Worldwide, the fitness industry is worth an incredible $96.7 billion, making the fitness business an attractive option for those interested in pursuing their dreams of entrepreneurship. Gym owners have the chance to offer an active and engaging environment for those who want to improve their own activity levels and meet their fitness goals. Today's gyms come in various types, ranging from typical gyms that offer diverse standard equipment to specialized arenas, such as a Crossfit or Orange Theory gym, which have become increasingly popular over the last few years.

When you own your own gym, you get the chance to shape a fitness club in a way that you think will appeal to people, creating a place for them to work out and challenge themselves. If you have a particular love for fitness and want to become a gym owner, this can be an excellent way to live out your goal.

We will walk you through what you need to know about the steps of owning a gym business and how to make it successful.

What Are the Steps to Owning a Gym Business?

Like any business owner, getting started in the fitness industry and attracting new gym members to join your organization requires planning and preparation. Understanding how to establish your gym brand and attract customers to your door will play a key role in helping your business thrive.

We will take you through the steps you need to make and consider as you prepare to open your own gym.

Create a Business Plan

Whenever someone wants to start a new small business, like a commercial gym, you need to start with a business plan. The business plan will outline precisely how you intend to establish your new business and what will make it particularly successful. In addition, any investors you approach for financing help will want to know why you think your business will be successful, and you need a business plan to show them.

To create your business plan, you will need to start with market research. This requires you to know your target demographic intimately. Look at questions such as:

  • What other gyms are in your area?
  • What types of exercises and what business model will your customers appreciate? Do they want to see Crossfit classes or the standard selection of exercise equipment? Do they want pilates classes, Zumba classes, personal training options, or all three?
  • Do you want to establish an independent boutique studio as a sole proprietorship? Do you want to connect with a franchise? Your business model template also needs to address how you will set up your fitness studio.
  • What are the price points in your local area? How much disposable income does your target demographic typically have to spend on the gym?
  • What type of atmosphere do you want to create? Will you target people who want to get back in shape, people who are in shape and want a community with like-minded individuals, or something in between?

The better you can articulate answers to questions like these, the easier it will be to put together a solid business plan to guide you as you set up your new business.

Find a Location

Your next step calls for finding the location of your new gym. The location you select will depend upon a variety of factors, including your target market and the type of gym you want to start. For example, large fitness complexes need far more square feet than small fitness boutiques. If you want to bring in professionals during their lunch hour, finding a central location to many work areas will also benefit you.

As you take into account your target audience, you also want to look at the pricing points for the different spaces available in your area and what the leasing agreements would comprise of. This will help you narrow down your options further and find the location that will work best for you.

Get the Licenses and Insurance Required

As a gym owner, you need to secure a variety of types of licenses and insurance to operate successfully. To start, you want to secure business insurance, premise liability, and general liability insurance to protect you from incidents such as a customer tripping in your gym or dropping a weight on their foot. Securing professional liability insurance can also help you if you or one of your employees gets accused of negligence in their position as a personal trainer, dietician, or anyone else you have on staff. For this reason, as you hire people, you will want to consider having worker's compensation insurance.

As a business, you will need to secure a business license and make sure that you register your business properly to secure the necessary Employer Identification Number as well as other important tax criteria.

Also, look into the local regulations of your area and make sure that you understand the necessary licenses and requirements of your precise location before you open up your gym.

Secure the Financing You Need

Opening a new gym will also incur a lot of startup costs. Particularly since you have not yet brought in any customers, you will not likely have the bank account needed to cover the variety of expenses you will have, such as renting your location and supplying it with the necessary equipment. Therefore, taking a business loan may be necessary.

You can start building your supply of necessary equipment with a loan, including gym equipment like free weights and cardio equipment. However, this fitness equipment can quickly add up in cost as you wait for people to start using it. Some businesses may also want to invest in programs such as gym management software to help them manage some of the background responsibilities of running the gym, such as tracking members and their memberships. Small business accounting software can also help you simplify your accounting needs.

As you navigate the world of small business loans, the U.S. Small Business Administration can provide tremendous resources about the options available and educate new business owners so that they can feel confident as they move forward with financing their new business.

Hire the Right People

Now, the time has come to hire the right people. As you consider the fitness professionals you want working alongside you, carefully consider the types of classes and services you want to offer your customers. For example, personal trainers at your fitness center can help with tasks ranging from helping newcomers get started to helping established exercisers create a new workout regimen.

As you bring the right people to your fitness center, you also want to think about retaining both your employees and your customers. Offering an enjoyable atmosphere where everyone feels valued and appreciated can go a long way. Finding ways to build community among your attendees, such as offering events where people can get to know each other and enjoyable classes can help as well. Recognize your employees when they do an excellent job. Creating an environment where people want to stay with your gym will help you tremendously in the long run.

Start Promoting Your Business

Now that you have established your new gym, you want to promote it far and wide. Bringing new gym memberships and new members will be your key to creating a thriving business.

You can promote your health club and fitness establishment in a variety of ways. One of the most critical elements of your marketing strategy, however, should be nurturing word-of-mouth recommendations. A successful gym does not just have great advertisements. It also has happy members who eagerly tell their friends and family about your location. They encourage others to sign up for classes with them or invite them to try and come out with the equipment.

You can nurture this type of recommendation by focusing on customer service. Let your customer know that they are valued every time they come to your gym. Regularly solicit feedback about the equipment, classes, and services offered to know what interests your customers and how you can modify your offerings to meet their needs.

You can also purposefully invite them to bring new people to your gym by offering perks to those who help you increase your foot traffic. For instance, you can offer membership discounts or treats such as free classes or coupons to a health food store for those who bring in a new customer to your business.

Alongside your word-of-mouth efforts, creating a website and establishing a social media presence will also help your establishment. Let people in the area know about your new gym, what you offer, and what makes you an excellent place to come and explore. Enticing offers to get people in the door, such as a free trial day, can encourage people to come and explore. On social media, engage people interested in fitness in your area and establish yourself as a helpful place to go for those interested in exercise.

Use Skynova to Promote Your Business

As you establish your wellness business, you will quickly find that accounting becomes an important part of running your business. As your gym starts to grow, you will have to rapidly balance the books, including expenses for new gym equipment or employee salaries while also tracking membership payments and membership discounts.

Fortunately, Skynova was created specifically for small business owners just like you. The platform makes it easy to track your expenses and revenue so that you always know precisely how your gym performs. You will know that all your records are in order and ready for when tax time rolls around. You will also know when you have the resources to invest in your business to help it continue to grow and mature.

See how Skynova can help you establish your dream gym business.

Notice to the Reader

The content within this article is meant to be used as general guidelines and may not apply to your specific situation regarding entrepreneurship possibilities. Always consult with a professional accountant to ensure you're meeting accounting standards.