the new club is just shy of 200 members, starting from zero, and the ailing club that had 100 members who we mostly churned is above 200. Member attrition is tough, especially given the current economic conditions, but we add members each month, and the businesses get stronger by the day.

    I will agree with those who’ve said Curves expanded too fast, got into some markets that weren’t large enough to sustain them and catered to a lot of owners who weren’t business people. The consolidation you are currently seeing with the closing clubs is addressing these issues. That being said, this business isn’t tough. Service your members, market effectively and find solid employees you can rely on. Owner involvement is also paramount.

    In these tough times, I wouldn’t recommend just anyone purchase a Curves. You have to have the finances to purchase and sustain the business past breakeven, the business sense to identify effective marketing opportunities and the passion to see these women succeed. There is a whole aspect of this business that is the reward from helping others, and there is a certain type of entrepreneur that caters to. Are there easier, more profitable business ventures out there? Sure. I run another business that is much more profitable than my Curves ventures. But for the right person Curves can be a wonderful, profitable opportunity. Try to filter out the extreme negativity as well as the cheerleaders on this board because the truth about this business is somewhere in the middle. Regardless, to those considering purchasing a Curves, do your research, talk to as many current and past owner’s as you can and go into this with your eyes wide open.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Congratulations if you can turn a profit with clubs that have around 200 members each.

  • ron

    As a Curves owner in South Florida I can say the damage has been intense with several bankruptcies, closures and the like. I survived to now (2008) only to have to close-tired of throwing good money after bad. The territories were poorly laid out and no feasibility study was ever performed by CI.
    I was advised I could open another club at one time, because it was “over two miles as the crow flies” directly from the corporate office. I was not amused and decided at that point to only have the one club as I knew going forward with lack of advertising and innovation the lifespan of the product I was selling would be very limited.
    I offered to add low cost health screenings that all clubs could incorporate but was advised by corporate that we “just do the circle” more brilliant advice directly from the corporate office.
    To date, I have never seen anyone from the “home office” and I am now going through the process of being audited for the last two years as harrassment for getting in the lawsuit represented by Robert Zarco to recover damages from a failed business plan provided by CI.
    I do remember a meeting with the area supervisors who advised all the owners that they had sold all their clubs (5), did not want to hear any negative comments, and started off the meeting with “let us pray.” Golly gee, was I ever impressed with their business acumen!!
    I did have a conversation with the gentleman involved in the purchase of 700 Lady Fitness of America who advised me two years ago that the market is “oversaturated” and the only reason they took over all the clubs was the cheap price paid!
    Now I am sure you still have many owners still breathing Heavin’s ether like Marci who apparently has 1100 exisisting members and 1100 new members every month(?) paying her the small city price of $29.00/month-right. Exactly where does she get her members from-she should impart her knowledge and business acumen with all the other owners if she can pull her nose out of Heavin’s @#&*!!
    06/30/08 will be a day I remeber as this headache will cease to exsist and I look forward to settling with CI in court!!

    I did appreciate her exciting ideas like painting the club!!! Please get me some of whatever Marci is smoking!!

  • PrevCurvesOwner

    Wow, this is my first time here. I did a google search to see if there was anything out there on the closing of Curves. All I can say is everyone is right. I know from personal experience all these scenarios are right. There are some that are doing good, some that are breaking even and a lot that are losing money. The area that I bought in had 5 clubs within a 3 mile radius. So that makes 6 including mine. 2 are closed out of the 6. I bought one in 2005, pretty much at the start of the decline. The club had 112 mbrs and the highest membership I had was 200. At 200 I was paying all the bills, which did not include a salary for me. As membership started declining I reduced the hrs., reduced the incentives, canceled Diane Magazine, stopped buying the curvaceous line. The club had been open for 3 yrs and the prev owner had moved to a better location at the time that I bought it. I had it for 2.5 yrs when I closed the doors. I had it for sale for about 1.5 yrs, started at $110k, $89k, $75k, $49k, $29k. There was about 20 others for sale ranging from $45 to $210k. At the co-op mtgs, it was evident that several were struggling. I did not lose my house, but I have a 1st & 2nd mortgage that I am still paying, 6 credit cards that I stopped paying because I just don’t have the money. It’s hard to let go, because you keep thinking in Jan things will get better, the next food drive, things will get better, the mammogram promotion and so on and so on and you keep pumping money in and just getting deeper in the hole. When the club closed near me I received a handful of mbrs. That owner had about 275 mbrs and transferred out about 110 to the nearest 4 clubs. As far as counting the clubs in the Curves website, well I know of 6 within our city’s metro area that have closed and they are still on the website. I know of 3 that are in the process of closing. I love Curves and believe it or not I joined a Curves once I closed mine. I love the workout. In my 6 yrs of working out,off and on, I have lost about 15 lbs, while that is not a lot I look much better and feel better. At 50 that is good enough for me. My cholesterol is lower, my good cholesterol is higher. My bone density is good. My opinion is that there is too many Curves near by, but not only that, the new hype is gone. Clubs that had 800-900 mbrs when they first opened now have 300. There is one one the south side of town that is new that has 500 mbrs. There is not a Curves near to her. Even without competition the 900 mbr club will never be back. The economy doesn’t help. The plaza I am in has 4 empty spaces. The small business is suffering. I feel that there will always be a demand for a similiar type program where it’s only women and a place where you can go in and do a workout and leave. I think curves is so overwhelmed with having so many clubs closed that there isn’t a whole they can do to help and I really don’t know if they would if they could. They told my friend that if she had given them more time they could have helped her sell her club. I gave them 3 mo’s notice and did not ever hear from them except to have me feel out an evaluation form. They said any money I had left over after selling my equipment was to go back to them, yeah right. Enough of the funny stuff. They also said please mail in your $5000 closing fee. Well one more joke here. I didn’t and I haven’t heard from them. The equipment is in a garage so if they want it they can come get it. If Curves survives, I predict it will with about 50% of the clubs. As for emotions, when I went to club camp, they had resale owners raise their hands to the question, ‘how many of you are previous members’ about 2/3 raised their hands. They were very proud of the fact that business people did not buy Curves, but ordinary people with a passion. That was me, because if I had looked around and seen how many Curves there was from a business point of view. I would not have bought it.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Thank you for posting, ron. I was hoping to read comments here from a former Curves owner taking part in the Zarco group action suit. I’ve been trying to get updates on how the case is proceeding without too much success.

    Would you please keep us updated on the status of the case?

  • Jose

    It is a sad day for all Curves owners. They have been cast out as bad apples and blamed for their failure, when as the former owners wrote, Curves never did the work they said they would do. I believe Curves should pay restitution to many owners for misleading them to believe they would have long term success. Gary heavin is a billionaire now thank you. and his former club owners BROKE! Just think Gary’s Great, Great: Great!! Grand kids!!!! thank all of you for securing there financial future, Thanks :)
    Signed: Gary H
    let us pray! Though we walk through the valley of Curves Death we shall fear no evil
    ( except bankruptcy and loss of home, income and marriage)

    Book of
    Gary Heavin Chapter 2:1-50

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Thumbing through a recent business opportunities magazine at the local Wal-Mart, I saw a listing for Curves which said there were 7,311 Curves franchises in 50 states and 42 countries, a far cry from the 10,000 franchises Curves used to boast about not long ago.

    Have THAT many clubs closed?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Here’s an interesting site about Curves. Check out the reader posts. One of them is from our old McCord Business Brokers agent who left McCord and started his own Curves sales site. Another lists every Curves currently for sale – all 654 of them.

  • Sadderbutwiser
  • john


    I have been reading this blog and enjoy your experience. I am considering opening an independent circuit training/yoga club. Are your clubs hydraulic fitness equipment or plate loaded? How many square feet are your clubs?


  • sean

    FYI: I have set up a new site for buying/selling used equipment and club resales. Check it out at
    There’s a pretty nominal fee for listing. If you’ve got equipment to sell, mail me at info[at] about listing it.

    I understand, though, that Curves owners can’t sell their equipment and can only sell their clubs through McCord Business Brokers. Is that correct?

  • positive-healthy

    McCord Business Brokers just happens to be the broker that Curves says is “their approved broker.” However, an owner may sell on his/her own or get another broker. It is correct that an owner is not to sell the equipment.

  • john

    Dear All,

    If you are looking for high end hydraulic equipment please click on my link.

    I manufacture this equipment myself. The price is great and we do not charge any monthly fees, etc. We can offer training on the equipment. It is a low cost/high quality alternative and if you want to be free of franchise agreements and restrictions this would be your best bet. We are currently selling this equipment throughout the world. We are also beginning to manufacture some simple weight benches and cardio products.



    [Please review SITE POLICIES & GUIDELINES. If you'd like to promote your equipment line, email info[at] Thanks]

  • john

    If you are not interested in franchise agreements or purchasing an existing club please click on my website below.


    I manufacture this equipment and it is a low cost/high quality alternative. There are no monthly fees, franchise restrictions, etc. We offer training on the equipment. You can be an independent and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit.

    We currently sell this line throughout the world.



    [Please review SITE POLICIES & GUIDELINES. If anyone would like to promote their equipment line, used equipment or franchise resale, email info[at] Thanks]

  • Jose

    John while I appreciate your attempting to sell your equipment on this site, but as curves owners have experience, Hydraulic equipment gets boring and has a limited ability to help clients. I also noticed that you are using Mytrac on your equipment which is exactly what curves does. I se no competitive edge using your equipment over curves. With no support anyone getting into this type of business will surly fail. It is not important what type of equipment you have if you have no capital to run the operation until it makes money. Fitness is a very hard industry in the United States, that is why we have so many Fat people. I can tell you and anyone interested in opening a club in this economy that your very likely to fail. I am being realistic when I say this. The large corporate clubs have gone bankrupt and are loosing sales daily. When people have no extra income they drop health clubs. Keep this in mind, You might believe your equipment is the best but I can tell you, I have the best and your equipment is not it. Thanks but no thanks.

  • john


    what equipment do you use? do you have a website?

    I’ve been in the fitness business since 1995.

  • sean

    Two things I’ve wondered about are:
    1) If 30 minute circuit clubs are effective at attracting deconditioned members but lose some eventually to full service clubs, are there full service clubs that use them as satellite locations? Would a hub and spoke approach work with say a full service club in the center and 4-5 express clubs 5-10 minutes away in either direction for quick, convenience workouts?

    2) Are independent 30 minute clubs able to make it? With no franchise fees or royalties, used equipment and cheap rental space, are there independent clubs making it on, say 100-200 members?

  • Jose

    I have tried this approach and it does not work. I use the best strength equipment in the world, Stive Smart Strength the Cadillac of equipment today. I had at one time the Hydraulic equipment in one part of my club and Strive on the other. Once everyone experienced the Strive they no longer used the adjustable hydraulic equipment. Even the members who liked it originally did not use it. I donated all of the equipment and jogging squares to the city Senior Center and the Old seniors love it. It is easy to use. So if you want a few seniors get hydraulic but if you want everyone get Strive. It is expensive but worth every dollar. I use octane, Matrix Vision, Parabody and more. My Primary strength is Strive and Free weights. I find the womens only club and coed club love all of this proven effective equipment. I say to anyone wanting to buy equipment, buy great equipment and do not buy used junk equipment. Make the colors match and keep the facility very clean and have Cert Trainers to assist members and you will do great. Creating a new curves concept will never work everyone has done it and it (((HAS ))) failed and will continue to fail due to the bad name Curves has created in the industry today. Women tell me all the time they do not want a curves like health club , i am being Honest. I have no reason to lie. My clubs are doing great in this bad economy because I do things right and spend money to give my clients the best and no less. My compitition, Anytime, Powerhouse and Next level Fitness cannot compete on my level. Thanks

  • john


    I know strive well. Supplied them component parts in the past. I met the designer of the equipment, Dr Lapcevik? It has been some time. At that time they were located in Sharon, PA.

    comparing hydraulics and selectorized equipment is like apples and oranges.

    Seniors are a growth area for hydraulics as well as Asian and European markets.

    Do you have a website address for your gyms?

  • Martica

    Wow! I got thru some of your thoughts and it’s kind of sad that 1st of all
    people like Jose who have not owned this type of business spend so much time giving advice on it. Businesses fail ALL THE TIME, DAY AFTER DAY! Whether it’s Curves or something else. Peoples efforts, desire, passion and perseverance count for a lot.
    You need to research any business before getting involved, and hopefully have some business sense.
    But, my advise after all of that is said and done…why would you take advise from someone who failed? “SadbutWiser” obviously failed.
    And my heart goes out to anyone in that situation. But, Why not seek out those that are successful in the business you want to get into?
    In business there are those who fail and those who succeed, seriously, who would you go to for advise?

  • sean

    Either intentionally or unintentionally, you’re overlooking an important point.

    Sadderbutwiser bought a Curves franchise. Curves professes to have a proven, tested system that is supported by powerful and positive brand recognition. The company claims that they are there to guide you every step of the way: You are in business FOR yourself, but not BY yourself.

    The premise is that if you follow their site location guidelines, their operational system, and their marketing recommendations, you will have a strong likelihood of success. Gaining that “strong likelihood” is not free – owners not only pay a franchise fee and ongoing royalties, they give up the freedom to make many decisions on their own.

    Some franchise companies provide a strong return on the investment of fees, freedom, etc. If they don’t, then those fees and burdens can cause the business to fail. A Franchisor is entrusted to act with the franchisee’s best interest in mind. mutual success is the proposition they sold.

    If Sadderbutwiser followed the system and implemented it as designed, did the advertising, took care of her members, then she did not fail… the concept failed. And seeing as though Curves are closing in by the dozens, the case could certainly be made that Curves is failing them.

    I’d suggest you read Robert Lay’s story posted at Lay and his wife joined Curves early, when there were only a few hundred locations. Some of the policies and practices he alleges – if true – make it hard to believe anyone could succeed no matter how experienced or dedicated an operator you are.

  • Martica

    You say that- What Mr Lay alleges,make it hard to believe anyone could succeed no matter how experienced or dedicated an operator you are.

    Why on earth would Mr Lay continue to purchase equipment 10 years later for his Curves if he is not profiting in some way. And why is he spending so much time and money training and purchasing equipment from a company he feels so strongly about (in a horrible way)?

    As for the comment: “Neither our lawyer or ourselves ever heard anything back from Curves International so we all assumed that things were back to normal”

    You and your attorney assumed……Thats just plain ignorant when you’re dealing with issues and you just choose to assume in a situation like Mr Lay’s.

    What exactly is Mr Lay suing for?
    I agree that in any business partnership such as a franchisee/franchisor support and advise is useful but the bottomline is you are the one responsible for day to day operations.
    As for Curves selling locations so close to others, the people purchasing those were not making sound decisions to begin with…
    Just how I’m feeling it…
    I do wish everyone a good outcome!

  • Martica

    P.S. Starbucks is closing 600 of its least profitable stores. Is Starbucks to blame? Does it make them a failed concept? I don’t think so.

    I’m just glad the one down the street from me is not one of them :)

    Love to all!

  • sean

    One of the common complaints about Curves is that the franchisees can never get a hold of anyone at the home office. Their calls and emails aren’t returned, their pleas for assistance go unanswered. This is hardly “in business for yourself, not by yourself” as the website states. Yet somehow their fees are collected promptly and with great efficiency.
    Do you not find it a little disturbing that Curves claims Lay’s store had been terminated, yet he not only received no notice of termination, but they continued to collect royalties and advertising fees from his account? They allegedly continued to accept and fulfill orders and payments for supplies, and included him when they force shipped and billed products, such as vitamins that were about to expire?
    How do you possibly come back from this story and the stories of widespread closings without grave concerns about this franchisor?

    As for Starbucks… good example. Starbucks can do what they jolly well please. Why? Because Starbucks isn’t franchised. Starbucks took on investors and sold stock and, in turn, shared ownership of their company with their stakeholders. Curves grew to 10,000+ units through the investments of their franchisees… through home equity loans and second mortgages taken on their homes, with their savings accounts and credit scores, and retirement funds on the line. Curves doesn’t owe these people guaranteed success, or even success. But they do owe them the support they promised… Curves owes them its best effort to help them be successful, and to help them – not ignore them or even profit from them – when they struggle and fail.
    There are many great franchise companies whose franchisees are struggling in the tough economy, and against too much competition. The difference is that the great franchise companies are working side by side with the franchisees to help them succeed as a team. Is that what Curves does?
    I’m not a Curves franchise and I haven’t worked with them (after this blog I’m sure I never will) so I don’t know for sure – I ask in earnest. But there are warning signs that indicate that Curves Int’l may be in it for themselves AND by themselves, such as 1) Making sure struggling franchisees can only sell through their broker, 2) Not allowing franchisees to sell their equipment (I’m told they must donate it to a women’s prison), 3) the $10,000 failure fee Curves allegedly demands from failed franchisees, 4) Lack of field visits and on-site assistance for troubled clubs, and 5) the fact that interviews with Curves representatives when stores close exhibit lack of knowledge of and an indifference to the failed franchisee.

    Curves should be in crisis-assistance mode – and should have been for the last 5 years or so. I just get a sense of cool indifference – not concern and action.

    I’d love to be proved wrong… it would be great to learn these things were being done and this is just a handful of lazy whiners… Please, bring it if you got it…

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Starbucks oversaturated the market, just as Curves did.

    Gary Heavin once told my wife that we should cap membership at at our first club at 650 members. Maybe HE should have taken his own advice and capped sales of franchises at about 4,000-5,000. Now the market is correcting itself and Curves is down to about 7,300 clubs, but that means nearly 3,000 current owners – and the previous owners – likely are financially devastated and looking for payback.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Here’s another story that tries to put a positive spin on a Curves franchise’s move, but look closer. The club has “nearly 200 members” (in other words, far too few to break even) and moved to a new location for better “visibility” and “access” (in other words, no one was coming to the old location).

  • Jose

    Martica is very ignorant when she makes her emotional statements, she never uses facts to back up her statements. To say no one but Curves owners should have an opinion on this block is exactly shy curves is failing. It is being run like a communist cult. No franchisee can even make factual statements without Curves threatening them with a suit. I believe they no longer have control of this mess the call a franchise. Someday when all the Curves are gone, we will be able to tell the real story of this mess called Curves.

  • Martica

    An emotional statement would be calling someone ignorant! Didnt your mama warn you about name calling……….

    I’m not for or against Curves. However, since I was considering purchasing one, I would get the opinions (both good & bad) of those who have OWNED AND WORKED ONE ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS!

    That would exclude you.

    There are maybe 4 or 5 unhappy Curves owners on this blog, the rest seem to be doing ok.

    And then there’s you.

    In this economy right now, “ok” is a good place to be for a small business owner. I’m aware of the issues and even some of the “facts” with Curves and most definitely am not ignorant.

    Jose Your gym would probably benefit a lot more from you working more and not wasting so much time on this blog. It’s kind of sad that you were blogging on NEW YEAR’S EVE….obviously you have nothing better to do.

    Again, I wish all of you current owners trying to make this work, the very best. For those that didnt succeed, hopefully you will succeed at other ventures. Good luck to all! Even you Jose.

  • Martica

    P.S- Jose

    Your comment:

    “To say no one but Curves owners should have an opinion on this block is exactly shy curves is failing.”

    Now we know the real truth why Curves is failing.
    Wow, now there’s some ignorance for you.

  • Jose

    Seems I hit a nerve with ( M) she is getting emotional. Your the perfect candidate for a Curves. Please buy one and tell everyone what a wonderful dreamland experience you have. This blog is open to all opinions and facts. The facts that both curves owners and non curves owners have are part of why this blog exist. It seems to have caught the attention of many people. As far as we know we have saved many people thousands of dollars by providing them all sides to the Curves franchise. like the $10,000.0 Going out of business fee Curves Charges. This fee is their to garauntee iof your bankrupcy and that you will never buy another thing. They make more money now opening and closing the door for new owners. I think Martica should just go buy a curves and be quite, don’t listen to us, do what you want anyway. What do we know! What does any former owner of Curves on this blog Know? Please let all of us know when you buy your Curves, We’ll be sure to look for you on the failing curves blog soon.
    I would really enjoy that :)

  • Martica

    I have wished everyone well, even you Jose.

    The fact that you wish for my failure goes to show the kind of person you are ……
    your hateful comments speak for themselves.

    That’s why your opinions are worthless…….they are not sincere and without good intentions.

    It sounds like there might be a successful Curves near you that is hurting your business. I’m sure you’re wishing for their failure as well… that “you can enjoy that”… pathetic and so so sad.

    I will look to other sites where people with integrity have useful information I can use.

    Again, I wish all of you the very best….bye forever!

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Good luck Martica. If you buy a Curves resale club, you’re going to NEED it.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  • Susie Q

    Until Martica has walked in our shoes she has no clue about who we are, our integrity or the like. I take HER words with a grain of salt!!!!

  • Jose

    It is so funny how Martica ran as fast as she could when confronted with facts. She takes the low road and attacks with no fact only emotional outbursts. I love to debate the facts and normally win if I am prepared. Whoughout this blog I have read all opinions and facts from those past and present owners and I will note some observations.
    Every happy curves owner on the blog lives in this “Curves can do no wrong, and is everything world” What I mean is , that they cannot look at the facts for what they are and make a logical argument, they wear the Curves colored glasses as if they are being couched to what to say. Maybe even programmed by curves to think one way is the only way. This is a typical CULT like brain programming method. Tell them enough times and they believe it as truth, and NEVER ask anyone outside the CURVES Franchise for they are infidels and no nothing of the curves world. Opeinions on this blog are blasphemy and should be stricken from the record and those like us bloggers and Former Curves owners who’s franchise failed have no business commentin on the nightmarish conditions they and there families have endured. Well thank you all for your honest stories. I have gleamed more information about curves from you then my own experience. P.S. My club is doing great ! I have the largest womens membership in the state and my Co-ed club is growing steadily. About 10 curves around me have failed and I continue to get larger. Thanks martica

  • robert

    This is a responce to Martica’s post. ARE YOU NUTS, A CURVES INTERNATIONAL EMPLOYEE OR A GARY HEAVIN MOLE. It’s obvious you are one of the above. Curves has so many legal problems right now that you would be nuts to even consider buying one. The issues that predominate the group lawsuit are over-saturation of the market, lack of support/services, under-estimated initial investment costs and wrongful representations made reqarding break-even and profitability. Almost every Curves owner has these complaints and you would see that if you would read the other posts. The clubs are closing at a rate of 2 per day every day three hundred and sixty five days a year and have been for the last several years. If you don’t believe that go to the UFOC filing on this web site. While we all have opinions most of us base tem of facts unfortunatly you don’t. Get real girl before you make the bigest finacial mistake of your life. Take care RL

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Does anyone have any updates on the status of the group-action lawsuit?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Here’s an article about a Maine Curves that reopened after having been closed for more than a year. God help the new owners . . .

    BELFAST (July 21): On a breezy summer morning, light was flooding in through Venetian blinds on three sides of the workout room at Curves on Searsport Avenue.

    The new owners, Cat Perry and Jaime Maresh, were calling it a “new day” for the fitness center that closed over a year ago but reopened July 7 under their management.

  • ACurrentCurvesOwner

    I had to comment on a few things I know to be untrue:

    1) Making sure struggling franchisees can only sell through their broker,—this is not true at all, you can sell your club to whomever you choose(assuming they pass the financials), there is no requirement that McCord handle the transaction, they are just one approved broker(I assume because they are the brokers to sell franchises). How I “know” I contacted McCord to evaluate my Curves to sale it and asked, secondly, a Curves in our area recently sold without McCord’s involvement(or any broker).

    2) Not allowing franchisees to sell their equipment (I’m told they must donate it to a women’s prison)—According to my Franchise Agreement, the original 8 are the property of the Franchisor. What I have heard from a club in my co-op is that they allow you to sell them at a discounted rate to other clubs and use that money to re-pay any pre-paid memberships. Any other equipment(the additional 5 pieces owners may purchase) are yours to sale.

    3) the $10,000 failure fee Curves allegedly demands from failed franchisees, —-this one I can’t confirm or deny. My franchise agreement states that I am responsible for the payment of the royalties and ad fund fees for the life of the agreement—so there may be some buyout figure depending on the remaining years on the contract. The only club owner I personally know that closed a club did not have to pay a fee.

    4) Lack of field visits and on-site assistance for troubled clubs,—CI uses the Area Directors—-in my 2 1/2 years of business I have seen the AD in my club 4 times. She communites via e-mail weekly. Is that too much? Too little? My AD has responded to every request/question I have, so I have no complaints.

    and 5) the fact that interviews with Curves representatives when stores close exhibit lack of knowledge of and an indifference to the failed franchisee.—–that one appears to be true from the articles I have read.

    In closing, I am neither a great devotee of Heavin or a great detractor–the business has a niche but it’s not going to make me rich in this economy. Heavin didn’t take me by the hand and force the franchise down my throat. To the contrary, I find I can make a little money with my 175 members following Heavin’s Business 101 principles for the franchise.

  • sean

    ACurrentCurvesOwner: Thanks for your opinion. It seems to me that you have been blessed with a good location and market, perhaps, and built a successful out of 175 member base – an accomplishment.

    However, 4 out the 5 things you said were untrue are not, even in your words, untrue.

    1) Making sure struggling franchisees can only sell through their broker,—this is not true at all…
    This was a complaint by a Curves franchise owner, but there are Curves for sale on other broker sites so that franchisee may have been mistaken. So it could be untrue.

    2) Not allowing franchisees to sell their equipment (I’m told they must donate it to a women’s prison)—According to my Franchise Agreement, the original 8 are the property of the Franchisor.
    So you cannot sell the circuit equipment – which you paid for. So this is not untrue.

    3) the $10,000 failure fee Curves allegedly demands from failed franchisees, —-this one I can’t confirm or deny. This is a policy implemented in February, 2008. Also not untrue.

    4) …I have seen the AD in my club 4 times… Is that too much? Too little?
    I’m sure the clubs that are closing with little to no assistance would have a clearer opinion on this. I’m sure that few in franchising would say that 4 visits in 2.5 years does not consitute impressive support. So this is also not “untrue”

    and 5) the fact that interviews with Curves representatives when stores close exhibit lack of knowledge of and an indifference to the failed franchisee.—–that one appears to be true from the articles I have read.

    Indifference to failing franchisees is an overall indication of franchisee’s well-being, isn’t it?

    Put yourself in the place of a failing franchisee, one who followed the rule and procedures and not only receives no assistance, but receives an indifferent, even adversarial response when in need of help. Of course you don’t need help when you’re doing well… hopefully you won’t have to experience the other situation.

  • ACurrentCurvesOwner

    “2) Not allowing franchisees to sell their equipment (I’m told they must donate it to a women’s prison)—According to my Franchise Agreement, the original 8 are the property of the Franchisor.
    So you cannot sell the circuit equipment – which you paid for. So this is not untrue.”

    Sean–I think this one is a matter of interpertation….my agreement doesn’t spell out that I paid $xxxx.xx for the equipment. It says that I paid $29,900.00 for the franchise plus a delivery fee of the equipment. Yes, included in that franchise was the equipment, but CI claims proprietory rights to it. I guess that is splitting legal hairs, but you can’t sale what you technically don’t own.

    “3) the $10,000 failure fee Curves allegedly demands from failed franchisees, —-this one I can’t confirm or deny. This is a policy implemented in February, 2008. Also not untrue”
    Implemented in what? Franchise agreements that are signed after February 2008? If prior agreements specifically spell out the consequences of termination–the change can’t be retro-active if it increases the buy out. Again, the only owner that I know personally that closed after February 2008 did not pay a $10,000.00 fee.

    I am neither blessed with a good location or market….it requires work and commitment. It is not a “get rich quick” deal.

    While I feel for any franchisee that fails, I am not sure one can place all of the blame on the franchisor. Even Sadderbutwiser admits that a lot of their problems were complicated by a bad economic climate.

    To further clarify, we had a terrible 1st year(new club not a resale), we lost about $15k the first year. I sought advice from several people, including CI, other owners, and my AD. With their input–and other non Curves connected people–we have pulled it out of the red. So I have been there, and I did get help.

    I would encourage any owner that is struggling to ask for help. No one will write you a check for what you lost, but they will give you advice. If you can’t get help in one avenue go the next. Try your AD, try your original mentor, try CI, try your local co-op, try looking at the Business 101 model.

  • Jose

    If this lady has only 175 members she only has approx gross sales a month on $7000,00
    Either she has very low rent, or she is barely making money. I cannot figure why someone would want a Job that pays minimum wages unless to brag ” I own a Curves to everone in the SMALL town. I think I would close up shop if I only had 175 members. I would not brag about that or even consider it a good thing.

  • sean

    If you’re happy in your business, that is great. That’s what this is all about… surviving and thriving as small business owners. I certainly don’t want to be in the role of talking someone out of contentment, and I’m glad to hear a positive voice.

    I fear that your positive experience is going to be increasingly rare from the vibes I’m getting from the Curves community. I think there’s going to be a lot more backlash and legal action in the months to come.

    It’s only fair to point out that the main problems of saturation, too much competition, dropping prices and renewal rates are by no means unique to Curves. The postings from Contours Express, Butterfly Life, and others in the segment are experiencing the same struggles – or worse. It’s just disappointing to not see the industry leader showing more franchise leadership – and a bit more concern for those who feel like they’ve been abandoned.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    Doesn’t ANYONE have a 400-member club any more?

