CURVES: Negotiating Curves Closing Fees

CURVES franchise: Negotiating Curves Closing Fees

Struggling, failing and soon-to-close Curves franchise owners seek information and advice from Unhappy Franchisee on how to handle the demands Curves International is placing on them.    One of the frequent topics is the club closing procedures, and how to negotiate with Curves International in regard to their demands for “failure fees” and often tens of thousands of dollars for “future royalties.” (Also called “Liquidated damages”)

If you have advice or experience closing one of more Curves clubs, please share your experience below.

From the post CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story, here’s an exchange regarding the closing fee:

Donna  Submitted on 2009/10/08 at 2:41pm

HELP!!! I have read some of the horror stories listed. I to have to close my club. I can not get anyone to return my calls from CI. I do not know what to do. I have had my club almost 7 years and have paid my dues. I do not have 10,000 dollars. Because of the recession I have to close. I love my members and hate to dissapoint them but I have no choice. The closing packet was sent to me but I’m scared to send it in. Is there any help out there? I have to do what I need to do today. Will they let me out without the 10,000 fee. Has anyone out there been in my shoes. Please someone respond as I need advice and help NOW.

CA ex-owner  Submitted on 2009/10/08 at 8:21pm

We’ve all been there! Our club has been closed for over a year. We refused to pay the $10,000. They emailed us two more times, first lowering it to $8,000, then to $6,000 – we still refused. Next came a letter from Curves Legal stating we now owed fees for the remainder of our franchise agreement, somewhere in the amount of over $42,000, with a fair amount of scare tactics! (Read our story above: CA Ex-owner on October 16th, 2008) We then sent a letter back to legal, refusing to pay anything and the reasons why. Now I will knock on wood before I say this, but it has been over a year that we sent them that letter and we have not heard a thing yet.

We are not part of the legal action that many of the people above are pursuing, and I’m sure someone will respond on how to proceed in that direction, or direct you to on what other options you may have. Remember, you are not alone, we’ve all been through this horrible experience. It hardly makes it better, but at least maybe knowing there are so many of us out there, you might feel a little better…

CurvesAnother Curver Submitted on 2009/10/09 at 12:15pm

Hi Donna.
Like You, I had to close my club. I closed it Feb 28th this year…
Of course I did everything I could to keep Curves International properly informed and I asked them for advice on the best way to proceed…

The one thing they did spell out, there is no “standard” $10,000 fee. At least Not Anymore. They said, if I write a letter asking for a settlement instead of paying all the outstanding royalties and ad fees, then they will put it to a review board and the review board will make a suggestion for a settlement. Then they told me not to write a letter but to hold onto the closing packet.

Well, then they forgot about me for 6 or 8 or 10 weeks. I think it was sometime in May that I got a notice that I owed some $40,000 for the balance of royalties and such…
however, i did inform them that i was filing for bankruptcy. they never asked for the bankruptcy attorneys name or the case number. i am just now filing, so they havent gotten any legal notices yet either.
since then I have not heard one word. it’s been what, 7 months since I closed. ridiculous…
i do have another franchise, that i’m struggling to hold onto, and you would think maybe that’s why they’re giving me some slack…
they are very frustrating but i think they have a backlog of closed cases. i have been told by others (gossip?) that they are understaffed and overworked. of course they’re busy with the big lawsuit that “unhappy” is part of it. and all the little lawsuits. i would like to know more about gofigure’s lawsuit against them too.
my attorney told me not to worry about any of it, because our state law supercedes whatever was written in the franchise agreement….

Donna  Submitted on 2009/10/12 at 12:21pm

Robert was right on. Settlement from 10,000 now wanting 2,500. And its only been 12 days. I don’t close until Oct. 30th. They were also nice and I wouldn’t have to pay it until the end of Nov. I wonder If I ask nice they’ll say i don’t have to give away my equipment to another Curves or destroy it -I can do what I want with it. What do you think?


This post was originally published October 12, 2009 and updated June 20, 2012


292 thoughts on “CURVES: Negotiating Curves Closing Fees

  • October 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Nedra Barnett, Have the web site manager connect you to my private email and I will help you.

  • October 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I closed my Curves almost 3 years ago now. I ended up doing a bankruptcy, since it also meant I owed rent and other bills I was too broke to pay. For me, it was relief, piece of mind and an easy bounceback to life. I still miss my place, my members, but I do not miss the agony, stress…or seeing what other clubs are going thru.

    The legal Bankruptcy, which a bit challenging to go thru, was a piece of cake and ALL of my Curves financial issues went away. I could sleep at night.

    Indeed, there IS life after Curves!

  • October 19, 2015 at 5:36 am

    So…lucky me. I am closing early!! Been losing money since the first of the year since a new club opened that is 24/7… Decided to go check it out, because someone told me it had a women’s section AND it totally has Curves equipment! Well…it does!! I am so angry!!! Curves sets the price, take money every month for royalties, ads, system fees, etc… and some fly by night guy comes in with Curves equipment and steals all my customers, because he is cheaper and has my same circuit!! Let’s see how things go now Curves…

  • October 21, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Curves asked me 28 ,620$ i am from Québec i dont have any money to pay this they do offer of 9000’$ i dont have money for that amont too what do i have to do do you think they can get the collection after me help help help

  • October 26, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Christine…How much longer on your agreement?

  • November 7, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Hi Jessica almost 3 years but all other franchise in Québec Who as the same Time. They ask them 5000$ what should i do

  • November 9, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Did you tell them you were closing before you did? I would keep bargaining the price down. I have heard of people doing that.

  • November 20, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Jessica i told them after the fire but they said i dident i send help ticket to tell them thats why i have to closed no other place was available i ask them often some help and they almost never answer or they did it in english nobody. Speaker french i have no services and now they ask me money on mater i have any money so they wont have nothing what do you think

  • November 25, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Christine I closed a Curves Franchise on Prince Edward Island, Canada about five years ago. They first wanted 43,000.00 then bargained down, down. I eventually agreed to pay one of their bully lawyers 360.00 dollars to end our agreement. Don’t let the bullying tactics win.

