Exercise Equipment Store

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So You Want to Open a Gym?

Jan 26th 2021

So you're on the verge of trying to start your own gym and are looking for some decent information on how to get started. I'd like to give some insiders information to try to save you some time and effort before jumping into a small business. Now this is written for people who know little to nothing on the subject, and are just looking for a place to turn their dream into a reality. First off you have to determine what type of gym you want to get started, there are lots of varieties and you have to keep this in mind. What are some types of gyms?

  • Personal training gym
  • Pilates
  • Weight loss Niche gym
  • Crossfit
  • Large fitness center or health club ( LA FITNESS, EQUINOX, 24 Hour Fitness etc)
  • New gym concept
  • 24 hour fitness studio ( ANYTIME FITNESS, SNAP FITNESS ETC )
  • Hardcore body building gyms
  • Spin Studio ( SOUL CYCLE, FLYWHEEL)

The list above can vary in different ways and can have combinations of each or all mixed into one location. Think that a good place to start is your own personal expertise and what the customer base you are trying to serve is in need of. So if you're a bodybuilder or personal trainer a fitness studio or a boot camp style gym if you are looking to work with bigger groups of people. In other words, it is generally not a good idea to open up a Crossfit gym if your background in the fitness industry is as a Pilates instructor. So keep what you're good at in mind and what your passion is when deciding what you want to start up and make this a part of your business plan. Another part to this is what the market in an area you're looking to open demands , this will take some guerrilla style investigation so put your boots to the ground and visit what is nearby see what is available and what is being offered so you can see where you can fit in. There are things that all gyms are going to need and some gyms can deal without, depending on what the market in your area needs. So look at the amenities like fitness classes, Spinning, the locker rooms, what gym equipment and the age of it, what type of people are there clients ( Older, young, body builders, Moms & Dads etc). Then look at the pricing and fees that their clients pay, what do they charge monthly? Is there a contract? Are there club enhancement fees? Take notes if you need to because the better prepared the more chances you have on having a successful gym. Once you see where you fit in, start to get your business plan together with all your business ideas, remember only investigate the competition that pertains to you and what your idea is. So don't waste your time going into a boot camp if you're opening a spin studio. Also look at places that are comparable to the size of the health club or boot camp you want to open. During this market research period, you should start looking into the cost of construction in your area per square foot, and learn all you can about building code when they are talking to you, especially when it comes to lockers and bathrooms, some places are very strict and will not give you a Certificate of operation if things are not right. The must have are all basic, gym flooring or turf and your fitness equipment, these are a must in most gyms so you will be spending time on this and the more equipment the more time you will need to spend.

Take into consideration how you 're going to finance  this business venture, before attempting to take over the fitness world also keep in mind most of the gyms now and days at least the national ones have a lot of cash behind them, take the planet fitness franchise for example ; for you to start one you have to have 1 million in liquid cash at hand to even get started and most of these franchises are started with investor groups who are just looking for a return on there investment and know nothing about the gym business and don't care to know it, it's just a calculated investment. If you're a small gym owner startup cost can vary significantly depending on real estate cost, build out cost and what gym equipment you go with. A small health club can run you anywhere from $30,000 up to $150,000 again all based on the 3 factors mentioned before. If you are attempting to build something on a budget keep your fitness equipment cost as low as possible and maybe look into a variety of products and conditions, meaning looking into used & re-manufactured options when shopping this. Going with a used product on certain items can save you up to 70% from brand new products. Now I'm not a believer that all used equipment is created equal so make sure you know what you're buying. Flooring is another way to save some money if you don't get too picky with it and just need sports flooring for your fitness business , the more fancy and colorful the more it will cost, also when comparing pricing the thickness, speckle color amount and also if the flooring is made from recycled flooring. The good thing about the low cost model is that you can avoid franchise fees and can really make the gym your own. There is a lot to think about when thinking of your business model so try to keep things simple since the amount of stress at the start of your plan so keep in mind this is a new business and that comes with its own challenges. Remember Marketing, word of mouth, social media is your best friend at the start so attract as many potential gym members as possible and promote the club with a minimum month long pre-sale to jump start your membership base and help you get training in the works of the sign up process with your gym runner software. Yes you will also need software just look into this while you're researching your business venture, Gym runner, Mindbody, Vagaro are some that are out there, most of them handle your accounting as well so do your research. I really can help someone who is looking to get themselves started. Please feel free to contact me with any questions on the comments. I will gladly answer any questions you may have.