Selecting the right location starts with knowing your area’s demographics. Don’t know where to start? That’s okay because Jim Thomas’ Fitness Management & Consulting can provide you with a demographic report and help you analyze them. When selecting a site for your non-franchise model, you should also consider the following:

Does the location satisfy your target market?

Analyze the demographics around the proposed site, taking into account such factors as age, gender, family size, spending patterns, occupation, average income, etc. Does the profile of the average local resident or worker coincide with the member profile outlined in your feasibility study? If not, find another site or alter your plans to accommodate the needs of that market.

Does the street have heavy traffic?

If you’re depending on walk-in-traffic to generate sales, your gym must be located on a busy street. To ensure this, research and compare the number of drive-bys that pass a prospective site during the curse of an average day.

Is the site visible from the street?

Locating a gym on a highly trafficked street does little good if your facility will be obscured from view. In order to generate walk-in traffic, your facility must be visible to passersby. Easily visible signage is also very important.

Is the location convenient?

Most people will join a facility only if they perceive it to be convenient. Industry studies indicate that members will not spend much more than 15 minutes driving or walking to a gym, so it’s important that your facility be located within 15 minutes of the greatest concentration of prospective members. This rule, however, can sometimes be broken. In general, the smaller the community, the less people will want to travel because they’re used to having everything easily accessible.

Is there enough room for parking?

Adequate parking is a critical success factor. In densely populated urban areas an abundance of parking may not be essential, since many people are likely to walk to the gym from their home or offices or use public transportation.

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at:www.fmconsulting.netorwww.jimthomasondemand.com.