  • November 27, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    I wouldn’t let them bully you. I would fight back, and keep bargaining.

    Jan how much time did you have left on your franchise agreement?

  • December 5, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Hi they took me whit the collection and they ask me now 28620,00 Its really a jojke i told them i would not pay that and they say that Will affect my crédit

  • December 11, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    That’s crazy. You can open a franchise for that price.

  • December 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    We will be closing Jan 31 contract is up. Have not informed Curves Corp yet, but like I said our contract is up!! It’s breaking our hearts to close after 12 years, but we can no longer struggle to keep our doors open. Did anyone experience any surprises from Curves Corp. when they closed legit?? Any info would be appreciated!!!

  • December 31, 2015 at 1:35 am

    “Sick of it”, I’d like to talk to you privately. I’m an owner also losing money. I’m surprised you haven’t told CI because supposedly 4 months before your contract ends they try to get you to sign up for another 5 years, If you don’t, then supposedly they shut off you being able to enter new members into OS. For the owners who end their contract early the charges CI gives them are probably based on the amount of money CI WOULD of made if you’d stayed open with “optimum” membership. In other words if you had 6 months to go the maximum Franchise and Ad fees you would of paid if you had a ton of members is about $1,000 a month, then I think you would have to pay them $6,000. However if you had that many members you wouldn’t be closing! It is these cheap gyms that are taking over the market at $2.50 per week or Gold’s gyms $4.99 bi-weekly, other gyms $14.99 per month…. Like you, we worked our asses off and we simply can’t compete even though we have fabulous service. NC put their money into infrastructure but left it up to the franchisee’s to grow the brand by doing the same old marketing stuff from 20 years ago when the competition was insignificant. Where we used to be the only ladies only gym in town, now we’re one of 5 and the rest are all cheaper.

  • January 6, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Are you near the end of your contract “Fed up?” The competition is deadly. Are you in Canada or US? Our rates in Canada are $54 or $59 which is crazy high….

  • January 7, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    We have 28 months left on contract planning to close. what will be my realistic nogiated exposure be?

  • January 9, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Jessica, our rates aren’t really high if you compare our gym to the Crossfits & many other gyms. Where the problem is, is that the public expects that if they go to the Dollar Store and buy a broom that it’ll be the same quality as one from The Bay, or now-a-days Walmart. Think of it this way wages in Canada haven’t increased much over the decade, but Asian made products at the Dollar stores and Walmart have increased our purchasing power making our dollar purchasing power greater. Translated to gyms when Trevor Linden advertises they have 100 pieces of new gear with TV’s and $4 per week no contract including a ladies only section, that’s pretty appealing. Canada, we’re supposed to charge $49 per mo., more if you have a high cost lease. However we still have older members at $39. We’re due to close mid 2016. Larry, look at your agreement. There is a maximum amount you could ever be charged for Franchise fees and Advertising. Let’s say $795 plus $295 = $1,090. $1,090 x 20 months = $21,800. However they might also add in 20 months of OS and 20 months of Curvessmart which would be another $2,360. Oh, since the $21,800 is US that would be $28,340 right now I’d imagine. Because the $1,090 is fictitious and you wouldn’t be considering closing if you had a Curves doing that well, is the reason Curves drops their demands when told they can’t pay that much I guess.

  • January 10, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    “Sick of it”, you’d better read your franchise agreement ASAP. It’s the one that’s 300 pages long with (including all the Curves locations, locations that have failed, ongoing and litigated lawsuits settled by Curves…), the first page tells you the term of your agreement (Someone from Australia said they had a 12 year agreement, the 2010 agreements are 5 years), and it says (not verbatim), “Curves will notify you within 90-180 days of the expiration of your agreement that they want you to re-sign for another 5 years. FAILURE to reply to them will automatically sign you up for another 5 YEARS!” . You may be in big trouble by not informing them of your decision to not continue…

    NC has tried to rebrand “Curves is a Curves is a Curves”. That hasn’t worked, we know a few clubs that have the old equipment WITHOUT CurvesSmart, and they aren’t being forced to follow the policy line. It seems they’d rather keep whatever they have and even when a new owner takes over, as of lately they still aren’t forcing the new owner to rebrand. In that respect also, while they ask you to sign a 5 year agreement, if you tell them you want a one year or you’ll close, they’ll say “no”, but eventually will accept a one year agreement rather than have another Curves go under.

  • January 10, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    “Larry Roasch” – sorry my calculations were wrong. I thought I read 20 months and as you are 28. I also looked at my Franchise agreement and even “if” you had no members, you’d be obligated to pay Curves $95 for advertising and $195 for Franchise fees = $290 per month. But, it’s the maximum that everyone needs to be concerned with, because those are $395 for Advertising and $795 p/m for Franchise fees = $1,190.00 PER month. (3% and 5% of your Gross income).

    Now your numbers become $1,190 x 28 = $30,520 and of course they’ll probably want their OS and CurvesSmart fees (if you’re a CurvesSmart franchise) = (29 + 89= $118) x 28 = $3,304.00

    If you’re in Canada, take our low dollar into account and they become about $39,676 plus potentially $4,295.

  • January 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Jessica, I’d add this about pricing. When Curves was founded, the gym industry was small. Getting a “ladies only 30 minute full body workout” was a big deal (there are now 5 ladies only gyms in our town now) and totally unique.

    In the coming years with a great economy spending $39 p/m on a membership was entirely reasonable.

    Piggy backing on other business’s to promote yourself (lead boxes) worked pretty good, but when the economy tanked money became an issue, and other businesses you partnered with struggled to keep themselves alive and now they don’t want our materials on their precious shelf space, yet NC [Owner North Castle Partners] still wants us to promote that way, they want us to “solicit” in malls, leave flyers on cars in mall parking lots (illegal in our neighborhood), and the same old same old we’d been doing for years.

