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Ultimate Guide to Becoming a CrossFit Affiliate

CrossFit affiliate gyms can rake in the dough, but there are requirements you have to meet before you can even apply—we’ll help you get started.

Sam Karoll
June 12, 2022
TLDR;
CrossFit affiliate gyms can rake in the dough, but there are requirements you have to meet before you can even apply—we’ll help you get started.

CrossFit affiliates are, as you might imagine, affiliated with CrossFit.

People often mistake CrossFit as being an exercise medium, but it’s not: it’s a brand that incorporates a hybrid of different exercise methods, and slapped a name on an amalgamation.

But if you know the slightest bit about marketing, you know that branding is an important part of it. You can utilize the brand that CrossFit has built up over the years since they started in California, and that can help you improve your revenue.

This is everything you need to know about becoming a CrossFit affiliate as fast as possible.

What Exactly is a CrossFit Affiliate Gym?

CrossFit is a brand, so imagine that a CrossFit affiliate gym is like one link in a chain.

You join their family, meaning you use the CrossFit trademark in your gym name, and specifically teach CrossFit courses and have similarly accessible equipment available for athletes to use.

In the end, a CrossFit affiliate gym is a branded gym that increases your visibility and latches on to the (still) growing worldwide trend of CrossFit.

What Are the Pros of Becoming a CrossFit Affiliate Gym?

As with anything, there are going to be positives and negatives, and you do run into a healthy blend of both with a CrossFit affiliation.

Pros

  • Marketing: CrossFit helps you market yourself with assistance, and inclusion in their directory for CrossFit enthusiasts to find your gym. This is especially helpful for day or weekend passes for traveling clients.
  • Accessibility: You have access to discounts, live event invitations, and other information and perks offered by the CrossFit team. This comes in handy for gym events, fitness challenges, and overall makes retention easier.
  • Customer Retention: CrossFit isn’t just an eight-week program that leaves you trimmer for that dress or suit; it’s a lifestyle. That sounds like a tired cliche, but it’s accurate. CrossFit athletes are some of the best when it comes to gym retention, and overall, profit retention.
  • Fast Growth: Independent gyms often have a hard time staying afloat. CrossFit’s name is something we all already know, so when we associate with that brand, we gain trust. Nobody knows your gym (yet), so CrossFit can help you become profitable faster than you could on your own.
  • Done-For-You: Yes, you’re still the one running the business, but you know how to manage the expectations of CrossFit athletes. You can look up our list on CrossFit gym gear, or just figure out what a CrossFit athlete wants by watching YouTube videos and visiting forums. It’s easier to determine what they want, and give it to them.

Cons

  • Less Control: As a franchisee, you’re subjected to what the franchise owners want to happen. In order to use the CrossFit trademark, you may have to agree to terms as they update and you are at a loss of control. You have to expect this when you go into this business.
  • Corporate Identity: It’s your gym, but it’s not really your gym that people are coming to—they’re coming for the CrossFit name. That means that if you lose the CrossFit name, you still have to find a way to survive with your own brand. It’s a bumpy road.
  • Lack of Diversity: Do you want a hybrid gym that includes CrossFit and MMA? There’s a chance that you’re not going to find that it’s up-to-code for the CrossFit team, and they may not want you to join their program. Typically, it should be an all-or-nothing CrossFit gym, but every case is different.

CrossFit Affiliate Agreement

The CrossFit affiliate agreement outlines the grant and scope of the license, payment terms for your affiliate fee, service and support offered by CrossFit, your affiliate obligations, the nature of your independent contractor relationship with CrossFit, and your terms of termination and renewal.

The full agreement can be seen when you apply for an affiliate position. It’s a total of 17 pages long and detailed, regarding terms on limitations of liability, indemnification, and miscellaneous terms such as notices and waivers.

It’s important to read every line of this agreement twice to be 100% sure what you’re getting into. From our read, it appears straightforward, but be sure that it outlines what your goals for operating a gym business could be.

What Are Your Obligations?

