Successful business management runs through Richard Decker’s veins. The CEO and founder of AWATFIT, an all-weather, all-terrain mobile-fitness franchise, has been his own boss since the age of 19, after he bought half of the restaurant he had been working in as a bartender. By Brianna Bohn
Successful business management runs through Richard Decker’s veins. The CEO and founder of AWATFIT, an all-weather, all-terrain mobile-fitness franchise, has been his own boss since the age of 19, after he bought half of the restaurant he had been working in as a bartender. Since then, he has accrued almost four decades of experience running several brick-and-mortar fitness and restaurant businesses.
Decker’s advice for those who want to realize their dreams through business ownership? “Let go of the outcome, and create,” he said.
As a disruptor of the franchise world, Decker has done exactly that with AWATFIT, a concept that breaks away from the restrictions of a brick-and-mortar location and opens endless possibilities with a customized fitness truck. Since creating his first truck design in 2019, Decker has refined his concept to simplify business ownership and expedite results for franchisees. Now on his sixth version of the truck, which has 30 workout stations, Decker has found the sweet spot in the fitness industry – and it’s not inside a smelly room with rows of treadmills and sticky medicine balls.
While the entrepreneur initially was concerned about convincing people to work out outside, the pandemic solved that, and now his portable fitness offering is the solution to other problems that COVID-19 and traditional business structures have presented.
“The brick-and-mortar industry has a unique dilemma right now with expenses. Rents aren’t going down, and the square footage needed for a brick-and-mortar gym is large. None of that is associated with my business. We have no landlords, no municipalities, no utilities, minimal staff, and marketing is included, so I took away the five silent partners, and that’s what puts our net margins close to 80%,” Decker explained.
The emerging brand has attracted the attention of people of all fitness levels with its dynamic group and one-on-one classes that address strength, flexibility and agility. The best part? The truck drives to clients so they don’t have to spend time traveling to a location, parking, checking in or working out in crowds of unfamiliar faces. Moving from the beach to the backyard to bachelor parties and corporate events, AWATFIT caters to all schedules at any location, and an app currently is in development that will let clients find a fitness truck in their area and rent it for 30 minutes to an hour.
Ownership is just as simple and fun too. An in-house finance program is available to lessen the burden for franchisees, and the brand will passively run the operation for them for the first three years. For training, the AWATFIT truck travels to new franchise owners instead of making them travel to a specific location and sit in a classroom for days. “We bring the truck to your territory, one of my team members and I show up, we do outdoor on-the-job training in your territory for a week, we do a soft launch with you, we get everyone excited about the truck, and we do all the pre-marketing campaigns,” Decker said.
And the revenue generated from that marketing opportunity might come as a surprise to many. In partnership with his other company, Roll Fast Media, Decker sells the exterior of the AWATFIT trucks to other businesses so that franchise owners can earn another stream of revenue as they drive to their clients. “We have a franchise business based in fitness and health, and then we have an experiential marketing company that benefits the franchisee without them doing anything,” he said. “My company sells the advertising, and they get a royalty, which could be anywhere from $60K to $80K a year per truck.”