    On their end they’ve eliminated staff, now want us to pay for training (we went crazy on re-training our staff when we bought our Curves), and have in their own words “rebuilt the foundation” – great – we have a better OS and website & social media, but have failed to promote Curves substantially themselves.

    When a Big Gym (BG) came to town we thought with our excellent service we’d be immune – we weren’t. The BG parked themselves in a local mall for 2 months, all day long and during that time signed up 3,000+ members at $14.99 per month. We went WAY beyond what NC wanted us to do (coupon booklets, mail-outs, flyers, all sorts of creative promotions) and we’ve now lost 100 members.

    For the same price as us the public can join City Hall’s community gym with sauna, swimming pools, workout rooms, or any number of workout gyms, Zumba & Latin Fitness clubs in a town of 70,000. We joined the local Womans AM, participate in the local downtown business associations activities – public markets, movies in the park, farmers markets, etc., so we can’t be accused of not trying. We’ve even paid for space in the local malls.

    We got so desperate that we made an incredible deal to the local hair, nail & spa businesses – and got NO takers, because either they weren’t interested in fitness or were at the $14.99 gym.

    At the other end are the CrossFit and personal trainer gyms charging $200+ per month. Gyms are big business and many are targeting the baby boomers – just like us. We’re like that restaurant that used to be so cool but some new guy has opened up down the street with new flavors.

    NC has chosen to target the 55+ crowd – the crowd who is least interested in web access. When we talk to people we’re considered the “old ladies” gym which is practically true – last month one lady walked in looked around and said “is this all you have?” and promptly walked out.

    Despite NC’s original focus groups studies that showed people are generally not negative or positive about us (ambivalent), we aren’t considered the gym of first choice, and until Curves is rebranded properly and the public is educated on the things that make us different from everyone else, only sadness is on the horizon for Curves – except in small towns that big gyms haven’t targeted, and the successes in those small towns is what NC is holding up as shining examples of “how to do things right”.

    In 2015 I paid NC $10,000 in various fees (previous years way more). Did I get good value for my money? No – because I lost money and NOT from a lack of trying. So, is our pricing correct? Probably, but the extra $5 for web access membership isn’t, but like everything you purchase in life (while I’m an accountant, I’ve also been in retail sales for 40 years, many as a top salesman), people look for VALUE for their hard earned dollars.

    When we purchased our gym a trainer would be sent out ONLY IF we sent out 10-15k flyers which cost $2,000. We didn’t get one new member. We’ve mined our members incessantly for new BR’s, and our members are tired of being hounded. We have a super clean gym, free water, great coaches and excellent service, bars & merchandise (out of 8 remaining Curves in an overall population of 2.5 million we’re the only ones buying new product).

    I’m convinced that North Castle has to commit to TV advertising promoting what makes Curves unique in the industry – (hell, if Dr Ho can make TV pay anyone can). The public needs EDUCATION on the VALUE of a Curves membership, not the same promo all our competitors do – discounted enrollment fees, free weeks, free classes. Promoting the VALUE of a Curves membership is the only way to counter big gyms like Gold’s who open up with $4.99 p/m memberships for the first 100 members.

  • January 28, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I am looking for used equipment. Does anyone closing have theirs for sale?

    [If you have used equipment to sell, you can safely and confidentially contact this buyer through ADMIN at UnhappyFranchisee[at] I will verify identity before sharing contact info. -ADMIN]

  • February 14, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Jackie, we have equipment, I’ve contacted the administrator to send me your email.

  • March 25, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Oh my! I am so sorry to read that Curves is still using scare tactics and strong-arming the very people that have made them rich.

    They’ve been doing this sort of thing since they began. Hundreds, if not thousands, have lost their retirement funds, the equity in their homes and have been forced to file bankruptcy since 1996 if not before. I had a 1999 franchise circular that listed the hundreds of clubs that had closed for termination of non-payment, abandonment, and you name it. I’ve heard so many sad stories. And to top it off, they’ve been telling people for years that they had to destroy their equipment, equipment that they paid for!

    This company started off bad and never got better. I know there are some franchisees that were in very good markets and made good money, but I think they are a minority. Now the workout concept was a good one and one that helped a lot of ladies get in shape and lose weight, and for that, we should be thankful.

    The concept of hydraulic circuit training did not start with Gary Heaven, it started with a company that he used to work for and it’s still around. It began with athletes in the 70’s and later ended up in health clubs by the mid-80’s. It wasn’t until the mid-90’s that Gary started using it in his ladies only club. The timing was right for small town American. Small towns were booming and health club services were limited so it was the perfect storm for Gary. Baby boomers were moving their companies to smaller towns to get out of the cities. Obesity and health concerns were on the rise.

    The good news is that the fitness industry is still growing and going strong! There are new boutique fitness centers beginning to establish their brands. If you still love the industry don’t let all that experience go to waste, there’s still room and time to do it again and this time even better.

  • March 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Wow, I just now read Fed Up’s post. (I have not read all the posts, sorry.)
    Fed Up, do you think you would be better off right now without having paid all the money you’ve paid Curves over the years that you’ve been struggling? Or do you think you would be in the same boat?
    What would you have done with that money instead of paying Curves? How would that have made a difference in your current market setting?
    I would like to have some feedback any other Curves or x-Curves owners as well.
    The reason I’m asking is because I have a group of folks wanting to start a new brand but they want to start a FRANCHISE.
    Personally, having been a franchisee and a franchisor, I’d would rather keep it corporate and own all the clubs. But the other thought I have is to start a Licensing program kind of like a co-op that people can choose to renew year by year. If they find no value then they are free to exit.
    What are your thoughts?

