Recently, the fitness industry has significantly developed due to numerous campaigns aimed at fighting obesity and the upcoming trends towards health and fitness. Opening a gym can be a great business idea though there is high competition and you need to prepare yourself properly. Starting a gym may not be an easy task but can be extremely rewarding if you get hardworking and committed enough. To be profitable, your gym model revolves around several key elements and the following steps will help ensure that your business is well planned, rightly registered, and legally compliant.
Plan your business
As an entrepreneur, a clear business plan is essential to help you figure out specifics in your industry and discover some unknowns. You need to ask yourself how much does it cost to open a gym, what is your target market, the business name, and how long it might take to break even. Planning will save you in the long run since once you write down what you are going to do, you will know how exactly to get it done. Here are some points you need to consider in your business plan.
The start-up and running cost
The initial gym capital can vary massively depending on your location, size, type of establishment, and facilities. Opening a gym can cost you from a minimum of around £80,000 to £100,000, covering the equipment outlay and marketing expenses. A larger facility may cost more, a franchise may have lower operational costs, but you may have to pay an authorisation fee; thus, it might or might not be a cheaper option. You can also try to minimise start-up costs by buying already used equipment but ensure that they are thoroughly inspected and serviced before use. Consider other ongoing expenses including, labour cost, gym management software subscriptions, power bills, and rent depending on the location and size of the facility.
Your target market
You need to understand your prospective customers, their interests, hobbies, and needs to focus your attention on a specific segment of people who are more likely to appreciate your services. Include necessary demographic details like age, gender, and occupation; also consider their personalities and lifestyles. For a gym, your preferred clients are individuals who want to lose weight or those who require personal training services to meet their fitness goals. Try and target those clients interested in long term gym commitment to protect your gym from early cancellations.
How to make money through a gym
Besides understanding how to start a gym business, you must know how you get paid. The primary income source is collecting membership due; however, you can generate supplemental revenue by offering exceptional services, including yoga, aerobic classes, kickboxing, Pilates or dance classes, among others.
Get an appropriate business name
Choosing the right business name for your gym is very important and is the cornerstone of the success of your enterprise. Try to match your name with the type of gym and your target market to build some brand identity. Make it simple to pronounce and select a great combination of words to make it more memorable. Do significant research on your competitor’s brand names to avoid similarities, and you can even use a name generating software to make your work easier.
Identify a gym niche
Identify a fitness gap in an area and try to fill it by determining what kind of gym best suits your target market. You can opt for a speciality gym to focus on a particular activity like yoga, dances, cycling, or much more. You can also choose to go for the traditional gym which offers varied workout options in one location, including strength and cardio workouts, personal training, and other fitness classes. You may provide additional services like massage, sauna, child career, and tanning at an additional fee.
A medical gym offers wellness services like physical therapy to help clients recover, prevent or manage a health condition. This type of operation requires professionalism, and you need to provide a variety of educational materials to your clients to boost their physical or mental wellness. A family gym centre includes a variety of workout options including group fitness classes and youth-friendly programs like swimming, sports club, and summer camps for kids.
Once you have the relevant content about the industry and have selected your right gym type, you need to figure out where you will find start-up funds. Personal saving is the least expensive option since you pay for your equipment without using another source. If you lack access to all the funds, you can also tie-up with an investor, who supplies you with the funds without necessarily getting involved with the gym operations. However, the investor will expect to make some returns from the investment based on the agreed-upon terms.
Bank loans are the most common ways for most people and the best place to seek funding is from your local bank. A standard bank loan for a small business enterprise will have less interest rate than from other financial institutions. However, you need to present a professional business plan to the bank so they can assess the potential success of your new gym and collateral to secure against your loan. Sometimes getting a bank loan can be a bit challenging, if you don’t qualify for one or you don’t wish to get entangled in lengthy legal proceedings, you can seek funds from micro finances.
Get a strategic location
The growth of your gym heavily relies on whether your potential clients consider it convenient and easily accessible. When thinking about the site, find a space on people’s route home or open ground. First, determine how many clients you can serve in your facility to know how much space you need to find a perfect location that best suits your needs. Find out whether the people in your neighbourhood are more likely to drive in your facility, and this means that you will need a sizeable parking space with a convenient entrance.
You can also choose a location in the busiest part of the city where the surrounding dwellers will only need to walk or take a bike over for a gym session. Also, consider the look and feel of your location, whether it can impress your target clientele. It is crucial to avoid choosing a spot next to businesses that conflict with your operations.
Obtain necessary permits and licenses
To smoothly run your new venture, you need to abide by the set rules and regulations. You, therefore, need to do in-depth research or inquire from a lawyer on the necessary permits required by your local authority. You need to comply with the health and safety executive standards as well as the set FIA code of conduct guidelines. Ensure that you undergo safety training before starting the gym business and subject your employees to adequate training. Your staff needs proper coaching to handle small scale injuries.
Equipment should also be subjected to regular inspection by relevant authorities to prevent causing harm over time. If you plan to add other services such as massage and spa, make sure you adhere to the licensing requirements. You will most likely want some music in your gym to keep customers moving, get a license to avoid infringing music copyrights. In the long run, ensure that all your permits are up-to-date and incase of additional services, always consult with the legal counsel. Note that failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines and even business closure.
Your employees are also prone to injuries in their line of duty; thus, get an employer’s liability insurance to cover for any compensation claims. You also need to protect your hard-earned money used to purchase the equipment and secure the premise, therefore insure the premise, stock, cash, motor, and premises contents against instances of theft.
Market your brand
Excellent marketing will help your business stand out from others which subsequently results in success. Once you determine your customer base, you can promote your business in various places where your potential clients spend most of their time. Social media is one great medium you can use to generate new membership. Use multiple social media platforms to share video content to showcase the type of workout in your facility. Choose the right platform including Youtube and Twitter but if your target group is generally an older crowd, go for Facebook. You can also use Instagram to send engaging photos of your gym to attract millennial demographic.
Come up with great offers to attract new customers, such as membership discounts. Take an extra step and visit businesses whose employees can be your potential clients and offer them a company discount. You might also consider local advertising by taking out ads in local newspapers or offer free work out days to attract a considerable customer base. Establish a business website that allows target customers to learn more about your gym and the type of services you offer.
Opening a gym can be very profitable, bringing along a sense of life satisfaction. Use the above guideline on how to open a gym to help you actualise your dream and set up a firm foundation for your business. Develop great marketing strategies to increase your customer base by knowing your demographics and getting creative enough to reach out to those individuals. You need to do excellent market research to draw out a profile of your target clients and buy the appropriate equipment that meets the expectations of your customers. With a proper mix of training, skills, commitment, and passion, a gym business can turn out to be a very successful venture.
Don’t forget Gymcatch can provide you with the gym membership management software to help build your dream gym.
Simon joined Gymcatch as a founding team member and oversees the commercial, legal and regulatory parts of the business. After studying history at Bristol University Simon converted to law at BPP in London. He trained at Norton Rose where he gained multi-jurisdictional corporate, finance and commercial experience. Outside of work, Simon spends his time running and walking in the Derbyshire Dales, ruining recipes and following the meteoric rise of Burton Albion Football Club.