I'm thinking about buying a fitness center in a small town. What are some key tips, and equipment for a small space?
The space isn't big. It already has some cardio equipment, weight machines, and free weights. I want to add group exercise classes and want to utilize the small space as best as possible with the right equipment. Not sure if I should keep what is there or invest in some new equipment. Any tips would be great!
Not knowing the square feet, what you paid for the business, lease, age of equipment, locker/shower/bathroom room, business location, competition, insurance, electricity, membership income, etc. it would depend on your budget and always look at the return on your investment. Owning a small business is a large endeavor. Do you have a business plan?
So I have worked at every type of fitness facility known to man it seems like; from small town, "mom & pop" facilities, to high velocity, corporate health clubs. I figured I would just shoot you some ideas I have gathered in my years of training and you can just absorb what you feel is useful.
1) In a small town like yours, the best thing that I have found to be a success is getting involved with some sort of community outreach/ local business professionals organization. A quick way to get involved with the community is hold a free, Bootcamp and "Open-House Night". This gives the people in your community a chance to one, get a free workout (everyone loves free stuff), and two, allow them to get a chance to meet with you and your company to find out what you are all about. During this event, I suggest you get everyone's email address because at least you have a way to track who came and have their contact information for promos (I.e. Health and Fitness Monthly Newsletter or discounts) and updates on what you and your company are doing.
2) Despite the size of the facility, I am sure there is a parking lot of some sort so I would suggest on beautul days, utilizing it for some outdoor training space (clients/ members love being outside). The great thing about this is that people will be passing by, becoming very intrigued as to what you and your clients are doing. This is an awesome way I have found to generate new units (clients) and build your business in the most crucial stages.
3) Space-effective equipment will most likely be your best option for now but the good thing is, is that the type of space-effective equipment I would suggest is pretty much all you need! Here is just a short list of equipment you could get:
- Kettlebells (http://www.dragondoor.com)
- Resistance Bands/ Body Bands (http://www.resistancebandtraining.com)
- Sandbags (you can actually make these for pretty cheap at Home Depot)
- Dumbbells (a pair of 5lb, 8lb, 10lb, 12lb, 15lb, 20lbs should be enough for now)
- Some kind of Pull-Up bar
- Medicine Balls/ Slam Balls
- Exercise Mats, etc.
I sure hopes this helps and I wish you great luck and unlimited success with your business that will change lives forever!
Owner, Certified Professional Fitness Coach
Functional Through Fitness, L.L.C.
Cell: (501) 288-0707
If my memory serves me correctly the name of one of his textbooks is "Owning and Running a Fitness Business."
Sorry that I didn't itemize each of these questions but if you read through the paragraph you will get the gist of what I think are some important questions - there are many others.
Good luck - this is an exciting time for you!
Small towns can be great or lethal depending on how word travels so you want to be really ready to go on opening day
As for equipment this depends on what you plan on offering
Many small studios get very creative with shelving and stacking.
Also think about rotating the type of class you offer so you can utilize the equipment in a rotational manner , think circuit, body weight training and possibly get outside!
Mac Dodds M.A., CSCS.
A great source, no matter how small your gym is (my gym is a small independent facility too), would be to find a gym management system. As a software developer at heart, I, once I got into the fitness industry, developed my own GMS. Now, my goal is to offer other fitness centers everything they need start and run a gym up to a couple hundred members for free!
The way we aim to make money is by charging for extended support and expert level options in the software. This way you can try our products out completely risk free and even run your club using them for the first year or so. If after trying our products you find that they help you out or you just want to support what we’re trying to do, then you can upgrade to a paid account.
If we suck, all that we ask is for you to tell us how we can improve. If you like what we’re doing, please tell us! Since we’re just getting going, even a tiny bit of positive feedback goes a long way! We put our heart and soul into the products that we make for you and we really want you to like them – us.
If you think any of this would benefit your gym facility, please visit my website to see all my software services:
And my own gym which uses my products:
I wish you the best of luck in your ventures!