  • March 25, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Admin, I tried emailing you at [] but it came back. [redacted]

    Anita: My email is UnhappyFranchisee[at] Thanks. ADMIN

  • April 2, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Anita, Curves made money when the concept was new and in places where the competition was minimal or just the local rec center. In it’s heyday, the previous owner paid her and her son $190k a year. Google what’s happening to Weight Watchers. People are having more fun on their Fitbits than calculating points. It’s why Jenny Craigs doing better, because all the works done for the client. The average Curves club has 200 members, and is doing pretty well overseas, but struggling in North America, in fact so much so that NC has had a big shake-up recently.

    Curves is a referral based business and as such 40% of the members are buddy referrals, but there’s a limit to asking members for BR’s. NC doesn’t want you to leave the club UNTIL you have 4 potential BRs to call the next day – that’s impossible (we’ve tried). Other referral based business are Avon & Tupperware, EXCEPT Curves needs a storefront. Leasing is expensive in most towns. To answer one of your questions, yes we could of made money last year if we hadn’t had to give NC all the money we did, but we would of made maybe $500 a month. No business person would start a gym to take on the responsibility for that much rewards. Very few of the Curves owners are making a decent living.

    The market is different than 2006. While wages haven’t grown that much our purchasing power has increased because of Dollar Stores, Wallmart, Costco… You may PREFER to support your local mom & pop retailer, but your PREFER to save money by purchasing at Costco. Thus politicians who wax poetic about NAFTA and such are being disingenuous to the public who doesn’t understand the other side of the coin – lower prices by having stuff built overseas.

    In the Gym world I looked at what one major gym who advised potential investors “you need to have $3,000,000 capital”. Scary. We have a Golds gym going to built in our town. When they open they’ll start by offering $5 memberships. They know the population will grow enormously in the next 10-15 years and they have the capital to stick it out – then they’ll be a major player. When ladies are considering paying Curves $49 a month vs paying another gym $4.99 every 2 weeks or $4 per week with no contract, SERVICE starts to take a backseat. The gym that killed us parked in a local mall for 2 months and signed up 3,000 members, supposedly they’ve tripled that since, and despite working our butts off with the best service we could give our members – challenges, fun things, seasonally decorating…, we’ve had nothing but membership decline.

    Re: equipment – yes, if you follow the closing rules Curves wants you to either sell the equipment to another club, give it away to something like a womans prison, or take it to a scrap dealer.

    Re: gym industry growing – yes, BUT NC told us they did a survey and the general public is indifferent to Curves – not that they didn’t like Curves, just that it wouldn’t be their first choice. NC’s answer is to follow their “how to do” – which has nothing new to add over what was done 20 years ago other than glossier video’s and more “ra ra”, and in that respect ALL of the Franchise building is being left to the Franchisee, because they’ve spent the advertising budget on social media ads, thus you won’t see TV or radio ads anywhere.

    Curves will do OK in areas where the big box gyms haven’t dropped into yet, but you can bet that all these gyms are targeting unfit baby boomers and in the struggle to get market share the little guy will lose. Remember to include, the Fit Bits, Apple Watches, Zumba, Yoga & Latin Fitness studios as every last one of them will eat away at market share. So if you think of starting a new Franchise, whatever you plan on doing better be really unique.

  • May 10, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    We have a gym in the South of England (UK) and have been struggling for a few years, and have managed to scrape through into the 4th year of a 5 year lease (with me having to personally cover capital issues).

    We have rent arrears (£10k), struggle to pay staff, have not drawn any income since year 1, other looming debts – therefore actively seeking to close early or pushing for voluntary liquidation. Bankruptcy is a real final resort as I have a separate limited company which I cannot impact.

    I am keen to understand if anyone else UK based has been through the early closure procedure and how that worked, the fees/settlements reached etc. I have the documents to hand, as I discussed this with Curves UK about 18months ago, but choose to struggle on; although zero support from them prior to or since mentioning our financial issues(many times!).

    Also, as per the US lawsuit, has anything similar occurred in the UK or with Curves Europe?

  • June 26, 2016 at 10:31 am

    I am looking to purchase used Curves equipment. If anyone is interested in selling please contact me: [redacted]

  • July 16, 2016 at 1:41 am

    North Castle purchased a losing operation promising Franchisees to turn it around, and that never happened. They claimed Curves Complete would turn us around, then we had to buy expensive clothing racks and there was going to be this big merchandising plan to sell oodles of clothes – that fizzled as the clothes are over priced. They told us Jillian was going to turn it all around and if we dropped $20k on new equipment membership would go up. The biggest BS was “rebuilding the foundation”. That meant redoing the websites and OS. They brought in people who’d “saved” KFC, Coke and a myriad of other companies. Today they’re still merging websites, laying off staff and taking away trainers because it’s all online. Every promise they make only makes it clearer they don’t know what they’re doing and if “being human” means making mistakes; they’re incredibly human.

    For new clubs or renewals they send out “trainers” who don’t even know how to use the equipment. The new training they want you to pay for is called “Empowering Service” and is it new?, NO, it’s just all the old stuff dressed up in a glossier video, except you have to pay for it now – WAIT!!!! every now & then training goes on sale! July 2016 it’s 40% off!. In 2016 they spent their entire Ad budget by the end of March – in other words the Franchisees are totally on their own. They claim that Japanese Curves have an attrition rate of 3.4% and if we followed their example and did all the training we’d have nothing to complain about. They don’t understand that there are many ladies only gyms we compete with, nor do they understand that “a Curves is a Curves is a Curves” also means zero flexibility for any franchise to respond to their markets needs. They don’t understand that in these days of Walmarts and Dollar Stores and Costco’s, people LOVE low cost gyms that have thousands of members and a low price. NC targeted the 55+ crowd who aren’t generally computer literate with a weight loss program that required computer literacy, and they justified a $5 increase in price because members should want to have online access to CurvesSmart information. 24 years ago Curves was unique, today it’s just another bit player because they simply haven’t watched the competition. They blame all the failure on the Franchisees. In fact I doubt there are many head office people who’ve ever run their OWN business, let alone the unique demands of a Curves location, so they simply don’t understand how overworked and underpaid Franchisees are. In the mid-2000’s that was a different story, franchisees were making money hand over fist-they could afford to hire staff. Every club can tell you that membership is 1/5 or less, of what it was back then. On the other hand for new franchises and renewals, NC is significantly raising monthly and other fees, they’re milking us for as much as they can get.