  • Jose

    I do sadderbutwiser, and growing monthly, even in the summer I sign up new members. I have over 450 women and my I am not sure how many men to date. But i have more women then men. I have 200 Students also.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    You only have 175 members and you’re in the black? Not by much I’m sure. Your profit margins must be razor-thin.

    What’s your rent? $1,200 or less? How many hours are you working? 60? 80? Do you have any employees?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    A student becomes the owner of a now-failing Curves that once had 573 members . . .

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A group of University of Charleston executive masters of business administration students turned a project into a real-life opportunity for one member.

    “We wanted to be able to make a difference in a business … I knew that Curves [of Sissonville] was failing,” said Debra Whanger, who is now the official owner of the all-women gym in Sissonville.

    “I was just so inspired to keep it a viable business. UC and the EMBA have given me the tools I need for the business.”

  • sean

    “UC and the EMBA have given me the tools I need for the business.”

    Keep an eye peeled for the inevitable headline:

    UC & EMBA graduate sues alma maters for malpractice; demands tuition returned, plus damages.

    Methinks the real education is just beginning.

  • Jose

    It seems colleges are teaching spupidity not education. College students are taught how to work for someone else, not work for themselves. Entrepenuers are a rare breed in the U.S. it takes a special desire and confidence to be successful, as well as the ability to get up once you fall and do it again. In this case with Curves, people keep failing doing the same thing. Doing the same thing and expecting different results by definition is- insanity. So keep buying a failing concept and throw money out the window HOPING you can change how Curves INTERNATIONAL is going to run the operation. Good Luck.

  • previouscurvesowner

    I closed mine in April. In the past year there has been at least 10 that have closed in my city. There is a dozen for sale in my state and about 1/2 are selling for $40k or less which tells me they are on the verge of closing. You see the pattern, they keep lowering the price hoping to sell until they have to close. Hey, it can happen to anyone, Starbucks is closing stores like crazy right now.

  • dontdoit

    Don’t do it! They nickle and dime you to death!!! There are so many fees and rules you can’t do anything outside their “winning business model!” They are placed very close together and in small areas with a low population. If you do open one…plan on working every shift to make a penny. Also, only do it in a very large city that don’t have several other “copycat” facilities that are practically the same and much cheaper!

  • sean

    ACurrentCurvesOwner wrote: …If prior agreements specifically spell out the consequences of termination–the change can’t be retro-active if it increases the buy out. Again, the only owner that I know personally that closed after February 2008 did not pay a $10,000.00 fee…
    Have you READ your agreement? Do you really think that they can’t add or raise fees, or increase your obligations, after the agreement is signed?
    Your agreement holds you responsible for payment of royalties and ad fees throughout your contract, correct? Perhaps the fee is positioned as a release from that liability – not a fee per se, but something you gotta pay or they’ll go after you for the rest. But why not ask your franchisor? Shoot your area rep an email and let us know.

    A Curve franchisee emailed me this message yesterday:
    “I just received the email from curves telling me that there will be a $10,000 fee to close
    one of our stores.

    We owned 3, closed one 2 years ago with no payment.

    Still own 2.

    One has lost money for the last 2 years and we want to close

    One is breaking even, but Curves says it may be in jeopardy if we close the money losing one. Any advice?”

    The only advice that comes to mind – Don’t Buy a Curves – isn’t helpful. Maybe someone else who has dealt with this has some advice. Is this fee negotiable?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    I can really relate to the story of this owner, who is closing her first club because the second club she bought siphoned away too many customers from the first club. The same thing happened to my wife and I. A clear example of the perils of oversaturization.

    Women’s gym Curves is closing one of its two sites in Cayman because of falling membership at its Strand location.

    The 130 members of the Strand Curves are being asked to transfer to the fitness centre at Grand Harbour from 23 August.

    A notice posted at the Strand site stated that parent company Curves International was aware of declining membership numbers and had recommended owners Diane and Robert Musselwhite consolidate the two locations into one centre.

    Mrs. Musselwhite said the couple was upset to be closing the Strand gym which she described as their baby as it was the first they opened, in July 2004.

    “The decision is based on the fact that there are not enough members to pay the bills. It’s understandable that some of our members are upset, but I’ve been surprised about how many have said it’s not a problem,” she said.

    The couple opened a second Curves operation at Grand Harbour in June 2006 after they realised that most of their members lived in the Grand Harbour, Red Bay, Bodden Town and Newlands areas. “Then we lost most of our members at the Strand to the Grand Harbour location,” Mrs. Musselwhite said.

  • Jen

    Curves is a great concept and works for many women! It is just like any other work out you only get out what you put in. I am a Curves success story and owner. Given that I am sorry to say that Corporate has let us down by over selling territories and selling territories in areas to small to support the franchise. I am in an rural area that is too small to support the club and have lost everything after 5 years of struggling. Curves International is not an ethical company or supportive of there franchise’s which is a shame, because it truly is a great program.

  • Sadderbutwiser

    What a strange post, Jen. You’re a success story who lost everything. Curves is a great program but not an ethical company.

    So what is it? Do you love Curves or hate Curves?

  • Susie Q

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Her comments are confusing to say the least. Maybe she once was a success story like u Sadder, and then lost everything due to the saturation of her area with other Curves businesses. I don’t know….

  • Dorothy

    In response to a current Curves owner HOGWASH! I was forced into a sale by John McCord’s office after I had decided to close July 31. A buyer came to the table and was coerced by Curves to not come back to me to complete the sale for $10k. They forced the buyer into McCord’s office and was told that they could handle it for her. Unbeknownst to her they were taking $5k of the $10k for thier fee. I did not list with them. Curves automatically forwarded everything between the closing dept and McCord’s. They forced me into this sale, with the promise of release from my agreement. After the dust settled, and fees were paid, ( $1k for transfer fee and $1800 escrow), and still I had not filled out any paperwork, on my end I was told that they did not need it, and processed the sale without my signature. So I decided to stick with my original plan to close on the 31st. I moved EVERYTHING out including machines and locked everything up. I paid for everything and they expected me to walk away from EVERYTHING, computers, programs etc for a paltry $5k NO WAY! They found out what I did and provided her with machines last week and she reopened Monday. Is that fair to all the rest of us that paid our money, and she got it for $5k. Curves is desperated to keep the income coming in. I was down to 125 members, so now they have her sucked in for 5 years. So don’t tell me that they won’t do this, they have. I won’t give back the machines, I’ve paid for them, and will eventually sell them off. And they are coming after me for over $42k in royalties and advertising fees, so they think. They can’t pursue it, they have already sold the franchise. I loved Curves while I was in the family, but events from the last two years have turned me off to the franchise. I will seek legal remedy, fortunately I did not get to the point of bankruptcy and made a sound business decision to close before it was really too late. I have other stories, but will limit my response for now.

  • ScrdByCurves

    Hi and sorry in advance for the long post. I know we are just one of many unhappy ex-owners but hopefully our story can prevent others from going down the same path. And to those happy Curves owners that still making money – congratulations, you are rapidly approaching the other side of the bell curve.
    Here it goes: My wife was a successful business woman when we got married. After having our second child in 2001 she abandoned her career and stayed home with kids. After second pregnancy, my wife started to gain weight and decided to join the hottest women’s health club on earth – Curves. She loved it, but being a business oriented woman that she is, she noticed some inefficiencies that negatively affected the club she was in. So she came to me one day and asked me what do I think if we were to buy one, so she could implement the ideas she had while doing exercises and making extra income. I suggested that she get a part time job there first to find out first hand of what is involved. She did that and coincidentally, 6 months later that club was offered for sale for $320K. It was 1 year old, had 180 members and with $7K/mo rent at a brand new shopping center. I could not understand how current owner came up with this futuristic price and requested a meeting with him. He was extremely confident and his only justification was future profits and historic sales prices of other Curves. They had owned 2 other locations – one with over 800 members and another with over 600 members. After running some #s, I had offered him to buy all 3 for 650K. He did not even return my call. In a meantime, my wife was becoming anxious to own one. It was early 2004 and no new territories existed in our state or even US I believe. The only Curves one could purchase would be a resale.
    We started to look actively and eventually found one for sale within 30min driving distance from us. It had 300 members with $2K/mo rent making about 60K/yr. It was offered for $280K. After some hesitation we decided to buy it for my wife. I figured that the worst case scenario would be that we sell it 5 years later for ½ price and would still come a little bit ahead plus a health benefits to my wife. Oh, how naïve I was!
    We went to Texas for training and came back with elevated spirits thinking that we will make a world of difference in our area. My wife eagerly started implementing her ideas and actively participating in all community events. However, the problems began almost immediately. First, we discovered that we did not really have 300 members. The ex-owners that sold us the club had another one within the 2 mile radius. Mysteriously, right after we purchased the club, many members transferred to that other club. We have suspected the foul play but could not prove anything and instead decided to concentrate our efforts on growing ours. It’s been said on this board many times that Curves insists that all their clubs are working as a team, helping each other. Nothing is further from truth. This was a cut-throat competition with devious techniques of luring members to your own club, secretly complaining about other neighboring clubs to Curves Legal, spying by sending friends and relatives to neighboring clubs pretending they are new members and bad-mouthing other clubs in the area to members and other people around.
    My wife’s cheerful demeanor slowly evaporated. She became more aggressive, stressed, tired and exhausted as days passed. She had to let go previous employees who turned out to be still working for previous owners as they have been sabotaging business when my wife was not there by loudly complaining about her to the members and openly encouraging them to leave our club and go to the other Curves the ex-owners had. When one of the members told about it to my wife – she became furious and fired them. Then she discovered that those employees had given away hundreds of coupons for free Curves products that were reserved as a reward to those women who achieve their goals. Over 100 members had 5 or more coupons that they said were given them as rewards for their exercises. Fearing that we may loose more members if we try to revoke them, we had to spend several more thousand dollars buying expensive Curves sweat shirts that everyone wanted.
    All that set us behind considerably and created a lot of tension, but we were determined to make it work. Over the next couple of years we saw that despite of our efforts, we were not gaining new members and have had problems retaining old ones. Our expenses had increased – rent, advertisement, salaries for employees, with revenues steadily falling. We have tried to talk to our Area Directors but received no support, we have complained about it to Curves Int. but received no response. We tried to work with other Curves, participating in co-ops and sharing local ad costs, but it did not bring more members, while we were spending more money than ever. On top of that, Curves Int. asks its franchisees to fax the worksheets that determine the dollar amount of monthly franchise and ad fees. If they do not receive the fax in time, they charge you maximum fees allowed. On more than several occasions, even though we have faxed everything on time (and have proof of that), we have been charged the maximum fees that overdraw our business account and result in overdraft bank fees of $40 for every transaction after that. Then it would take a number calls leaving messages and faxes to get the franchise fees reversed and corrected, but Curves never reimburses you for the bank fees that result from their mistakes. In 2007, we have paid over $1500 just in overdraft fees due to Curves mistakes.
    Slowly but surely, from a profitable club we became a club that sucked money at the rate of $2K-$5K/mo. Several non-Curves competitors in the area started to pop up offering the same thing for 19.95/mo. I have not seen a single Curves TV ad since 2005. In a meantime they continue to collect money for a “national advertisement”.
    Finally, 3 months ago we were forced to shut down the club, refund prepaid memberships to several members and terminate our lease contract.
    Several clubs in our area are listed for sale in the $30K-$45K range – a far cry from 2004 prices. I am sure that those would eventually be shut down as well.
    Curves Int. is trying to collect the $10K from us but our club was purchased by a Nevada LLC where my wife is a single member rather than my wife personally, so they will have a hard time going after our assets and we have no more money to donate them.

    Overall, this is by far the bitterest experience that we ever had in our lives. I am just glad that our family was strong enough to endure it. We had another family addition last year that helped us be together. Now, 4 years and $370K later, our efforts are concentrated on putting this all behind and moving on with life. It had mostly eliminated our hopes for early retirement and good colleges for our kids.
    While some folks here say that it is all our (ex-Curves owners’) fault. I know for myself that it is not us but Curves Int. and those who run it that we have to thank for that. Their extreme corporate greed, total disinterest in Franchisees and, sadly, total lack of any concern for women they say they want to help (because it all trickles down to members that at the end are disillusioned, hopeless and no longer have a convenient place to go to)
    – that is what is at fault. It is very much reminds me of Enron and I sure hope that it will end similarly.
    Thank you Gary. Remember – what goes around, comes around.

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  • M

    And I thought it was just the members getting screwed.

  • susan

    I have a just a couple of questions for any one out there in the “know”. I sublease from a Curves owner for my skin care business. In the last year she has set up a tanning business in a room off of her workout area, begun to sell purses ans boutique items, an sutomotive road side assitance program and has now broken out lease agreement by offering a skin care process that is governed in out state by the board of cosmetology. We signed an agreement to no inhibit or interfere with the others businesses or represent the others business in any way while abiding by ALL laws and regulations that would govern our independent businesses. Since she has begun to now hurt my business via her greed for monwy bu offering this skin care process and the products to support it I have contacted CURVES INT. I was under the impression the franchise owners were NOT allowed to offer ANY types of services or products or businesses from beneath the franchise facility of CURVES. Has anyone had this type of problem? I figure she must really be hurting for funds if she has sunk so low as to break our lease agreement as well as indanger my business in the process. I did receive contact form CURVES but I feel that is all it will amount to. I replied to their inquiry and have yet to hear anything back. She has since begun to harrass me professionally and personally. I have had to contact legal counsel on the issue. Does anyone here believe CURVES INT will actually take note of this owners obvious break with their own franchising agreement against operating outside businesses? By the way two of these businesses are MLM opportunities. Thanks for any feed back..

  • unhappy

    It appears that the reason Curves is charging the 10,000 dollar closing charge is to get owners to sign a release so that they can’t sue CI for losses. I know of many owners who have had CI lower the fee to 5000 than 2500 and down to 1500 as long you sign the release form reliveing Curves International(CI) from being sued. My advice— do not sign anything —-until you talk to a lawyer perferably the ones that are handling the group lawsuit case.

    As for the McCords personaly I would stay away from them as it’s obvioulsy has CI as a backer and makes underhanded deals. It is not in the best interest of the owners but rather curves international.

  • ScrdByCurves

    It’s been said here that the 10K termination fee was introduced in Jan/Feb of 2008. I checked our 2004 franchise agreement and it clearly does not have it in there, and modification clause clearly states that all modifications must be in writing and signed by all parties. So unless you signed a modified franchise agreement you should not be liable for it.
    Also, in regards to the return of original equipment to Curves or Prison facility – our 2004 franchise agreement does not have anything about it either. In fact, it has quite opposite – that Curves Int. reserves an option to purchase all equipment in case franchisee is in default.
    As for initial franchise fee, it says that 16 pieces of equipment are included in the initial franchise fee. So as far as I can tell (and I am not a lawyer), we own this equipment and have no obligation to return it to Curves, Prison facility or any other such nonsense, unless you own money to your members or Curves. The only caveat may be, is that they are also seem to be saying that in case of default we owe them the franchise fees from closure date until the end of the contract. But again, I could not find that to be specifically said in our contract and if it was added later, we did not sign it.
    One more important, in my opinion, thing is that in the contract it clearly states that all notices are to be in writing and be sent to you (or from you) with regular or certified mail. To me that means that any email notices are not official notices and as such you don’t need to react on them!

  • unhappycurvesownerz

    You are so right Scrdbycurves. No were in the franchise agreement is any of that written but that is how they try to indimitate owners to stay out of the lawsuit. Have you contacted Zarco yet?

  • Sadderbutwiser

    A clothing shop is replacing a defunct Curves in North Dakota.

    An upscale resale clothing shop will open next week near Ralph Engelstad Arena.

    The shop, called indigo, will cater to college students.

    It will replace Curves, which is closing, in a strip mall off Columbia Road and south of Gateway Drive in Grand Forks.

  • Mellissa

    Is there any other site that talks of Curves like this? I recently talked to a curves owner in Montréal QC when on vacation there and they where scared crasy about the situation there
    whith the competition and the closures
    they told me that basicaly Swan fitness is taking all their business , so I am thinking is curves failling because of the competition being what it is or from the lack of support from CI .

  • sean

    Is there any other site that talks of Curves like this?

    One: Unhappy Franchisee at

  • unhappycurvesownerz

    There are many reasons why they are closing but most relate to how the franchiesor is mismanaging the franchise. The number of owners suing CI grows daily. Check out to see the real picture.

  • Alex

    Here is what I know about these transactions with McCord.

    If you are closing your Curves location you have to pay a $10,000 closing fee. There is a franchise agreement in place and franchisees are obligated to it. If you go to Curves and provide them notice to close they offer you an alternative to go through McCord as a last resort. You then sign a power of attorney with Curves for a month, giving them the authority to take control of the sale of your Curves. I cannot understand why somone on here is complaining about getting $5,000 for a sale when they were looking at forking out 10k for closing the club. Sounds like an emotional decision and not a business decision.

    Any Curves owner can sell through anyone they please. If I am not msitaken McCord was a former executive with Curves; hence the endorsement. My friend in Georgia used Tom Garmon and was very pleased. When my wife and I sell that is who I am calling.


  • Sadderbutwiser

    The reason people are complaining is that this $10K fee was tacked on in February. It is NOT part of the original franchise agreement. Curves noticed the growing trend of clubs closing and came up with a new way to squeeze money out of struggling owners.

    BTW, Tom Garmon is no longer with McCord. He’s started his own Curves-for-sale brokerage.

  • Dorothy

    In response to Alex:If I had the $10,000 I would not have had to put in for closing duh! Curves did not offer the alternative, it was forced upon me without my approval or consent! I did not sign any power of attorney or consent for them to take control of anything. Would you walk away from all of your possessions that you put thousands of dollars into so that someone else can walk in and take it over for virtually free? How naive are you? I am not paying them a cent now or ever. It is a business decison, not an emotional decison as you may seem to think. You are not mistaken, John McCord has been, is and will always be affiliated with Gary Heavin as long as they continue to line each others pockets. It is nothing more than manipulation and hostile takeovers of clubs that are failing, so they can sucker some other poor fool into taking over where you leave off. My territory should have been closed and not reopened. I hope that in the future when you do use McCord, it will be an open and above transaction aggeeable on all sides, but be forwarned, I know of one club that was misrepresented through member numbers that were falsified by them and the owner so that they could up thier commission. Do you want to trust someone like that to sell your business? Take it somewhere else and sell it. I have no regrets for closing before the so called “sale” was completed. I am seeking my recovery through other means. I am on the old franchise agreement, they cannot come after me for anything, as far fetched as that may sound to them. It sounds like you have not been burned by Curves during your tenure with them, I have several times. When you get stepped on we’ll be hearing from you as well. Go up on and read all the stories, you will find that we are not a minority out here.

  • sean

    …they offer you an alternative to go through McCord as a last resort. You then sign a power of attorney with Curves for a month, giving them the authority to take control of the sale of your Curves…
    Please explain this. Why would Curves International need “power of attorney” to help sell a club?

    Are the “taking over” clubs to keep them from showing up as closures in the FDD?

  • Dorothy

    Why would you give them power of attorney? I never signed one document giving them authority to take this sale away from me. They try to scare you into giving them control when you have notified to close. As long as you don’t sign any documents you are alright, especially if you are seeking relief through the courts. Yes when they take over and re-open, it keeps from showing up as a closing in the FDD. That way they keep the closure rate looking lower than it really is. They don’t offer you anything, they tell you this is how it’s going to be. My buyer was coerced away from the table through the resale dept right in McCord’s office and told that she did not need to come back to me to complete the sale, they would take care of it for both of us. They kept sending me papers to sign by e-mail, but just ignored them. They figured it out real fast, I was not rolling over. They are going to deny all of this, but I was told to sell for $1, so they could get off the hook for no liability. I don’t answer any correspondence from them at all anymore.

  • positive-healthy

    Could anyone give any insight on what would be considered all the legitimate reasons that one might be able to participate in the group lawsuit? I’m not sure it would be appropriate to ask to be included solely based on severe downturns in a club’s membership due to being in a small town or because of paying too high of a purchase price for a resale. I don’t think I can blame it on Curves International that there is such a turnover in membership. Sometimes I think that our biggest threat is a woman’s lack of commitment to her workouts and the belief that she doesn’t deserve to have a membership on a long-term basis. I would appreciate any insight into this matter. Thank you.

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  • Dorothy

    Dear Positive-healthy
    Go to Robert Lay will talk with you at length about your concerns. I agree with you about women getting lazy and not keeping thier committments. That was one of the biggest excuses I had for member dropout. I don’t know where you are in your business. Don’t let it go on too long before you go under.

  • Mellissa

    Is there a way to verifiy how many Curves are in operation I know that there where 10,000 clubs at one point but now how many , are they still selling clubs outside the US ?
    Thank you

  • Jose

    At last count there were only about 6500 curves clubs and approx 500 failing per year or more. I would bet about 5000 clubs now that are still open but not making money. They are just in it for pride and to save the $10,000. Curves permission to Go out of business fee

  • Mellissa

    WOW !! where it the 10,000 clubs and the 4 millions women ?? how can this happen..
    all the Curves where employing over 35,000 people and helping the economy a lot and then
    in a mather af 2 years it’s failling big time
    is there any hope for the people involved espessialy the franchisee.

  • unhappy

    How was your count arrived at? Or is that a guess. It would be interesting to see how many are actually still open. And if there were 10,000 or if that was just another lie to help promote franchise sales.

  • Jose

    I got the number off the Curves web site and calculated over time how many average closures per year and per month there were, taking into consideration that the closure rate is an exponential curve, opposite of the growth curve. Example: When opening a new franchise it is very important to get at least 10 sold in the first year, the second year you will sell 40 the third year you will sell 75 and 4th year and above 100+ franchises. The momentum and fancy adds stating how you are the fastest growing franchise today excites people to jump on board faster without looking into the opportunity as a good or bad investment.
    Starting with 10000 clubs is is easy to formula over time given these closure rates that curves will probably have only 500-1000 clubs left in 3 years from today. IF Curves goes bankrupt it it will if the franchisees law suit wins. Curves will close US operations and maintain a presents in Europe for a few years so Gary Heaven can Cash in on this and retire a Billionaire on the franchisees money. YES the OVER 10000 franchises is a LIE. They Now say WORLD WIDE ON THE WEB SITE, NOT IN THE UNITED STATES. WATCH HOW THE WORDING CHANGES.
    eventually he will only have a few hundred in the United states and still make the same claims using the numbers in europe to build confidense in his failing brand. The Curves web site if not up to date and still lists franchises that have gone under. If you get a UFOC it must List ALL franchises that have failed since inception. SO anyone on this blog that have a UFOC Please let us know how many have failed. If the UFOC is not correct Curves can face a Class ction law suit for not Filing with the Federal Trade Commision a correct Franchise Agreement. Every Agreement must be updated immediately upon notice of franchise closures, anu UFOCm received without these changes is considered Void. and legally can be challeged. This is the loop hole you must follow to win a Curves law suit. Challenge the UFOC and its illegally binding statements. Example: In Minnissota, New York, Florida and many states have an addendum preventing any franchisor from sueing a franchisee. It is illegal for Curves to challenge the closure of a franchise if certain states by charging a $10.000.00 fee
    Here is a list of exibits addendums for states that prohibite Curves from attacking its closing franchisee.
    Alberta Canada, Ontario Canada, California,illinios,Indiana,maryland,Michigan,
    Minnessota, New York,Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dekota, State of Washinton,
    Contact the attorney generals office in these states if you are wanting to close your franchise. Render a complaint to each state in writing and also send a copy to the Federal Trade Commission who regulates Curves nationally. Curves may loose it’s ability to sell in the United States if enough Failed curves ownes Send written notice to the State and Federal policing autorities. ‘
    One More thing. Find out if Curves was registered to sell your failed club to you in that stated when you baought it. Contact the State Dept of Labor and Economic Growth and request a copy of the registration for the year you bought your club. If it turns our that they were not registed, you can sue Curves for selling you a club illegally and request all fees, royalties paid plus legal fees, damages for the complete period of ownership. Try it what have you got to lose. Let everyone here know which states Curve sold in and was not registered.
    Its time to fight back and vindicate those who lost everything because of the lies Curves promulgated to profit.
    Good Luck and God Bless

  • Mellissa

    Ok I have the exact count !! 8336 franchise worldwide
    1835 closing between 2007 and now
    not a good sign I suppose!!

  • Ernie

    Is the closing rate of 1,835 just in the U.S. or world-wide? You have to compare apples with apples.

    I hired a franchise expert firm to check out a franchise I was considering. Mr. Franchise, who also owned a franchise himself, told me a 10% or more turnover rate is high and a red flag. Just an FYI

  • Mellissa

    It’s Wold wide , 800 of the closures are in the States and the rest are all over the globe,

  • unhappycurvesownerz

    Melissa, How did you arive at these figures and do you have any email address for the remaining clubs that are open?

  • Mellissa

    UFOC doc’s and
    franchise500, and I also took 2 hours to count all the existing franchise listed on their web site
    starting with the US and then all the other country’s.

  • ExCurvesMember

    I used to be a member of one of your Curves. I joined the new Curves you opend up in November of 06. I was so excited about a Curves coming to my neighborhood and couldn’t wait until you opened. I was one of the first members to sign up. I loved the girls working there (Ronnie, Jennifer, Marsha etc…). Once the new owner took over the place really went downhill. She stopped handing out prices, lost (and fired) some of the staff and cut her business hours back. She even got rid of the suggestion box. She wasn’t the easiest person to deal with and a lot of us girls did not care for her. I decided to cancel my membership after my year was up and joined the new 24 hour gym that opened up across the street. I now pay less money for more gym time. I hardly ever see any cars in front of my old Curves and that makes me think that her membership went way down. I have several ex-Curves members at my new gym and they left for the same reasons I did. Which are: price (not cheap), hours (not convenient anymore) and the new manager.
    I’m so very sorry to hear about what your family is going through. I only met your wife a few times but I really liked her. You had an awesome Curves and it is too bad that the Curves International treated you that way.
    My co-workers wife just bought a Curves in the north part of our county. After reading this thread I’m worried about their future. His wife is so excited about Curves and is putting all of her energy into her new place. I just hope she can make it work.
    Thanks for sharing your story. Best wishes.

  • Jose

    Read this article written in 2002,

    Curves’ founder Gary Heavin took over a failing fitness center in Houston, Texas in 1976, according to the Web site. He had six successful women’s centers five years later. Then, another five years later, he lost his chain of 17 fitness locations.

    Learning from his mistakes, Heavin, along with his wife Diane, opened the original Curves facility in Harlingen, Texas, in 1992, according to the We site. The two began to franchise Curves in 1995.


  • Jose

    Read this article written in 2002,

    Curves’ founder Gary Heavin took over a failing fitness center in Houston, Texas in 1976, according to the Web site. He had six successful women’s centers five years later. Then, another five years later, he lost his chain of 17 fitness locations.

    Learning from his mistakes, Heavin, along with his wife Diane, opened the original Curves facility in Harlingen, Texas, in 1992, according to the We site. The two began to franchise Curves in 1995.

    NOW the same thing is happening over again expect now its thousands of losing clubs. Funny isn’t it since 2005

  • susan

    I understand that this conversation thread revolves around burend curves owners. I also understand that some of this attitude it passed along to some of the owners in regards to thier members. I really am in need of answers or opinions concerning the fat that my landlord, who is a curves owner, is attempting to hurt my business and run me out of my space through harassment! I have a major question. Q Are Curves franchise owners allowed to purchase and resale Weight Watchers materials to their members and to run programs and competitions based on WW principles in their clubs? Q Are they allowed to charge members $2 per week to enter these contests and hold meetings that are based on WW principles as opposed to the CURVES weight loss program? These are just a few of the issues that murky the waters around what should be a professional business situation concerning my sublease agreement. This person has continued to attempt to break St laws, as well as the sublease agreement. By the terms of the lease agreement she is breaking the sublease if she is breaking her franchise agreement as well!Could someone please give me some direction? I feel that the misrepresentatin that the corporation has dealt the individual owners has perhaps driven this particular owner into attempting unprofessional as well as illegal means to make money with little or no regard to whom they hurt in the process. Greed seems to works it way down from the corporate top!
    Thank you for any information…..S

  • sean

    susan previously wrote:I sublease from a Curves owner for my skin care business. In the last year she has set up a tanning business in a room off of her workout area, begun to sell purses and boutique items, an automotive road side assistance program and has now broken out lease agreement by offering a skin care process… I figure she must really be hurting for funds if she has sunk so low as to break our lease agreement
    Let me offer my brutally honest opinion. You are two struggling business owners and no one cares about your tiny dispute but you two. Work it out directly with your landlord or move out.
    You say you know she’s hurting but then you accuse her of greed. It seems to me that she is doing what she should do: trying anything and everything to make her business work. She’s dealing with her business challenges directly and addressing her problems. You are being a bit of a weasel, trying to squeal on her to corporate. Where will you be if they terminate her?
    Either your rent payment is worth more to her than her skin care sales or not. If it is, she’ll work it out with you. Offer to pay a commission or bonus if she’ll promote your business and drop hers. You catch more flies with honey, and your threats mean nothing to a dying business owner. But if you’ve got a dispute with your owner, address it with her directly. Don’t go whining to third parties because, honestly, no one cares.

