When you think about owning your own gym, the idea can be both exciting and a little intimidating. Because you are accustomed to facing challenges and overcoming obstacles, the temptation may be to jump right in with your typical enthusiasm, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. But, unlike physical challenges that you set for yourself and reach with hard effort alone, the goal of starting a successful gym can sometimes be a bit more challenging because it involves not only hard effort, but a carefully considered plan of action. The old adage applies. “Look before you leap.”

What are some things to consider before you take the leap into gym ownership?  Below is a quick list that provides a solid starting point for your plans for a new gym start up.

1) Consider your target member.

When you picture your facility crammed with members, what do they look like? Are they hard-core muscle men, moms with a few hours to spare before the kids get home from school, busy professionals who squeeze exercise into their lunch hours, or retirees who enjoy the social aspects of group exercise classes? While it is true that your dream gym would attract all the types described above, realistically speaking your branding and marking efforts will at first only be able to target one or two of types mentioned here. Creating a vision of your typical preferred client will help you maximize your growth potential more quickly.

2) Find your location.

Once you know your target audience, it is important to find a location central to the segment of the population you are targeting. One of the main selling points for prospective members will be the ability to get to your gym quickly and easily. Look for a location that has adequate parking, easy visibility from the street, and other businesses in the vicinity which attract the same clientele you are aiming for as members. People crave convenience, so make it easy for your clients to access your location. To make your gym a chosen destination, tailor your vision of a gym to match your client’s vision of a gym. For instance, if you are targeting young moms, look for a location that offers enough floor space for a supervised play area for toddlers as part of your services. If you are targeting retirees, you will need adequate floor space for a good walking track and group exercise facilities.

3) Choose the correct equipment.

Once again, thinking about your target audience will allow you to choose equipment that will appeal to your clientele. While it is tempting to fill your space with state-of-the-art equipment, realistically you must consider that this strategy is cost-prohibitive for most new gyms. It is better to find solid, dependable equipment that your clients will really use than to shoot for dazzling them with all the latest machines. Remember that you can add variety as your business grows. Choosing basic equipment that is of good quality will win your clients over. Then, when you gym starts to realize a profit, you can always invest in more equipment down the road.

4) Find a lawyer.

Just as your clients need well-educated personal trainers to maximize their workouts, it is wise for you to seek the advice of a lawyer well-versed in liability issues, contract drafting, and lease negotiations. Though the cost of an attorney may seem an extravagance now, it will undoubtedly pay off in the long run to have legal counsel on your side.

5) Craft a solid business plan.

Once you have priced equipment, scouted a location, factored in attorney fees, estimated the cost of hiring competent help, and crafted a mission statement for your gym, it is time to put together a formal business plan. This is necessary, as most gym start-ups require capital outlay far beyond what you will want to invest on your own. Creating a solid business plan will help you attract the type of investors you want, and better your chances of finding good financing.

These things are just first steps in building the gym of your dreams. If you would welcome more advice on how to start the process, please contact us. We will be glad to work with you to make your vision a reality.