Small Business Brief


Let’s Get Fit! A Beginner’s Guide to Opening a Gym

Opening a Gym: A Beginner’s Guide

Have you always dreamed of opening a gym, but you aren’t sure where to start? Check out this guide to learn how to get started in the workout business.

Are you a fitness junkie who can’t imagine life outside the gym? Are you thinking of opening your own gym and starting a business?

In some ways, it’s easier than it seems. But, it also has lots of unexpected challenges.

The fitness industry can be lucrative for trainers and gym owners. Owning a gym can be a fulfilling and rewarding career. But, there are quite a few steps to take before you reap that reward.

Make sure opening a gym is the right path for you. Keep reading to learn all the steps involved with owning and running a gym.

Ensure It’s a Good Fit for You

Being a good trainer doesn’t mean you’ll be a good gym owner. The truth is, owning a gym requires a lot more skills than only training. Make sure you understand all that this career entails before you dive in.

Consider talking to other gym owners about their experience. Be prepared to listen; this is about their story, not promoting yours. Ask about their struggles, tips, and suggestions.

Do you have the right accreditations? You might already have fitness training certificates, but what about business? It’s not a rule that you need to have a business degree, but you may want to sign up for a business management class.

The first few years of running a gym are strenuous. You’ll likely have to be there early in the morning until close. And, you’ll be working weekends until your staff can replace you when you’re gone.

Once you understand the lifestyle of a new gym owner, you’ll have a better sense of if its right for you.

Write a Business Plan

Before you can go forward with action, you need a plan. All businesses write a business plan to set goals and organize their actions. And, you need one for asking for a loan at the bank.

First, who are your target clients? You may already have clients that will follow you to the new gym. But, who are you marketing to in the community?

Some gyms focus on one gender or one age group. You could target middle-aged women or young iron-pumping guys, for example.

Then, consider how your gym will make money. Most gyms can’t survive only on membership fees. You need other services to bring in money.

Consider offering a massage service, tanning, or even a smoothie bar. You could offer specialty health drinks that include ingredients from Kratom Exchange.

Make sure your business plan has exact numbers. It should include your projected growth dates and when you expect to scale. The plan should also outline how much you will pay for expenses and how much profit you’ll make.

Get Your Finances Together

The initial cost of starting a gym is huge. Without a nest egg of savings, you’ll likely need a loan from the bank or family.

You’ll need to buy property or rent a space for the gym. Then, there’s the cost of buying equipment and infrastructure. You’ll need to hire an accountant, a cleaning service, and your first employees.

Your business plan is a crucial tool for securing funds. Whether you approach family and friends or a bank, they need to see numbers. Being as organized and realistic as possible will make them feel safer lending.

Investors are another source of income you could search for. They may assess and send back your business plan many times, but it’s because they want to see a return on their money.

Think of the fund garnering stage as an episode of Shark’s Tank. Be prepared to answer every question and be transparent about your experience.

Cover the Legalities

There are parts of opening a business that aren’t fun or creative. But, they’re necessary to have a legal and protected business.

You need to register your business with the government and register for taxes. Then, you need to open a business bank account.

It’s smart to invest in hiring an accountant. It can be tempting to try and do it yourself but save yourself the hassle. A registered accountant will do your taxes and balance the books.

Gyms need certain permits, licenses, and insurance. Before you can even open the gym, you need to ensure all your permits are in order. Contact your state’s Chamber of Commerce to know which ones you need in your location.

There are a ton of insurance types that gym owners may need. It’s best to hire an independent broker to help choose the ones that apply most to you. These can include liability insurance, equipment breakdown, and worker’s compensation.

Use Awesome Marketing Strategies

To have a successful gym, you need a stellar marketing plan. This starts with identifying your target client and knowing what makes you unique.

Maybe you offer services to demographics that feels under-served. Maybe your style of fitness training is rare in your area. What makes you different than the gym down the street?

Then, you need to have a killer business website. Everything gets done online; new clients will search for you online to decide if they want to come in. Consider hiring a web designer for this important task.

Strategy Ideas

Along with the website, you need to have relevant and cohesive social media accounts. Update these with content that’ll be of value to prospective clients.

One awesome marketing strategy to get new clients is a referral program. Any existing clients who refer a friend to become a client gets rewarded. They could get a free class pass or fitness swag.

You could also offer free seminars each month on health and wellness. Advertise in the local community. This is a way to meet people in the area that could become new clients.

Are You Planning on Opening a Gym?

Opening a gym is a huge feat that requires dedication, passion, and help. Outsourcing important tasks (like accounting and insurance brokering) will make the process easier.

Focus on how your gym can serve its clients and on what makes it unique. People like rare and unique businesses that serve them well.

For more information on starting your own business, check out the small business blog.