  • Tom Garmon

    The FDD indicates that there were approximately 600 closings in 2007. That is out of 10,000 locaitons. Many were owned by absentee owners and in small populations. Curves will not sell a new franchise below 12k people. They had gone as low as 6k people. Women’s fitness and weightloss is not a fad, it is here to stay. Curves provides a very good service for a growing market demographic with a low cost business model. It may not work as well in high rent markets. Curves take work. People that got greedy and purchased multiple locations were foolish. It is a service business. You aren’t going to get rich, but it can create a nice living. It is not for the investor though. A service business needs an owner present, or at least working guest production.

    I am not employed by Curves. I am an INDEPENDANT business broker. Many owners that aren’t successful do not work their businesses. (Not all but most) I sell Curves and help people buy them as well. I am not endorsed by Curves and don’t want to be. That would create a conflict of interest. Feel free to visit my website and check out the “Resources” section. It is very helpful.

  • susan

    Thanks Sean for your “Brutally Honest” comment The FACT is this Curves owner has BROKEN the state regulatory laws by offering these skin care services. At the very beginning, I discussed this with her on a very professional business level, as well as on a personal level, as a friend concerned that she could be creating a sticky situation for herself as well as for me. No THREATS at any time. She pretty much is the WEASEL in that she knew she was going to ENDANGER my LEGAL LICENSES by performing these services. HOW? If I am aware of the practice of an UNLICENSED INDIVIDUAL performing and practicing these services without a LICENSE then I am subject to civil penalties and revocation of my licenses! This supposed Professional business owner intentionally placed my business and me into legal danger. As for whining to THIRD parties, I was obviously mistaken in my belief that this chain of concerned conversation was actually being addressed by PROFESSIONALS with grains of WISDOM. You own personal bitterness obvious has colored your objectiveness. Perhaps this is why Curves Int is having a problem…treat the client like cash cows not people. When any corporation gets wrapped around the profit rather than the client the end is near. As to my “squealing” to the corporation, IF this franchise owner has done nothing ILLEGAL in regards to her gym and in regards to local and state laws, she has nothing to worry about does she? As for working it out, that was attempted on several occasions, SHE has been the one that began the THREATS to my business and has even attempted to physically lock out my clientele. With all of that being said, I do thank you for your VERY PROFESSIONAL REPLY and ADVICE as well as taking a small part of my inquiries and applying them in such a way as to make it seem as though this franchise owner is above reproach. There is a BIG difference between attempting to make a business thrive via honest business practices and intentionally attempting to break another business. As a very wise man said “It is difficult to conduct a totally honest business, but NOT Impossible” I have at ALL cost honored the sublease, respected her business, assisted her in her Curves client recruitment and even promoted her business to my clients (No commission asked or ever taken). And would have been happy to continue to do so if SHE had not acted as she has. Thankfully, by reading through these posts I realise that Curves Int has hurt more than a few owners here. I do hope they receive justice via the judicial system. Unfortunately, I have had the sad luck to be associated with one of the dishonest ones. Good luck Sean in your future endeavors may they provide you with much reward.

  • sean

    I don’t own any personal bitterness. I’m not a Curves owner or former owner. I publish this blog and AM objective. I’m just giving you a little perspective.

    You’re a business owner with a contractual dispute with your landlord. That’s all.
    Move out. Move on. If she’s really done serious financial harm, sue for damages.

    Or, if you prefer, you can dedicate more time trying to get her in trouble with the state, Curves International, the FBI, CIA, Interpol, God and the blogosphere. Just don’t be surprised when all they do is roll their eyes and mutter something about “tattletales” under their breath.

  • positive-healthy

    Tom Garmon:
    How do you know that Curves will not sell a new franchise to a buyer in a community with less than 12,000 people?
    Thank you.

  • susan

    Sean, Again I commend you on your top notch Professionalism. I must also commend you on your verabl command of the Dramatic. A mature person who refers to other adults as “talletales” certainly has achieved a level of the highest professional function possible. Again, I wish you well and much luck in youe future pursuits what ever they may be.

  • sean

    I must also commend you on your verabl command of the Dramatic. A mature person who refers to other adults as “talletales”…
    Being the mature professional I am, I shall resist the temptation to chant sticks & stones… and allow Susan to get back to hawking her miracle age-reversing cream.

    Her Curves landlord did add some interesting new revenue streams. Roadside assistance is a novel idea. I wonder if she tells her Curves members that tire changing is part of CurvesSmart conditioning? Free labor…

  • unhappy

    To Tom Garman,
    You are not telling the truth! You most certainly did work for Curves at one time and they have sold plenty of clubs with less than 12,000 in population. Even your figures on the number of closing are wrong. You can go to hell for lieing as well as stealing and you sir have both strikes against you. Shame on you for selling curves franchises to unsuspecting individuals who know nothing about the hundreds upon hundreds of law suits being filed because of the dishonesty of howard gary heavin.

  • Fitdude

    As the owner of a hydraulic fitness circuit company, I have watched with interest the rise and fall of Curves over the years.

    To give credit where credit is due, Curves has gotten hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of women off the couch and into a club. They changed the face of the fitness industry by opening strip mall clubs in towns with populations too small to support a large coed club. Because of the strength of word of mouth advertising in small towns, the memberships grew to incredible numbers for the population base. The concept of circuit training works and most Curves members enjoy quick results- initially.

    Unfortunately, because of the nature of Curves’ non-adjustable hydraulic cylinders, virtually 100% of Curves members eventually hit a “plateau”. They are told to push faster/harder, but let’s face it, a 50-60 year old woman can only push so fast. Maintaining at a plateau is fine for many people who are there for the social aspect of the program; however, for those people who have more weight to lose, it can be very frustrating- and boring. That is when members start dropping out and don’t renew their memberships. From what I have seen, the most successful Curves owners got in and out quickly; they opened their first club for under $30K, grew the membership to 400-500 in the first 6 months, then at month 12 sold it for $100-$200K and moved on to a new territory. What the new owners don’t know is it that about months 18-24, the bottom falls out of the membership base because of lack of renewals.

    I cannot comment on the support or lack thereof from Curves corporate, but I can comment on the inherent failure of the Curves concept because of non-adjustable resistance equipment. The whole idea of progressive exercise is to be able to increase the load/intensity/duration in order to continue to enjoy results. The MyTrak system, although a nice feedback system, does nothing to increase the load. It does encourage members to maintain their intensity to stay “in the green zone”; however, again, one can only push so hard in 30 seconds and without being able to increase the resistance, members will still hit that frustrating, boring plateau. The MyTrak system may aid somewhat in member retention by providing feedback reports; however, I doubt that paying extra for bells and whistles that do nothing to change the resistance of the equipment is something that will prove successful in the long-term. Increasing the duration is always an option, but this defeats the whole purpose of a 30 minute workout.

    Another problem I have seen Curves owners go through is not being able to offer additional profit centers like tanning, massage, facials, saunas, yoga, etc. or additional equipment like treadmills, elliptical machines, etc. to help members supplement their workouts. I do know of some Curves owners who have added some of these services or products in spite of the Curves franchise agreement telling me that they have never been visited by the corporate office anyway. It is a shame when a franchise owner feels they must violate their agreement in order to become successful.

  • Tom Garmon

    To Unhappy,

    First of all Sir or Madam, I have NEVER worked for Curves. NEVER! Secondly, all closings are reported in the UFOC or FDD as it is now called. I am looking at a copy of 657 locations closed in 2007. I am not sure where you are getting your facts, but you blanket claims are making you look foolish and uneducated.

    With regard to the population of Curves franchses, yes they ahve sold populations in less than 12k people in the past, but from what I hear they are no longer doing this.

    Finally all lawsuits are reported on the FDD. There are now hundreds upon hundreds of lawsuits. This is absurd. There are 3 major lawsuits that were files in January 2007. All buyers receive a copy of the FDD before purchasing.

    It sounds like you have an agenda here to push propanganda even hate speach. I don’t appreciate being called a liar. I will not get in the gutter with you becasue you obviously have much more practice than I do.

    Tom Garmon

  • Mellissa

    As the owner of a hydraulic fitness circuit company, I have watched with interest the rise and fall of Curves over the years.

    WOW , Finaly someone that knows exactly what they are talking about !! If only all the Curves, and other owner of Hydraulic franchises would have knowed !! Hydraulics are the lowest form of fitness equipment there is !! but if you want to sell thousands of franchise fast you must have a cheap price !! but starting something with cheap equipment will alway’s have the same results , (short term ) it is a miracle that those centers using Hydraulics lasted that long.
    Congratulation for a well prepared text !!
    And the mytrack addition what a waist of $$
    Mytrack is a amazing addition to any GREAT equipment I tested it myself and the logistic behind it is fantastic but put it on a substandard machine and it becomes useless, sad sad for mytrack greed will have the best of them.

  • Fitdude

    To Melissa;

    Thank you for the nice comments; I guess I do know what I’m talking about- I may not be bright, but I do learn from experience. I can’t tell you how many times I heard a Curves or other women’s club franchise owner say “I wish I had known!”. It seems many were sold a get-rich-quick dream with no fitness experience necessary. They attended a 3 day workshop of how to high pressure people into memberships and then sent out to run their own clubs with little to zero follow up.

    However, I must take exception to your comment on hydraulic equipment being “the lowest form of fitness equipment there is”. I agree that there are some poor quality hydraulic machines out there just as there are some sub-standard weight stack machines or any other type of fitness equipment. I have sold my hydraulic equipment to thousands of facilities such hospitals, physical therapy/rehab centers, schools, YMCA’s, Gold’s Gyms, World’s Gyms, professional sports teams, US Olympic training center, US Military, men’s clubs, etc. (as well as thousands of women’s clubs). No equipment could hold up under such diverse usage if it was poor quality. Hydraulic equipment is a tool, just like free weights or treadmills are tools. There are good tools and poor tools and not every tool can fit every purpose. Variety is one of the keys to success of any long-term fitness program. Hydraulic equipment can be a great cross conditioning program for even the fittest person, but it will not be the only tool they ever use. It has it’s place and it can address many needs, but only the franchise clubs will tell you that hydraulic equipment is the only tool you will ever need.

  • zella

    Thank God for web sites like these. It is always interesting to read opinions both for and against this type of business..

    I too was about to make an emotionally charged decision to buy an existing curves location. The broker made it sound like a dream come true.. 100 000$ profits and you only have to go into the office 2 days a week!!!

    As mama always said.. If it’s too good to be true it is only because it is!!! If it was such a great deal and such a good business why would the seller not pass it on to a family member or a friend…

    Thank you Jose and Sean for the very use full information.

    To those who are successful .. my hats go off to you.. May you continue to be profitable.

    To those who have lost there shirts and endangered their family well being.. I hope that Karma will take its toll on those who felt it right to ruin your chance of having a decent life and who so viciously stole the future away from your children!!!!!

    I do now believe after reading the pros and cons that even if there are successful Curves owners it does not justify what the parent company has allowed non successful owners to suffer..

    Last but not least I have read that curves is a religious oriented company… Religion and business do not go hand in hand.. Religion is supposed to inspire people to give to the needy and help the poor.. Curves is the opposite Robin hood.. They steal from the poor to collect for themselves.. The overly wealthy!!!

  • Tom Garmon

    To Zella,


    One should never make a business decision based on blogs like these. These sites are havens for compeditors to slam their counterparts. Case in point, I was contacted by the owner of a womens fitness franchise from Canada. He has subscribed to this thread and is watching it carefully. Is it possible that people like him are posting anonomously here slandering Curves. I guess anythings possible. My best advice is to consider the source. If you are considering purchasing any franchise you owe it to yourself to contact current franchise owners and ask them how they feel about the franchisor. Don’t listen to some anonomous poster here making claims and accusations. If you do so you are not bright enought to perform due diligence anyway. I would recommend going to the website and plug in the sip code of the Curves location you are considering and find the nearby locations. Call them and tell them you are considering purchasing a franchise location and would like to speak to the owner. You might consider keeping the location secret; since you may have signed a confidentiality agreement and doing so might violate this. Additionally if might result in a less than objective opiinion from a neighboring location that could have some financial interest in the club not selling. Just an FYI.

    Feel free to contact me as well. I will represent the buyer (for a fee) and protect you in the transaction and help you to get the best price. If I am paid a fee I will not share commissions with the sellers agent as my objective is to represent the buyer objectively.

    If you are being told that you can kick back and count the dollars you are being misled. There are 2 key components to being successful at any fitness franchise. Service and guest production. If there is a staff in place and enrollments are at 70-80% then the owner can focus on guest production. If you are working in the club many hours a week, guest production will be more challenging.

    Tom Garmon

  • Mellissa

    Dear Tom ,

    You say not to take things on this blog to seriously, but if so why should we listen to you ?
    what exactly is your agenda on beeing here?
    and still you say that you dont have any links to Curves but you always talk about them and how it is not that bad of a situation, well let me tell you something my best freind lost everything in
    a curves and the 650+ closings are surely nor all related to bad management, maby if other franchisor are on this blog it is to learn something and not make the same mistakes, or maby you are right i dont know.

  • Tom Garmon


    I am not telling anyone to listen to my words. I am telling them that if you are considering buying a franchise of ANY KIND that they should call at least 3 franchisees and ask them about their experience. This is called due diligence. Taking people’s comments here and making a business decision based on posts on a blog that has many biased interest is not wise.

    I am a business broker that has been in the women’s fitness industry long before Curves ever existed. I personally believe in Curves and understand that with any business there is a huge commitment. Simply buying a franchise does not guaranty success. It increases the likelyhood of it. I am not here to flame other people, but to offer intelligent debate in a respectful manner.

    There is a general rule in ecomonice. he who gets there first generally wins. Curves got there first. They dominate the women’s fitneess market. Are there better concepts out there? Probably. But do they ahve economies of scale and the corporate endorsements with General Mills, AARP, WAl-MArt, Sams Club, Avon, Blue Cross, P&G, Humana? No they do not. Curves as a franchise offers alot of benefits. Have they made mistakes, ABSOLUTELY. Have they learned from them? ABSOLUTLEY. They ahve sold to markets with too small populations, encouraged owners to split territories that should not have been split, they didn’t assist with lease negotiation with their new franchisees like they should have. They grew so fast that they our grew their corporate infrastructure back in 2003-2005. But they have adapted.

    Look, I have owned several 8000+sq/ft all women’s health clubs. I know the challenges with large overheads and full service facilities. The fitness industry is changing. Smaller facilities with more locations are crushing the large health clubs by taking nibbles out of the market until the full service centers are in the red. This is a highly compeditive market, no doubt. Clubs that will survive will need to have health insurance subsidies and medicare supplemental partnerships. Curves has had this since early 2007 and it is growing. The brand recognition is unsurpassed in the fitness industry. I focus on resellign existing Curves becasue I truly believe in the franchise and business model. BUT, I also acknowledge that they ahve made mistakes in the past. Every franchise does. Subway and Quiznos both lhave lawsuits against them. Show me one top 10 franchise that doesn’t.

    You ask me my agenda for being here. My reason is that I see all of these anonomous people slamming Curves, and I see there are people here whose mission is to mislead and slander without putting forth facts or even a civil debate with any level of respect or intelligence.

    If anyone is considering buying a Curves I advise them not to listen to you or me. Call a Curves owner and speak to an owner. That is what I advise buyers to do. Get it straight from the horses mouth. Not a compeditor posing as a disgruntled franchsie owner psoting on an unmoderated blog.

    Tom Garmon

  • unhappy

    It is obvious that you can’t trust Tommy boy and that he has a definate agenda to make mony off unsuspecting individuals wanting to buy a franchise. I love his statement that he will represent the buyer for a fee and protect there interrest. Ha what a joke. Watch out folks the world is full of snakes crawling all over the internet and I for one believe he is one. Go sell your snake oil somewhere else Tommy Boy.

  • Tom Garmon


    When people buy businesses they often hire a broker to represent them. Sometimes they hire a lawyer, an accountant, or a broker. Perhaps you didn’t utilize an expert to protect you and this is is why you are so unhappy.

    Let me give you an example. I represented a buyer in the purchase of a club in FL. In the state of FL members sign up for a year and the ciontract automatically renews for up to 2 more years. After that they health club has to resign them under a new contract or remove them from the drafting system. The owner was not the best operator and didn’t maintain her membership records. AS a result she had 19 check drafts that were past the 3 year mark. If I had not been representing the buyer in this case she would ahve had an unpleasant surprise. We also negotiated a better purchase price.

    I can afford to offer my services for free. Many brokers represent the buyer and split the commissions with the selling broker. This is a much more lucrative scenario; however it really is not the best scenario for the buyer. There is no real incintive for the buyers agent to get a much lower price. I charges that buyer $2000.00 to assist with due diligence, formulate the offer, and structure the closing. They were very happy with the end result and have referrred me other buyers.

    I refuse to stoop to inmature name calling and childish verbage. It is not hard for people here to read and determine who is professional and has integrity. Like I said before, I will not get in the gutter with people like you. You have too much practice there and I will lose.

    I provide professional services for a fee and I earn my fee. I am ethical, honest, and fair. I have an extensive education in business brokerage and business valuation. I have psoted my name and website. I don’t have to hide behind anonomous post.

    I feel bad for you being so unhappy. Ones attitude sets the path for ones success and failures. It’s hard to be succesful when you are so unhappy. I have never met a successful business owner that is an unhappy person. The power of positive thinking can go along way in success in life.

    Unhappy, which franchise location did you own?hink that for you to be taken seriously that you should disclose something about who you are? Why hide? My guess is that you will not respond with answers but more ranting and raving. As you can see I have put my name, my website link, which contains my contact information. I have nothing to hide.

    Tom Garmon

  • sean

    I’m in favor of cutting Tom some slack. From what he says and from the look of his website, the people coming to him have already decided they want to buy a Curves. If he truly charges a $2K flat fee to represent the buyer (and is truly representing their interests with no double-dipping) I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

    Compared to the “consultants” who pretend they’re providing you a free, objective service to find the best “match” when they’re really steering you to the highest, easiest commission to close, it’s downright saintly.

    Plus, it can’t be easy running a business that’s slogan could be: “Keeping your bad decision from being worse” or “Preventing long, drawn out business failures from being long and drawn out.”

    As far as this conversation being a bunch of competitor shills, it ain’t. This blog is largely uncensored and allows anonymous comments, but I correspond with enough of these people off-blog to assure you they are not a bunch of competitors making up untrue allegations… the occasional shill is pretty obvious pretty quickly.

    However, if I were selling Curves franchises I’d urge my customers to stay off the blogs, too.

  • Mellissa

    However, if I were selling Curves franchises I’d urge my customers to stay off the blogs, too.

    GOOD point, I dont think that Tom is bad , he is only doing what soud’s fair to him. Any business man would do the same , and maby after all he is helping strugling Curves owner after all!!!

  • unhappy

    Sean all of us that know you respect your opinion so we will cut him some slack. but it cetainly seems very strange that a person who we all know had direct ties with McCord resales of curves opens up a new brokage to sell failing curves clubs to make a proffit. Most of the people who post on this site have had extremly bad experences with Curves International and Garry heavin for various reasons. And for him to spout that its the owners fault he is totally wrong. His posts are the same that we have all heard before comming from curves international. His dimisal of the hundreds of owners who have filed group action lawsuits supports are position and belief that he is a shill for gary heavin. by him claiming that we are cowards for not useing are names while he does gives us further thoughts on his real intentions. Futhermore its extremly hard for owners who have actually been part of the process, lived with, and seen the distruction that Cuves International has left in its wake to listen to his rant that we know is false. While some of his advise about buying a franchise is good, his advice about Curves is wrong and very misleading. Lets see if we can’t find some of his clints who have bought Curves and hear what they have to say. Not ones that he sends to us but actually owners who can be impartial not solicitated by him. than maybe I’ll owe him an appolgy but for now I still think he is a snake in the grass waiting to pounce. Enough said lets let the other actuall owners of Curves past and present tell us there view of Tommy boy.

  • sean

    I assume that not every Curves franchise is unsuccessful and not everyone associated with the sale of a Curves club is one of Satan’s helpers.

    Tom is, after all, also helping franchisees sell their clubs. He also has left the McCord fold to become a competitor, I’d assume. And I’d imagine that he knows all the tricks and secrets – like whether the original owner really still carries liability if the new owner defaults, whether it’s true owners can’t sell their equipment, and whether they come after you if you close without paying your $10K failure fee.

    Of course my BS detector goes into the red when he makes statements like he can afford to work for free, that he’s never met an successful business person who’s unhappy, or that a benefit of owning a Curves franchise is control of your own destiny (!).

    Keep in mind, that’s rhetoric is required to maintain one’s broker’s license.

    To his credit, he also gives some good advice:

    “…if you are considering buying a franchise of ANY KIND that they should call at least 3 franchisees and ask them about their experience.”

    I’d suggest a lot more than three, but it’s a start.

    “Simply buying a franchise does not guarantee success.”

    Not by a longshot.

    “They have sold to markets with too small populations, encouraged owners to split territories that should not have been split, they didn’t assist with lease negotiation with their new franchisees like they should have. They grew so fast that they our grew their corporate infrastructure back in 2003-2005.”

    Of course this is followed by the fact that they fixed all of that…

    “If anyone is considering buying a Curves I advise them not to listen to you or me. Call a Curves owner and speak to an owner. That is what I advise buyers to do.”


  • Tom Garmon


    Thanks for something intelligent to add to this thread. In response to me working for McCord Business Brokers, I did. I resigned there in March. I had a difference of opinion with John and started my own firm. I spent years as a consultant for health clubs and believed that I had more to offer on my own. Plus I was overworked, underpaid and under appreciated. The people there don’t get paid what they are worth. I have a couple people that work with me. One is a current franchisor and another just sold the last of her 6 locations. They both workout at Curves and love the franchise.

    I keep a manageable level of listings so I can be effective. Additionally I am not endorsed by Curves and there is no potential conflict of interest for my clients. I could sell any businesses I choose. I choose to sell Curves. I am very sorry that some people here have had bad experiences with Curves. There are over 11,000 franchises in 61 countries and you can’t please everyone.

    I would never sell something that I don’t believe in and for people to sit here attempting to impugn my integrity because of how I choose to make a living is uncalled for. Let me say this. I sell viable businesses. I do not sell distressed locations. I see Curves that are making 50k, 75k 100k + all the time. Just because a business is for sale doesn’t mean it is failing. This is an uneducated viewpoint. I also see clubs that aren’t making money and even losing money. I try to consult with these less fortunate owners and offer advice where it will help them. Like I said, I have been involved in women’s fitness since 1991. I have worked with women’s shelters, seen women come in my clubs with black eyes, no self esteem, etc. I can relate to many owners. I want to help them and I don’t want to take advantage of anyone in the process.

    I have people that come to me whose records are a mess. They don’t even know what their revenue or payroll are. It’s no wonder some people are losing their shirts. Some people have no business being in business. Curves has made some mistakes. Some are outlined below. These are my opinions.

    I say to anyone that is considering buying a Curves, call and speak to real owners in that area. Ask them what they think. My first sale was to a lady in the Miami area. She decided not to purchase a location because she was scared she would get support from Curves. 2 weeks later she called me back and bought the location. I asked her what changed her mind. She told me she called 3 Curves owners and talked to them and they sold her! Kim Miller is her name. Other people could have different experiences. I know that now they have resale support specialists that work with up to 9 resales over a 6 week period giving them daily support. They didn’t have this a year ago. Curves is striving to become better and better. Could they improve more ABSOLUTELY, but to hear people demonize them is not consistent with what I hear day in and day out from current owners. IF the comments here were consistent with what I was hearing I’d be selling other businesses.

    Unhappy wrote
    “His dismissal of the hundreds of owners who have filed group action lawsuits supports are position and belief that he is a shill for Gary heavin. by him claiming that we are cowards for not using are names while he does gives us further thoughts on his real intentions. ”

    I do not know Gary Heavin. I speak for myself based on my experience. People like you are in the vast minority. I am not discounting you particular experience. I know you are hurt. That is obvious. I only wish you well. I hate that anyone had to experience what you did, but you are in the minority. It is obvious that you are seeking retribution in this blog and this gives you an avenue to vent. I respect that. I mean you no disrespect. Can’t you just agree that we have different experiences and opinions and not make personal attacks? Let’s behave like adults. The way you carry yourself makes me wonder whether or not you are in fact your own worst enemy.

    With that being said, I’d like to comment on what the original thread was asking.

    In reading the original post it mentioned that 8% of the franchises are for sale.

    I’d like to comment on that. 1 in 5 businesses are for sale at any given time in America at any given time, and 1 in four of those sell in a given year. The average health club owner last on average 4.5 to 5.5 years as an owner. This is keeping up the with the US average of businesses for sale about 12% of Curves are on the market at any given time. It ranges from 8% to 15%. This is below the national average.

    The other question originally posted is Curves a good investment. This all depends on several factors. If someone has money that they want to invest and not be active in the day to day of the business Curves (or any health club) is not a good investment. Go buy a convenience store or real estate. If you have a passion for fitness and want to be actively involved in the business and like PR and marketing then it is worth considering a fitness franchise.

    Many people want to know why some Curves are failing. I have reviewed over 300 Curves franchises and I can tell you what the main reasons are.

    (1) Multiple club owner or absentee owner dealing with employee turnover, resulting in improperly trained staff. Many original franchisees opened a location and say their 60k investment swell to over 600 members creating windfall profits. As a result they purchased re locations. This changes the dynamic of the business dramatically. They went from managing members to managing employees. Logistically they were miles apart. Compounding this issue is the nature of the fitness business itself. You see, the first 2 years in a health club’s operations are gravy. You focus on new members and your revenues climb. After the 18 to 24 month mark you start to see attrition beginning to exceed enrollments. As a result year three can be very challenging. If the owner has neglected promoting active membership over sales they are faced with a problem that is much harder to fix and takes longer to correct. Getting new members in the door is not as hard of a problem to correct as stopping members from canceling. Once a health clubs sees year 5 the distribution of the membership terms is more spread out and you don’t see some many months where you have heavy cancellations. As a result cash flow becomes more stable. Growth is easier to achieve in year 5 than year 3. So what many owners did was to get greedy and buy too many locations. I also feel that Curves was to blame n not managing growth better and limit the amount of locations that an owner could have. Curves obviously viewed it as part of the “get there first” strategy, beating competitors to the market. We could debate all day long what as ultimately better in the long run for the franchise as a whole.

    (2) Too small of a territory population. This is another main reason why some clubs have failed. One contributing factor of this was some of the sales reps pushed franchisees to split territories in order to earn more commissions. When this happened a club that had 500 members split its membership to cover overhead in the new location. Hence, 150 members of pure profit (approx $50,000) went to cover overhead in a new location. This happened in FL quite a bit. Now Curves is merging together many territories where locations have closed, strengthening the remaining franchisees. This is the basis for the lawsuits in FL, CA, and NY. Additionally Curves used to sell populations with as little as 6k people. They no longer do this. From what I understand 12k people is the limit. Personally I think 20k people is a good viable territory size.

    (3) Excessive rents is the third main reason many clubs have closed. This is a big problem is FL where leases didn’t have caps on triple nets. Club owners were being hit with excessive insurance bills from landlords. Also, many owners located in these Publix shopping centers where rents were $3300 + per month. Optimally rents need to be at 20 -25% of revenue. Many owners found themselves working for their landlords. In my opinion, Curves should have reviewed ever single lease like Snap Fitness does.

    Can we blame the franchisor for some of these issues? Sure, we can point blame there. From what I am hearing many of these issues are resolved. They still do not get involved in leases though.

    When a franchise grows as fast as Curves did (the fast growing franchise in World history) there are bound to be growing pains and issues. The problem is that at the rate of growth they were having, these issues aren’t manifested until 1-2 years later and by that time you have sold thousands of franchise locations.

    Many people don’t know that Gary Heavin invented the hydraulic Circuit. He was the original patent holder and sold it to the Henley Corporation. They then formed the PACE (progressive aerobic circuit exercise) division and marketed it to re hab facilities. The health club I worked at in Oxford, MS while I was in school there had a PACE circuit. I remember the Ole Miss football team coming in and the coach had those guys vomiting in garbage cans. Hydraulics are excellent way to burn calories and get a basic resistance exercise. The problem is that you only get out what you put in and when people stop moving vigorously the resistance fades and the results are not there. Many members of Curves would attend and chat and not do the workout properly. Many Curves didn’t have trainers in the circuit to push the members to do the workout properly. Now Curves has Curves Smart, which is a very good solution to that problem. There is a video on you tube here

  • Tom Garmon

    To Melissa and Unhappy

    Please [click my name] for some testimonials of people I have sold for and sold to.

    If you know Curves owners that want to sell please ask them to call me. I will help them in any way I can.

    [Site policy on commercial links:

  • unhappy


  • Tom Garmon


    I feel so sorry for you. Your anger has consumed you and you are the only one suffering. Perhaps you can seek counseling or anger management to help you through this difficult time.

    I don’t know your circumstances of what exactly happend to make you so hateful, but I truly hope you are able to recover and find happiness once again. Life is too short to be so full of hate. Sometimes you have to let the hate go or it will eat you alive, affect your health, and soon no one will want to be around you and you will find yourself isolated in your own anger.

