Gym Business Idea
For fitness minded entrepreneurs, opening a gym can be profitable and enjoyable. Gyms and health clubs are a growing service industry sector. But before you start a gym business, however, you must research the fitness and health market in your local area and assess the competition.
Franchise gyms offer significant advantages to their owners, but require a steep initial investment. Franchise fees are often beyond the financial means of most first-time business owners and franchise terms typically dictate the type of services that can be offered by franchisees.
Independent gyms, by contrast, require a somewhat smaller investment and allow more freedom to the business owner. Hours and services can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your prospective customer base, helping you to build loyalty and ensure repeat business.
Services To Offer When You Start A Gym Business
In order to start a gym business, you must either purchase or lease retail space. At a minimum, you will need room for an aerobics section, free weights, weight machines, stationary bikes and treadmills. You’ll also need a clean, brightly lit shower and locker room area.
A monthly or annual membership fee is required in order to use the equipment. Most gyms also provide organized aerobic and fitness classes as well for an additional fee. Personal training sessions can also be arranged at an hourly rate or by selling a package of several sessions.
Gym and Fitness Equipment
The initial investment required to start a gym business is relatively significant. Gym equipment is not cheap. Multipurpose training machines like Nautilus or Universal trainers generally cost between $2,500 and $6,000, depending on the features. Your gym will need to purchase several of these machines – the exact number depending on your membership forecast.
Professional gym quality mats start at about $90 for a three-by-six foot section and can cost as much as $500, depending on the brand, thickness, and quality. Treadmills range in price from around $450 to well over $1,000, and several will be required at peak hours of the day. Stationary bikes are equally expensive; however, some incorporate a rowing exercise that makes them a more versatile and functional choice for many fitness centers.
When you purchase your equipment, you need to buy the higher end stuff. Not only does your equipment need to stand up to heavy use, it needs to convey a sense of quality about your gym.
What Training Do I Need?
No formal training is required to start a gym business. If you intend to lead fitness classes yourself, it’s a good idea to stay in optimal physical shape. After all, you will be your own best advertisement for your services.
For those who want to run the business from behind the scenes, it’s vital to hire physically fit and knowledgeable staff to provide fitness services for your members. Your business will be judged on the selection and quality of equipment and trainers. It’s worth the money to hire the best people available for your gym.
Promoting Your Gym Business
In order to effectively advertise and promote your gym, you must first decide who your target audience is. For instance, if your gym is intended primarily for women, you may want to partner with a local swimsuit or clothing store. You could run cross-promotions that emphasize the beneficial effects of physical fitness on both appearance and health.
A gym that primarily caters to overweight individuals could post flyers at Weight Watchers meetings or other local health organizations. Regardless of your target audience, however, your gym should be represented at appropriate community events in order to raise awareness of your services.
Once you’ve developed a core group of loyal customers, it will be financially worthwhile to offer incentives for members who bring in new business. These incentives could be in the form of free personal training sessions or reduced membership rates.
Standing Out From The Crowd
The number of independent and franchise gyms is increasing constantly. In order to stand out and be recognized, you need to offer services to your members that are not available from the other gyms in your area.
Extended hours and on-site child care may be alternatives to explore. Some gyms have done well by catering specifically to the wealthy and offering deluxe spa treatments in addition to the typical gym and exercise routines.
Incorporating a healthful bar with fruit smoothies, green tea, and wheat grass drinks may also be an option that will allow your gym to distinguish itself from others. Offering specialized dance classes, boxing lessons, yoga and meditation instruction, or martial arts disciplines may also provide an avenue to set your gym apart from others.
The decision to start a gym business should not be undertaken lightly. The initial investment and risk is significant, and extensive research should be done in order to determine the most likely route to success. However, the potential for profit is equally great for gym owners who position and market their businesses effectively and offer the services their customers want and will pay for.