How to Start a Gym: A Complete Business Plan Guide

How to Start a Gym: A Complete Business Plan Guide
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Whether you’ve always loved pumping iron or if you’re just looking for a new business challenge, you’ve always thought about starting a gym.

However, with famous franchises and even individual trainers cornering the market, you often wonder if it’s truly possible.

With the right angle, the proper planning, and a strong understanding of what your target market wants when they work out, it absolutely is possible.

Keep on reading to learn about the most important things you need to know regarding how to start a gym.

1. Create a Business Plan

If you’re dreaming of starting a gym, then the first step is to create a solid business plan. (Follow this template for a more complete breakdown of how it’s done.)

You’ll need to come up with a budget, outline your experience in the fitness world, identify your competitors, discuss how you plan to finance your business, and more.

Above all, you need to make it clear by when you expect to be able to make a profit. If you’re applying for a loan or even raising funds on your own, investors and lenders want to see a profitability timeline.

Having a business plan in place also keeps you on target and holds you accountable. Once things really take off when it comes to developing your business, it can be tough to remember what you have to tackle next.

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A business plan helps you to stay organized and focused.

2. Improve Your Skillset 

Whether you plan on becoming an instructor at your gym, or if you just want to serve as its owner, now is the time to start strengthening your skillset.

If you want to become a trainer, consider getting your nutritionist certification, becoming a certified yoga or pilates instructor, or even taking courses on kickboxing training methods.

The goal here is for your gym to be able to offer diverse workouts to people and appeal to a wide audience.

You’ll also need to brush up on your business skills. Take a class in digital marketing, join an entrepreneurship network or attend meet-ups in your hometown, and take some financial management classes.

You may even want to learn how to use billing/scheduling software to keep memberships, classes, and other trainers’ schedules well-organized.

3. Handle the Red Tape

You can’t learn how to start a gym without dealing with the most unpleasant part of owning any business: the red tape.

First of all, make sure you’re aware of any kind of commercial license you’re required to have in your state in order to open up your business. The last thing you want is to be shut down because you didn’t follow the law.

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You should also start comparing different insurance policies. You’ll certainly need liability insurance, but what about equipment insurance for all of those treadmills and weight machines?

Next, make sure that you draw up member contracts and liability waivers. These documents should clearly outline the fee structure and membership cancellation policy of your gym. The waivers should make it clear that people work out at their own risk, and that an injury due to reckless behavior on their part is not grounds for a lawsuit.

Click here to create your own waiver.

You should also think about requiring a tour/introductory session before members can start working out. This helps to reduce the risk of injury.

4. Scout out the Perfect Location

Now, you need to start thinking about your gym’s location.

Opening a gym alone isn’t enough to bring in customers. You also need to consider how your location could impact your revenue potential. Look for high-traffic areas with lots of parking spaces.

Shopping centers, spots near parks and community centers, and close to busy intersections are all great places to open your gym.

When it comes to space, make sure you take measurements of how much space each piece of equipment will take up — and how much equipment you want to have.

You’ll also need space for a locker room, potentially a sauna, a classroom for group workouts, a reception area and maybe even a space for childcare.

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Can’t find what you’re looking for?

This company can help you create a plan for your gym from the ground up.

5. Start with Social Media Marketing

The costs of starting your own gym may make it difficult for you to pay for a marketing team.

The good news?

Social media is a simple and extremely effective way to market your business on your own. (Though when you start turning a profit, we strongly suggest that you invest in a marketing team.)

You can upload stories that show the development of your gym, teach people basic workouts, and even share healthy recipes with your followers.

Remember to post consistently, respond to comments, and to connect with other local businesses on social media.

You’ve Learned How to Start a Gym: Now, Make It Happen

We hope this post has made you realize that, although learning how to start a gym takes patience, it isn’t as hard as you might think.

Curious about how to use social media to effectively market your gym? Need to learn about the latest software that helps you to learn more about your website visitors? Ready to create a killer email campaign advertising different memberships?

Our blog can help make all of that and more happen.

Check out our easy-to-follow how-to guides to master platforms like SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, and much more.

Your gym will be the most popular fitness center in your area before you know it.

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