    Very Best Regards,

    Tom Garmon

  • Tom Garmon

    Olivia Newton-John Partners with Curves to Distribute the Liv(R) Breast Self-Exam Aid to 1 Million Women
    A Breast Cancer Awareness Initiative to Empower and Encourage Women to Self Exam in October 2008

    Four-time Grammy winner Olivia Newton-John announces today a partnership with Curves, the world’s largest fitness franchise for women to launch an international campaign to distribute 1 million units of the Liv(R) Aid, a breast self-exam aid that assists women to exercise breast self-exams correctly. The initiative’s goal is to empower and encourage women to take control of their bodies and breast health by launching a “first-of-its-kind” campaign beginning in October 2008, as part of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” available exclusively through Curves.
    Newton-John credits her own breast self-exam as the first step to her eventual diagnosis of breast cancer. Now, 16 years later she has become a passionate advocate in creating awareness for early detection and encouraging women to take a more active role in their breast health. “That I am fine today and stronger than before, I credit to early detection,” says Newton-John.
    Breast self-examination is an important step a woman can do herself as part of a regular breast health routine. “Clearly, a significant number of breast cancers are found by the patient herself, even in the setting of a normal mammogram,” says renowned breast cancer surgeon, Ernie Bodai, M.D., F.A.C.S. “The Liv Aid greatly enhances a woman’s ability in detecting an abnormality…which in many cases will lead to early detection and a better chance for a cure.”
    “Being a breast cancer ‘thriver,’ I know that early detection is key to good breast health,” says Newton-John, whose cancer was diagnosed in 1992 and who is now cancer-free. “My wish is that all women age 20 and above perform monthly breast self-examinations. With the wonderful support of Curves, an organization whose mission statement is ‘strengthening women,’ I hope that this campaign will be the beginning to have the Liv Aid available to every woman in the U.S. and it will become a staple in every medicine cabinet in the next five years.”
    Following a partnership with Olivia Newton-John’s Great Walk To Beijing, a 142-mile journey along the Great Wall of China in April 2008 which raised more than $2 million for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre Appeal, Curves is passionate about making the Liv Aid available to all women. Considering that numerous studies show a lower percentage of cancer diagnosis in women who maintain a healthy body weight and practice regular fitness programs, Curves is the ideal partner to successfully get the Liv Aid into the hands of 1 million women in October.
    Curves founder Diane Heavin joined Newton-John for the entire three-week journey on the Great Wall of China, and Curves alone raised more than $1 million for the cause. They will continue their efforts in the fight against cancer (the company’s #1 cause marketing effort) with the support of the Liv Aid.
    “No other cause has united the Curves community like the fight against cancer — and specifically, breast cancer,” said Diane Heavin. “When I heard that Olivia was behind this amazing early detection tool, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one. After I used it myself, I couldn’t wait to get the Liv Aid into the hands of a million women.”
    Beginning in October 2008, every woman will have an opportunity to get a free Liv Aid at their local participating Curves. Non-members can get one when they experience the new CurvesSmart personal coaching system. Current members can get one when they show proof of a mammogram within the last 12 months. Women should check with their local Curves for other ways to get free or discounted Liv Aids. National advertising for the campaign begins in late September. The goal is to distribute 1 million Liv Aids to women through October.
    To coincide with the Liv Aid campaign in October, the website will be launched as a one-stop source for information, news and education about breast health and early detection. Newton-John and Curves want to inspire women to actively integrate breast health into their daily lives and make it a part of their monthly routine. It is time to LIV.
    About the Liv Aid
    For more information visit

  • Tom Garmon

    Baylor loses Curves research program, relocates to A&M
    Sept. 5, 2008
    By Ashley Corinne Killough
    Staff Writer

    Curves, Inc. terminated funding for its high-profile research program at Baylor on Sept. 1, while transitioning to Texas A&M University in August under the leadership of Dr. Richard Kreider, the program’s principle investigator.

    Kreider served two consecutive three-year terms as chair of the department of health, human performance and recreation in the School of Education, where he led the Baylor Exercise and Sport Nutrition Laboratory.

    He announced late last spring that he had accepted the position as the chair of the department of health and kinesiology at Texas A&M University , where he would be continuing research funded by Curves.

    Kreider cited administrative changes within the School of Education as one of his reasons for moving.

    “I wanted to continue developing top-level programs and didn’t think Baylor was going to get there with that leadership,” Kreider said in a phone interview.

    Kreider said he was also attracted to the opportunities that Texas A&M University offered.

    “There’s more resources, potential and better collaboration here at A&M,” Kreider said. “I came to Baylor to help develop a world-class research program, which we did. We made many accomplishments, and we were able to get a lot of funding. We did everything we were asked to do and are proud of that.”

    Dr. Jon Engelhardt, dean of the School of Education, said he understood that Kreider’s disagreement was within the HHPR department and not with the school’s administration.

    “There’s a lot of side issues, but the bottom line is that Dr. Kreider decided to leave Baylor and went to another university,” Engelhardt said. “We certainly wanted for him to stay here.”

    Engelhardt said that from his understanding, Kreider left on good terms with the administration.

    “We were not happy to see it end, but we understood that it was his choice to leave,” Engelhardt said.

    In 2004, Curves awarded Kreider and his staff in the ESNL a $6 million grant to conduct diet and exercise research related to Curves fitness programs.

    The funding provided for a number of health studies, including tests on the impact of high-protein and high-carbohydrate diets, calcium supplementation in post-menopausal women and the effects of crash dieting on metabolism for women.

    Curves also worked with the engineering and computer science departments on the design and mechanics of its hydraulic fitness machines.

    While Baylor will maintain the ESNL, the Curves research and funding will follow Kreider to Texas A&M University, where he will recreate his own lab.

    The first phase of the move was completed in August when Kreider and his team restarted some of the clinical trials. The second phase will finish in December, after ongoing clinical trials at Baylor’s ESNL are completed.

    “We’re still finishing up a little bit of Curves research at Baylor,” Kreider said. “But we’ve done studies before that have multi-sites, and we’ll keep in touch with personnel through videoconferencing.”

    Kreider said the remaining research at Baylor also includes the completion of a $420,000 grant by General Mills to test the impact of Curves brand cereals on weight loss.

    Dr. Rafer Lutz , assistant professor of health, human performance and recreation, will fill Kreider’s position as interim chair of the department.

    “Dr. Kreider is a very prolific researcher,” Lutz said. “We will miss him and his research very much. He was a strong advocate for his department.”

  • Susie Q

    Tommy boy–Blah blah blah blah. Next!!!!

  • Tom Garmon

    Here is one Unhappy will like. I am sure she is sorry someone wasn’t hurt.

    SAN ANTONIO — A group of women exercising on midday Friday got their adrenaline pumping as a car crashed into the fitness center in which they were working out.

    Witnesses said a woman in her 70s appeared to lose control of her vehicle and crashed into the Curves fitness center in a shopping center located on Walzem Road about 11 a.m. Nobody was injured in the crash, but it did scare some of those exercising.

    “She said when she pulled in, she felt like she lost control and it kept going,” Curves manager Laura Donohue said. “So you know, possibly a gas pedal got stuck, brakes quit working, maybe she thought she hit the brake and she hit the gas; I really couldn’t say.”

    The driver told police and the store manager that she was not sure how the crash happened.

  • Jose

    Thanks Tom for all of your comments. You make your self very transparent in your comments on this blog. As Sean has mentioned you have some good and some bad advice. This tells me you are a good salesman, on the fence not to offend anyone. As for me, i say it like it is and have so since I began on this blog in 2007. Reading all comments before making a judgement. I consider this blog a Wealth of experience for those looking to buy any fitness franchise. It gets you aware of what to look for rather than walk into it ignorantly. Thank You
    ZELLA for considering Sean and my comments to be very to the point and fair. As I pointed out long time ago I am an experienced business Franchisor who no longer franchises because of the corrupt nature of salesman and franchises like Curves who deceive people but making everything seem easy. If it were easy everyone would do it. That is why Curves sold so quickly and that is why it is failing now. Not everyone has the fortitude, money to expertise to run a business. To expect the franchisor to hold your hand and MAKE you successful is exactly why peopl and conviced to buy a franchise rather than open there own company. I have found it more profitable to own several clubs of my own and operate them rather than franchise to those who pay very little in royalties and then complain like babies when the money does not come rolling into there hands. Money does not come to you. YOU MUST GO OUT AND GET THE MONEY. WORK WORK AND MORE WORK. SAVE SAVE AND SAVE. This is how to build wealth. If you have done thins and failed then hats off to you, you have done your best. But do not continue operating a franchise if your hands are tied by the franchisor. Explain document and then vacate if you must to save your savings. Most franchisors want you to be successful but when franchises grow to quickly it is impossible to keep up with demand therefor the frachisor then coasts and figures everything must be great, I am selling franchises. Lots of money can drive a frachisor to forget why he started the business and focus on his own needs. He turns his company over to firms that run it into the ground at the franchisees. expense. What the heck the franchisor is rich and figures his kids will be taken care of for the rest of there life. I am sure Gary havin is not worried about paying his multimilliom dollar morgage or Jet payment. He is rolling in more money than he will ever be able to use. He has become God is his own site and the franchisees and just winers. It is a sad day when people refuse to listen and continue to promote companies that do this, but they do. This blog should enlighten each person to look out for your family and yourself , remember No one cares but you, your kids, spouse and family.
    one time I met a women who owned Curves. She was proud smug and not very humble when she was doing well. She duplicated Gary Havins attitude in her personality, now she is eating humble pie and i am and lost several franchises, i was humble and I am doing great and have open another Club. Do not let pride stop you from being yourself. Thank and greet everyone when you are doing well and when you fail. either way you can be happy in the end.
    God Bless

  • Susie Q

    Tommy boy- why would u assume unhappy would be sorry if someone wasn’t hurt in that accident. I think unhappy is on this blog trying to keep people from being hurt (financially and emotionally) by Curves unethical practices, unlike u trying to SELL yourself some business!!! Another thing- u are way too long-winded and u are making me sick.

  • sean

    If you read this post and the comments on Unhappy Franchisee, you might have a better idea of where these franchisees are coming from:

    In addition to Robert Lay’s story, another long-time franchisee posted a pretty compelling story. There are literally hundreds of franchisees who have sued, are in the process of suing or are looking in to suing Curves International.

    I don’t see how you would make the claim unhappy would be interested in seeing people get hurt.

    To the contrary, the unhappy franchisees are trying to keep others from getting hurt.

  • Tom Garmon


    One thing I try to live by is respect others and try to be diplomatic in the process.
    As you ay you like to say it like it is, but one can get a point across without attacking other people. I have read this entire thread and there are many times where you say things that just are not accurate. In reading these posts, it is hard not to question whether you truly believe what you are writing or you are merely pumping inaccuracies to attempt to drive you point / agenda home.

    I see where you have never owned a Curves franchise. You did some research and chose not to buy one. Then you say you are an experienced franchisor who failed because of crooked salespeople under your leadership. Yet, the way to present yourself, it is as you are the be all know all of Curves. Might I ask what the name of your Franchise was? I am very interested in hearing more of your experience with these corrupt salesmen. I don’t know you and certainly am not trying to pass judgment, but it does sound like you are putting your failures off on “corrupt salespersons”. Who hired these salespersons? Who trained them? Who supervised them? Leadership begins at the top. Things just don’t add up here. For anyone to take you seriously and value your opinion as an “expert” I would think they would like to know a little more about you, your failed franchise, why it failed (specifically) what you are doing now.

    You Wrote:
    As Sean has mentioned you have some good and some bad advice.

    I would like to know what bad advice I am giving. I am open to enlightenment. Other than being Satan for selling Curves is there anything else?

    You Wrote:
    I have found it more profitable to own several clubs of my own and operate them rather than franchise to those who pay very little in royalties and then complain like babies when the money does not come rolling into there hands. Money does not come to you. YOU MUST GO OUT AND GET THE MONEY. WORK WORK AND MORE WORK. SAVE SAVE AND SAVE

    It sounds to me that you might be describing a few people here complaining about Curves. People talk about how Curves did nothing for them. What years did they own their franchises? Was this in 2002, 2003, 2004? Is it still relevant today?
    What about now and national advertising and the tens of major corporate partnerships, wellcare participants. Curves goes to insurance conventions, medical conventions, sends millions of dollars on fitness studies to promote the success of their workout, is partnered with the AARP, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, P&G, General Mills, this list goes on and on.
    There are people that buy franchises and expect the ZOR to make them money. It doesn’t work like that. People are misguided that believe this. ZOR should give you tools, economies of scale, brand recognition, and training. Just because you buy a Curves doesn’t mean members will be lining up to join. People who buy a franchise should talk to other franchisees.

    People here say Curves did nothing for them at the time they owned them. Did they do DUE DILIGENCE and get feedback from other ZEES? If they didn’t is that the ZOR’s fault? If I were to buy a franchise I’d be doing my homework. I would rely on a franchise salesperson to look out for my best interest. I’d be doing that. Sometimes people just can’t take any responsibility for their mistakes. That includes the ZOR as well. Would I sell some jerk a franchise in a service business if I was a ZOR? Heck no. I see many franchisors in their quest to obtain market dominance turn the other cheek to capture market share. Is it any surprise when they fail? There can be 20 different reasons a business fails, there is blame that can go around for all parties.

    Tom has 7 years experience in owning multiple women’s fitness centers from 1993-2000, selling both for profit. He has over 11 years in the fitness industry and has consulted with numerous health club owners since 1993, assisting them in everything from opening clubs and training sales staff to getting their clubs ready to sell. In 2000 he invested in a manufacturing company, serving as managing partner, building overseas supply lines, reducing cost, and increasing profits. In late 2006 he began working with a national business brokerage firm and became the top producing broker, before resigning in 2008. He is an active member of the International Business Brokers Association.

    Tom started, managed and eventually sold each of his businesses, lending tremendous insight to his role as a business broker. Understanding the buying and selling process not only as a broker, but also from the client’s perspective, provides tremendous insight in the buying and selling process. Tom has sold close to 30 Curves locations in 11 states, giving Tom a unique advantage over other brokers with regard to selling Curves Franchises.

    A native of Mississippi, Tom graduated from the University of Mississippi, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, 3 years of which were in the Patterson School of Accountancy. He served as an Ambassador for the University of Mississippi from 1991-1993. He is currently completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance with an emphasis in Real Estate from the University of Southern Mississippi and holds a real estate license and has over 200 hours in appraisal, related real estate, and related investment finance courses. Tom is proficient in database technologies and has consulted with not only health clubs, but manufacturing companies looking to streamline their information technologies. He has recently designed, managed, and completed a cutting edge database application for a national brokerage firm managing tens of millions of dollars in listings.

    Also the above statement shows that you tried and failed at franchising. Heck, I have failed at previous business attempts too. Failures make us stronger and wiser. You obviously have the true spirit of an entrepreneur.

    You wrote:
    I am sure Gary havin is not worried about paying his multimilliom dollar morgage or Jet payment.

    Curves is a debt free organization. He owns his jets outright.

    You Wrote:
    I am doing great and have open another Club

    What is the name of your club(s)?

    Jose, there is much more to you that you are not telling about yourself. This is obvious to anyone here reading this thread. Anyone reading this should know by now that this blog
    has an agenda and one agenda only, smear Curves. I have contacted several buyers of Curves who are very happy and asked them to post on the Robert Lay thread and none of their post have been made viewable to the general public. What does that say? AGENDA
    Additionally, I am the ONLY person on this thread that has disclosed their true identity. What does this say to readers here? Everybody here has a professional opinion, but the only one here the readers can see their credentials is me.

    What is your educational background? Do you have a bachelor’s degree? Masters degree? The reason that I ask this is that for you to call Curves a failing franchise is, in my opinion a myopic observation. Corporations go through life cycles. They have their ups and downs. Look at McDonald’s recently. U.S. Sales were down and they turned that around. If the organization can’t adapt to a changing market they are in fact doomed. Judging that Curves is failing because 7% of the North American franchsies closed is not indicative of a failing concept. Is Starbucks going to fail? They are closing 600 locations. They overgrew at a time that we are hit with a down economy. They will redefine and bounce back. Only difference they are corporate owned and not franchised. Now might be a good time to look into buying their stock, BTW.

    When I look at Curves from an analytical standpoint I see a company that is growing globally, strengthening their brand through joint ventures and corporate cross promotion, restructuring at the corporate resale level to give better support to resales and currently not selling any new franchise locations, merging territories together, and incorporating
    innovative technologies (Curves Smart)
    Yes it was developed by MyTrak, but Curves purchased exclusive rights to the technology for their franchisees. I believe that cost $5,000,000 if I am not mistaken.
    The brand has more recognition than it did 2 years ago. Of course there were mistakes along the way. How could there not be?

    Jose said that franchisees were misled into think that Curves was an easy franchise to operate. Curves is an easy concept that requires hard work. I do believe that many people that bought Curves were not aware of the amount of marketing it takes for successful guest production. I have to agree to a degree with Jose on this point. There should use a personality profile that every Curves buyer takes before being approved. These types of businesses take a certain personality type to be successful. Not everyone is cut out for this type of business. I DO NOT mean that in any derogatory way. The difference between a good doctor and a great doctor is the bedside manner. This is the best analogy I can think of.

    I listed a Curves in north FL. It was breaking even. Barely. Rent was reasonable and I felt it was sellable. I had 5 calls in the first week and it sold in 12 days. Every person that I spoke to that was a member all said the same thing. They couldn’t stand the owner. They said her attitude was terrible, that she always talked about her problems, and that they didn’t come in there to hear about her issues. When the new owner took over I called her a month later to see how things were going. She said that close to 20 members came back who were attending another Curves 8 miles away. They had all left because of the current owner.

    This business can be tough for many people. You are celebrating on Monday because you enrolled 6 people and on Thursday you lose 5 members or even 7! It can be hard for some people to continue to stay positive in this environment. I did it for 10 years. I loved helping people. I get as excited when a member would lose weight and come in with a new lease on life. Part of what it takes to be successful is a PASSION for fitness and helping people achieve their goals. I want to stress that this will not lead to success alone. I don’t want my words being taken out of context. You can’t teach this stuff. Either you have it or you don’t. If you don’t have this the nature of attrition will wear you down. Fitness centers need to be owner operators or involved owners that are leaders, very positive people that can take rejection and move on to the next day. I am not trying to say that people here lacked those qualities, but usually people with those qualities don’t dwell in such a negative state of mind.

    Jose said it best
    I have found it more profitable to own several clubs of my own and operate them rather than franchise to those who pay very little in royalties and then complain like babies when the money does not come rolling into there hands. Money does not come to you. YOU MUST GO OUT AND GET THE MONEY. WORK WORK AND MORE WORK. SAVE SAVE AND SAVE

    Jose, that is the smartest and most accurate thing I have read you type yet. I agree 100%.

    Susie Q doesn’t like my long winded post, well don’t read them. The words might be too big for you anyway. I am here to stay. This forum needs some balance and truth from another perspective, and I plan to offer it. You bitter people can call me Tommy Bow or whatever you like. I get a good laugh out of the immaturity. At times reading some of the post here I feel like I am back in grade school. I am sure many readers do as well. It just hurts your credibility when you cannot communicate intelligently. People might draw conclusions of why your locations failed if the most intelligent thing you can come up with is “Tommy Boy” and “blah, blah, blah, next”.

    There is no substance to many of the post. It boils down to “I hate Curves and you should too.” “My business failed and it’s all Curves Fault” “My franchise failed because of the crooked salespersons I hired, trained, and supervised”, “Salespeople are the Devil.”

    Give me a break. Don’t you people realize that intelligent people can see through this garbage?

    Okay, let’s see who comes up with an intelligent, well worded response with some facts.

    Tommy Boy
    Blah, blah, blah…NEXT

  • Tom Garmon


    I read the post about Mr. Lay. I also sent out emails to previous buyers I know and ZEES. One emailed me last night to say she posted about her success story. It never made it on the blog. How do you explain this?

  • unhappy

    Tommy boy you just don’t get it. You sound just like Howard heaven and you are wasting your time. No futher responces will be made concerning your idiotic posts as you don’t tell the truth you just mouth off with lies after lies. You have never owned a curves franchise you just rip people off by selling them. You really are nothing but a snake saleman who doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. The group lawsuits against curves are growing every day with over 200+ already filed. Twice that are in the pipe line and will be filed shortly. I’m sure your upset as it will ruin your brokage business but that won’t be anything new to you as you have failed many times before. For you to even question Sean about cencering posts tells us more about you than you have the capipilities of understanding. You are the one that sounds like you needs a psychological evaluation as you can’t stand the truth about what is happening to Curves. What happened tommy boy you lose a sale because of this site? Your going to lose a lot more once we make 60 minutes. To all the other Curves owners who post on this site con’t let tommy boy get to you. You all have been there and know what the truth is about curves. The best way to handle this is to just ignore his posts and let him act like a fart and blow in the wind.

  • Tom Garmon


    Spoken like a true class act. at you don’t get is that I can sell any businesses I like. I can sell coffee shops, gas stations, etc. A business broker has the freedom to sell whatever business he wants to. So, don’t worry about me I’ll be fine. Please be specific to the lies. List them. Problem is you can’t. You have nothing intelligent to offer.

    Tommy Boy

  • sean

    Tom Garman wrote: One emailed me last night to say she posted about her success story. It never made it on the blog. How do you explain this?

    Tom: Have her check her inbox and Spam folder for a confirmation email that she may have neglected to respond to. She may not have confirmed her registration. It doesn’t have to be a real name, but must be a valid email address (not publicly visible).

    If she has any further problems she can email it to me at unhappyfranchisee[at] and I’ll see that its posted.

    As I explained to you, I don’t delete or censor posts unless they contain physical threats, personal contact info or are ads/spam.


  • sean

    Argumentum ad hominem where you attack the arguer rather than the argument he/she is making, is the surest way to kill a productive discussion. It’s also a way for people with agendas and weak arguments to sabotage important information exchanges by turning them into insultfests. Let’s not let it happen here.

    Obviously, a conversation that includes both unhappy franchisees who feel swindled and a man who sells that franchise for a living is potentially volatile. The truth is that there are successful Curves franchisees and there are unsuccessful franchisees who were sold a bill of goods and treated in a way contrary to the Curves marketing pitch. Let’s discuss and debate specifics rather than waste all of our time with meaningless personal attacks against anonymous foes.
    WHY BOTHER? Google “Curves franchise” This thread comes up 5th at present. That means a lot of people are looking to each of your experiences to help them guide the biggest financial decision they’ve ever made.

  • positive-healthy

    Hello Tom Garmon,
    I have been watching with interest your comments on this blog and I am trying to get accurate information. I am a current franchise owner who wants to sell. My Curves franchise is in a community of just under 7000 people.

    My question is this – From your experience as a broker selling Curves franchises, do you think that Curves would even approve a resale for me since my population is under 7000 people? You said in an earlier message that you believe that Curves International is no longer selling franchises in communities with under 12,000 people. I still have 21 months left on my 5 year agreement and my business is losing money every month now.

    I now believe that from what I have learned from my personal experience, and which seems to be substantiated on this blog, that Curves International should not have allowed the first owner to open the Curves in this town back in 2003 in the first place with such a small population. While there is a definite niche for my Curves business, there just are not enough women in the town to sustain my business.

    Could you answer my question please.

    Thank you, Tom.

  • positive-healthy

    To Robert Lay, Sean – or Anyone Else Who Might Know the Answer

    Is it possible to sell your Curves franchise and also participate in the group lawsuit – OR – does a club have to be closed in order to sue Curves International?

    Thank you.

  • Tom Garmon


    If you participate in a lawsuit and want to sell your club, you will need to dislcose to the buyer that you are involved in a lawsuit. If you sell your club from what I have been reading you are not eligable for the lawsuit.

    There are some clubs in 6000k populations that have as many as 180 members. Some as low as 80. Generally it falls between 2 and 6 percent of the female population base as a general rule (not taking age into account) The more rural the area, generally the higher the membership as a percent of population.

    Very rarely am I able to sell Curves in low populations. I am listing a location in CA that has 180 members and has a stable membership for 4 years with rent at $600.00 per month. The owner lives 45 minutes away. This club is marketable in my opinion.

    I would be happy to talk with you just give me a call. Click on my name to contact me. If you are losing money and with such a low population I do not think I could list it at present simply becasue I don’t think I could be effective.

  • Tom Garmon

    I forgot to mention in the above post that the population is around 6000 in the CA location, much like yours.

  • positive-healthy

    Tom, Thank you for your response to my email. I am still wondering though if, from your knowledge and experience with selling Curves clubs, Curves International would now approve a resale in communities with such low populations. If not, do they just make a paltry offer to the current owner and then close the club?

    Thank you again for any insight you can give.

  • Robert Lay

    Positive- healthy,
    I am sorry to hear about your problems with Curves and I certainly understand your dilemma. You are right, Curves should not have sold that territory in the first place and it is unfortunate that you got evolved with it. But with that said it should also be noted that of course Curves will transfer your franchise to any buyer and if you do happen to close they will put your area up for sale with in six months. Contrary to what others have stated on this blog Curves has done this in the past, is doing it now and most certainly will continue to do it in the future. I have personally talked to many owners who have been sold franchise territories with less than 3000 in population that had no chance to succeed from the start.

    You do not have to close your club to become a litigant in the group action lawsuit. Many of our litigants including myself continue to operate our clubs and are hopping that the lawsuit will effectively change Curves International policies and management personnel. While you can still join the group lawsuit if you sell you club you do need to contact the lawyers involved before you go to closing as Curves International is trying to force owners who sell to sign a waver releasing them from any financial responsibility. The lawyers can explain to you all the legal steps you have to go through in order to get this accomplished. I can assure you Curves International will at first refuse to transfer your franchise agreement to the new buyers without you signing that release causing most buyers to become hesitant in completing the sale. This has happened in several cases that I am aware of but the upside is that it will amount to more monetary damages you will be entitled to upon the settlement of the case.

    Taking into consideration that your club is losing money each month and the size of your territory you may have a very hard time selling your club. If you feel that you want to list your club with an ethical brokerage firm please send an e-mail to in care of Sean Kelly and he will forward it to me and I will put you in touch with one. If you are considering the group lawsuit but need more information before making your decision you can also contact me through Sean Kelly and I will forward all the info asap. Robert Lay

  • Tom Garmon

    Mr. Lay,

    In 2007 Curves opened 7 new outlets. That is on the FDD. Given that they closed many more than that, it is hardly resellign them in 6 months. I have worked with several franchisees to have their territories enlarged by absorbing neighboring territories that have had locations close.

    In my opinion any brokerage firm that knowingly list a location in a population that is unsustainable is unethical. This is why I am unable to list this location. There are plenty of brokers that would list this location with a 10k minimum, pump it to an unsuspecting buyer, and sell it for enough to make their commission. I am not one of them. Ethically I couldn’t list it. I would have to be able to get behind it and know that it is a feasible location. I’d be shocked i Mr. Lay has an “ethical” broker that can get behind this club and sell it with integrity. I don’t need a commission that badly.

    In order to sell this location a broker would have to misrepresent the potential for growth to put some “pie in the sky”. Mr. Lay knows someone that can help you get it listed, but I strongly advise to to beware of buyer’s remorse and possible litigation after the fact. My advise to you would be to dig in and try to get it to a breakeven point and give me a call. I won’t lsit it, but I will tell you how you can sell it and who to market it to, and I will do this free of charge, but you need to be breaking even to make it work. You might get anywhere from 19k-29k for it. If you need some help raising membership I will be happy to consult with you for free. I have been a health club consultant for a number of years and this is my background. I do not expect to get paid. I am happy to help.

    Positive-Healthy, I am not sure what Curves would do on your re-sale. I have never sold a club that is in your position. In order for your club to be marketable you would need to demonstrate that it can turn a profit. I have seen clubs in 6k populations that make money and others that don’t. Most do not in that low of a population base.

    If you found a buyer Curves would likely look at the buyers income needs and liquidity to determine if they can keep the location open. I double that they would allow the transfer to someone that couldn’t cash flow it. They couldn’t deny a transfer to a qualified buyer.

  • Tom Garmon

    One more thought, In order for a broker to be effective AND ETHICAL, they need to believe in what they are selling. I truly believe in Curves as a brand and a franchise. I respect that others here have different opinions, but I find it amusing that Mr. Lay knows someone that has a true belief in Curves. Anyone that Mr. Lay speaks with will undoubtly have a negative opnion of Curves and have a would be unethical selling somethign that they believe is a flawed brand. You might as well get Mr. Lay to sell your club.

  • Robert Lay

    I have neither the time nor desire to get into a pissing match with Tom but it should be noted that he obviously wants to trash any person on this board that either disagrees with him or questions his “expertise” on Curves from his past posts. My post was directed and solicited by you so of course I felt obligated to answer you with truthful responses. Again if you decide to sell you club be sure to find an ethical breakage with moral character and integrity. It doesn’t appear that you will find that here so if you need help or have any questions you know how to get a hold of me.

  • Tom Garmon

    Mr. Lay,

    I have no desire to trash anyone here. I have no problem pointing out inconsistencys and hypocracy. I am happy to debate the facts in an intelligent and articulate manner. You are calling into question my moral and ethical character. How dare you sir!

    I am offering my time to this franchisee free of charge. What part of that did you miss. You hate Curves and you want to refer her to a broker that is “ethical” who can sell her club. Anyone reading this can see the hypocracy here. You don’t like getting called out out it and what do you do? You attack my character. This is the oldest trick in the book. When the fadcts don’t back up what you are claiming change the facts and attack the character of your opponent.

    I have no problem backing my words up with facts. I challenge you to disprove anything I have said here with facts of your own. Curves had a moratorium of new sales for the st half of 2007 in order to evaluate the market and territories. They sold 7 territories in 2007. That’s a far cry from your claim that if a club closed it would be resold within 6 months. You make claims with no proof and this only discredits what you are saying as a whole.