    UK Clubs-In your franchise agreement is the maximum amount you can pay in franchise and advertising fees. Even if you have 10 members, if the maximum Franchise and Advertising fees NC can charge you is $1,000 dollars, then if you shut down a year early they’ll come at you for $12,000, and who knows, maybe they’ll want all those other revenues they’ll be missing like, web access fees, CurvesSmart, EFT charges, and such. I read somewhere in these pages that Curves asked for $62,000.

    Forbes rated Curves as one of the 10 worst franchises, I think it was #7 actually. What was Monty’s take? “There are a bunch of Francises who refuse to comply with how a Curves should be run” – I agree UK, that there is no support, just a lot of “talk”, and when pressed they’ll call you and talk to you for an hour, but most of it is “you should do this”, “you should do that”, as if they really knew what they’re talking about, certainly they no absolutely NOTHING about running a business. Not one of them would work for the peanuts we work for, and one fellow essentially said to me I wasn’t trying hard enough. In our area used to be 20 Curves locations in a population of over 2 million. At the end of 2015 it was down to 10 locations and by the end of 2016 there will be 7. At some point NC shareholders will get smart and dump Mike R and Monte S and maybe get someone running Curves who has new innovative ideas and can turn Curves around. In the meantime I can tell you Franchisee’s feel abandoned.

  • July 16, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Elsie B, you should state what part of the world you’re replying from.

  • July 18, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Much to my regret, I have to close my club. I’ve been running in the RED for almost a year and just can’t do it. I have used equipment that is less than 2 years old (new purple machines and stretching circuit) that I would like to sell.

  • July 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Carolyn, unlike many clubs, I was able to close nicely. There’s not a lot of paperwork and it’s annoying to have to “answer” to them, but part of it is to make sure the members get treated fairly and part to make sure their equipment doesn’t end up in competing gyms. I understand that, however in another of these pages a lawyer told a franchisee that if the equipment was in the company name, it belongs to the company. I don’t see how it makes a difference because I’m sure some Curves locations may not be set up as limited companies (although they SHOULD). I read somewhere in these pages that a franchisee told them it was HER equipment and she’d do what she wanted with it – because Curves gives you 2 options –

    1 – provide proof you took it to a scrap dealer (must list all the pieces) OR
    2 – provide proof you sold it to another club.

    If you do #2, they’ll send you another document that they want you to sign, tick off all the equipment you sold, the club you sold it to, any additional equipment you also sold and the price of it all. They say it’s to “update” their records. Frankly, the price should be none of their business. The good news is that you contact ALL the clubs within a 500 mile radius of you club (yes it’s a bit of work), but you can find Curves locations through Google and the “locate a Curves” on the Curves website, you should be able to get 1/2 the CURRENT price of the new gear.

  • July 22, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Were you at the end of your Franchise agreement?

  • July 28, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Im writing from the north west england, and sympathise with everyone worried. I found curves allowed a franchise to open within my territory, this to me is a material breach of my contract, but they wont accept this. !!! couldnt believe it when I saw curves doing franchise sales conference in london this month. Will someone warn people about how unsupportive this company is. Horrible and uninterested, once they have your money, you’re there for the taking, as they pressure you to buy into crazy old fashioned out of date ideas.and more products that net only profit to curves. I see lots of comments but not too many replies, are they skmewhere else within unhappy franchise?

  • July 28, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Curves are inisting I hand over all my member details and their bank drafts! Shut my franchise and destroy my equipment, but they want the smart coaches back? They re 7 years old why would they, they have put me out of business, no advertising for ad fee, no lead generation for years because I couldnt afford the new os software, ive been left high and dry, it makes me ill thinking about this organisation. They know they have another club in the same territory so left me alone until the other club got into trouble now theyre chasing me again 2 years later, its like bern persecuted

  • July 28, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Jessica – yes I was. I was lucky. In my last 2 years I lost money, but not enough that I had to plug more money in. In 2015, BEFORE final accounting entries like depreciation & such I lost $6,500 and I paid Curves $9,300. I’m male & owner, my girlfriend managed it. She’d been a Curves member for 14 years and loved it. I went to 2 conventions and thought it was a great concept. I’m an accountant and thought I’d vetted the business pretty good and I had faith in my partner because she was manager in 2006 when our club had 1,000 members and we really thought we could make it work. The mistake I made was on not taking the potential competition into account (discount gyms in a town of 75,000). I’ve done books for business’s big and small, so I was pretty well aware of how money flows in and out, but it gets depressing when EVERYONE wants their hands in your pocket. Working a job and coming home every night and trying to figure out what promotions we should be doing, how much money to spend, paying bills, updating the accounting records…, and getting paid NOTHING for 5 years. I have SO MUCH respect for those Curves Franchisee’s out there who run the club and take care of EVERYTHING because they can’t afford to hire an accountant/bookkeeper. Problem is you HAVE to keep decent records that are updated monthly because what Curves gives you in OS is just lame.

    In the last 2 years we were able to simply draw down on our bank account and in the end I had to drop another $2k into it to pay government taxes. I’ll be working 10 years to pay it all off, but were happy to finally be free of it all.

    Originally we wanted to get the business humming and be able to cruise more in our retirement years, but rather than save for retirement I’ll be paying off debt. Yes it’s my fault in one way, but North Castle made a LOT of mistakes and still are and we really felt that with the big name people they had working for them – at least initially – that they knew what they were doing, so we did everything they asked of us. What a mistake that was. It added $20k more debt.

