How-To

Learn the Steps to Open a Gym/Fitness Center in Your City

fitness center in your city

With obesity rate increasing day by day, starting a gym in your locality could be one of the best business ideas currently. Today every 6th adult in the US owns some kind of fitness membership. Whether it is losing weight, building muscles, increasing stamina, or becoming more active and healthy, whatever may the reason be, everyone will come to you if you encourage them with your training skills. Gyms are also a relatively lucrative business venture as opposed to other Small Businesses.

If you are a fitness freak and know a lot about exercises and training, and looking for a business opportunity, start a gym and earn money quickly. You will never run out of customers. However, just because the market is great it does not mean you should start without knowing how to run, promote, and grow it.

Step 1: Learn a Bit about the Fitness Industry

The fitness industry is definitely a sector that has bloomed and exploded in the past 6 years. Recent surveys showed that fitness promotion in 2017 was concerned aboutfighting obesity, followed by improving health and building muscles. In the US alone, the total revenue reached in 2017 was $ 27 billion.

Small specialty gyms and independently owned fitness businesses enjoyed the maximum profits as compared to the larger players. So, you can think of starting a fitness niche that is accessible to local communities.

Moreover, the start-up costs and barriers to entry are also quite low. This is because most gyms practically require not more than 3 staffs. However, you need skill, proper training, commitment, and of course, great equipment and tools to run a successful gym business.

Step 2: Find Your Passion to Start a Gym

You won’t last very long if you do not have passion and love towards fitness. Your business should drive a motive, such as provide new fitness regime to stay fit and lose weight, introduce different types of exercises that are uncommon in your area, educate individuals about fitness and well-being, and help obese people lose weight. You could also offer a wide array of fitness programs for children and adults of all ages, such as Yoga, to maintain health and boost metabolism.

So, find where your passion lies and then lay your foundation. For instance, you may realize that you want to be a personal trainer more than a gym owner. So, make sure, if opening a gym will fulfill your vision.

You should also do market research to find the motives behind each gym. Talk to the owners of different centers and learn from successful people. Knowledge is priceless, both in fitness and business management.

Step 3:  Get Professional Training and Earn a Certificate

Opening a gym or a fitness center must require proper training and accreditation. Reebok and Les Mil are two popular brands that offer personal training certification courses to become a fitness trainer. You can choose your own specialization, such as Yoga, Body Combat, Functional Training, Resistance Training, Pilates, Zumba, Aerobics, and Compound Training.

You cannot teach something that you don’t know about. For example, fitness and diet routines vary from individuals to individuals. A person with knee issues will havea different set of exercise routine from a person who has to lose 20 KGs, and you should know about it. You also have to make sure that the instructors you hire are trained and have some kind of fitness certification.

You could try out your capabilities in a non-management capacity before you start your own gym. You should be able to put your skills into test before venturing head-on into the industry. Although, having fitness qualification is not compulsory to run a gym, but certifications and accreditations will help you acquire more clients.

Step 4: Identify Your Type of Gym

You have different kinds of gyms and fitness centers to choose from. Here is a list of various types of trending fitness centers that you can explore:

  • Traditional Gymnasium

One fitness center with a variety of equipment-based workout options, this is what a traditional gym looks like. It includes fitness equipment for cardio and strength training, personal training, and diet sessions. The owner may also provide additional services, such as steam rooms, childcare, massage, sauna, and tanning. Most body-builders prefer this type.

  • Specialty Fitness Center

Gyms that fall under this type typically focus on a niche activity or class. Such gyms do not promote the use of equipment but rather ask clients to engage their body weight. Depending upon the trainer’s choices and certifications, he may offer a variety of classes.

Examples of specialty fitness centers include Zumba, Aerobics, Yoga, Pilates, Steppers, Cycling, Body Combat, Masala Bhangra, Boot Camp and more.

The classes will be scheduled based on the exercise intensity, level, and target. Instructors must be certified to train. 45Degrees.Fitness is one such popular center.

  • Family Fitness Center

Country clubs fall under this category. They often provide a combination of workout routines for different age groups – adults, teens, kids, and senior citizens. Group fitness workouts, specialty classes, traditional gym, and personal training – everything is included in the club.

The clubs may also offer additional classes, such as swimming, summer camps, ladies-only sports, childcare, and evening classes. Apart from these services, you will also find various wellness amenities, such as massage, nutrition consultation, sauna, and snacks and diet food. The membership fee is quite high compared to traditional gyms. Therefore, upscale society usually is the members of these clubs.

  • Medical Fitness Club

Physical and recovery therapies are primary services provided in Medical fitness centers. People who are recovering from accidents, injuries, or nerve damage, and other health issues are primary members. These fitness centers are a part of or associated with hospitals and clinics, and are usually recommended by doctors.