    Regardless oif what you think I care about Curves owners. I have a kindredness with health club owners in general. Most of my life has been involved in the health club industry. I ahve consulted for many buyers and advised them not to purchase certain locations. I tell them what to expect, and give them a wealth of information. I ahve helped to save buyers from amking the biggest mistakes of their lives and have helped them to make very successful purchases. My mission is to be fair, honest, and ethical with all parties. That is my agenda. Let’s sum it up:

    You have Curves
    You are suing Curves
    You don’t think anyone should buy a Curves
    You have an ethical broker that will help this lady sell her Curves

    Give me a break. Don’t you think readers here can see through you?

  • Jose

    Everyone Please look at the list of Curves owned by the Franchisor. Zip Notta, Zero, None. Not one. That is why they are debt free, they use the failing franchises money to be debt free including the now $10 k failure fee. Does any other franchise so this? I cannot believe curves even wants to consider opening there own locations, especially when they do not work long term. and only 7 franchises opened in 2007 and about 800 closings. That makes real sense. If there is any common sense on this blog, use it and add up the numbers. If this was the stock market we would all be poor.
    Good luck to those buying Curves. You all will need it! Statistically the fail rate is unbelievable, and all financial advisors would tell you to bank your money and never buy a Curves. As for my franchise Tom, I just chose not to sell any more and waste my money to pursue it at this time. I will restart in several years when Curves is gone and the economy it better.

  • Tom Garmon


    Why can’t you answer the questions I posed to you in the above post? Again you are making up facts. there were not 800 closings in 2007. Why do you need to wait for curves to “be gone” for you to succeed?

  • sean

    Warning #2:
    The point of this blog post is the Curves for Women franchise opportunity and franchise program. It’s not a referendum on any individual’s employment history, or a vehicle for personal attacks.
    I don’t edit or censor comments, but I can – and will – close a discussion or ban commenters who can’t follow the guidelines.
    And FYI… Tom is quite correct about subpoenas for commenter IP addresses.

    There’s not gonna be a warning #3.

  • Mellissa

    Finally , Thank you Sean, for restoring the order!!

    I only have 1 thing to say, I feel it is the worst remedy when someone has had a bad experience to always talk about it , you know , I think that all business people have their flaws but to continiously judge them is simply wrong we have to look at the Good things they did over the years, OK Curves got greedy !! but over the years how many women that because of them did not Die or get sick , or just regain their ” Joie de vivre” at one point they had 4 million women tranning and more than 30,000 employes ,Dont tell me that now it does not count for something.
    I know that if my sister (that owned a Curves )
    did all of what she was supposed to do she would still be in business, but she prefered to be home on friday’s and arrived at 9H30 am the day she worked , she even had a schedual like a simple employe , she never got out in her community to get people to better know her , I need to point out that we had a long conversation last week the two of us and now I know the real story and exception made of the Curves Owner that territory where oversold I am sure that my sister was not the only one doing 100% of 50% , It’s not counting all the other copy cat that did hurt Curves a lot like, Buterfly life , lady express, and all the other 30 min franchises that took a big chunk of the market, It’s not Gary Heavin’s fault that they arrived !! well in a sence yes since he introduce the 30 min concept lol,,, but when you sell about 5 franchise a DAY !! it could take you by surprise that you lost control , Victim of their own success, Another point that is very objective here , M.Heavin was not selling them alone he had a whole bunch of salesman that did the work
    for him so at a paste of 5 a day , it might be possible that he did not saw exactly where all those franchise where oppening, Now If someone has something to say to M.Heavin it should be to help the other 8500 franchise (+/- ) still open not cretisize, Give positive advice based on your personal experiences , Most of you on this blog has owned a Curves before, If you give advice you will be feeling so much better it will change your life , I see people here that are so negative it makes me negative, I a strugling Curves owner comes to this site , he might as well close his door since the way things are going on this blog it’s only a matter of time for Curves!!! And I am
    very much a beliver that a corporation the size of Curves can take a hit (like it does at this time) but the question is Can a franchisee survive in a negative environment?? the ansewer is no , A good example is Wall Mart !! they are cretisized from all over , Lawsuit, complaints from employees , name it ,it has been said against them , but they are still growing because it’s a love hate relationship , People just hate the fact that Wall mart is so big , but love to save $$ so they just shop at wall mart, , Curves might go down to 5000, franchise in a few years , or not, nobody knows , the only things important at this moment is to pull all the struggling Curves owner
    together with all the succesfull ones and find solutions then take actions. Remenber that each time a Curves franchise tell’s something bad about the concept or it’s owner’s they shoot themselfs in the foot , The more people sees blogs that are negative the less they will want to register at a Curves facility.. Think positive , surround yourselfs with positive people , and it will make all the difference in the world.
    Every time a Curves closes it affects a lot more people than we think , think of first the franchisee that risk of loosing everithing , also her 3 to 5 employee’s , than think of the lady that loves to train at Curves and got her life back , think of the landlord, the small retailers neighbors of the Curves that needed the extra revenues, I am not trying to make anybody cry , it is just a fact ,
    I have said my peece and thank’s to my sister and her honnesty I can say that I dont blame Curves anymore for her lost..

  • Mellissa

    Corection I a should read If a

    If a strugling Curves owner comes to this site , he might as well close his door since the way things are going on this blog it’s only a matter of time for Curves!!!

  • Tom Garmon


    Very well spoken. Very objective. The reason that Curves corporate doesn’t own locations as Jose pointed out is that they need a local owner that has ties to the community, and who is involved in the community. This is the reason many of the clubs that are run by managers with no owner involvement locally do not do well.

  • Lynn


    I am not going to badmouth Curves, but nobody can dispute the overselling of territories. From my house to our club on map quest, there were 22 clubs. My house was 12 miles from the club.
    That was not counting the 2 clubs that had just closed.
    When we contacted the nearby clubs to let them know that we were closing, and to let them know that we were sending our members to their clubs to try it out so that they could make a decision as to where they wanted to
    transfer, all the owners were complaining about how they were not making any money.
    All Curves clubs are supposed to be on the same page..same fees, same specials, etc. Well, that doesn’t happen. It is cut throat between clubs because they are so close. Kind of like a Starbucks on every corner.
    We sold one club and closed the other. Would I do it over again. Absolutely not. We spent tens of thousand of dollars trying to keep them open.
    Do I miss my members? Absolutely, they were wonderful.

  • Tom Garmon

    Lynn, you won’t hear an argument from me on that one. Some markets were definately oversold. In some cases there were many franchisees that split territories. Curves should have never allowed this to go on. Many people ZEES and the ZOR saw $$$. Strategically Curves looked at is as securing marketshare before the compeditors could enter the market. If a Curves wasn’t there a Butterfly Life or Ladies Workout Express would be there. This was the mentality. Much of this oversaturation was in major metro areas in FL, the Northeast, and California. Many of these locations did fine the first couple of years, but year 3 is a tough year. People quit and come back months later, you need enough population to recycle membership after that 3 year mark. When you look at it strictly from a brand growth standpoinnt Curves oversaturated it to achieve market dominance in the long run, justifying it, but many Zees in specific areas are suffering in the short and mid term. Subway did the same thing. Starbucks did it too, only Starbucks doesn’t have zees that are affected financially. The pain is shared among stockholders and there is no perceived “victomization”. These are all of my opinions, BTW, from studying Curves. I have been following it since 1996. I knew some of the very, very first franchisees.

    My advice to Curves owners when locations close is get the remaining location owners together and write Curves legal a letter requesting the closed territories be merged back into the surrounding areas. Get a map and draw the new boundaries with a pencil. If B is between A and C get A nad C to agree on a newer more viable territory and both send a signed letter to Curves requesting the change. When you go to sell it will help the marketability (not necessarily the value though.)

    Curves is definately in a retrenchment phase of the life cycle. They cannot support as many locations as they have in this economy (and probale any economy). They will need to consolidate territories (as they are), and let the courts and market work out the rest. I am still a believer in the brand though.

  • sean

    Why are you still posting here?

    FYI: Tom has threatened legal action against the b5media and one of the commenters here. Remarkably, he wonders why he is not welcome to continue to post here. The comments in dispute are being held “in moderation” pending the outcome of his legal action.

  • Lynn

    With all the Curves closing, has anybody paid the 10k? And what have ex-owners done with their equipment?

  • Angelique

    I am a current Curves owner. I will say that I have been happy with my purchase. I didn’t buy one to get rich. I loved fitness and helping women. The club I purchased has 80 members. The owner was never there. She had it run by teenagers and the place was filthy. We heard it was closing and I purchased it for $5,000. I am proud to say I have 362 active members.

    It wasn’t easy I will say that. I had to hustle, but I did everything Curves laid out for me. I worked the registration boxes, put out fliers, issues the press releases that are on I was an aerobics instructor in college and have some background in motivating people.

    I installed the Curves Smart and it has really helped to keep members active and getting results. I haven’t seen a huge influx of new members because it, but if it lowers cancellations that is 1/2 the battle to growing a fitness club.

    That’s my 2 cents. There is so much negativeness here that I just wanted to share a positive experience.

  • sean

    Thanks Angelique. Good to hear some good news.

    Where’s your club located?

    Are you in the United States?

  • Crystal

    I happen to LOVE Curves. As far as cheating on the workouts? Yes. I have to admit that you can because you get what you give. That’s what I like about it. If you’re 25 and overweight but otherwise healty then get your fat butt moving and lose that weight on the contrary if you’re 65 and just trying to get some exercise then this place is for you too. If you keep moving on the recovery station and work your a$$ off on the machines you can be a lean healthy sexy bastard. It’s up to you. I think they could use better marketing and focus on trying to reel in the 20, 30 somethings with a sexier side that promotes how well the machines can tone and life that flabby booty. Trust me first hand. Thank to curves I’m 5’6″ 155lbs measure 38C-26-42….JLO has nothing on me thanx to diet and curves. I’m so toned and I love everyone there it’s my home away from home. I go Monday thru Friday. I should be their new spokewoman they need a sexy young african american model.

  • sean

    Interesting story about a group of members banding together to reopen their Curves club after the franchisee shuttered two Oak Park area clubs.

    Your comments invited:
    CURVES FRANCHISE: Members May Reopen Closed Fitness Club

  • Pingback: CURVES FRANCHISE: Members May Reopen Closed Fitness Club

  • zella

    If you do so you are not bright enought to perform due diligence anyway.

    Thanks for your comments about my education.. Now allow me to educate you a little..

    First I speak three languages.. English French and Italian.. I have a Bachelors degree in accounting.. I graduated from a French university and am currently considering returning to school to complete my CGA..

    Unlike you I do not have all day to write on these blogs and yes
    I did not only use this blog to make my decision.. I also read all the UFOC.. I also considered what was said by many previous owners who did not find it funny to lose their money.. I understand that their postings might mean loss of business for you…

    Out of curiosity how many Curves fitness centers do you own….? If it is such a great investment I hope you jump on the wagon..

    I hope you conduct your business better than you do on these blogs.. You obviously have very little tact!!

  • unhappy


    You rock girl!!!!! Way to go!!!

  • Jose

    Does anyone see the corilation between corporate greed in the stock market and Curves Franchise sales and losses? It seems the market indices show a good corilation in market conditions, foreclosure rate on Homes and curves franchises. The only difference is curves will not bail out its frachisees because of overtrading ( over selling territories). i wonder WHY?

  • sean

    Does anyone see the corilation between corporate greed in the stock market and Curves Franchise sales and losses?

    One correlation is the fact that the banks are constant bailout recipients through SBA loans. The loan broker gets their 1.5% of the loan. The FR gets its franchise fee and equipment purchase profits. The bank gets 85% of it loan guaranteed by the SBA. So when the default comes, the franchisee loses her house to the bank, and the taxpayers pay off the loan.

  • Jose

    You are correct Sean.
    The SBA Garuantees the Franchisee losses in the nd. The Franchisee signs away all rights to the Government when the get this loan. The Franchisors are told time again to register with SBA and they will make Lots of money, because it is easy to get money if you are a Women or minority.

  • unhappy


    Calling on all curves owners who have had problems with [Name withheld] and Curves International. We all know what a crook, unethical, illegal and immoral business person he is but there are some companies who don’t know who the real [Name withheld] is. He is trying to partner with a company called Silver Sneakers Fitness Program for advertising purposes. Silver Sneakers is a replicable business and if you don’t know who they are you can go to their web site by typing in Sliver Sneakers in your search box. As soon as you are done reading this post please either call them, send them a fax or an email telling them what you think of Curves International and [Name withheld]. We need to put a stop to [Name withheld] from taking advantage of the seniors who belong to Silver Sneakers. I can’t stress this enough so all of you who have joined the group lawsuit and those who wanted too but can’t afford to please act on this now before [Name withheld] takes advantage of them also.
    Thank you,

  • unhappy


  • Lou

    I am about to buy a resale curves location and the owner is asking to be on the new franchise agreement as a co-owner till till I have paid off the remaining balance in 4 years. I would like your comments on this so called gaurantee in case I fail he still has a franchise otherwise the curves management will not gaurentee the previous owner that he will get back the franchise. Thanks Lou

  • Dorothy

    If you feel comfortable with this arangement, then go ahead. If you should fail, then he would not get the franchise back. If he is doing an owner finance this is a guarantee on your part. Why do you want to buy a franchise like Curves is my question. Have you questioned the other owners in the area to find out how business is? Have your accountant really look at the books down to the last dime and your attorney look at the franchise agreement because every word in the agreement is for the franchisor not the franchisee, I have this on good authority from someone that helped to draft the new agreement. The fitness industry is a very hard industry to succeed in. I know after owning a Curves for the last four years. My business failed, and when you fail, they charge you an exhorbitant closing fee. I am being cautious about what I am disclosing to you because of retaliation from the parent company. My advice to you, is to really think about this before you leap off, when you do you are committed for five years. If you must consider business ownership, look at traditional not franchised, so if you do fail for some reason, you will avoid lawsuits. I hope this will clarify the answer for you. Again, I say talk to the other Curves owners and gyms in the area before making your decision. I have talked with other owners that were around me that bought before I failed, and say now they wish they had talked with me before purchasing.

  • Mellissa

    Dear Dorothy, below is an example of a full time owner that did exactly what she needed to do
    and is making money with her Curves, it is still possible to make a difference , work , contact with local business, and the most important taking care of your customers, you need to get to be freinds with them , why should a freind go anywhere else to train..? This blog is sadly a starting point for negative thinking , and is hurting not only the business like Curves but the actual owner that are strugling.. there should be a place that all the Curves owner like PKJ could meet and exchange rather than all the negative owners talking about how Curves is not a good business , It’s simply a business that need a lot of care, and caring for it’s customers. Lou , if you want to buy in and are prepared to work hard you will make money , but if you think that
    this is the kind of business that can have a manager working for you while you do something else .. forget it .. take it like if it was a baby..
    did you ever see a parent have a schedule to take care of their kids, of corse not, when ever the kid’s need attention they will be there no mather what their previous engagement where, and when you give your kids to be raised by someone else and raised them part time dont think that your kids wont struggle in life..
    a business is exactly that ( sacrifice) but you need to do it while loving it..

    Apr 8, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Just a note for all those out there who say things are getting worse. I just compared my numbers from March of 07 to March of 08; my membership is up over 50% in one year. In February 06 I had 229 members today I have 472. My business has more than doubled in two years. The difference is me. I made the decision to get busy and find ways to make my business more profitable. I work at my club. I find the clubs that are struggling the most are the clubs that have absentee’s owners.

    I think I said this before and I will repeat – that Curves had a very low buy in and that afforded many of us that had no business sense to get in. With that said I was one of them. I am learning through the school of hard knocks. Curves has given me many tools, recourses and support. I could blame them and I’m sure that they deserve some but making my business successful falls on my shoulders.
    If you are looking to buy a Curves, there is no doubt that you should do so with caution. That is so for every business.
    I love my Curves.

  • Dorothy

    I did not open this discussion for a debate about what should be done with your business and how to do it. I did all the things that Curves told me to do and I still failed. I merely pointed out that he should make very sure of the numbers before committing to the deal. I know of a club that was next to me that the owner falsified the numbers and the broker signed off on it as well, and now they are losing money and tied up in litigation with the previous owner due to someone who did not tell the truth. Owners are desperate to get out and don’t think of the ramifications for the new owner coming in. Not everyone is honest in business dealings. I am merely offering what I feel is sound advice for someone before they commit thier life for five years. I loved my business and was very sad when it died, my life has not been the same since, and Curves does not play fair, they only care about the roylaty fees monthly, inspite of what you may think. I worked my business daily month in and month out until I was exhausted to fulfill my commitment, until there was nothing left to give it. I appreciate your loyalty to Curves, but do not bash those of us who have given it our best without knowing the whole story.

  • Mellissa

    Dear Dorothy ,
    Loyalty to Curves??? me?? no way , I am only pointing out the facts of owning a business like Curves or any other business , Please watch
    Kitchen Nightmare (the show) it reflects exactly what I am tring to point out here , the owners are full of good faith , and all think that they are doing exactly the right thing but in reality they are doing the opposite and slowly loosing their business (those business aren’t franchises) then a fresh guy come in and makes it work , why ,simple the comfort zone!! one of the major factor for failling business and even couples
    when you get in that zone it’s like putting blindfolds, you know that you are in your bisiness but you dont see wath’s happening outside.
    I think that
    I am so sorry for you and the fact that you lost your business , but when you purchased your Curves , you did it with 100% of conviction that it would make a good investment for you , but something happend and it wasent Curves , it was a bunch of factors like , competition, mabe you own staff that did not give the right services to your customers , did you work more than 60 hours a week when it got tough to help diminish the pay roll, I am sure that you never intended to hurt your business . I now teach people to look at themself first when a problem happens I know that it is 10 time harder to do but it is the way all of us should do it , the easy way is alway’s to blame others..
    I wish you all the best

  • FitDude


    I agree with Dorothy. I strongly recommend you think twice about getting locked into a Curves franchise. As a non-franchise manufacturer of hydraulic exercise equipment, I have heard many, many Curves owners who have contacted me after the fact telling me that they wish they had done more homework before jumping into a long-term contract of basically working for Curves. If you believe there is a market for a women’s club in your town, I would strongly encourage you to check out the non-franchise equipment companies that can provide you with marketing materials, training as well as superior equipment without any franchise fees or royalties. Obviously opening an independent club without the strength of the Curves name will mean that you will need to create your own brand awareness, but that is a part of any new business. As others have noted, it does take hard work and a “personal touch” to be successful long-term in this type of business, especially in these tough economic times. This is true whether you have a franchise or not. Call existing club owners, both franchise and independents to get feedback from them.

    Good luck,

  • unhappy

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t malke him drink. You have hopefully read all of the posts on this site as well as its’ sister site If you have and you still go through with the purchase you are nut’s. Why would you waist the money. Put it in the stock market and become a day trader. Your investment would be safer and you will have less stress.

    Mellessa you are refusing to see why most of the curves are closing and how they got in that position. Read the posts on and other sites like it and maybe you will get the drift. How dare you blame the owners. Have you ever owned a curves? I would suspect not. While some are doing ok the majority are not. At the convention held last week corporate would not release the number of clbs still open. It was so bad one owner asked me this:
    > Did you hear that Gary announced the Biggest Loser contest at the Convention??
    > Any owner that is not taking a salary or wage and still has a club that is open is eligible to participate. The club with the most months of negative cash flow will win free attorney fees toward their upcoming bankruptcy. Of course, he will still charge the $10k for breaking the contract.

    Not only did he assure me it wasn’t a joke. He went on to say that Howard also warned owners not to get hooked into the lawsuit as only the lawyers would be making money. He went on to say so far he had won every court hearing. We know that is a lie as the court rulings have been in favor of the litigants. You can call the district court in Waco TX. and have them send you all the court filling and you can prove to yourself that ‘s not the case. The clerk of court is so fimilar with the case you won’t even need a document number.

    Lou for pete sake, I’m bagging you to reconsider buying a curves at this time. It will turn out to be the biggest nightmare of you life.

  • Dorothy

    Deat Unhappy,
    Thanks for the info from the convention. It does not surprise me that he did not disclose the closure rate. He was issuing a warning to those who are thinking about the lawsuit and trying to scare then off. As far as Waco goes, my case is one that is registered in Waco. They wasted no time in bringing suit aginst me, and I am not alone from what I hear. I am offering sound advice to people who are thinking about a franchise. I for one will never look a another franchise for investment. Why are people so naive when it comes to the facts, especially those of us who have been burned? His job is to convice prospective franchisee’s it is the best investment they will ever make, and his offer of a refund at club camp is a joke, he never means it. He knows that his empire is slipping away and current owners that I know are waiting for the day that thier leases are over and thier agreements, in the meantime holding on to avoid the pitfalls of litigation even at the expense of thier families and future. Thank you to those who rose to my defense in this discussion. God Bless you.

  • Lou

    Tell me more about what happened at the Curves National convention in Orlando Florida last week.

  • unhappy

    Well the big new is that Curves International is going to be signing up members directly over the internet which is only going to hurt owners more as they will only get a portion of the monthly payment like they do now on health insurance paid members. Plus it takes for ever to get our money from curves sometimes up tyo 3 months. Lets see Lou I guess you still plan to buy the franchise. Wow you got b— the size of grapfruit!!!! You had better put 4,000 away cus you will need it 6 months from now to join the group action lawsuit. It will be just a matter of time Lou so don’t ever say you weren’t warned. I can hardly wait for 6 months to go by so we all can ask Lou ” how to you like it now” . I’ll wager 2 to 1 he will regret ever hearing about Curves.

  • Lou

    I’ll take that bet! But tell me more about the convention.

  • unhappy

    Barnum and Bailly were right there is a sucker born every minute and Lou you are one!!!!!!! Good luck with your adventure. Your going to need it.

  • Closedclubowner

    I guess Howie didn’t bring up at the convention how we the plantiffs won the motion to dismiss this month. Anyone who buys a Curves Franchise is in complete denial of the facts and I truly feel bad for them.

  • unhappy

    As a matter of fact what he told the owners was that he had won every motion and that they would be stupid to pay a lawyer a retainer of 4000 as there was no way he would lose and if they w3ere to close he wouild lower the 10,000 closing fee to 4000 as long as the owner signed the release form. What a joke!!! He hasn’t won any motion that I know of yet and will be going to trail soon.

  • tammy

    Hi…..I bought a Curves franchise Aug 1st 2007. It has 250 members. I have no time for Curves . I am willing to sell it for the debt it has on it alone. Any takers? I am honest and will not hide a thing, I own a business in close vacinity (daycare) and that occupies all my time.

    [If interested email unhappyfranchisee[at] and ask for the editor to forward your email to me.]

  • another unhappy curves

    the problem is the business plan stinks curves makes the rules as they go along. they are different for everone. I have heard of 10,000 closing fee – 1,000. This company is a fraud is all about revenue it can generate from franchisees. It does not care whether you succeed. They will sell to anyone. They do not follow their own business practises. Companys that are this disorganized always fail. But I have spoken to several owners and to me the truly suceesful ones have great locations and good parking. Those clubs seem to do well. The others suffer a slow death. Regardless how the coparate office does business. The members dont really know what goes on behind the scene. But let me say, There has to be something to it as so many are suing curves and so many are going out of business. Must be bad business from the top

  • another unhappy curves

    well unfortunately I found the hard way what everyone else already knew curves is a scam. They could care less if you lose your house your marrage and everything else you own. They are greedy and untrustworthy, I could write a book. but there seems to be one already out. When will the lawsuit be settled, I heard by the end of the year. Is this true. How do you get involved in the second one. I want some sort of restitution. PLease give more info. thanks nothing left to lose

  • unhappy too

    Its not worht the paper you bought it on maybe 1 dollar thats what there going for nowdays

  • Jackie

    I own a Curves franchise and need to disagree with a lot of what I’ve read. I’ve owned my club since 2002, and it is still profitable. I think many problems stem from the lack of business savvy the owners have. I’ve watched many spend a lot of money on ineffective advertising, I’ve watched others decide they could do it better than Curves International advised so they came up with their own ideas on how to make it work, and I’ve seen others just give up. Mine is still successful because I put my time in, I follow the business model Curves put in place, and I am smart about how I spend my money. I made sure I could afford what I was getting into before I began. I didn’t take out any additional mortgage on my house or spend beyond my means.

    Yes, it’s true, unfortunately, Curves International would sell to anyone, and I think that was a big mistake on their part. After reading some of the comments on this website, I don’t believe many of the owners possess the level of intelligence necessary to run any successful business.

    It’s so easy to blame Gary, the founder, than it is to admit that maybe you got in over your head. I have not loved 100% of what’s gone on throughout the years, but it’s how I’ve chosen to deal with each instance that keeps me successful.

    My message to Lou, if you possess any sense of business, have the time to give to the club, and are smart about spending, buy the franchise!

    Curves is not a scam. It’s getting older women, who would not normally workout, back into a healthy fitness routine. Many of my members have lost weight, lost inches, stopped taking weight-related medications, and are now more physically fit than they’ve ever been. How can that be a scam? I’m proud to be a part of helping these women improve the quality of their lives.

  • unhappy


    800 FRANKLIN ROOM 800
    WACO TX. 76701
    CASE OR DOC # 07′ CV’ 048


  • unhappy

    With all the curves closing that are going on around the world how can anyone say that curves is a good investment. Wake up and smell the coffee. curves is one of the worst investments that one can make. Buyers beware of this uneitical company. And members look out as the clubs are closing all aver the country at an alarming rate. If you are considering buying a curves location DON’T — If you own a curves club sell it asap- and join the lawsuit before it is to late to join. If you are thinking of joining a curves don’t as in all likly hood it will be closing soon.

  • Mellissa

    WOW!! that’s Great .. you are working very hard to make sure Curves closes for good !!!
    But did you ever stoped and think about all the Curves Owner that want their center to work !!
    your are telleing people to sell asap.. but in the same message you are saying not to buy !!!
    more than that you are telling all potential custumers not to join.. this is LOW for anyone to say, your are not only doing wrong to GH but to all the strugling owners out there.. you should stop, I dont understand why you would do something so mean ..
    But with a name like Unhappy maby it took a tool on you..
    If you have a grudge on someone dont take it on innocent bystanderds .
    Have a nice day .

  • Sean Kelly

    your are telleing people to sell asap.. but in the same message you are saying not to buy !!!
    Ah yes. The Hot Potato franchise sales methodology. Toss it to the next sucka before the music stops.

    So even if you buy it for a dollar, you’re still on the hook for the $9999 Failure Fee, right?

  • Mellissa


  • breezy

    Sean I don’t think Melissa has read this whole blog to understand what you are talking about.

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    Isn’t this Sector getting saturated? – Just like the fast food sector?

    The buyouts by franchisors of failing franchisees seem to be picking up —don’t they? because, of course, of the increasing failures.

    With the Recession, perhaps more franchisors will have to offer an easier way out for franchisees as an inducement for them to make the investment.

  • unhappy too

    These people have been burned In addition they have lost alot of money. Their complaints have been ignorned and are left out in the cold broke and discouarged. Unhappy is putting it mildly. They have every right to blow off steam and warn other potential victims.They bought into a company that mislead them. There is so much proof out there. Call for yourself and grt the facts. For every one club making their bills there are 10 in trouble and will close this next year. The only way to get retrrobution is in court and the numbers are mounting everyday. So do your homework before you spout nonsence

  • unhappy

    No Sean if you sell your franchise you do not owe the closing fee as the club will stay open. But you are right its’s not right that owners sell to unsusspecting buyers but many of the owners have no other choice. Most should just close and join the lawsuit. As far as a person joining or becoming a new member they should really think about it first. The majority of clubs are closing so I would highly recommend that if you do decide to join a curves facllility make sure you dont pay in advance as the liklyhood that it will be closed after the first of the year is very high. So Mellissa why don’t you go to the nearest curves facillity and join and be sure to pay for a year in advance. You will get a ten percent discount which I’m sure you could use for christmass. But keep in mind if they do close before your year is up you probably won’t get a refund. Do you even have any idea how many women have been screwed by just becoming a member of curves only to see their location close. Sorry to be the one to inform you Mellissa but there is no Santa Clause and the tooth ferry died years ago. Join the real world and get a life. Better yet go to every curves club in your area and inform them of the lawsuit because that way we as owners may have a chance to change around curves international and save our business.

  • Mellissa

    Unhappy, you are telling me to get a life!!
    I have just one thing to say.
    I understand where you are comming from , my sister lived to tell true a closing of her franchise
    but when she was in fury with GH she did nothing good for herself , when she understood that mooving ahead was her only option she then started to live again, got a job , bounded with her family and freinds, and promisse to herself that she will never get into a business like this again, so believe me that I know wath i am thalking about and that I understand you , but still if you think that you can make a difference by saying to every one not to join a curves, and that you are convince that you are not shooting yourself in the foot at the same time ..well you are right who am I to give advice , you know better, greed and hate will always prevails..
    I wish you a Mary X-Mass and a happy new year
    God bless you and your family.

