I am transitioning into gym ownership and in the process of getting NASM certification as well as crossfit certification. Any advice as to strategy, venders, etc would be appreciated. I want to ensure having sufficient member numbers within 2 months of opening to cover both the costs of the gym and my salary. I will not have any employees.
I have to admire your courage of opening a gym in two months, still working on obtaining certifications and beginning to think about how to get members.
Have you already covered the basics of the operation by having a business plan? Do you have the liability insurance in place; your profile does not give any clues. Do you know what your monthly expenses are going to be? Do you have a structure of membership pricing? Do you have any competition nearby? Do you already have a web site for your gym. How big is your facility, and how many people can you accommodate at any given point in time? Do you have enough equipment that 10 people can work out at the same time during the typically busy evening hours? If you don’t have any employees, how will you be able to cover the entire operation by yourself? You will obviously not provide child care. What will the hours of operation be? What is your target demographics?
You need to start an aggressive marketing campaign to let people know that you will be there; how you are different from the competition; many new gyms offer introductory pricing to attract new members.
When you talk about vendors, do you mean equipment vendors?
I wish you best of luck from the bottom of my heart. I believe you will be very busy if you want to open in two months.
You really need to have an answer for every question that Karin posed above. I don’t want to be a buzz kill here – but not too many businesses are profitable from the jump. You want your expenses and your salary covered within 2 months of opening? Without employees? That’s asking a lot Janice. Personally, I wouldn’t do it if I were you until I had everything in place. What’s the rush? I certainly admire your entrepreneurial fire, but your basically diving into a pool that you’re not sure has water in it. Unless you have real deep pockets, something like this could bury you financially for a long time. Take your time & do it right – you’ll get there. Good luck!
I wish to echo the words of Karin and Paul. It is just hard to give advice without knowing more about your fitness background, what you have already done toward starting this business, and so on.
You say you are transitioning, so it sounds like you have been in fitness but have not owned your own business. I see you are getting NASM and crossfit… what do you already have? If those will be your first two certs do you have insurance? As I recall when I first bought insurance they need to know your certifications and scope of practice before getting insurance…. and opening a studio without insurance … well, everything could go smoothly, but if it doesn’t you are working without a net.
I owned a small business…. but I made sure before I started it that I had my certifications and insurance and a plan in place. And I put money into it only as I made money. The thing is I’ve seen lots of small studios open (and sometimes close) and the biggest mistake is having the idea that ‘if you build it they will come’. I can think of a couple of absolutely beautiful places with the best equipment and great teachers that stayed empty because the owner did not market aggressively. The market is way saturated, training programs are doing a brisk business but that is a lot of fitness trainers looking for work, and groupon and amazon local are driving the prices way down. As Paul says none of want to be a buzz kill, but to make this work you definitely need to hit the ground running with marketing, outreach, making connections with the fitness community, and above all having a thorough business plan.
You might look through the IDEA list of online classes and see if there are any on business strategy. I know the yoga alliance has done a number of excellent workshops on this topic and I suspect IDEA has some good ones also.
Thank you for your response. I’ll be a little more clear. I have been working on this for some time and everything is in place for an Aug 15 opening. I have registered with the state, obtained an EIN, secured space which is currently being modified with a completion date if July 15, I have a business plan, gym specific software, pricing structure, developed a plan for equipment, eyc with the assistance of a vender, website will be up and running in 3 weeks, I have funds for all start up costs, but will need to keep working at my full time job until memberships equal enough to allow me to quit. My question is more of a marketing one. The demographic I’m going after is one that is dissatisfied with current options – those over 40. This will be a 24 hour electronically monitored facility. I plan to obtain liability insurance aug 1 when my equipment arrives.
Here is just my personal opinion:
I agree with the others as well, and I think Ariadne has great points. The market is saturated with small businesses, both as studios or independent contractors (mobile trainers). Not to mention that CrossFit gyms are popping out like Starbucks coffee places (there are a few close to the address you have posted on this site). Starting a business from scratch it’s a difficult and very time consuming project. You said you will be keeping your current job until your gym is able to sustain itself. If you are the only one who will be responsible for the operation of the gym, I think this is not a very good way to approach it. You will need to devote 100% of your time marketing, networking, working at the gym, training people, making sure the gym runs smoothly (especially in the beginning), dealing with numerous unforeseen issues (not just the ones Karin, Paul and Ariadne have mentioned), logistics, accounting matters, membership issues and many other problems/issues.
Having the money to start a business like this is just one small part of the equation. Right up from the start you will have overhead costs that will pretty much add a lot of pressure to you and to the effectiveness of your business operation. Getting venders working with you it’s a whole other game and something that will require a lot of your time as well. As Ariadne mentioned, our industry is saturated with all kind of small personal training businesses that will be your competition right up from the beginning (no matter what you think). Also brand names like Anytime Fitness, Snap Fitness and other larger gyms that operate 24hs/day will pose a threat to you unless you can differentiate yourself from them.
Having a business plan like you said it’s very crucial. Of course adapting to obstacles is the best way of surviving and then thrive (in any industry). Having a plan B and/or C in place might also be a good idea. You will need to do a lot of networking and community outreach to make your gym known to the rest of the community. Vendors like to work with companies that will also help them get their brand/product out there. The more exposure you have the better for you and your vendors will be. I’m not sure what type of training and services you will be providing (even though you mentioned it’s a gym), but the vendors you will be looking for will have to be close related to your product, mission, philosophy and also relative to your location. If all of these factors are close related then the type of vendors you are looking for will be easy to approach. If you are looking for supplements, fitness equipment or other similar products then you will need to approach those vendors that you want in your gym and present them with some great convincing points that will make them want to work with you.
I hope this helps and I wish you good luck. I have family members who live in your town, so when your gym opens I will let them know and come to try it out :-)!