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How do I start a gym business from scratch?

Starting a gym business in 2024 is highly lucrative; everyone told you this.

But how to actually start this profitable business from scratch is the real question no one talks about!

As a fitness enthusiast, your mind is likely brimming with ideas. But before you rush into action, remember that a solid blueprint is the key to success. A comprehensive business plan is the prerequisite for a profitable and successful gym. So, let your first step be well-thought-out. 

Additionally, the primary reason 81% of fitness businesses fail in their early stages is the lack of strategic planning and financial management. So, make sure to keep your gym business among the  19% of successful gyms. For that reason, this blog will help you start your gym from scratch. 

Motivation to start your gym business

Since you’re starting your gym business from scratch, the only thing that can keep you steadily on track is motivation. In order to keep your business on a progressive track, set achievable goals and stay determined to win them. 

Be mindful that starting a gym business is highly rewarding in terms of financial and social stability. So, keep these things as a spirit booster at the back of your mind:

  • You’re turning your passion into your profession
  • It’s your first step towards achieving your career goal.
  • It’s a progressive journey towards financial stability.
  • This startup is going to be rewarding.
  • Your future is more secure and independent.
  • Your only Boss is you!
  • You’re exemplifying your definition of success.

Once you’ve gained motivation to start your own gym business, you are ready to walk through the next steps. 

Steps to take into consideration

This is the point where you have to start working on the ideation, finances, and operational parts of your business. From planning to legal processes and implementation, you need to consider the following steps for better execution. 

1. Deciding the type and name of gym

The first step in starting your gym business is to decide the type of gym. It requires finding the market gap. Additionally, it’s important to decide whether you’re offering fitness classes like Pilates and Barre, or starting small to mid-sized  gyms. Keep your gym business plan in the same direction based on services and classes.

Next, you need to give your gym a name that reflects the value and services it provides. Moreover, Deciding the name of the business will ease the legal processes later. 

2. Mapping out your business plan

It is the most significant step, where you draw your business trajectory and then navigate your gym through it. Since you’re setting the very cornerstone of your gym, put your best effort into your mission statement, vision, and values. 

Moreover, be realistic when writing your vision and mission statement. Know that, you’re going to build your gym business on the vision and mission statement. So, brainstorm and write in a real yet impactful manner. 

3. Thorough industry and prospect research

At this step, you have to keep your eyes open and be proactive about conducting in-depth market and prospect research. Since there are tens of gyms in the same town, you need to come up with a stronger purpose. Extensive research is a must to find that purpose.

Know what other gyms are offering and identify the gaps in the market. It will help you address the pain points of the audience in a highly specific manner. The more extensive the industry analysis, the stronger and more specific your gym business will be. 

4. Calculate finances and operational costs

Estimating the cost of your gym business is the most critical part. FInances and startup investments are the lifeblood of your business, so you need to map out all the expenses. 

If you have investment capital, that’s great. Otherwise, you can seek help from investors or get a business loan. The next step is to outline the expenses as follows:

  • Startup cost—The one-time cost to start the gym, such as legal work, licenses, furnishing, and buying space.
  • Operational cost – Ongoing expenses of utilities, gym staff, equipment, rent, or maintenance.

Be mindful of all the costs and expenses; it’ll help you stay on the right track. So, don’t miss out on anything when calculating the overall revenue cost. 

5. Look into the legal permits and licenses

Considering the legal aspects when starting a gym business from scratch is crucial. From getting a business license to space usage permits, fitness certificates, and safety licenses, you need to stay compliant with the legal procedures for smooth gym operations.

At first, completing the legal processes sounds a bit painstaking, but once you do, you’ll be more worry-free. 

6. Decide gym location

Deciding the gym’s location is as important as deciding the fate of your business. If you want your gym to be prominent while growing exponentially, consider the following factors:

  • Choose a populated area or street in the town
  • Consider your gym competitors’ proximity
  • Find the right space according to your gym type
  • Look into the long-term growth potential
  • Take monthly rent and utilities into account

7. Buy/lease the required equipment 

It’s time to think of bringing the right equipment on the floor before opening the gym doors. Once again, you can either decide to buy or lease the gym equipment according to your investment. 

For a small gym with limited funds, leasing gym equipment is better. Also, make sure to have the right equipment relevant to your gym classes and services. 

8. Build a team or staff

At this point, you have to get the right staff on the gym floor to manage the daily gym operations. To upkeep the gym standard, hire experienced and trained staff. 

Additionally, the number of staff members depends on the space size and requirements of the gym. You may need to hire:

  • Front-desk staff member
  • Gym manager
  • Trainers 
  • Custodian

Moreover, you can also leverage the power of gym management software to regulate your gym operation more smartly. It’ll ease the burden of manual bookings and payments. 

9. Craft a marketing plan

Marketing is an indispensable part of any business’s strategy for acquiring and retaining members. You need a solid and well-crafted marketing plan to inform and engage your audience. 

Use the best marketing tactics, such as branding, early-signup discounts, and referral-based programs, to reach your ideal prospects. The stronger the marketing plan is, the better the growth will be.

10. Estimate the ongoing operational and maintenance cost

Once you’ve mapped out all the essential steps, it’s time to reconsider the operational and maintenance costs when executing the plan. Since the cost of equipment and other required materials is likely to fluctuate, set a specific percentage of your capital to manage the operational cost. 

Final note

Conclusively, once you have built a full-fledged plan for your gym, it’s time to start taking baby steps toward your plan. Make sure not to be hasty when finalizing decisions. Let your every step be well-informed and backed by facts and logic. The more attention you pay to each step, the better your business action plan will be. So, put your best efforts into setting the cornerstone of your gym and embark on a progressive journey of a lucrative gym business.