  • unhappy

    Your sarcasm shows that you have no understanding of the problems that Curves international has inflicked on its owners. I actually don’t hate curves Mellissa as I know and have seen the wonderful results that most women have by working out at least 3 day a week. I will be the first to admit that I was wrong in suggesting for owners to sell their franchise asap as Sean so brilliantly stated it is just passing the buck to the next person. But I do believe that members thinking of joining should be aware that most of the curves clubs are having very serrious financial problems and are closing all over the country as fast as you or I can blink. While my clubs are still profitable I still have quit taking pre-pays as I have talked to many members of other locations which have closed and had no recourse to get there money back. Some clubs have taken a years per-pay with in a week of closing. In our clubs we allow those members to fullfill their contract here but I can tell you that many of the other locations don’t. Curves Internationals postion on this is non existance. If a member calls them to request how to get her money back they refer them to their old location and explain that each franchise is owned by an individual. They won’t and don’t even try to get the nearest club to accept the member. All that policy does is hurt curves more as you can imagine how the member feels and word of mouth spreads fast in any city.
    Furthermore Mellissa, if you really believe that greed and hate win out in the end you are one sick puppy. You should go and live with Gary and Diane as with that attitude you will fit right in. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year Mellissa and for god sake give your sister a big huge. I’m sure after what she has gone through with curves could use one. Take care and God Bless.

  • Kim Cardin

    I am looking into buying a curves that is established for 15 years and seems to be doing well…now I am nervous! Help!

  • Sean Kelly

    Can you provide more information?
    Such as:
    What are the current sales?
    What were they in previous years?
    How many members does the club currently have?
    How does that compare to recent years?
    What is the competition? Is it increasing?
    What are the fixed costs? (rent, utilities, etc.)
    Variable costs?
    How much is the owner spending on advertising?
    Why is the owner selling (I know, health issues. Family reasons.)
    Why is the owner really selling?
    Ask a lot of questions and post the specifics here. You’ve got a lot of educated eyes here to help you read between the lines.
    You also should definitely be working with an attorney with franchise experience.
    Nervous is good.

  • unhappy

    All of the suggestions from Sean are good and of course in general it is good advice and infomation one needs inorder to make an informed decision on whether to buy it or not. You need to proceed very slowly and make sure that the owner is telling you the truth about the actual members numbers. Compare that with how many members they had last year. Make sure that the deposits each month match up to the number of members they say they have in a given month. Also beaware of all the lawsuits that are on going against curves international as they may or may not affect cuirves in general. Also keep in mind the economy at this time as for most people its not a good time to invest in any business. Good luck if you buy it but please think twice before doing so. Keep us informed and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  • Mellissa

    Dear Kim ,
    As I said before my sister had a Curves and failed with it but when she understood the reason why she failled she wasent mad at Curves anymore, She was making 30 to 40 hours a week at her location , had 1 manager at 13$ an hour 40 hours a week , 5 part time employees ,and she was not that good as a salesperson, the other thing is that in a mather of 4 months she had dropped 30 pounds , was happy with 450 members and when she started living the good life taking vacation for 2 weeks and not more than 25 hours a week so she hired 1 more staff
    she was now paying more than 140 hours a week in wages !!! she was a terrible owner , then the members started to drop out the numbers fell to 225 she then had to let go 3 staff and do 50 hours a week by that point it went down…
    she lost it all because of her bad work (she admited this to me because I had to make her see the truth) I tell you all this because I you are ready to work your but out , if you are ready to make sure your costumers becomes your freinds by taking care of them , if you understand that a club like Curves needs and on management and canot be run by employees because your members need you , then if you a ready you will make it , but with that said I need for once to agree with Unhappy and Sean do your homework dont leave any stone unturned ask questions,dont be shy you will be the one living with your decision, have a Lawyer present
    before singing anything, ask arround next door business are a good start, the landlord also , if they did not make payment every month ask why , Did you check the direct competition (30 minutes centers) arround , how are they doing
    and a final advice .. Unhappy will be happy lol, make sure Curves is right for you and that it is not a fading company..
    the UFOC document should list all the closings in the past years with phone numbers a few.. make sure you have a good trainning , ask where , when and how you will be trainned.
    Ho dont forget ..Location Location Location .. if your are not pleased with it ..dont buy ,

  • San Hose Curves Owner

    I have been very successful with my Curves location. The fact that Unhappy is profitable in her Curves says quite a bit. If my attitude were as bad as hers, and I was making money, imagine what I could do with a positive attitude. Unhappy if you ever decide to sell and live in a warm climate let me know. My youngest daughter is graduating in May and wants to own a Curves. I am sure you members would love a new owner. My guess is that you don’t manage the club or it would be losing money. Unhappy, I very much doubt you own a Curves. If you do then your attitude would ovbviously prevent you from being as successful as you should be. You say you own a profitable club, but tell people here they shouldn’t join. You tell owners to sell ASAP and buyers not to buy. I read above where you wanted to sabatoge Curves from getting an affiliation with Silver Sneakers. Well, in spite of your sabotaging efforts, Curves has managed to gain a very valuable affiliate that is paying for Curves memberships. You are so full on contradictions is is laughable. The fact is for whatever reason you DON’T want Curves to be successful and will do anything you can to contribute to that. I just read most of this thread and it didn’t take me long to see right through you.

    Us owners that want to be successful are happy that Curves is succeeding in building a strong wellcare program. These members are recession proof as most don’t pay anything out of pocket. As for lawsuits, name me one top 20 franchise that has been open 10 years or more that doesn’t have lawsuits. Lawyers are bloodsuckers.

    Kim, get the owners projection sheets and look at the dues and drafts. Compare that to her bank statements. Verify the dues and drafts. Don’t rely on membership numbers. Not every owner keeps their system up to date like they should but bank statements don’t lie. Look at the last 3 months deposits compared to the dues and drafts on the projection sheets and “new sales”. Also, read the membership agreements. Some states have open ended contracts where the membership automatically renews month to mon indefinately after the initial term and some states require the owner to resign the contact after 36 months otherwise they must stop the draft. If your club is in a state that requires the members to be re-enrolled make sure the owner is not drafting them presently. Otherwise she is breaking state law and you would be too if you purchased the club and kept drafting those members. Just get a copy of the owners membership agreement and see how it reads.

    Below is the press release about the silver sneakers program that Unhappy tried to get people to sabatoge. The problem with boards like these is the successful owners don’t have time to get get caught up in the negative hype. People like Unhappy poison your attitude. They are like a bad parent telling you are stupid and ugly all the time.

    Not Unhappy

  • Sean Kelly

    Is there really a San Hose Curves?
    How apropos.

  • tammy

    hey curves owner…geez stop complaining life is too short make the best of what you got….my curves has 203 memebers…its small but fine…also for sale for soley personal reasons…

  • Mellissa

    Finnaly , Tammy and Not unhappy , 2 for two it’s the first time I see someone say good things on this blog it feels GOOOD !! And Sean .. you had to say something like is there a Curves in San Hose? boy only reading bad things about Curves made you so negative that you are not even willing to see where is the good anymore,
    I am sorry but attitude like your’s and Unhappy’s have are just sad, you should seek profesional advice maby your having a Burnout or something
    and I’m not Joking , when you only see dark maby it’s time to get out in the sun,
    I am sure that you are good people and that your intentions are true to your convictions but
    why try to destroy what some franchisee are trying to manage, GH will be fine no mather wath you try to say against him but surely you will hurt the existing Curves owner by doing it.
    Please find it in you to direct your energy in good things ,
    In this difficult economy people are strugling to just keep afloat , go help someone in food banks
    for X-mass , give your time you will feel so much better.
    I wish you all the best to you and your family.
    God Bless

  • Sean Kelly

    Mellisa wrote And Sean .. you had to say something like is there a Curves in San Hose?

    Mellisa: San Hose Curves Owner stated “Unhappy, I very much doubt you own a Curves.”

    I found that amusing, since I very much doubt she could own a business there and not know that “San Hose” is spelled “San Jose.”

  • Mellissa

    As I sais Sean , go get some sun , did you ever
    see all the misspelling there is on this blog?
    maby she does own a Curves maby not, but she has a good point ..

  • unhappy

    Oh Mellissa
    What point does she make that’s good? Does she tell the truth that curves is in the top 10 worst franchises to buy at this time? That there are hundreds upon hundreds of franchises filling suits against curves international? That the majority of the clubs that are still open are having serious finincial problems and have been having problems since 03 not just recently because of the economy? That three clubs a day are closing each and every day which is up from the two per day in August. That the silver sneaker program she is hopeing will revitalize her club is just another way for curves international to ripoff the owners. That as owners we pay 195 dollars for national advertising to curves international each month and all owners complain that we never see any adds. Nor do any of the owners get to see any type of a report as to how our advertising dollars our spent. Of course we do know that Diane used it for her trip to China’s great wall and her wonderfull mag named after her which we are told to give away to erach member but have to pay for. How about the curves merchandise that we are allowed to sell. Ever since howard bought out the manufacture the shipments are late and the product is out of date. How about when curves international runs a special on supliments like they did this year giving special discount prices to the franchises. Only for the franchises to find out once the supliments arrived that the shelf life was only good for 60 days.

    Come on Millissa this is only a fifth of the complaints with how curves international run’s it’s business. Before any one buys a curves franchise they should certainly take all of this into consideration as there are a lot’s of other franchises for the same cost that are profitable and that have integrity, honesty, morals, and are truly christain based companys. How you can try to stick up for them after reading the many posts on and is beyond me. What are you a shill for howard? How much is he paying you. What ever it is it’s not worth your soul. Go back and do your research on this company and you will have a different opinion of howard’s corporate nightmare. If not than I’m afraid there is no help for you, Mellissa because the blinders you are wearing are glued on or you are are durgs. Which is it Mellissa?

  • another curves owner

    you state the truth, We all have been taken advantage of. This company is in a sham and is going down quick. What you can do is bank any money you have, dont fall for buying any products ang let members work out each month until you cant pay your rent then close. Dont worry about CI they dont have a leg to stand on, It is illegal to charge a closing fee and anyone that pays it has been scammed again. call waco federal court they will explain everything

  • another curves owner

    one more thing do not take prepays that would be stealing from your members. It would make you as guilty as the company your complaing about. If you should close your members will have to understand you can no longer pay your bills

  • unhappy

    You are absolutly right ACO. As a matter of fact if you do end up haveg to close you should refund all prepays that have paid in advance. I realize that is hard to do when your broke but really it is just fair and the right thing to do.

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    I want to know how Curves can add something to your franchise agreement on Feb 2008 when you signed an agreement in 2006? I NEVER got anything in the mail or an addendum or paperwork to sign that stated anything about $10,000.00 closing fees should you shut down before your agreement is up. How do you just add something to a contract without notifying a franchisee? Sounds illegal.

  • Sean Kelly

    I want to know how Curves can add something to your franchise agreement on Feb 2008 when you signed an agreement in 2006?

    Isn’t the real hook here that the original agreement would hold you liable for the future royalties and fees still left in the franchise term… but that they’ll let you out of it for $10K… and (I assume) signing a release of your right to sue?

  • mrfranchiseman

    Sounds like they have been doing some research into the Quizno’s and Subway franchises and their tactics
    If you follow some of the details in their past lawsuits (S and Q)you will find the trail that germinated these ideas


  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    Has anyone thought about taking this to the press? Especially the big markets like CA, NY, IL etc? Expose them for what they are. Get reporters juices flowing about all this. What does everyone think of that?

  • http://fanchisepick sally

    yea Jersey Curvers owner-that is my question!
    If this went to the press I think something could be done about it-why is it hush hush?

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    I have sent an email to Robert Lay about which media outlets to contact. I don’t know if he is going to do it. I think it needs to be out there and be told to the press by more than one person. Contact your local daily papers and tell them you have a story for them but wish to remain anonyomous.

    Here is my other question. I have received and read the copy of the complaints against Curves International. I am sending it to my attorney here in NJ. Waco court sent me the documents. Being that CI has committed so much fraud, why isn’t the FBI or all of the States Attorney Generals offices looking into Gary Heavin? The only attorney general I heard that was looking into it was in MA. Why isnt anyone taking this further? It needs to be on the news and in the papers. The government and FBI needs to know about this and Gary Heavins off shore accounts (I heard that from someone that closed their doors in another state)

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    Apparently, some of the Curves Owners, such as the above poster, do not understand that, generally, the binding franchise agreement that was signed by them protects the franchisor from charges of fraud in arbitration and the courts.

    I believe Seans comment above is corrrect. The buyout offers are in lieu of owed royalties due under contract in the event of the abandonment of the business. I’m sure their attorneys told them these buyouts are legal.

    Unfortunately, franchisees don’t understand that the failure of a franchisee’s business and the closing of the doors is “abandonment” of the business under the terms of the franchise agreement. Most franchisees do not in anyway understand this when they sign the boilerplate non-negotiable contract that is packaged with the government-mandated disclosure document wherein the government indicates “TO PROTECT YOU………….”

    Law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and even the State AG’s don’t get involved in franchise disputes because when there is violation of the Disclosure Docoment, this is still a contract dispute that is under the purview of the FTC and the State Regulators only when there is a violation of the FTC Rule/FDD. In a sense, there is generally no “fraud” unless there is a violation of the FTC Rule and then even if there is a violation, there is NO private right of action, generally, for the violation and the franchisor is protected under the terms of the franchise agreements signed by the franchisees.

    The media joins the status quo of the law and policy as presenting franchising as a means of achieving the American Dream and will only publish negatives about franchising if they think it is in their best interests and their readers willl be interested.

    Robert Purvin of the AAFD and Susan Kezios of the American Franchisee Association have indicated that the fatal flaw of the FTC Rule is the failure of the FTC to mandate that franchisors disclose or make available the unit financial performance statistics to new buyers of frasnchises. They believe and I believe and I think Sean believes that this omission of historical financial performance statistics on a unit basis to new buyers is misleading. Robert Purvin of the AAFD goes so far as to “personally” indicate to the FTC that the promulgation of the FTC Rule that took franchisors out from under the common law fraud statutes of the states was for the purpose of protecting franchisors from charges of fraud from failed franchisees.

    Just wanted to share my understanding with you Curves victims. Good Luck to You!

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    Well, there has to be a reason there are so many cases filed against this corporation. According to the court clerk, CI tried to have the cases dismissed on Dec 17 and the judge said NO. If you read the first 47 pages of the complaint as I have, you would see. In addition, why is Gary Heavin transferring monies to an offshore account in the Carribean?

    This lawsuit has basis. Too many curves were opened close to one another. The franchisor offers NO help to the franchisees unless it is spend money they dont have on their products or to “pray” and hope things get better. In the 3 years I have owned the club, an Area Director came ONCE. She wasn’t even the NJ Area Director. That justifies a 5% fee? They also take 3% ad fees. Curves advertising is non-existent. From what I understand, they are funding Diane magazine with franchisee monies.

    Third, since when you can you ad something to a contract like the $10,000 failure fee? That is not in the agreement and not one franchisee was notified of this until they tried to shut down after Feb 2008.

    This company claims to be a Christian based service. That’s BS. If you know passages in the Bible you know that you don’t brag about being religious. You don’t manipulate people for money in the name of God.

    If the lawsuit had no basis, people would not be winning their cases and the judge would have dismissed it and thrown it out. The court clerk said it is a huge lawsuit and it’s still growing.

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    The appearance that franchisees are winning law suits has not been substantiated in any of the case law that I can find but I hope for your sake and mine that you are right.

    I would hope that fraud in the inducement and in concealment of material facts could be proved outside of the actual contract that, together with the FDD, appears to protect the franchisors from fraud charges most of the time. We don’t know what has been happening in mediation and arbitration these past 30 years but I believe reliable research presented to the Congress indicates that the franchisors are more often the winners and that the contract and the government disclosure document protects the franchisors. (Read the history of the
    Coffee Beanery case on Blue Mau Mau for a demonstration of federal regulatory policy in action)

    I am not an attorney or a researcher but rermember that there has to be an appearance that franchisees can aproach the courts but remember that the courts generally protect public policy and regulatory goals in the end, and the binding and adhesory franchise agreements with the acknowledgement and reliance clauses allow the courts to do this. You can’t buy a franchise unless you sign this non-negotiable contract that generally protects the franchisors from charges of fraud in the State Courts.

    In view of the fact that many franchisors go public and many have borrowed money under securitizations of the franchise agreements and royalties, the courts now, more than ever, have NO incentive to undermine the contracts, and thus undermine the Commercial Paper traded in our markets —– and the Supreme Court of the US has indicated that the Federal Arbitration Act is supreme and that arbitrators have the duty under franchise agreements with arbitration clauses to determine whether the contract was fraudulently induced, etc…

    Regulatory policy and the FC Rule was developed to protect the franchisors and the successful franchisees and to prevent unsuccessful franchisees, the failures, from destroying whole franchise networks with successful lawsuits for common law fraud, etc… The government regulatory rationalizes this policy in which franchisees are merely resources for franchisors as serving “the greater good.” That is, if only 50% of the franchisees survive and feed the economy in terms of jobs and revenue, this 50% is vital to the economy and the 50% of failures must not be allowed to destroy the 50% who succeed.

    Unless your attorney can find and prove an actual breach of contract, where will you be? Franchise attorneys do not take franchisee law suits on contingency for good reason. They know they have to fight upstream and often will lose in the final judgment.

    Please continue to disagree with me and try to prove me wrong. I would like to be wrong but my research reinforces my understanding of the status quo of franchising and the law and I continue to believe that the deck is nicely and “legally” stacked against franchisees who cannot overcome the constructive fraud of the franchise contract wrapped up in government disclosure procedfure, the FTC Rule or the FDD, that legally tricks them into signing away their due process rights.

    Ask your attorney to explain this to you and to cite some case law or arbitration in which franchisees were compensated for their great losses because they were tricked into buying a franchise with a high unprofitability or failure rate, etc…. Ask your attorney to cite some case law where franchisees have won in the courts. Regulatory policy in practice appears to permit franchisors to sell unviable franchises at any degree of unprofitability or failure of first owners of the franchises. Churning appears to be permissable under current law ——and there has never been any litigation in the courts that deems that franchisors have any duty to be competent or to sell viabile franchises to the public. Don’t you find this strange!

  • http://fanchisepick sally

    Carol you sound like you have all the info. Sad but true for us curves owners who are drowning in this legal robbery. Again the courts are set up for the thief not the victim! Buy it for a dollar, did, buy our merchandise and give it away, they will come. I did and they did not. You are stuck with all the advertising because they do absolutely NONE! And just try to get money for a transfer from the SISTERHOOD!

  • unhappy

    At this time I do not have time to make comments about your posts but you negative advice to the owners is not correct and I will be respoding very soon to correct your statements. By the way THE LAWSUIT BY ZARCO HAS NOT BEEN DROPED AGAINST CURVES AND IN FACT EVERY COURT DECISION HAS BEEN IN FAVOR OF THE LITIGANTS.

  • North Jersey Curves Owner


    It was not Carol who said the lawsuit was dropped, it was someone who posted their name as Genny. Read back on the blogs.

    Genny if that is her real name probably works for CI

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    I have no idea whether the lawsuit was dropped or not!

    ZARCO is evidently a very good law firm that does win BIG, apparently, for franchisees because the owner was covered in a Franchise Times Article as one of the STARS of the franchisee bar and he certainly lives BIG.

    I don’t understand why some law firms do better with franchise law for franchisees than others. It’s a puzzlement! I’m trying to research this!

  • unhappy

    Zarco Law Firm is the number one franchise law firm in the nation. It’s all his firm handles and hir reputation is one of winning large settlements and have the ability to collect the money if any are handed down by the courts.
    I would not put it past Cuves International to post that the lawsuit has been dropped as I know for a fact howie lied to all the convention goer’s by telling them that curves had won every motion in court so far. In fact curves International has not won one motion as of yet!!!

  • Guest

    I thought Curves one the motion to have the trial in Texas. Zarco didn’t choose to take it to Waco. They wanted it in FL.

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    Just how does Zarco Law Firm win all of these suits for franchisees when all of the attorneys have to work with the same laws and case law that greatly favors the franchisors and protects public policy implemented under the FTC Rule.

    I’m trying to understand why there are “Stars” in this field. As I said, I know Zarco lives BIG because they did a feature story on him and his beautiful home in Franchise Times. Of course, his reputastion for winning large settlements is verified by his BIG living and this invites more franchisee clients to give him retainers,

    But! how does he consistently win big settlements when other franchisee attorneys have such difficulty? What is the secret of his success? Is he a better attorney or is he so spell binding that the judges use their discretion to give him the upper hand?

    Does the Zarco Law Firm tell you that they willl be struggling upstream in the lawsuit when they take your retainer? Or, do they use the usual legal disclaimers about any promises that your claims will be successful?

  • Barb

    Zarco Law Firm is great. They seem very efficient and sharp. They are known in the country because they know what they are doing. I was impressed when I talked to them. Just make sure you have plenty of money.

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    But-Barb! Just exactly what are they doing that other franchisee attorneys are not doing?

    Maybe the Florida law or judges are more friendly to Zarco than other judges in other states, or what?

    Florida has some special statute concerning franchise sales — but I read on a DLA Piper site that a Florida judge ruled the portion of the Statute that provided a private right of action for misrepsentation to be unconstitutional because misrepresentation is a crime under the Florida law and this would then involve double jeopardy, or something like that?????

    What kind of retainer did they ask you for?

  • Barb

    It was alot for zees who have no money. I think many zees would rather put their head in the sand and just forget what has happened to them. It is unfortunate because if everyone goes together in a class action their chances are better. Now because of the internet people are getting educated and I hope will not go out with no money. I stand by the rule of a year for reorganization and legal fees. I just sensed Zarco and Einhorn knew what they were doing. They had a copy of our UFOC in their hand. They are like Solomon and know what to look for.
    In the case of Curves you would think the encroachment problems is obvious they no longer care about their zees. They are into selling franchises and not caring that their zees reach success.

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    Yes! Richard Solomon of Franchise Remedies knows what to look for and what constitutes fraud outside of the FTC Rule and the UFOC but Richard points out that recovery for franchisees after they have signed the franchise agreements does not really save them from their bad decisions because, of course, they aren’t made whole under the provisions of federal regulatory policy.

    Richard Solomon believes in due diligence BEFORE you jump into the trap. But Zarco is rich because he gets good settlements for franchisees in arbitration and the courts. Again, why is this?

  • Barb

    Can’t you accept Zarco is a killer franchise attorney. He has won many zee’s cases. He also represents zors.

  • Get a clue

    Barb quote:
    “Zarco Law Firm is great. They seem very efficient and sharp. They are known in the country because they know what they are doing. I was impressed when I talked to them. Just make sure you have plenty of money.”

    Aren’t you the same individual who always talks about “killer due diligence”? How is going by their reputation alone doing “killer due diligence” on this firm?

    Barb quote:

    “I just sensed Zarco and Einhorn knew what they were doing. They had a copy of our UFOC in their hand.”

    Come on now Barb. You sensed they knew what they were doing and were impressed because they had a copy of your UFOC in their hand? Are you serious? Is this what caused you to ‘sense’ what they were doing?

    For all of your talk here about performing due diligence, you’re falling right back into the same pattern of trust here with some firm that appears to do well against franchisors without actually verifying the facts….And in 2004, Quiznos seemed like a decent franchise opportunity. go figure.

  • Barb

    I am not going to go into detail what was said. All I can say is the franchise sector of lawyers is a tight group and practically every franchise lawyer know their name. When their name is mentioned people are impressed. That speaks volumes.

  • Natalie


    I think what these people are impressed with is that Zarco got a couple hundred people to pay $4,000. Then Curves won the motion for venue to be in TX. A conservative, republicans state where they put people to death every month.

    Barb and unhappy sound like shills for the lawyers, out trying to drum up more fees for the attorneys. You don’t get this money back.

    The laws lean in favor of franchisors. There are many Curves that employ workers, provide a social and health environment.

    The supreme court of Texas isn’t going to let happen what Unhappy wants to see happen (total Curves destruction and the tarring and feathering of Gary Howard Heavin. I must say a honey and feathering would be entertaining. Put it on pay per view and send the money to unhappy.

  • Barb

    I have learned to go by my gut feelings. They are always right. (Read Michael Webster’s interview on BMM- People wanting to be own boss easily scammed.) Great blog. Michael has talked alot about gut feelings. I also like what he says about time. Take your time don’t let the zor rush you. Time can be a deal killer. Doing business with a bad zor can destroy you.

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    If Zarco represents franchiSORS as well, maybe he made most of his money representing the franchisors, and the rest from retainers for representing franchisees in the courts and in mediation and arbitration. Have you found any case law where Zarco had big money wins for franchisees or in settlements, etc..that were confidential?

    Why should franchisees have to rely on their gut feelings or what Item 20 references tell them? This is really an artifice. Item 20 is merely a crock upon which franchisees are supposed to be able to do efficient due diligence but anything a franchisee reference tells you has NO LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE. Item 20 protects the franchisor from making any representations about the success or failure of the franchise he is selling within the disclosure document, and if he makes no earning claims in optional Item 19, he is home free in the courts in a safe harbor that protects him from charges of fraud from failed franchisees who feel that constructive earnings claims were made outside of the contract.

    Why shouldn’t franchisees receive true disclosure of the risk from the franchisor as represented by the franchnisors unit historical financial performance statistics?

    Why should the “bad” franchisors be licensed by the government to lie, cheat, and steal because of government disclosure regulation that was represented at promulgation of the FTC Rule as a means of protecting the buyer of the franchise and disclosing the risk?

    We need to do killer due dilligence on attorneys as well, don’t we? How do we do this? and why are there “star attorneys” —-how have they earned their star status?

  • Barb

    I have talked to many lawyers in the past year. Did you know that lawyers do not study franchising at all in law school? It is not considered a specialty. That is why they do not have to put franchise lawyer in front of a UFOC. Did you know most lawyers do not know how to tear apart a UFOC/FDD? That is why it took me 11 phone calls before a lawyer referred me to a franchise lawyer. I have to admit my favorites are Solomon, Michael, Paul and Howard on BMM. When I mentioned Zarco and Einhorn even Don said they were well known. Which means they are killer franchise lawyers.
    Zors are not suppose to lie, steal and cheat. (Misrepresent, puff material facts or give false earnings claims.) There are some things I will not share because of personel reasons. Did you know most lawyers do not know how to tear apart a FDD? There are inconsistancies in FDD’s. There are certain things that can be used against the zor that can wipe out certain bomb-shell clauses. Zarko, Einhorn, Solomon, Michael, Howard can advice you on this. Did you know that there are good Federal laws that can be used against the zor. I believe because of the securities departments getting over loaded with zees complaints from many franchise systems things will have to change. The courts cannot ignore all the consistant horror stories from many different franchisors. Did you know that some states are going to regulate franchising where up to date information has to be disclosed? I believe it is about time. Not only for all the hurt zees but for the good zors who respect the fact people work hard for their money. I am hoping there will be stiffer penalties for bad zors that are obivious phonzi schemes. The internet has been the beginning of the end of the good thing many bad zors have had for many years. I am hoping the one-sided agreements will be thrown out and replaced with direct, concrete words. Throw out may, shall, should, estimate, projected and intend. I hoping that more people learn to tear apart a UFOC and know they can negotiate a FDD. If it is non-negotiable throw the evil document out and don’t do business with that zor. If a zor says it is against government regulations to have them put anything in writing you are dealing with a rat.

  • NJ owner

    What is curves procedure to close facilities?

  • NJ owner

    What does curves require you to do with your equipment if the facility is closing before 5 years?
    What did others do?

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    You have to email resales at or Alesha Yankie directly. Tell her you want to shut your club down. She will email you paperwork. What they ask of you is just ridicuouls. I sent it to my attorney. They want you to either sell your equipment or donate it to a woman’s prision. No prision wants the equipment. They also tell you you have to pay a $10,000 failure fee. They tell you they will analyze your paperwork and discuss it with the committee. I guarantee there isnt a committee. Don’t give them any money.

  • Kim Cardin

    OK, I am terrified to make this Curves purchase. Especially after the new “Smart Curves: thing is happening…

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    You mean Curves Smart? Don’t purchase that equipment. It’s not worth it. I hire a guy to maintence my equipment (regular not Smart). He also maintences other curves equipment around NY, NJ, & CT. He told me it has a ton of glitches and not worth the $5,000 they charge you to own it.

  • unhappy

    You are correct in not buying the smart eq. It was sold to the franchisee’s as new technology but in realality it is over 10 years old. It didn’t work than and it does not work now. Many clubs are very upset that did buy it and CI refuses to take it back or to refund their fees that they are charging.

  • unhappy

    You had better think twice about buying a franchise as it is not a good investment. If you want to own your own business their are plenty of business to consider that are honest and profitable for you to look at. Check out the top franchises that are in the top 10 on this site. If you insist on buying a curves I wish you the best of luck but when you fail don’t forget you were warned. It’s hard to make it work when the deck is stacked against you from the beging as the franchisor is a unethical, immoral and in our thoughts a crook. Good luck

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    Curves not refunding monies? THERE’S A SURPRISE! This is why I have to laugh HYSTERICALLY when they call themselves a CHRISTIAN organization and how Howard Gary Heavin calls himself a religious man. Remember what the Bible says, “Beware of a wolf in Sheeps clothing.”

    I love people who claim to be Christians and uses the Lord as a crutch. It’s awful. I am sure God apprecaites Heavin lying, manipulating, committing fraud, being immoral, extorting, so on and so forth. Yep, that’s a TRUE Christian.


  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    Christians are not immune to self-delusion and from rationalizing their actions as serving the “greater good.” Christians are not immune to using their “Christian character” to inspire the trust of other Christians in business transactions.

