How To Start Your Own Gym Business – Fitness is a huge business, and small business owners have access to opportunities like never before. In the post-COVID environment, the growth of the fitness industry around the world, especially in the United States, has been steady.
According to Statista, the gym industry in the United States was valued at $41.8 billion in 2019 — just before the COVID pandemic hit and slashed the industry to $28 billion. As of 2020, the gym business has been growing steadily, growing about 8% annually.
How To Start Your Own Gym Business
In addition, the demand for sports clubs or boutique gyms has increased (source). These are sports activities that focus on specific disciplines, such as Pilates, yoga, or martial arts. Simply put: opening a gym is now good business.
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While opening a gym or fitness business is a great idea and potentially very profitable, just like anything else, you must have the right plan in place for success. This guide to opening a gym will walk you through every step necessary to make it as successful as possible.
Let’s be honest: opening a gym isn’t a cheap option. Factoring in equipment, staff, marketing costs, and the overall costs of operating your gym can add up quickly.
There are things you need like access to water, bathrooms, changing rooms, security, and access control. You should also use gym management software to accept payments, manage classes and trainers’ schedules, and even handle other important modern tasks like e-marketing or promotions.
Business costs for opening a gym can be quite high, with a single piece of equipment costing anywhere from $50 to $30,000 or more.
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Let’s take a quick look at the costs that you need to consider before starting a fitness center business.
In most countries, you must have a business license to open a gym or fitness center. The cost for this may vary depending on your country and local laws, but the budget is between $50 and $500. Additional licenses may be required depending on whether you sell equipment, food, or provide ancillary services such as sports massage, swimming pool, or sauna.
Although there are no specific accreditation requirements to own a gym in the United States, they do vary around the world. For example, in the UK, gym owners and personal trainers require Level 2 Personal Trainer Certificates, which cost around £375. Obviously, the APAC region, one of the fastest growing gym markets in the world, has different certification requirements for gym owners, so check your local laws and regulations.
Business insurance will be an important expense for any gym. This includes both commercial building and liability insurance, so if an accident (hopefully never) does happen, you’re covered! Gym insurance varies by location and country, so be sure to research this as part of your business plan.
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What is a gym without equipment? The actual equipment you purchase will depend on the gym’s business model, so a yoga studio may not need kettlebells or treadmills. Cardio equipment is usually expensive, with a new treadmill costing at least $20,000—plus, you need more than one.
Of course you need space for a gym. When you rent a space, you often sign a lease for a minimum term. These can be a big expense in the beginning, so they need to be factored into the up-front costs. We’ll get into the ins and outs of locating in a moment.
Every modern business needs to invest in a software package. Every fitness business needs gym management software like Arbox to help manage gym memberships and class schedules. However, you will probably also have to invest in accounting software.
You will need a website so that clients can read about your services and even book fitness classes online. Building a new website can be inexpensive, but a good website can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Sites like Carrd.co or Litesite.com can give you an easy way to publish a basic site if you just need a basic web presence.
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You may need to hire employees to run a fitness business, even if you are running the business as a small organization. At a minimum, you will need cleaners, but you may also need additional fitness instructors, administrative staff, human resources staff, and accounting services. Hiring employees is usually the biggest monthly expense for any small business owner.
Every modern business plan should focus on advertising. Starting with clear branding and signage will be key to building a strong brand identity and a successful gym in the long run. You should also consider how you can attract customers through social media marketing, organic content marketing, paid advertising, or other channels.
So these are the main parts of your gym opening business plan. What about the costs involved?
For a basic gym, you should expect to pay at least $40,000 if it has minimal equipment and modest décor. It can be perfect for doing yoga or pilates.
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A fitness studio that relies on specialized fitness equipment can double that amount. The average cost of starting a gymnasium business in the United States ranges from around $30,000 to $400,000 or more. The cost of equipment is about the same as anywhere else in the world, so renting real estate and local business services is something that affects your initial investment.
Most gym owners get a business loan or other source of small business financing to get started. With a solid business plan in place, banks are required to offer you a business loan. Or you can also fund your gym project through private equity if you find people willing to finance your gym project idea.
Once you have decided that opening a gym is the right move for you, then you need to find a location. There are many factors to consider when choosing where to shop.
First of all, who are your target customers? Your site should be accessible and convenient for those who visit your gym. If you can locate your gym within walking distance of a high density residential area or close to a shopping mall, you can attract regular and loyal members.
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If possible, try to choose a location with a lot of foot traffic so that people passing by will see a sign with information about membership rates or special offers for classes (if available).
In many countries, such as the United States, you also have to consider parking. Is there enough parking for all your customers? Gyms in big cities with good public transport infrastructure, such as London, Singapore, Barcelona or Sydney, may focus less on parking and closer to metro or bus stations.
Second: regional rules. You will need to check with your local authority before renting a property as there may be restrictions on the types of businesses that can operate in certain areas. This can be especially true if they are near schools or residential areas.
This may mean that you will have trouble obtaining a permit from City Hall when applying for a permit at a later time. So make sure you check everything out before you sign anything official.
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Gym design and layout are two important factors that determine its success. There are many considerations to make, including:
This is one of the most important decisions you will make because it directly affects how much you spend on equipment and how much space you need to dedicate to each piece of equipment. If possible, try out different cars before you buy them to see which one fits your brand and key demographics.
The look of your fitness studio also depends on your floors. Consider wood floors, carpeting, and rubber mats (or other types). Laminate floors look great, but they can be very expensive if they need to be replaced every few years due to wear and tear. Carpets don’t usually last as long, but have a lower initial cost; Rubber mats are available but do not have enough cushioning for some users’ preferences
Not every gym has enough natural lighting, so be sure to design your lighting to maximize the aesthetics of your clients. In general, gyms tend to use bright blue lighting. But something like a yoga studio invokes a softer aesthetic with warmer lighting. You can also consider the energy efficiency of your lighting.
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If you’re opening a new gym or even starting a pop-up fitness service, you’ll need a website. While the main WordPress site may be from 2008, most customers expect to find, pay for, and manage their accounts online.
You can find web developers who can create hundreds of professional websites
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