Hired staffs must be properly specialized and trained, just like nurses and lab in-charge, to treat and manage patients. The medical fitness club may also offer services like mental health support, traditional gyms, and psychological consultation.

Step 5: Plan your Finances

Most people find about everything else first, such as location, market, equipment, legal stuff etc. but keep the financing part towards the end. It is not how you are supposed to do to make the business work. You should think about the finances first before anything else. If you have the funds secured, you will be at peace and will be able to focus on your primary objectives. Think of the ways you can obtain the funds. You can lend money from your friends and family, take a bank loan, start online crowdfunding, take a credit loan, or use your savings. If you are investing your own money, make sure you have cash saved for at least next 12 to 18 months to cover expenses.

Bank loans can be easily availed if your financial statements and tax returns are accurate and properly done. Having a strong business plan will help you secure your funds faster for your gym. With regards to finance, a business plan must include business mission and vision, financial goals, financial strategy, marketing strategy, business development plan (both long and short term), expenses, and break-even analysis.

Step 6: Pick Your Gym Location

Your gym location should be lucrative and should be easily accessible by the target population. When it comes to gymming, people don’t prefer to go far from their comfort zone, like their homes. Of course, if your gym is one of a kind, then people will come all the way from across the city. The best gym location is the areas where there is a demand for it and where there is minimal competition. However, there are several other factors that you need to consider when picking the location. They include:

  • Rent or purchase cost. It is a good idea to rent the gym space instead of purchasing it unless you own the building. Rent is a part of the gym’s operating expenses, which will vary depending upon the location and sq.ft. If you are opening your gym in an upscale locality, the rent will be high. This could be a good option for specialty gyms and fitness clubs as their membership fees is usually more.
  • The demand of the local people. If a residential locality has no gym, setting your fitness center there will prove to be a great idea. But if you open a gym next to an already established center, then you may run a loss.
  • Gym type. If your center focuses on a particular niche, such as medical, Zumba etc. then opening adjacent to a traditional gym may not pose a danger. However, make sure the demand for a specialty gym is more in the area. A quick door-to-door survey may give your answers.

Step 7: Make Your Business Legal

To make your gym a legal business structure, you need to go through the following steps:

  • Apply for a business Different states require different licenses to be owned to run a gymnasium. For instance, you may have to own both state and local business licenses to operate. A license to business will help you operate the gym on legal terms. To know more about it, log in to your state’s Small Business Administration Licenses and Permits website.
  • Get an Employee Identification Number, for tax administrative purpose, from your state’s IRS website.
  • The location of the gym will determine your tax situation. Based on that, you may have to register for federal, state, & local taxes. Consult a tax specialist for tax-specific
  • Register the name of your gym. Gyms also have to register their names in order to operate the business legally. Before registering, you will have to determine the structure of your business. You can incorporate your gym as a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a partnership firm. Tax obligations and liabilities will vary with each structure. A lawyer should be an ideal person to guide you in establishing a business structure. He will take your finances and personal liabilities into account and select the best structure for you.
  • Buy limited liability insurance for your business. Gyms run a high risk of meeting with on-premise accidents and injuries. Injury during exercise is always a possibility, even with extreme precautions. You may also have to apply for workers compensation insurance depending on state and local laws.
  • Apply for other licenses and permits, such as day care licenses, childcare permits, zoning permits etc.

Step 8: Buy Equipment Needed and Hire Additional Staffs

In order to make your gym successful, you must offer a variety of workout equipment and plenty of freehand exercise space. Your clients should get several exercise opportunities to stay interested and loyal.

You can leaseor buy the equipment. Leasing is a better option as it gives you a chance to assess your requirements and lets you stay upgraded with current technology. However, leasing will also charge you with ownership interest, which may become a costly affair in the long-run.

If yours is going to be a traditional gym, you will have to install fitness equipment. Categories of equipment include free weights, isolation machines, and cardio machines. Make sure you buy a pair of each machine, especially the free weights and cardio machines.

If you are going to be a specialty gymnasium owner, you may have to invest in steppers, kettlebells, tires, boxing bags, distance markers, mats, balls, ropes, free weights, barbells, and other resistance training tools.

You may also have to buy specific gears to offer special classes, like eye gear, floaters, and cap for swimming classes and boxing gloves for body combat and boxing.

Hire only qualified, fit, and certified trainers. Put them on probation for three or four classes, gauge their performance based on client satisfaction, and then put them on a roll. You will require more trainers for specialty classes and less for traditional gyms.

That’s all you need to start a gym. However, do not forget the basics, like keep your gym space and equipment spic and span, and hygienic. Scrub them frequently to remove odor and dust. And, hire a reputable marketing and branding agency for better results in advertising. Let us know in comments the below whether this article was helpful to you. If yes, share it with other aspirers.