    The same can probably be said for Jews, or Muslins, or any religion.

    Read Les Stewart of Franchise Fool for an understanding of human nature and the Dance of Franchising.

    Because franchising, as an industry, has been recognized by government and our elected officials as being beneficial to our national economy and is subsidized under public policy by ineffective regulation, franchisors don’t feel any real guilt about those who buy their franchises and fail. They ignore the failures and feel pride in the successes that do feed the economy. They give themselves awards at IFA conventions, etc., convince the Congress that they are providing good jobs in the economy, and their attorneys write Amicus Briefs to the courts to protect the current status quo of regulation and the law that gives franchisors the license to lie, cheat, and steal, as they are so inclined.

    Their agents who sell the franchises very often are not aware of the performance statistics of the system on a unit basis, and government regulation itself protects the franchisor from those franchisees who fail to thrive.

    In the actual signed contract, all franchisees acknowledge that they haven’t relied on anything outside of the four corners of the contract to make their decision to purchase the franchise and, therefore, all oral and written representations and hype in the sales process are erased, etc… This, of course, is a lie but a necessary lie because it is impossible to buy a franchise without signing the unbargained, non-negotiable contract.

    Even if you can show the judge or the arbitrator that you were misled outside of the contract, the terms of the contract are generally upheld by arbitrators and the courts because of the necessity to protect the validity of the contracts that often become “commercial paper” that is sold/traded in our free market economy.

    It is not difficult for the Christian franchisor to rationalize that he is serving the “greater good” just as Christian leaders rationalize the use of torture for the “greater good” and protection of the American people.

    They justify that if they are successful with a certain percentage of their franchisees, “the end justifies the means.”

    My point has always been that the “constructive fraud” is accomplished by the packaging of the franchise contract together with the government mandated disclosure document. The disclosure document gives immunity to the franchisor for not disclosing the unit historical performance statistics to new buyers, who then cannot make an informed decision as to the risk of the investment in terms of possible profitability or failure, etc..

    This flaw in the FTC Rule that regulates franchisors is unfair, therefore, to new buyers of franchises who are not getting full disclosure of the risks involved before they purchase the franchise. If prospective franchisees knew and understood the real risk of the franchise investment, very often they would decide that the rewards did not justify the risk and would not buy the franchise.

    Remember that all franchisors would be delighted if all of their franchisees were successful and realized profits within their estimated startup costs of building a retail unit, but if the reality is otherwise, so be it.

    Too bad —so sad — TS about the BS! Buy yourself one of those vulgar bumper stickers that say “Sh..t Happens” and get on with your life is their message to you that is upheld by the arbitrators and the courts.

  • Fitdude

    Many of us who have been in the fitness industry for awhile predicted the fall of Curves years ago because of their inferior equipment, lack of service and training and over saturating of the market. As a matter of fact, Craig Pepin-Donat, the former President of 24 Hour Fitness, wrote about Curves in his book, “The Big Fat Health and Fitness Lie” back in 2007. They sold the franchisees a get rich quick story and put unqualified people into the fitness business. It comes as no surprise that clubs are closing faster than they are opening. Unfortunately, it is the members and franchisees that are suffering.

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    Hopefully! because of the damage to the consumers whom the FTC say they PROTECT will get the attention of the regulators and The Congress.

    Maybe THEN something will be done about all of the franchise fraud that is committed under cover of government regulation that ultimately does impact on the end consumer and investors in the franchisors.

    Do you think, Fitdude, that franchising could survive if the franchisors within certain concept sectors had to compete with each other for the cheap labor and capital of franchisees?

    Wouldn’t only those franchiso whose franchises provided profits for the franchisees and results for the public be the only ones to survive.

    Wouldn’t this prevent some of the saturation of markets. Is demand infinite?

  • Fitdude


    You ask a very good question. As a non-franchise manufacturer of hydraulic equipment, I see my independent club owner customers typically do better than their franchise competitors for several reasons. First, they have the freedom to offer additional equipment, services and programs (treadmills, elliptical machines, yoga, massage, tanning, pilates, group classes, nutritional programs, babysitting, etc) that will give them an edge over the competition as well as additional profits. Next, they have the flexibility to format their club any way they like. Many of my customers in small towns offer women only hours during the day (while being able to stay open all day), then coed hours in the evening. Lets face it, there are just as many out of shape guys out there as women and it makes sense in a smaller market to appeal to as much of the population as possible. It is true that this will keep a few women away, but as long as they know there will not be any men in the club before 5-6pm, it does not seem to be a problem. The quality of the equipment offered is also a major factor in success. With Curves’ nonadjustable cylinders, virtually 100% of Curves members will hit a plateau within a few months. They are told to push harder/faster, but one can only push so fast in 30 seconds. To continue to get results, you would either need to increase the time exercised or the resistance (load). Working out longer defeats the whole purpose of a time efficient 30 minute program. This is why many Curves members get frustrated and bored and eventually drop out.

    If a franchise can offer some flexibility in the equipment/programs/products they allow their franchisees to offer as well as superior adjustable equipment with reasonable franchise fees, then I would think they could succeed in markets where Curves have failed. But I have yet to see any franchise company offer this package. In fact, allowing the franchisee the freedom to make these decisions defeats the purpose of a “turn-key” franchise. Anyone considering buying a fitness franchise needs to take a strong look at what is being offered and how it will help them address the needs of their individual market.

  • another curves owner

    I spoke to a women who very soon will become a new owner of a curves that was about to close. I was sad when she thought she was getting a great deal,because she bought it very very cheap maybe 1 dollar. What she failed to realize allt he fees that go along with it. and getting involved with a franchisor who will ultimitly steal her money and cause her great financial despair. I wish she knew what all already know that when a business fails, theres usually a reason. You are led to believe you can make it work that you can do a better job. All of us that are in the business know the truth. It is now the first of the year still no advertising yet they take our money every month, They dont care if you fail just that you owe them money, once you sign on the dotted line its over, you have sold your soul and everthing in your bank account. For those who are considering buying this business listen to your gut feeling if you cant sleep or feel uneasy listen to your intuition and dont do it . I wish I had listened to mine another failed curves broke and unhappy

  • unhappy


    I believe that is the topic of discussion here is it not? The reason many curves owners will anwser that with a resounding NO is not because of inferior equipment, lack of service to members and training of staff relating to members. As a matter of fact the equipment (not including smart equipment which is a ruse just to get more money out of franchisee’s) is extremly reliable and will provide anyone no matter what condition they are in a good workout. That is one of the best selling points an owner has when selling memberships as anyone can use the equipment regardless of their fitness level and obtain excellent results. All owners are required to go to club camp to learn how to teach how to use the equipment properly and all trainers (employees) should be taught by the owners in the correct procedures. I have been an owner for over ten years and I can tell you that the program used properly not only works the results for the majority of women are truly amazing. I have had many fitness trainers both male and female come in to check us out over the years and the first thing they say is that the equipment looks like a joke but when we put them on the equipment they all changed their minds very quickly and by the time they left they all agree that done properly it is just as good if not better than lifting weights. Furthermore it is a proven fact in the fitness industry that circut training is the best workout for building muscule and losing weight. There are many studies that prove this is so and the documentation of those studies is not in question and can be found on the internet by doing research on health and fitness. The fact that it does work is supported by the fact that the retention rate oif members is right around 80 percent which is much higher than other health clubs. But does this make Curves for Women a good investment. The anwser is a resounding NO. And the reasons are becouse of how the franchises are mistreated by the franchisor. When they first started selling franchises the owners were qualified individuals but in 03 Howie fired the top management that built this company. He did so as they were unwilling to over sell franchise and realized what Howie was doing and his greed. They sued him for 20 million dollars and won a large settlement. But unfortunatly with them gone no one was left to control Howie’s greed. At this time, we as owners saw the changes first hand and over the next 3 to 4 years things went from bad to worse and have continued until now where it has become untollerable for most owners. During this time he not only over sold the territories but has spend advertising dollars that each franchise pays on a monthly basis on things that benifit him and not the franchiee’s. We have no acountability of where the money is spent but we do know that it has not been spent on advertisement for our clubs. He has made it impossable to get a hold of any person at the corporate level as no one ever answers the phone their and they do not return calls when you leave a message. He has bought out all of the suppliers that gave support to curves owners and has upped the cost on everything and expects the franchise’s to give everything away for free as a form of advertising. Many times such as the Curves health bars which were introduced through the clubs can be bought cheaper at discount food store’s than franchisee’e can buy them direct form curves. This is also true of the Curves Cereal. It has made it impossable for the franchisee’s to make money selling anything with the Curves brand. He also begain selling franchises to unqualified owners just so he would get his franchise fees and even sold area’s that were less than 1600 in population that he was fully aware could not support a club. He upped his price for a curves franchise which he swore from the start he would not do from 19,900 to 49,900 and even changed his monthly franchise fee to a percentage instead of the flat rate that he originally charged. When things start to fall a part he came up with the idea of the smart equipment which he presented to the franchise owners as a revelutionary equipment that he invented which would change the whole fitness industry. While many owners fell for this scam many didn’t and as time went by it was found out that the smart equipment was actually 10 years old and he never invented it and it never worked than and doesn’t work now. His intent was just to screw more owners out of more of thier hard earned money. While there are many other reasons why owners have complaints the conclusion to be had from all of this is that Curvces for Women is a bad investment at this time and anyone looking to buy a resale or a new franchise should see both sides before making that decision. Could this change in the future? Yes it could if the owners prevail in the group action lawsuit in enough numbers where the courts force the management to change as they have done to other franchises this franchise might make a come back from the dead and once again be the number one franchise in the nation to buy as it was from 02 to 04. At this time it is the management not the concept that is causing the franchise’s to fail.

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    Fitdude points out that so often the independentsis are in a better position to serve their clients in the community and they appear to be more successful because they can design their operations according to the demands of the clients they serve.

    “Another Curves owner” points out that franchisees are tied up with contractual obligations that take advertising fees and royalties on your gross sales, even as the franchisee are operating at a loss and sick at heart wondering how long they will survive. Franchisees have no flexibility in terms of designing their own services, etc.. and are often trapped into indenturing service looking for a way out.

    When there are no profits for the franchisee, the contract is a malicious legal trap from which there is no escape. Curves feels very safe in the arms of Contract Law and their UFOC/FDD’s.

    This trap was set for franchisees when the federal government regulated franchising and took franchisors out from under the purview of the common law fraud statutes of the states to put them under contract law and a federal dislcosure rule that would protect franchisors from claims from franchisees that they had been defrauded in the pre-sales process because they were sold an “unviable” and “unprofitable” franchise opportunity.

    In my opinion, the government has indicated that there is no fraudulent inducement to contract or fraudulent concealment as long as the franchisor discloses in compliance with the FTC Rule. And, even when the franchisor violates the FTC Disclosure Rule or the FDD, there is NO private right of action allowed under the FTC Rule and the FDD. The individual franchisees and groups of franchisees appear to have NO STANDING to sue under the FTC Rule or the FDD for violations of the FTC Disclosure Rule or the State FDD’s.

    The deck is stacked against franchisees who don’t thrive and are failing but franchisees don’t realize this before they invest and sign the “killer” contract and put TOO much at risk —because they think that there is some government oversight of the franchise industry because of the voluminous disclosure document. They don’t understand the risk and the risk in real terms, in my opinion, is obscured under cover of the UFOC or FDD.

    I’m sorry for your pain and loss and I hope you will contact your elected officials and your State Attorney General and tell them you feel that you have been defrauded. You wouldn’t have bought the franchise if you had been informed of the “unprofitability” and “failure” of other Curves franchisees in a timely manner by the seller of the franchise.

  • unhappy

    To all Curves Owners,

    It is time we take our complaints about Curves to another level. All owners who are posting here should file a complaint with the BBB in their area and file a complaint with the Attorney General of their state. Than they need to go to the Federal Trade Commission web site and file a complaint with that federal agency also. Here is the link for the FTC Just maybe Howie will get the message that it is time to change the way he operates his business.

  • another curves owner

    There is power in numbers, no matter what the franchise law says and all the double talk in the world will not protect the negitive publicty this will incur. the facts are there, the nimber of angry franchisees that are out there in USA and abroad are overwhelming, only a matter of time this will be in the press and airwaves. What will this do to curves, one can only guess.Everything that has been said is true and is unforunate as it was a wonderful concept, but greed from the top ruined a great company, this will only crumple curves. Bad publicity travels fast. For those of us that have been taken I do believe justice will prevail.Life is a learning lesson,pick up the pieces and go on. To the question is this a good investment, I say until there is reform of this company and the franchisor does the right thing and helps his company I say absolutly not. Yes I will hop on board on whatever we have to do to change the way CI does business. Lawsuit first and attorny general in each state and then newsmedia, This will certainly get there attention 90% of owners are sick of CI. WE are in business only to make them rich. They give back nothing . they dont even advertise anymore yet they take our money every month, What nerve. They make us buy products that we pay tax and shipping and tell us to give them away. come on wake up, these people have to be stopped even if it means a huge fall is coming we all lost a lot and CI doesnt seem to care. Like I said before there is power in numbers and the numbers are large

  • Sean Kelly

    there is power in numbers and the numbers are large
    Did Curves franchisees form an Independent Franchisee Council? If so, what’s the status? Did they ever make or try to force changes from within? What happened?
    What changes would be a priority for those club owners still open?

    Bad publicity travels fast. Unfortunately, in franchising it often doesn’t travel fast enough. I’m sure 95% of what you’ll find in the press on the Curves franchise is positive. Eventually, WSJ or BusinessWeek will do a good story. Where will they get their information? Right here… so keep posting.

  • unhappy

    Yes several years ago a group of franchisees did form a independent franchise council but Curves International sent out e-mails to all franchisee’s stating that it was not approved by them. Then if they found out that you joined them you were black-balled and such. It disbanded in late 06. Meanwhile curves International formed a co-op and a yahoo curves owners group but they monitor the site and if you post anything negative again you are black-balled. They have also started a owners board wich is ment to give owners a voice in how Curves International runs things but not one suggestion from them has ever been used.

    You are correct bad publicity does travel fast and we are gaining momentium but all curves owners who have complaints should write their respective BBB, attorney Generall of their state, and the FTC (address and e-mail provided in previous post by Unhappy dated Jan 7th)

  • Sean Kelly

    Yes several years ago a group of franchisees did form a independent franchise council… if they found out that you joined them you were black-balled… if you post anything negative again you are black-balled…

    What do they do to those who are black-balled? It’s not like they can withhold store visits & support, since it sounds like they provide none. How do you know you’re black-balled?

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    There s another forum where members and owners post.

  • unhappy

    You won’t believe the things they did to the clubs that joined the truly Independent Franchisee Ass. If you need to order parts for equipment it was delayed for months, same when you ordered products and franchise fees were doubled charged and took months to get it credited back to your account. We were sent letters that our franchise could be terminated although to my knowlegde this was never done the threat put pressure for owners not to join. Our clubs were labeled as trouble makers and treated accourdingly. Bullitens from the home office anouncing the new advertising campains were sent out after the campain was half over or completly done. Of course if you complained it was never done on purpose. Most of the owners I know who joined have all sold thieir clubs as it became obvious we were wanted in their circle. When we would go to get on the curves owner web site you couldn’t get on for weeks at a time as your password would not work.
    When we would complain we were told it was just a computer error but it was onlythe franchisee that joined the association that had problems to my knowledge.

  • daughter of owner

    How do you go about closing a curves down, is it even possible?

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    daughter of owner,

    Yes, it is possible but the problem is if you did not fulfill your full terms on your franchise agreement, theyw ill put a judgement against you and ask you for $10,000 as a failure fee. Because that is what is going to happen to us, we are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They cannot place the 20 year judgement against you once you fiule bankruptcy. We have never made any money and Corporate just doesnt care.

  • Sean Kelly

    Curves franchise owners:
    What do you think of Curves partnering with the aggressively anti-gay American Family Association (AFA)?
    Is this a good use of advertising dollars, or is it playing with fire? Comments encouraged here:

  • NJ owner

    North Jersey Curves Owner,

    Did you file for bankruptcy before you notified Curves?
    If you did notify Curves, how long did it take them to get back to you with the paperwork?

  • beenthere

    email resales dept and notify of closing date. they will encourage resale efforts, but just declare a closing date and they will give you instructions on how to properly close. -takes 30 days to shut down properly and not short-change your members. after 4 years, we finally made this tough decision, as we had exhausted efforts to make a profit. C.I. reported $50,000,000 net income (2005) in last publicly published figures. ( we helped them get there, by working like indentured servants.

  • http://Joe,thePlumber carol cross

    NJ Owner:

    Under the terms of the contract you signed and the lease you signed, did you sign personal guarantees on both the franchise and the lease, etc…?

    If you have any money or assets, and terminate the contract before the end of the stated term, the usual franchise agreement allows both the frachisor and the Landlord to sue you for breach of contract. This, of course, seems grossly unfair when you are terminating because of lack of profits or you are working for nothing and have actual losses each month in the operation of the business. But, apparently, this “exit strategy” is a malicious legal trap in franchise agreements that contributes to the durability of franchising and franchiSORS. You can’t quit just because there are no profits if you can afford to pay your bills and there are no defaults. You can only try to sell your franchised business to some other franchise fool for nothing to get out from under the guarantees on the franchise and the lease, etc…

    However, if you are closing because you have continually lost money in the operation of the business, and can prove it, some judges will not permit the franchisor to take the liquidated damages (the owned royalties, or whatever) if it is just a penalty. But, of course some judges do! Will Curves try to sue you? Who knows —–since they have been offering buyouts, their practice is arbitrary, and maybe the judge would take exception to this?

    Do you have debt on the equipment and the buildout? and will you have to continue paying on this debt after you close? Will you be able to continue to pay on your debt or will this throw you into bankruptcy?

    Looks like you will have to get an attorney —unfortunately! Good Luck!

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    We asked Curves for the closing paperwork. However, we have been advised by our bankruptcy attorney not to sign, fill out, or send Corporate back anything. We are still in the process. When you file Chapter 7, there is a TON of paperwork your attorney needs – 2 years of tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, P&Ls, bills, contracts etc. We are having a staff meeting Feb 7 to tell the staff we are closing. We may actuually close that day of the meeting. Our attorney told us not to give anyone any notice and to just shut down. She said once we file bankruptcy, we are protected by the court. She also told us to leave all our equiopment and business assets in the gym and not to remove anything because once you file bankruptcy, those are no longer your assets. They belong to the court. We have a lien on our assets from the bank we took a loan out with. She told us to let Curves, the bank, and the landlord fight over how the assets are going to leave the property. Unfortunately, I don’t see any other way out. We do not want a 20 year judgement on us and we will not be able to pay all the debt monthly we owe from this albatross. Chapter 7 was the only sensible option.

  • Stacere

    Hi, I have been reading this site now for the past 6 or more months.. I just want to tell you a bit about the curves I work for! I’m in Australia and Curves is still a big hit here (But they are closing down too) I have been managing a curves here for 2 years now, and my boss is another Gary Heavin as far as Im concerned.. but he decided to sell his curves here for 150,000 he asked me to buy it … I seriously considered it, went to my accountant and he said buy it or 60,000 … well I then got onto this site and this site made my decision for me .. I didnt go ahead, anyway one of the other girls who works with me .. well she did buy it and she has paid 80,000 for it… now I tried to warn her.. but she wouldnt listen, Now we have gone from 600 members and we are now down to 190 and still sinking.. 4 cancellations yesterday (they say they love it but its boring) I am not religious but am praying for her sake that it works for her, now in the 2 years we have been open we have never had a visit from the topnotches, never a phonecall, email absolutely nothing at all… I just want to thankyou all for helping me make my decision cause if it wasnt for this website I would have ended up losing all like most of you have. So thankyou.. I am still there but I now have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.. our boss isnt the best and all just seems like a bit of a headache.. the new owners have asked me to stay on and not let them down.. my only problem now is do I want to be there when it all falls apart … or do I just keep trying so hard to keep in going … I know that im only speaking as a manager and not a owner, but having lived and breathed the curves way for 2 years and nearly losing my husband and kids over putting so much into the business for a man who has no idea (the owner) i can see everything your saying happening here in Australia.

  • beenthere

    emotional toll/sacrifice is one of the highest costs of small business ownership. you are not alone. go to Curves-for-sale-by-owner on curves and trust that most listings reflect bitter disappointment and mounting financial losses being incurred by owners. most gross under $100,000 revenue, and not many businesses can operate that low and claim to make money.

  • Mellissa

    Dear Stacera,

    Obviously you have made a good decision , but It is easy to see why the business is failling,
    Why arent the Owners more present and if the numbers are so low how can they afford a manager?? they should be doing all the hours if needed and with 190 members it is needed
    Curves isnt the only problem in your case it’s the lack of ownership leadership !!
    Dont feel bad if it fails as you said you are not the owner , give them all you got but members want to see the owners comfort them when there is a change in administration.
    Good luck

  • captain ron


  • Sean Kelly

    Regarding the Curves promotional partnership with the anti-gay American Family Association, Becky Frusher, Director, Corporate Communications, Curves International, Inc. has posted her response here:

  • beenthere

    no real good reason to buy the franchise whole. Right now, (today), there are two complete Curves circuit systems on Ebay for sale. must be secured creditors reselling repo equipment, as they would not be encumbered by franchise agreement.

  • Cindy

    If you are a person contemplating owning a women’s gym franchise, DO NOT DO IT!!!!!

    We live in a trend driven society, not a hop on the bandwagon of success from a decade gone by. Look at how the diet trends have changed over the years. The exercise business works the same way. I could write a book, but I won’t bore you with my soap box.

    There are so many things you are thinking to yourself right now, if you are seriously considering this business venture;
    1. Wow, I could do this
    2. I could own my own business and what a great one to have, a gym, I could get into the best shape of my life
    3.There’s no inventory, I don’t have to worry about ordering product, storage space of that product, what to order, cost of the product, that then needs to be marked up, etc
    4. There’s very little cash transactions done at the gym. I don’t have too much worry about employees stealing from me, or getting robbed.
    5. It will be fun working with and meeting women. Infact I’m good at that, people like me, I’m outgoing.
    6. This job/ownership will allow me to really make a difference in women’s lives.
    7. I would be the owner of a business, Wow, powerful.
    8. I was drawn to this business for a reason, and the reason must mean something. This business found me, as if I am “supposed to do this thing”.
    9. After my initial investment, it shouldn’t cost a lot, because, once again, no ordering of product on a weekly basis. I will have the “product”, which will not have to be replenished, and I’ll earn money through memberships.
    10. Every woman wants to be in shape!!! It should not be that difficult of a sell.
    11. I know that Billions of dollars are spent on the diet and exercise industry…Billions!!!
    12. All I need is 300 members, to make the money I am making now at my current job, the one I hate. I live in a city that has over 20,000 people, within a 5 mile radius, so how difficult would it be to get 300 of them to join the gym, something you know they WANT TO DO.

    I could go on. All of the previous ideas are true. But for every reason to do it, there are 3 reasons not to.

    Getting 100 members is an astronomical task. Yes women want to be in shape and thin, but I’d hate to say it, it’s what they want to be right at that moment of thinking it. Many, not all, and perhaps not even the majority, but many, do not understand what it takes to get there. They are afraid of a commitment….RED FLAG…that’s what your gym needs to survive, a huge commitment, people willing to not take the easy road, people willing to for go immediate gratification, people ready to make that change. Guess what? You will have to be the one to convince them of this. You will have to sell, sell, sell, your little heart out. You will have to convince someone who wants something so badly, that you can provide to them for a small amount of money, that joining your gym will be the best thing for them. You believe this, and it is true, but the person coming in will see all the equipment, think long term commitment, think about how long it might take to lose the weight, etc etc. You will find yourself trying to convince some stranger at that point, how they can dramatically improve their life, and still they hesitate.

    This will start to ware on your psyche. You will start to resent the fact that these people should be begging you to join your gym and thank you for saving their lives. You will see the benefits of exercise on a daily basis, learn everything that exercise can do for you, and you will start to wonder why you don’t have a line out your door, or a waiting list, because you are at full capacity.

    It doesn’t happen. Ladies’ gyms did well a while back because it was a new trend. It was easy. The women who joined thought it was easy. They tried everything else, this was new, and this time it will work. Well it’s not new anymore, it’s old. People are back to trying to find some other way to be in shape or thin. They are looking for the next new trend.

    I’ve written too much. If I could save one person from financial ruin, sleepless nights, thoughts of suicide, then God Bless Me. Please, please please, talk to other owners. Many, 100 of them. It will be worth it. Don’t only talk to owners that will tell you what you think you want to hear. Seek the truth, do not convince yourself that you are different from those who fail. Do not think that their story will be different from yours if you venture into this. Do not think that you can learn from other people’s mistakes.

    The business is too hard, not physically, exercising 8-10 hours a day is the easy part. The hard part is trying to convince people to save their own lives on a daily basis, listening to women who are so far in denial, it’s insane, getting so close to ladies, your customers, because the ones that are committed for any length of time, will be seeing you at least 3 days a week, and you will not help but to get to know them on a personal level…and then they come to you with some sob story about why they cannot fullfill their year membership agreement. You can be a hardcore business person, but run the risk of a disgruntled member saying bad things about your business, but most likely you will release her from her obligations, because you “know” her, and it’s no longer a business relationship. It’s too hard. It’s too hard.

    It’s soooo rewarding, but it’s too hard. The rewards will not out weight the financial problems, nor the endless fight to keep your membership up. The bribes for them to join, the endless hours in one place every day, listening to women who are so in denial that they actually start blaming the gym as to why they haven’t lost weight. Meanwhile, they just told you what they had for breakfast, bacon, eggs, toast etc. You will have to explain countless times as to why members have not dropped 10 lbs after working out a whole 2 weeks, you will want to educate, and this will be very helpful to many, but the 10-15 women who will stand out in your mind are the ones who “know everything you are telling them already”, yet they are 40-50 lbs overweight. It’s too hard.

    It was easy when they came in droves, money made it easy, the owners could not get close to any of them, there were too many, they joined with 5 or 6 of their friends, so the owner did not have to make them feel comfortable in an unfamiliar setting, a gym, they had their friends…This is not the case 10 years later. It’s no longer a new trend that “everyone” wants to try…It’s too hard.

  • Rita Wilson


    I work in a similar industry (weight-loss centers) and it seems that your situation is just bad management. You must keep a professional relationship with your clients. Service with your right hand and collect dues/funds with your left. Managers should manage, counselors/trainers should provide the WOW service.

    You are right, many potential clients are in denial, but let’s face it–weight loss, cosmetics, dating industry, gyms–it’s all the same. The business is sales. The only difference is we not only sell, but as a professional owner/manager we ensure the service is the BEST in town.

    I am not a Curves Owner, but as a Weight Loss Center owner, you do not have to “fad” out. Provide superior service, deliver what you promise, and follow the franchise protocol. It’s a winning situation.


  • fitdude

    I don’t think Cindy’s situation is one of poor management, it sounds to me more like burn-out. I know of this all too well; I experienced it a few times myself (I’ve owned several clubs- not Curves). It can be very frustrating to give, give, give of yourself then to hear whining from lazy or negative people.
    It also sounds like Cindy needed to get back to the basics of selling (as we all do in this business); as Zig Ziegler said, “people do not buy a product for what you tell them it does, they buy a product for what it will do for them”. In other words, you need to address a need before you can effectively sell something. This is why we ask the open-ended questions while giving tours “how long have you been thinking about working out?”, “what has kept you from joining a club in the past?”, “will your husband support you in your efforts?”, etc. An effective club tour will overcome any objections before they are given. Yes, it is work, but it does work. This is why there is a great deal of time spent on selling during the Curves workshops. Can it be overdone to the point of being high-pressure and driving people away? Absolutely; I have heard this from many Curves members and staff. Getting them in the door and signed up is only the first part; you then need to service them. This is where many people burn out from the repetition, boredom and whining. Sometimes, you need to take a break and step back to realize that you are in a service business and you need to retain members to stay in business. Zig Ziegler also said “people buy from people they like and trust”; personalized customer service is critical in this business. The “personal touch” is particularly important in Curves clubs that are locked into a cookie-cutter franchise formula with nonadjustable hydraulic cylinder. Most Curves members will get results initially, but then they hit a plateau within a few months because their equipment is not adjustable. They are told to push harder/faster, but let’s face it, a 50-60 year old women can only push so fast in 30 seconds. That is when they get frustrated and bored and stop coming. Unlike the large coed clubs, these small women’s clubs stay in business by members actually using the club and continuing to get results; thus word of mouth advertising. Word of mouth advertising can be your best and cheapest advertising, but it can also kill you if members are saying things like “yeah, I stopped losing weight at Curves, so I stopped going”. Curves owners also have their hands tied behind their backs in terms of offering additional products, programs or services to keep things fresh for members and for extra profit centers (cardio equipment, yoga or stretching classes, tanning, massage, babysitting, etc).
    The huge “fad” of women’s clubs popping up all over the country is over, but this still remains a very viable market and is here to stay. I would never recommend buying a Curves franchise, but this can still be a nice solid business (not a get rich quick scheme) that is not rocket science to run.
    Disclaimer- Yes, I do sell non-franchise adjustable hydraulic equipment, but I am not on this forum to sell products; I do not give out my contact information. I do encourage anyone who is thinking about buying a Curves club or getting in the business to do LOTS of homework. This can be a very rewarding business in more ways than one. You can make a nice profit if you work hard, it can be personally rewarding and you can help make some positive changes in others.