In the CrossFit Affiliate Agreement, you’re required to:

  • Bear your own costs; it’s your gym with their trademark, and they’re not going to bail you out.
  • Maintain insurance that covers up to $1,000,000 in combined insurance per single limit, and up to $2,000,000 from an A+ rated company by A.M. Best. You are required to show proof of insurance.
  • Maintain a CrossFit-approved website.
  • You cannot require your trainers or employees to sign non-compete agreements.
  • If you are sued for more than $5,000, you must submit a written notice to CrossFit to notify them.

They’re not harsh restrictions: be insured, maintain a high-quality website, and be in contact with them when anything out of the norm arises.

What Are You Getting From CrossFit Org?

CrossFit outlines intensely powerful tools in their CrossFit Affiliate Playbook, which gain access to as an affiliate. The book talks about hard-hitting numbers and detail-driven results that have helped CrossFit expand as a brand and take over the fitness landscape.

Affiliates have different operations that they’re supposed to take part in, and the playbook helps you understand those, why they are important, and how to scale your CrossFit business to the best of your ability.

In addition to trademark, discounts, and being far more accessible (as we outlined in the pros and cons section above), it helps solidify your business that may not otherwise survive on its own.

General Operation of CrossFit Gym

You can operate your CrossFit gym as you see fit. That’s the beauty of it.

You just have to fall within the guidelines of the affiliate agreement, and if you do that, this is what you need to know about running a successful CrossFit gym.

Financial Planning

CrossFit will help you with financial planning, which is one of the few aspects that they offer to you. Contact their support to learn exactly what they can do for you because it can change depending on marketing trends and available information.

CrossFit is still relatively young, so its internal development team is likely to constantly update financial planning information.

Daily Owner Tasks

There are no specific daily owner tasks outlined in the CrossFit affiliate agreement. However, you should do what you can to report information to CrossFit whenever available.

As a franchise, they’re trying to make sure they provide the best service possible and acquire more franchisees like yourself. Any information you have, even if it’s on the day-to-day, may be viable to them.

Reporting

You must report any insurance-related claim totaling $5,000 or more to your CrossFit affiliate manager or the next available contact.

Any time there is a lawsuit of substantial claims, CrossFit as a brand needs to assess the situation to determine if you’re still a viable affiliate. If not, they may terminate the contract, but if you don’t report it, there’s a high chance that they’ll definitely negate the contract.

Staffing

Depending on what you offer, your gym should have staff around at all times to help new members sign up, and of course, you should account for having instructors around for any CrossFit classes you plan on hosting.

These are a big selling point of CrossFit gyms in general, so you definitely want to use them to your advantage.

Marketing

You’ve been granted the CrossFit trademark to use responsibly, and you should absolutely utilize this ability in your marketing. Whether it’s in-app advertisements, localized PPC ads, or just about anything else, you can use CrossFit as a name to market your gym.

CrossFit also includes your gym in their directory, so anyone looking for a CrossFit gym in your area will be able to find you. This is nice, but it’s not enough to just use CrossFit’s SEO to your advantage, you have to market your website to show up in local results.

Sales

Promotional offers on memberships, gym access, and other fitness products that you offer. You should get in the habit of planning sales around times where usual gym memberships start to wane, so you can help retain gym members and acquire new ones in the process.

Membership Management

Membership management may sound like a list of members that you expect to receive payments from, but it’s far more complicated than that. Which members paid in advance?

Which ones are at-risk of leaving the gym based on recent activity? There are so many metrics that come to membership management and membership retention that it makes it nearly impossible to do it without proper organization.

Track revenue, membership plans, products, leads, and so much more information to maximize the revenue for your CrossFit gym by using PushPress—your focus should be on running the business, not keeping tabs on the books. Let our software worry about that for you.

Branding Guidelines

Follow the branding guidelines. You are for all intents and purposes, a representative of CrossFit.

You have invited this brand into the model of your gym, and you need to make sure you do what you can to build upon their business, not take away from it. Remember: they have the right to revoke affiliate access at any point.

Sam Karoll

Sam is our Community Manager for PushPress. He also owns and operates Xplore Nutrition, a personalized nutrition coaching service designed "for your lifestyle and goals by a Coach who's always available."

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