    Janyne Whte – There are probably 35+ pages devoted to Curves, it’s that bad – if you look at the bottom, there are 6 on this section alone going back to at least 2008. This one is about the JC purchase and announcement – Robert Lay’s story goes on for 28 pages –

    Yes, you’re correct about “old fashioned ideas”. Curves, on Sabacloud up-to-date video’s that are less “hokey” than what they used to offer, but glossier video’s won’t save Curves – new ideas will, and until there’s a management shakeup that won’t happen, thus you see Franchisee’s doing things on their own because NC’s one size fits all is nice for “a Curves is a Curves is a Curves” is a nice idea, but does NOT take into account what the competition is doing. For instance, by the time Curves incorporated Zumba, our town was full of Zumba places or gyms offering Zumba. Zumba wasn’t a draw for us, it was just something new for members, and I can’t even tell you it was good for member retention.

    As for handing over stuff, in Canada there are serious privacy laws involved with giving other people your members information. However you might want to look at your contract with Curves because I believe they have the right to audit your books. There is the 5(?) page document and then there is a 370+ page document they should of sent you (I found a copy on google once). This document lists all the law suits settled and not settled, Curves open & closed and all sorts of other stuff. At the end is a place for you to sign and I didn’t so I’m not sure what legal effect it has. It’s part of giving you prior knowledge of “the state of Curves”, so you are fully informed on the sad status of this organization before buying into it.

    As for the Smart Coaches, they’re proprietary technology and if you read through these pages you’ll find accounts of people who’ve told Curves “I bought the equipment, if you want them pay me for them, then come pick them up”. Given the initial price, you could offer them to another club for free or a small price because replacing a broken one is really expensive. Some clubs have given their equipment away to seniors centers or womens jails.

    As for location – Read Robert Lay’s story, they did the same thing to him. I’m under the understanding that one Curves can’t be within 2 miles of another club, although they’d given me a map of my “guaranteed” area, HOWEVER, in the 370+ page PDF, they say something to the effect that they can do anything they want should they want to. I could see this “IF” they decided to offer a Jenny Craig somewhere near you.

    As for their Franchise sales conference, I sincerely believe that in North America Curves is in serious decline, however in Japan where probably the concept is new it’s doing quite well. Let’s face it, EVERY gym is targeting the baby boomers who have been Curves target audience since the beginning of time.

    Lastly, this website has a group lawsuit against Curves that seems to be near the end. It’s also an interesting (the website isn’t well set up), but it’s an interesting read into how Curves has changed over the years and all the contradictory statements and policies they’ve made over the years

  • September 9, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Curves is an absolute disgrace . I took on a resale club after previously working as a manager in a Curves club for 7 years . Being attending every meeting and training regardless how far and what cost . I could see clubs closing in Ireland left right and centre even the company I was working in went into liquidation and I took over the club as a resale from Curves. However dispite my best efforts ” the curves way” things were not picking up . I ask my area manager for help I had weekly strategy calls ” nothing happen , I kept Curves informed and updated about how bad things were and that I have to have a break from marketing or royalties if I wanted to continue following their program . It seemed clear to me that their program was outdated it needed something new . I introduced Pilates to my club at least I could draw in some revenue but that was a breach of contract but also that was what people wanted . So I had to make the decision to close my business or leave the Curves brand . Easy decision . End of the story is that Curves did not want me to leave they want another 5 years of royalty breach of contract . I regular receiving threading letters from Texas or the UK .
    It looks to me the only way Curves is making money now is by suing people .

  • September 11, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Miriam, your story resonates world wide. It’s the same in the US and Canada. On the section of this website devoted to Curves are 60+ pages of franchise’s who’ve been shafted by Curves. Look for the story of Robert Lay who had an ongoing battle with Curves since the beginning and is close to wrapping up his law suit against Curves. BC Canada which is almost 4 times larger in area than the UK is down to less than 29 Curves locations and I know of 2 more that will be gone in the next year. In the Vancouver lower mainland with a population of 2.5 million there were 11 Curves last year and now there are 8. We closed down nicely and were 2 weeks from shutting our doors and Curves called and emailed me to attend a meeting across the border in the US. They don’t come to us because we have no regional rep, we have to come to them. They wanted all BC Curves who were going to be potentially closing in the next year to come to a special meeting to convince us to stay. If I’m closing why do I want to drive 3 1/2 hours one way to get their indoctrination? Hearing the same old, same old about how “if we do things their way, our business would be a success”. Our Curves, in it’s heyday had 1,000 members (2006). The original owner and her son paid themselves $160,000 a year! We purchased our club in 2011 they were down to 235 members, but the club was a disgrace. It was dirty, staff was untrained and wasn’t being promoted right. As an accountant I went thoroughly through the numbers and myself and my girlfriend (who’d managed the club in it’s heyday) thought we could turn it around in a city of 76,000. We retrained our staff and kept training for 5 years. We got our membership up to 255, then a big box gym came to town. They parked in a local mall for 2 months and signed up 3,000 members at $14.99 a month, 5 years later they have 10,000 members. Our attrition went from 3-4% to 9%. Our membership at the end was 140, and Curves was still telling me that we needed to take their “special” training that we had to pay for. They had me call a Curves club in Gimsley Ontario that had taken the training. She was hard core into the training and believed in it, but told me her membership had gone from 100 to 80, but she felt she could turn it around.

