Obtain a fitness professional certification. Creditability is important when opening a gym. Loan officers and customers will regard your level of industry experience as a reflection of your competence and abilities. The American Council on Exercise and the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association offer certification and business education courses that will help establish your professional credibility.
Review and select the gym business services. Gyms offer a number of services to their clients from rehabilitation to weight loss. Determining your customer base factors into the type of services and classes your gym will offer.
For example, a gym catering to older adults may want to offer rehabilitation services and gentler disciplines of exercise such as yoga, pilates and low-impact aerobics. A women-only gym may wish to offer weight loss services, intense cardiac workouts and body firming weight-training classes.
Find a gym location that will support the services your gym will offer. Seek out demographic areas that will support your gym’s services. Location is essential in establishing clients so factor in higher rental rates when estimating startup costs to afford locations closest to your customer base. When seeking out a location consider such things as street access, parking and visibility.
Select fitness equipment after selecting your gym’s services and determining the required fitness equipment needed. Certain factors, such as cost, new technologies and equipment maintenance, plays a role when selecting fitness equipment, including weight machines, treadmills, free weights, weight benches and mats. Consider leasing and purchasing options when estimating the cost of fitness equipment.
Write a business plan and get gym financing. Starting a gym will require both a written business plan and a loan. According to Entrepreneur, the average cost of opening a gym is $10,000 to $50,000. Lenders will not consider a business loan application without a complete business plan attached. The U.S. Small Business Administration offer free service to help develop business plans and provide assistance in getting loans. You can contact the SBA at 800-827-5722.
Apply for business permits and licenses. Opening a business requires owners to register and adhere to all regulatory laws. You will have to research and apply for business licenses and comply with other regulatory laws such as building permits and health department requirements.
The California Law requiring automated external defibrillators, staff trained in CPR and the AED on site at all times, and a written emergency plan developed by physician is an example of some of the requirements gym owners face.
Purchase business insurance. Gyms are places where injuries and accidents happen. Purchasing some form of business insurance will protect the business. Contact your homeowner’s insurance agent for a referral to an agent who specializes in business insurance.
Decorate the gym facility, install the fitness equipment, hire your staff and begin your advertising campaign. To reduce the burden of employment regulatory costs such as payroll taxes and benefits when starting consider hiring on an independent contractor basis.