  • Rita Wilson

    Amen! And you are right, Cindy’s comments may be more of Burn Out and not Poor Management. It is about CLOSING GATES, Gaining committment, Gaining Yes answers to questions and overcoming objections. We are in a sales and service business and you cant service without first selling.

    My franchise always tells me ” you can’t keep a church open without an offering”. Yes, we are here to help people, but it is also a business.

    People need the financial accountability for committment to their program.

  • Fit Philly

    This thread had been a real eye opener. I had no idea.

  • unhappy

    Important message to all Curves owners.
    There is another site that all current owners of a curves franchise needs to be aware of. The site was set up by Curves using our advertising dollars so we all need to use it. It’s intent is to allow owners to converse with other owners and to share ideas. It is a good site if you are looking for ideas on how to save your club or just have questions for other owners. Here is the link

    Please go there to check it out and voice your opinion on the current posts and voice your concerns. This site is strictly for owners.

  • unhappy

    To all past and present curves owners

    It is time for all past and present owners of Curves franchises to stand up and file complaints against Curves International and Gary Howard Heavin. I’m sure we can all agree that this company is in serious trouble with all the club closures and while the economy certainly has hurt our business the main set back is how the company is being run into the ground by Gary Heavin and his co-hearts. It should be obvious to all owners that the only way this will change is if we take action as a group. Some owners have been talking about a boycott of the monthly franchise and advertising fees that we pay. While that will certainly get their attention if enough of us follow through we can accomplish it even faster if we all file complaints with the BBB in Waco, TX, the BBB in your area, the Attorney General of your state, the Attorney General of the state of TX. and the Federal Trade Commission. I have included web site addresses where you can go to file such a complaint. Please do so ASAP and lets see how Howie handles the complaints.

  • lilmomma

    My mom and I are thinking about buying a curves in MN. I had no idea things were like this. The price we would pay is only $5000. each so we thought we were getting a great deal the reason for selling is that she owns two and has a full time job and is not able to be at either curves and is so overwhelmed by all of it. At that price do you think this is still a bad idea???

  • Mellissa


    5000.$ Just do it !! but first ask how many members ?
    see bank reccords to verify the actual entry of money, Ask the members if they will renew and if not why? Ask the other business around , ask the landloard if the rent has been paid , electricity etc.. if not make sure you are in no way responsable for any of the amount due.
    But if all cheks out , just work 60 H a week and make shure your costumers are happy and are loosing weight and youll make it. spend at least 20% of your time on prospection and making contacts with other business ..
    Good luck..

  • fitdude


    I would say that unless she is going to pay you at least $15,000.00 to take over the club, it is a bad idea. This amount should cover your franchise and advertising fees and any product they force you to carry for the first year (it won’t cover your rent, payroll, etc.). That would give you some time to try to bring the membership back up to covering the monthly expenses. If she is trying to sell her club for $5K, you can rest assured that she has been losing money every month and wants to get out from under it. I can imagine that she is overwhelmed.
    If you are still considering this deal, you will want to see everything; her bank statements, EFT drafts, membership list, check register, P&L statements, etc.
    Good luck.

  • unhappy but getting happy

    It may sound good and cheep to you but be very careful. Have her give you a projection sheet for the last three months. This is a report generated by her computer system and has to be sent into the Curves International home ofice each month. Compare the total income figure with what she deposits and it will also show you the total number of actual members. She is more than likly losing money each month as most clubs are and at that price it can’t be a profitable club. That is not to say you and your mother couldn’t change it around but it is very unrealistic that you will given the times we are in right now. In my opinion you should run not walk away from this as if you don’t have at least 25 to 30 thousand set aside to keep it going until it is profitable again. Keep your money and buy a dog grooming business.

  • unhappy but getting happy

    Yes, thats right people I’m getting down right happy. Curves International is finally begining to feel the heat from all the owners who are fed up with the dishonesty, lack of integrity, and just plain bad business practices of Howie. He is begining to buckel and it’s driving him nuts. So to all you owners keep writing the BBB in your area and in Waco and the attorney general of you state and TX. Don’t forget the FTC also. Keep the pressure up!!!! Also don’t forget to join the yahoo group curves owner site and voice your concerns there also.

  • Fed-Up


    How do you know CI is feeling the heat? What actions or behaviors is CI exhibiting that shows they are getting uncomfortable?

  • North Jersey Curves Owner

    That is what I was going to ask. Who else has contacted the BBB and FTC? I contacted the FTC and

  • unhappy

    I was in Waco TX all last week working with attorneys and believe me they are feeling the heat. We must keep up the complaint letters to the BBB Attorney Generals and the FTC. The attorneys are pit bulls and howie has very little time left on delaying the law suits as he has tried to do in the past. Many more suits will be filed in the comming months as what they are doing to owners who are forced to close is definately illigal. I’m so dam happy I’m almost giddy. If you want more info call me or send an e-mail to this site with your number and Sean will forward it to me and I will call you and explain what is happening with the law suits and who to contact in TX.

  • another curves owner

    Wow, I have never seen so many negative people. Business is business with no guarentees. It is what you make of it or should I say put into it.I agree that a closing fee seems unfair,but unqualified people should not be in this business and location is everything. Did you research how many people in your area. Do you run your own club, or leave to people you pay minium wages. There are clubs that are sucessful. Those people are not negitive and give it their all. Who said working out was fun. but it is essential for good health educated women know this. If you make your club a positive envirment, where women can go get 30 minute workout feel good and leave what could be better. for all the negitivity know wonder so many have failed the strong will survive not just with curves, but for all businesses, not everyone is cut out for curves some learn the hard way as for CI yes there is room for improvment, but curves community is there for you always, do you use it are you afraid of your computer. 24 hours aday you can log on. This is big business they will not hold your hand. You need to be a self starter and sell and get along with women. I am so glad I didnt see this site before I bought my club or it might have discouraged or even scared me. This site is so negitive it breaths failure that conveys to members you need to stay upbeat and positive and reassure the women they are doing good for health and wellbeing that breaths sucess.If you cant stand the heat get out of the fire

  • Outsider Looking in…

    Curves franchise website: “With a Curves franchise, you’ll be in business for yourself, not by yourself… We assume that franchisees have no experience or knowledge in the operation of a fitness and weight loss facility…”

    another curves owner: “…unqualified people should not be in this business… not everyone is cut out for curves… This is big business they will not hold your hand.”

    As an outsider looking in, I agree with what ACO says about having a positive attitude, taking responsibility, etc. I also know the importance of industry experience.

    Isn’t the problem here that Curves went out of their way to sell to people with little to no experience? Didn’t they PROMISE to hold hands, be there every step of the way?

    I’ve watched this train wreck coming for a long time. Can CI really be surprised after they not only left people without the implied promise of support, but then they charge them $10K when they fail… sort of a farewell insult?

    another curves owner, have you expressed your frustration to CI for their poor franchisee screening and unrealistic promises?

  • unhappy

    another curves owner,
    Yes you are right there are plenty of dissatisfied owners on this site all of which have been taken by curves International with it’s false promises, lack of support, and down right lies. You as an owner knows what you have had to put up with. What are your complaints with Curves International and don’t tell us you have none. How many have closed in you area? Do you really believe it’s all the owners fault and that corporate has no responsibility for any of this?
    The only thing that is going to save Curves is a change in management at the top levels and the only way this will happen is if owners get involved and band togeather in the many law suits that are being formed. We have tried other routes since 03 and it has only gotten worse. Go to the group yahoo site and we have certainly voiced our complaints their with no success What do you purpose we do? Maybe you are still drinking howies kool aid but for many of us weve had enough. It’s time for a CHANGE.

  • another curves owner

    Yes you are correct they do claim you need no experience, But only a dummy would get involved with fitness if youve never worked out. Didnt you go to club camp. Didnt you learn how to run your business.Their is a learning curve most go through but as time goes on you get better. you learn as you go as with most business.We have had some that closed only to be snatched up by women with desire to run their own show and are willing to learn. I have tryed giving advise at times as I want them to succeed. But I can tell right from the beginning if they are cut out for this business. As for CI, there are things I would like to see changed. but look at most franchises they are all the same. google macdonalds or starbucks you will see the same owners that do well and some that dont. Its the same with all companys.As far as lawsuits even if its 1000 of you that are suing for who knows what there are thousnads that are satisfied with their income from curves. This company is going nowhere it will survive the test it already has. Why would you think coporate is responsible for the way you run your company. I am responsible for my succsess or failures. I am in business for myself and I love that they only give guidlines that I stick to. I am responsible for my destinyand I dont blame anyone for my mistakes I only learn not to make them again. I love my curves and so do the women that come to my club. I have changed women in ways they never thought possible that has impowered me and makes me feel good. My friends that are curve owners love their clubs as well we are friends and work together. This is a simple business not brain surgery you just have to be true to yourself and to the women they can certainly see through a phoney that just is counting dollars. women are emotional beings and need caring, they cant wait to come back to exercise and feel the endorphine rush. also I have a great staff that care also. I could go on and on I forgot this is a sit e for the negitive but if you visit my club I bet I can change the way you feel too

  • Rita Wilson

    I am willing to wager that most of the women complaining about lack of business are either overweight or pesimists. Neither attract clientele to your clubs.

  • another curves owner

    I bet you are right also these are the same people over and over again. move on I will share this site with fellow owners that will only laugh as they have what it take to be successful, and will not entertain these negitive notions. Exercise is a wonderful thing some of you should try it. It will make you feel better about yourself and you will eventually look better too.TRy a treadmill thats boring but hundreds of thousands do it everyday to stay in shape exercise is not a fad its important for good health ask any doctor we make a difference and I am proud of it so many women have achieved their goals in my club and are grateful all because of curves the 30 minute workout I can sell this to anybody and then help them to get into the habit of exercise then my job is done. I am passinate about what I do. CI gives you tools its up to you to use them. I have taught many to feel good about themselves and be accountable.Have you watched biggest loser its possible to change a person. One of the contestants has bought a curves I am told and is now a believer. CI should screen potential buyers better. but they promise you nothing only if you have desire to make a difference you can and clubs that are closing will only make it better for the strong ones doing well. survival of the fittest no pun intended. The 10,000 failure fee is not a punishment only contractual that each of us sign it should be resinded as this will end this stupid site for all you crybabies busuness is business. look at wall street are those people getting sued,what about the banks writing crappy loans and stupid people signing them knowing they could not afford their homes in the first place are they suing. You people want change this site is not the way to go about it it only contributes to your negitivity, everybody is good at somrething go out and find out what that is

  • unhappy

    Curves owners past and present,

    It should be obvious from this site there are serious problems with the way that Curves International has enter acted with their franchisee’s. No one can argue the fact that Curves health and fitness clubs are closing at an alarming rate. The closing of individual franchisee clubs is not limited to just the locations in the United States but is going on world wide. The results of the closings are the many group action law suits that have been filed against Curves international and Gary Howard Heavin, for over saturation of the market place, over estimation of profit potential, under estimating the operating costs and lack of franchise support. While some might try to argue that the lawsuits are just sour grapes from bad owners who should have never been an owner, they are plainly wrong. It makes me doubt that they even own a club but rather a Curves shill. Furthermore her suggestions on how to be successful is right out of the Curves manual. If you for one second think that all the owners who have closed or are facing closing haven’t followed the “ spokes of the wheel” you are either nuts or in need of psychological help. Curves International’s business decisions have been very detrimental to franchisee’s include but not limited to the lack of advertising which the franchisee’s pay monthly for in the tune of 30 million dollars. Be honest you hardly never if ever see national adds any more for Curves but you sure do for the other health and fitness clubs. Howe’s supposedly new Smart Technology was to revolutionize the fitness industry. What a joke it doesn’t even work, the cylinders leak, and it’s ten years old. To make matters worse, Howe’s way of stopping the lawsuits is to charge a 10,000 dollar closing fee. He than pretends to care by lowering the fee as long as you sign a release preventing you from joining a lawsuit. If you don’t he sends you a termination letter stating that you abandoned your territory and than threatens you with a lawsuit demanding up to 49,900 dollars. Well let me tell you something. Its not legal in Texas for him to do that so owners need to take action by first writing a complaint letter to the BBB in your area as well as Waco Texas. Than secondly they need to write the Attorney General in their state as well as the state of Texas. Thirdly they need to write a complaint letter to the Federal Trade Commission and than they need to talk to a lawyer in Waco Texas. What Curves International is trying to do is morally, ethically, and legally wrong in the state of Texas.

  • Fed-Up


    It is very apparent that there are ‘Corporate Shills’ posting on here. In fact, I made that claim a few days ago in one of my postings on this site. We have also shown that CI does monitor this site.

    Curves owners, past and present, need to be aware of this. The Corporate Shills will try to distract, defect and deny any responsibility of the failure of your club and the Curves system. In turn, these Shills will try to convince you that you alone are to be blamed for you the failure of your club. There emotional tactics will include, embarrassment, guilt and attempts to make you feel stupid. Just read though some of these posts, their information is nothing more then a regurgitation of Curves Corporate vomit.

    Howard Gary Heavin is a gold toothed greedy soulless pimp and his staff is a bunch of worthless mechanical minded trolls.

  • Jake

    A quick question.

    How many Curves currently operate in the US? I see the figures from several years ago but was curious to how many exist today.

  • unhappy

    The numbers are in question as Curves International won’t tell how many are left although we do know it will be less tomarrow than we had today as clubs are closing at an alarming rate.

  • another curves owner

    and we believe this why because you said it who are you. Why should anybody believe you.I bet you sit all day bashing curves and other business. Did you ever even own one.CI does care about the clubs that make them money not the ones that fall on there face. that my friend is business. keep whining like a little girl you have know facts on what you say.clubs that have closed in my area are sold right away for whatever the price is maybe for a steal, but if the right person gets in there they will build that club up and make it work and if the club is good that gets around too. you keep repeating youself over and over you and your little group of naysayers need to move on your only hurting yourself. Internet is great. there are no faces and anybody can post. If you spent as much time on growing your business you would be a success try become a lawyer they love to argue until the cows come home. I know what is to be true and dont have to prove it to anyone curves is great and will be around a long time.the best bang for your buck.I am glad I bought my business and so are many other club owners. I just spoke to a friend in the business, she said its wasted time to post here useless energy better things to do and never anything good comes from negitivty

  • unhappy

    I’ve been with curves since nearly the begining and most of the owners here know me but we don’t know you and we know that you are spreading nothing but lies. The truth will always win out in the end as will our court cases. Do the research on this company and open you eyes and just maybe you will see the light. If you are doing so good maybe you would like to buy a couple more franchises. There are certainly enough of them for sale. If you will tell us where you are located I’ll gladly post a list of ones that are available. If you don’t like all the negitivity why don’t you go to the yahoogroupcurvesowners site. I’m sure you would try to put a spin on all of their negitive comments about corporate and what is happening to Curves. As far as how many clubs are left wait until the new UFOC filling is posted in March. By law it has to list all the franchises that have closed in 08. I will bet you that more clubs will close in 09 than closed in 08. The sad thought is that Howie will try to sell those terriiories again knowing that they failed before and in all likyhood will fail again. That my dear is called churning and Curves is an expert at it.

  • another curves owner

    like I said before on and on how many hundreds of posts are you. do you spend your day trashing this company. One club is all I can handle right now thank you anyway do you own a chain maybe thats the problem cant handle all those women ypu must be a man. or curves police. your all about faikure do you hear yourself do I need another post like this one I think not I am a women that works hard and loves to exersice and can and do make a difference. do you hate all gyms or just curves. you must have been burned bad.I do feel sorry for you. There are lawsuits for all big companys big deal. that is business, nothing is perfect and maybe you can change some things I dont know but one thing I can say and you should agree unless you are truly a fool. women and men need exercise to stay healthy that is why I chose a 30 minute workout that works for me and many others. by the way I am not a shrill or whatever you called me just a women that believes in what I do. If you dont believe it wont work

  • another curves owner

    beware of this site as it seemed to be controlled bya jerk who thinks he knows all about everthing It seems as this is entertainment I f you want to know about curves walk in one speak to the women working out and then the owner thats the only way you will get the truth. these writings are written by deranged or should I say demented people read between the lines then walk away

  • Sean Kelly

    …beware of this site as it seemed to be controlled bya jerk who thinks he knows all about everthing…
    Amen! Jerks who act like they know everything are are annoying to those of us who truly do know everything! ;)

  • unhappy

    I think she was talking about me which is fine as she has refused to address the real issue. Is Curves a good investment and why? At this time it is not a good investment because of the way Curves International treats it’s franchisee’s. there underhanded business tactics make it hard to succeed for any franchisee. She obviously believes in the circut and I do too as all owners have witnessed the results from our members and how we have changed lives over the years. But with that said not once did she ever mention how dissatisfied she is with Curves International and the way Howie run his business. There is not one single owner that I know of that will stand up for Howie or try to show him and Diane in good light. They have even tried to rewrite the history of Curves. It’s just such a shame that they don’t get it yet. The one positve thing about haaving her post here is that we are moving on up as the Jefferson’s would say. More owners are begining to log on, the word is getting out and the increase to the yahoogroupcurvesowner site has been two fold thanks to this site. Remember owners to effect change with in this corporate structure it will take a lot of us to join the fight so keep up the complaint letter to the BBB’s of your state and Texas, to the attorney general of both states and the FTC. Our one little snow ball is turning into a huge snowman so lets keep it up and just maybe change will come.

  • another curves owner

    I Did address this issue CI has only given me a vehicle, Its up to me to drive it. I dont give a hoot about CI. only my business. and yes for me I am glad about my investment it has been a wonderful experienc and alot of hard work. I pick and choose how much of there laid out plan I wish to be involved with. mostly all exercise and over time I speak with the women about diet and how vital it is in weight loss, first and formost is the habit of exercise that we all need, no lieing involved just plain simple truth and an upbeat pleasant atmosphere professionally run. I am glad I got involved but this is not for everyone. I trusted my gut and saw the numbers new I could retain members and make them grow. I have nothing to do with howie. He does not have anything to do with how I run my business and a fee at the end of the month for use of the name. I am a small privat gym with members that like to be there. They pay me a fee for my sevice period. Many middle aged women would never exercise if it werent for curves. why is that a bad thing. Your talking about coporate until they pay me a salary I could give a hoot of what goes on. I picked my location carefully and went over numbers then negotiated the sale no regrts here. not all is bad except that too many got involved when really shouldnt have. I really do feel bad for them but life is a learning lesson and busuness is hard work.Remember anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone question here is it justified time will tell

  • Rita Wilson

    AMEN–Another Curves Owner!

    These owners that are so worried about what is going on in TX and with Howie are crazy. Just focus on your OWN business–Take care of it, grow it, plant the seeds and the revenue will come.

    I find it so funny that most of the negative posts come in the A.M. time period each morning. THIS IS WHEN YOUR CLUB SHOULD BE THE BUSIEST!!! These commenters should not be on the internet building a “case”, they should be working their units and building their business.

    It is clear to see why these owners that are complaining are in the position they are in. They focus on problems and not “solutions”. Its the RESULTS, not the effort.

  • Sean Kelly

    unhappy writes: …Remember owners to effect change with in this corporate structure it will take a lot of us to join the fight…
    Do you guys have a list of specific changes you are requesting/demanding?
    If they meet your requests, how will it impact your business, sales, etc.?
    Unhappiness with ownership, etc. has been communicated over and over, but I’m not clear on the list of demands & their impact.
    Can you post them?

  • Mellissa

    Boy!! Rita you will get hammerd by Unhappy and Sean, for saying exactly wath need to be said
    But if all was good there would not be any Blog like this one that are used to dimminish, tarnish, the immage of the reality that people are facing
    it’s not only Curves it’s all kind of franchises
    If a franchisee does well it’s because of him / her if they fail it’s the Big and mean franchisor that is the cause, The franchisor spent coutless hours building a system and did it himself / herself in the biginning , the franchisor did not put a gun to anyone head to make them signed , If the franchisee start to loose members , costumers , they start to tell themself that tey where had by the franchisor , they never look in the mirror and say where did I go wrong it’s so much easier to blame the one person that started it all..
    The human natur is to always blame others for their failliures. Except the real business people that are on those hot chair with their own company to manage with no one to blame if they fail, Maby something got to be wrong with Curves but nothing that is said in here could help the franchisee that are strugling.
    Why not go 360 degrees and start giving advice from good experience.. The situation here is the same as it is in the news at this moment. All you hear in the news is how bad things are, nothing good all around us, But if you just listen to the bad news you are bound to go jump off a bridge
    Try to not listen to any news for 1 week and see the difference it will do you and you surronding
    try not to come to this blog for a week and your business will prosper, Focus on the good things
    Hey 30,000 Children a DAY are diyng from hunger
    Thousands other will die from Aids, Cancer, in the next weeks , So maby it’s not so bad for us after all. Dont ask what franchisor can do for you ask what you can do for the franchise you bought

  • another curves owner

    awesumly said, This is exactly the same thing you see because your unhappy does not make all of us unhappy we love our busuness and are prepared to what it takes to be a succses that the difference between us. If I drive a lexus does not mean I support lexus I just drive it.There are optimist and pesimists out there . Id rather hang out with optimists any day of the week. And sean take some advise here. truly let it be noted we the strong women of curves love our business and dont regret for one minute getting involved with our own destiny and our business because we are truly an example of the american dream god bless

  • Wipedout

    For every owner like Another Curves Owner, who BTW has YET to post membership numbers, rent, profit margins, etc. there are probably THREE owners like the poor ex-owners here . . .

  • Fed-Up

    Is it me or does ‘Mellissa’ and ‘another curves owner’ have oddly similar writing styles and make similar spelling and grammatical errors as well?

  • another curves owner

    no honey we dont know each other, but do share the same views.spelling was not a forte sorry for that. and no not a master in grammer either. I am going to work now enough of this pity party.Dont need to prove anything to anyone see ya wounldnt want to be you

  • Sean Kelly

    Just because someone might be critical of a franchisor doesn’t mean that they think the franchisee is not responsible for their own success. And just because a franchisee may have some legitimate complaints doesn’t mean that they should let it affect the energy they apply to promoting their business. If you’re still in business, you can’t let negativity taint the customer experience or infect the business – as difficult as it is.
    I’m not a big fan of litigation, especially franchisee vs. franchisor because it’s not a fair fight. You signed a big fat agreement that was not drafted in your favor.
    I believe that as long as you think there’s potential for your location, as long as you’re open, you need to do whatever you can to try to make it work. Go door to door if you need to.
    I also believe that if you’ve decided there’s no hope, there isn’t. Cut it fast and move on.

  • fitdude

    Well said Sean. A business owner must do everything possible to succeed; guerrilla marketing, etc. However, with the tight restrictions of a Curves franchise, the most successful franchisees I know must violate their franchise agreement everyday to succeed. Some clubs stay open when they are not supposed to; other clubs offer babysitting or other services, some clubs sell their own products, some clubs have extra cardio equipment, etc. Even Another Curves Owner wrote “I pick and choose how much of there (their) laid out plan I wish to be involved with” and “I have nothing to do with howie. He does not have anything to do with how I run my business and a fee at the end of the month for use of the name. I am a small privat gym with members that like to be there”.
    She might like to think that she is in total control of her business, but she is mistaken if she thinks she can pick and choose what parts of their formula she can follow and what parts she can dismiss with impunity from CI. What is the sense of investing in a franchise if you are going to have to violate the franchise agreement in order to be successful?

    Here is an example of how CI “helped” a struggling franchisee in Canada who tried to sell her club. They stole her prospective buyer to sell to them direct and left her and her members hanging:

    So, in answer to the question, “Is Curves a good franchise investment?” I say NO!

  • Mellissa

    Dear Sean,

    It is the very first time I can say you are right 100% nice to hear you give some good and positive advice..
    Please keep it this way…
    Why Curves Owner dont try to meet all together and find solutions. let’s say that all the 380+/- franchisee joined together and talk about a how they can manage to get out of a bad situation..
    It can be done ..they only need 1 person to start the process..

  • Fed-Up


    Not sure where your club is but Curves Owners have formed together. Many areas have Coops that join together in marketing, training and information sharing. However, in many of the urban areas Curves oversaturated the market. Additionally, many owners divided their territories, often with CI encouragement, to the determent of the original club and to their neighbors. In my market, I saw that happen at least six times in which multiple clubs fail.

    So, what eventually happens is that these clubs fight for ever member. When a club opens closer to a member, that member will transfer to the new club. The old club delays the transfer in order to get that extra months payment. Members now “travel” twice a week to the club nearby work and everyone fights for those precious dollars in order to survive.

    Some owners try to get CI involved to help sort out the mess. What happens? CI ignores the problem and tells very everyone to ‘think positive’ and ‘emit good energy’. In other words, they wash their hands of the problems.

    This is a classic case of, “Supple & Demand”. However, the supply of Curves clubs is outstripping the supply of customers. This is the creation of CI and CI alone and not something that CI can wash its hands of.

    If you Mellissa have a club in a well protected territory with a good population you can do well. More importantly you might survive this economic depression (yes, I am using the D word here). But, just as you stated, you are altering for the so called official approved Curves Way. Perhaps you are changing up the program, doing a Power Workout, adding a yoga class, jogging machine. Perhaps you are selling other products in your club. Most likely you are in breach of your agreement with Curves. However, if you are quite and your AD is not coming in no one will give a hoot and holler. BUT, isn’t that the very problem here. One, you have to be in breach of your Franchise Agreement to survive. Second, CI is not changing to the market conditions. Third, no one is enforcing the rules as the exist today.

  • unhappy but getting happy

    Meilissa and ACO,
    You will probably be surprised to hear that all of my clubs have been successful and the ones we still own are still profitable. I have nothing against the Curves concept or the workout. It works and all owners have seen the individual results within their clubs. My problem is with Curves International with what I believe is their unethical, unmoral, dishonest and unchristian like business practices that have been getting progressivly worse since 03. I think our misunderstanding is that you feel I am against all Curves. I am not against Curves owners as I am one and I certainly want and pray that we all succeed but with how the franchisor is treating it’s franchisee’s its a wonder that the whole chain hasn’t closed. As an owner you should be outraged by what is happening. Don’t tell me that your not upset at the way our advertising fees are being spent. That the curves bars which we all promoted in our clubs can be bought cheeper at discount store’s than we can buy them. That the wieght management program is being nationally advertised as being free is a sham. No matter how you want to rationalize it the members are required to buy the book. The fact that AARP program can now be bought on the internet Curves site thus taking away our intial sign-up fees and a percentage of the month fee as well. The fact that the now members can buy curves vitamins and supplements on line through Curves Complete which takes another income streem from the owners. The fact that in meto areas the clubs have been over sold and that franchises have been sold in areas that were under 6000 in population and could not support a facility. I could go on and on and if you own a club you know what I’m talking about. Up to now are complaints have been voiced by many of the clubs but no one is listening at Curves International. If we put enough pressure on them they will have to start taking action on our complaints. If they don’t more and more law suits will be filed until they get the message.

  • Sean Kelly

    FYI: There were two comments left here recently saying that this site is placing some sort of spying program on visitor’s computers. This is nonsense.
    This site is owned and operated by b5Media, a reputable company founded by some of the most respected tech bloggers. These guys value their reputation above all else. The b5Media privacy policy is here:

    “Cookies” are a snippet of code that remembers your commenting name from visit to visit. b5 does not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information from visitors and visitors can visit the site with cookies turned off.
    I don’t know if the commenter was intentionally trying to kill participation in this conversation or not, but if they got something it didn’t come from here.
    Be sure to use a good antivirus anti-adware program that automatically updates itself continually.

  • Mellissa

    unhappy but getting happy

    If Curves is not responding to your request and you realy feel like you have been forced to split your territory with other curves owner maby they just dont have enough pressure.. I have seen many on this blog say that curves wont be ther for long , that curves is closing a lot of clubs , that CI oversold the territories , However I never read anything about facts.. and I meen numbers.. how many clubs are still in opperation
    how many are profitable, how many other 30 minutes clubs other than curves are around you
    is ther realy a good lawsuit against curves ? and if yes why?? did CI realy did something compleatly illigal vs your franchise agreement, are they realy in breach of anything ?
    Other than the franchisee on this blog that dont make $$ or that have lost it all are there anyothers that can analyse the Fitness market in the US and say since 1996 the market did not change.. Curves where the very first to open (by themself ) a 30 min concept , but since that there is about 25 different copy cat of Curves some of them like Lady Express, Contour , Buterfly life have been quite succesfull in taking a huge chunk of the market once reserved for Curves, Do any of you think that GH made all the sales of all the 10,000 clubs!! get real.. no one can manege to sell 19 + clubs a week for 10 years .. He had salesman all over making deals
    they where selling Curves while 25 other companies where selling there own concept..
    there is one word only to describe this ..GREED
    it’s alway’s the same as soon as someone has any kind of succes there always will be someone to copy his / hers concept and it will get so much diluted that every one will have trouble making money.. that is sad , we like diversity as consumer but when will enough be enough
    look at Circuit City.. and many other that barely survive.. We where happy to let the Japaneese car gat in the US 25 years ago , now it’s our very own American Car company that are in danger,, Did you ever ask why there are vitualy no American car in Asia?? Why Toyota makes more profit than all the Auto makers reunited!!
    Mc donald just annonce their plans to Open 1000 + new restaurant in the next 2 years .. I am sure that other Owner are happy about that.. what about S