the legal resource for fitness entrepreneurs
the legal resource for fitness entrepreneurs

Starting a Pure Barre studio: Legal foundations

The legal foundations needed for starting a Pure Barre Studio are not significantly different from starting another kind of fitness business – however, as with any franchise, there are some specific issues that are likely to arise. Let’s talk about some things to think about as you establish the legal foundations for your Pure Barre Studio.

Pure Barre, a type workout that uses a ballet barre to tone and strengthen muscle, began as a single fitness studio in Birmingham, Michigan, in 2001. It became a franchise in 2009 and has grown to 135 locations in 36 states.

1. Choose an entity type

A Pure Barre franchise can operate on the business model of the licensees’ choice, which means you need to explore what entity type will work best for you and the business you are seeking to build. For assistance in that decision-making process, check out our DIY LLC startup. Some of the options for setting up a Pure Barre franchise include: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Corporation. They each have their own set of positives and negatives to consider. It is essential that you not only make an informed decision about the business entity you choose to form, but you understand why that option is the best entity choice for your business. For more information on entity types, read Should my fitness business be an LLC.

2. Obtain EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is available from the IRS. This number will be required to open bank accounts and apply for registration with most States. Even if you are a single member LLC or Sole Proprietorship and can use a Social Security Number (SSN) to complete legal and financial actions on behalf of your business, you may want to consider obtaining an EIN to protect your personal information.

3. Register with Secretary of State & for State Sales Tax

To form (or register) a business in your US state, you will need to file (or have an attorney file for you) with the Secretary of State or equivalent body who deals with the registration and formation of corporations. As part of this registration, you will likely find the information you will later need for registration for state sales tax (if applicable) and any state-based licensing or permitting required in your state.

4. Seek Insurance

While Pure Barre® requires to show proof of Insurance as part of their licensing application, you may need more insurance than they require or a different type, in addition, depending on the risk profile of your business. You may also wish to explore professional liability insurance that will cover activities and instruction provided in your capacity as a fitness professional, and General Liability insurance that covers damage to the fabric of a building you lease.

5. Take Pure Barre Training

There is no requirement that owners teach classes; however, many franchisees undertake Pure Barre® instructor Training before becoming a franchisee. You could have a business partner who is going to be focusing on training undertake the Pure Barre® instructor certification. A fully trained barre instructor will have at least 100 hours of training before they start leading classes. It is worth noting that a Pilates certification or ballet study is not a barre certification.

6. Apply to become a Pure Barre Franchisee

To use the Pure Barre® name as part of your business and to be licensed as a Pure Barre® franchisee, you need to enter into the franchise agreement which explains the rights and responsibilities of licensees. You cannot use the name Pure Barre® or use their logo as part of your business without obtaining the appropriate license – it could be very costly indeed if you infringe the intellectual property rights of Pure Barre® as it is in their best interests to protect their mark from illegitimate use or use that would mean that it starts to become a generic term.

7. Buy a domain name and reserve social media handles

One of the ways Pure Barre® shares information about its studio locations is through linking to their websites. So, as part of establishing your legal foundations, you are going to want to choose a domain name that is compliant with your licensing agreement.  Along the same vein, as you think about what name to choose for your studio, you are going to want to consider names or taglines already in existence that are protected by a trademark. As you develop your website, you should consider some of the key disclaimers, waivers, and policies you need to include on your website to limit your risk of liability.

8. Protect Intellectual Property

Pure Barre franchisees also earn money through the sale of Pure Barre brand exercise clothing, accessories and other equipment. In addition to using intellectual property assets owned by Pure Barre® under the terms of your licensing agreement, you should also consider if your business (the Pure Barre studio you are building) has intellectual property assets – this could include a logo or a name – for which you could file a trademark. If you have questions about what aspects of your business might benefit from intellectual property protection, speak with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property in relation to the fitness industry.

9. Local Business Licenses and Permits

The Requirements for local (city or county) business licenses and permits vary greatly. You will need to research (either online, in person, or at the local library or small business center) what is required for your specific circumstances. An attorney can also walk you through this process and get you squared away and operating legally!

10. Contracts & Waivers

Contracts and waivers are often compiled in an ad-hoc manner, swiped from another business (this is usually copyright infringement!), or an afterthought. Don’t make the mistake of not being sure that you are protecting your business interests effectively. Which means, in the first instance it is advisable to make sure that you have an attorney review any contracts you enter (before you sign them). Secondly, members of your Pure Barre studio should sign a lawyer drafted injury and illness waiver before beginning to work out in your facility or with your trainers. You should even have “drop-in” guests or “try-out” session participants sign a lawyer drafted injury and illness waiver before working out!

What Now?

It takes time to properly establish the legal foundations for Starting a Pure Barre Studio Franchise. Rushing these steps can lead to more cost and greater risk further along your business journey. Consider prevention to be a key tool in your toolkit and money well spent to ensure that the legal foundations of your Pure Barre location are secure and legal.

Starting a Pure Barre studio: Legal foundations

About the author

Anna Blanch Rabe is a communications consultant, writer, and speaker. A non-practicing attorney, she works with social impact businesses and non-profit organizations to develop and effectively execute narrative initiatives to gain exposure, develop community capacity, and reach new customers. A former college level athlete, she now enjoys yoga and swimming, and crewing for her trail and ultrarunning husband.

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