    I complained incessantly about the direction North Castle was going. Many clubs in our area were advertising “30 minute workouts”. “Jillian Michaels workouts” or worse, Goodlife advertised “Jillian Michaels exclusive to Goodlife”. Goodlife has ladies only gyms offering $2.50 per week memberships. The big box gym I mentioned is Trevor Linden (former team captain hockey player for Vancouver). He has a chain of gyms called Club 16 with a ladies only side called She’s Fit and they now promote $4 per week memberships with no contract. We have another ladies gym offering $19.99 per month – our price was $39/44/49. ($39 legacy members, $44 legacy members with CurvesSmart and $49 the “online access” price). At other gyms members spend 90 minutes working out, so we did a promo “all you need is 30 minutes”, another promo “you don’t need 90 minutes to get a good workout”. Monte Sharma blasted me with “that’s false advertising and Curves offers a safe place for women and is the only ladies gym”. REALLY? I wanted to reply that we were one of 5 ladies gyms in our town, but realized that it was a waste of time on someone who looks like he doesn’t exercise or has ever been to a gym.

    Warren Buffet in his book said he wouldn’t invest in business that weren’t unique – where what they offered could be duplicated by other business’s. Curves spent and still spends too much time pushing “discounted enrollment fees”, “free weeks”, Jillian Michaels, Zumba (old days), and other things that many other gyms offer. For instance Curves took on Zumba at it’s peak when Zumba clubs were springing up everywhere. Jillian Michaels was oversold in too many other areas and NEVER for us increased membership. I maintained (and oddly their advertising department agreed with me), our promotion should be things that separated Curves from the competition – “30 day FULL body workout for the BUSY woman featuring two personnel coaches (Circuit Coach & CurvesSmart)”. I asked if Dr Ho can be on the TV every night selling a $100 muscle zapper (among other such late night shows selling other one time sales, Tae Bo, Insanity, P90x, etc.., why can’t Curves be on there telling the Curves story, how Curves has helped millions of women, INVESTED in research into women’s health and showing the benefits of our unique workout? — EDUCATING and BUILDING the Curves brand. — But what did we get from Mike Raymond in 1st quarter 2016 on Saba Cloud? “We’ve spent our 2016 advertising budget on online advertising”. I looked at the media they were involved with and didn’t recognize much of it and I’m very computer savvy.

    As Bugs Bunny said so often “beh dee ab a dee ab a dee, that’s all folks”. Franchisee’s are ON THEIR OWN.

    Initially we were so happy when North Castle took over. They did surveys, they were going to re-invent Curves, they were going to make “A Curves is a Curves is a Curves”. Ideologically that’s nice, but Franchisee’s NEED to respond to the market they’re in. In their current training they point out “Curves is a business like Tupperware and Avon, that is close relationships are important” – except at Curves we have to have a storefront and leases are getting more expensive.

    We BELIEVED. We bought into everything including the new equipment. What did NC do? They’re still fine tuning the websites, trimming back on payroll, putting training and support on-line, in other words cutting costs, left, right and center. They told us “like a house we’re going to rebuild the foundation, and build on that”. That hasn’t happened, I liken it to building an incredible ark, but forgetting to find a say to populate it.

    Re: Curves threats. I don’t think they can afford to sue anyone as if you’re closing it’s a safe conclusion you’re out of money, so what would they get. That’s why in these pages you’ll read about them demanding $60k, then when denied asking for $10k (example), then when denied asking for $60k again. In my original contract there was a clause that if I didn’t give my intentions to continue or close, they could automatically RENEW my contract.

    Curves is so hungry for money that OS fees have gone from $29 to $49 per month for re-sales and renewals, they charge for anything they can get away with which is why franchisee’s now pay for the “premium training” which appears to be the same as the old stuff except you get a diploma. HEY, they even put it on sale! In June they were offering 40% off, LOL. If you don’t want to re-sign up for a 5 or 10 year franchisee, they have special charges if you only to try 1 or 2 more years.

    Before we closed I corresponded with the 35+ Curves in BC (that were still open). I’m disheartened that there is no Curves franchise forum because almost EVERY Curves in BC operates on their own not really realizing that they’re declining business isn’t primarily their own fault, but the fault of the Curves organization to promote the brand properly. We used to have district meetings 2-3 times a year, but Curves fired all the regional managers. It was heartening to see that other Curves were working their butts off to save their business just as we were, YET when I would question Curves direction to NC, I’d get a phone call and they would say “you should try this or that”, not knowing that we were 2-3 steps ahead of them. When I say we tried everything – we did. I’m now out $100k and yet Curves said to me “you aren’t trying hard enough”. I told him I have $100k CDN at stake and run 2 business’s and you sit in your office making $70-80k a year (US) and have never run a business let alone a Curves yourself? You have no idea how hard I work every night or my girlfriend/manager works 50-60 hours a week.

    Re: Break from royalties – I paid Curves close to $10k in ALL their fees in 2015. I did NOT get $10k worth of value in building our club. This is why a growing number of clubs close and re-open under a non-Curves brand, increasing their margins $10k! One club refused to get rid of 2 pieces of the white gear and was going to re-sign for another year. Curves refused to re-sign them. Then a couple weeks later Curves changed their minds, but she told them “sorry, no is a no”. When Curves sends a trainer out to review re-signing clubs some don’t even know how to use the equipment.

    Re: Curves Way. You can’t run a business in this day and age the same way you did 20+ years ago. These days business’s don’t want our lead boxes taking up their shelf space. Corporations get better deals from the big box gyms. Like the Dollar Stores, lots of people prefer a better price over better service, and to fight that takes education. NOT Franchise by Franchise struggling to make a point to it’s local clientele, but world wide like Curves International should be doing.

    Why does Curves only have 180,000 likes on FB, while Shoppers Drug Mart has 920k, London Drugs a service based retailer (voted BC’s most loved brand) based in Western Canada 126k, Shell Oil 6 million, Delta Airlines 1.7 million? Simply because NC has utterly failed at building the brand.

  • September 19, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Wow I cannot believe that Curves is still operating with its crappy ethics. I closed down my club in Australia 4 yrs ago, I had 4 yrs left on my agreement. They wanted $69,000 from me which I said I wasn’t going to pay, they then came back with an offer of $35,000 again I said no. I haven’t heard from then since. I will not pay them a cent, they did absolutely nothing for me, they left me to rot. I ended up for the last 2 yrs working the club solely by myself as I couldn’t afford to pay staff. BUT I had to find money every month for franchise fees. Had to pay for my own advertising, its just wrong. I am so glad I got out when I did. There was no way I could have been able to purchase the new equipment. Even confronted Gary Heavin at convention one year and he just fobbed me off,l he was only interested in the clubs that were making him money. I am now free from the stress and to all of you out there who are struggling there is life after curves. Remember we are stronger together so we all need to stick to our guns and fight the system.

  • September 20, 2016 at 12:27 am

    When North Castle bought Curves we were told they were bringing new management on board. People who’d turned KFC, Coke – a whole list of companies and we were so excited. New management, new ideas, brighter minds. What we got was a group of people who knew NOTHING about the gym business, let alone the state of the competition. NC hired a company to do a survey – what did women think about Curves. They found that overall those in the survey didn’t have negative feelings about Curves, they just didn’t think about Curves first when deciding to get fit. They brought Jillian on board, but overall Jillian just didn’t work out for many reasons.

    Jillian was all about Jillian. She was oversold in the market. Our members considered her loud mouthed, she was in a financial ad (voice only), had semi-nude but tasteful pictures on the internet, marketed a cross trainer on TV, has fitness DVD’s in every large retail store, and licenses higher end video’s to large gyms – more targeted towards the younger, fitter women, but some of our competition claimed that Jillian was “exclusive” to them because of these video’s.

    By the time Curves developed their “in-house” classes like Body Moves – which members LOVED – our franchise was coming to an end, and the competition had done us in. We bought the new gear because new gyms were opening up and we had updated everything else but the gear. Our club was considered by members from other clubs to be the nicest club they’d ever seen. In every way it was a model club and we went above and BEYOND what Curves wanted.

    So when Monty responded to the Forbes article – – he told them and us that the problem is Franchisee’s who “refuse to do things the Curves way” essentially we laughed because we were doing everything we should and membership was declining. This article is in 2014 and Forbes claims that Curves had 2,500 locations in North America while 2 years later (see link from “CrushedbyCurves” above has a link that says (as does Wikipedia) that Curves currently has only 1035 locations in North America now.

    In 1st quarter 2015 Monte put a video on SabaCloud (Curves on-line video repository) that said “we’re continuing to have locations close, and we expect more before the turn around starts”, we were still hopeful they’d find a way to address the slow demise of Curves. They didn’t, and in fact in 1st quarter 2016 they told us their 2016 advertising budget had been spent. Last week I was watching TV and heard a 20 second ad for Curves that kind of went “Strength training is important for good health, and Curves is a great place to do that”. I work at home and listen to TV a lot, and have only heard that ad once. That simply won’t build the brand.

    Their idea of “help” (and we’d been to the conventions which were a lot of fun) was to analyze how much our lease is and how to ask the landlord for a price decrease, or cut back on the hours we’re open – because “the owner should only have to work 4 days a week and the club ideally should only be open 35 hours a week, and as Curves roots are based on the values of “Christians Gary & Diane” we should be open on Sundays and if open on Saturdays, just open in the morning.

    Then it became about training. They claimed we needed to train more and I told them we’d retrained all our staff from scratch and never stopped. Then they had “secret shoppers”, people who’d call us up pretending to be potential clients – we ACED them all. It always became a problem with how we were running our business, NEVER the mistakes they were making. Like when they ditched all the previous Curves merchandise and got new stuff telling use we had to buy this special $450 (CDN) display board because they had a hot shot professional who was going to cycle and promote and if we joined the program our merchandising sales would skyrocket. Frankly their product whether protein powder or clothing was expensive, but we shopped carefully and now and then did pretty good. They brought out protein bars but discontinued the best sellers. The ONLY non-Curves products we’re allowed to sell is water.

    They determined early that like McDonalds, “A Curves should be a Curves should be a Curves”. We couldn’t agree more – to a point. If you’re a big box gym with “100 pieces of gear with TV’s” and the financial backing to lose money for years to build your brand in a community that’s growing, you can afford to be everything to everyone. I’ve come to believe that Curves Franchisee’s with an equipment budget of $25k can’t compete with clubs with a $500k budget, so Curves owners need flexibility to respond to markets as they see fit because we know what our market wants and NC simply can’t and won’t listen to us. In our lower mainland of 2.5 million people we have several Curves who can’t even afford to get CurvesSmart, and North Castle hasn’t figured out how to build the brand so they can. I’ve dealt extensively with Krishea H and Jeff L at NC and their answer to running a successful club is “watch the video’s, do the paid training” which is just more of the same old, same old and not one new genius idea. A good wake up idea for all these big wigs at NC is to take on a slumping club and PROVE to us their ideas work – because my guess is that there is almost no one left at Curves Intl who has any experience running a Club in the current economic climate.

    What they do now is deceptive. A new club opens, has a 50% increase in membership and then we’re told Xxxxx Club in Arkansas used our training and is a shining example of how things work when you do it right. They go to great lengths to point out the glitter because that’s all they have. In March 2014 NC released PDF’s showing most clubs attrition rates among other stats. I separated out all the CDN clubs and discovered that 65% of CDN clubs had attrition rates higher than 4% in MARCH, which should of been one of our best 3 months. We’d been told previously that Japan was the model we needed to follow because their attrition was 3%, and NC still claims Japan is the model to follow, yet the average Japanese Curves club has today an attrition of 3.6%, so they’re close to what we used to be. But the question to be asked is… Is Curves the “new” thing in Japan? Do they have big box gyms? How long has Curves been in North America? 24 years I think. It’s long overdue for a re-invention, but I don’t think NC’s shareholders are into that and the current management has stagnated with no new ideas to turn things around.

  • October 21, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I will be closing before my agreement is up. Has anyone dealt with this lately? I have 11 months left.

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