How to Open a Gym: A Quick Guide

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Two attractive fit women running in sports clothes on treadmills in modern gym

When you’re at the gym, do you ever find yourself imagining how you would run it better if you were the owner? If so, you might be thinking about opening your own gym and making that a reality.

With gym owner salaries ranging from an average of $65,000 up to $140,000 and beyond, managing a gym can be a lucrative business.

If you’re having serious thoughts about getting started, keep reading for a quick guide with everything you need to know to open a gym.

Is Opening a Gym Right for You?

Being a gym owner is about so much more than a passion for fitness. It’s easier to open a gym if you embody the personality traits of successful gym owners.

It takes grit and determination — the first 1-2 years can be hard so you have to be willing to give 100% and not give up when things get tough. Leadership skills are also essential as you will be responsible for your PTs and staff, as well as everyone who uses your gym.

Making a Plan

If you don’t have one already, you’ll need a personal training qualification even if you’re not planning on training people yourself. Good insurance is key as gyms are environments where people are likely to get hurt. You’ll also need to manage all of the things that come with starting a company such as registering a business, tax registration, and setting up any required permits.

Creating a viable business plan is a necessity, especially if you’re looking for external funding which you likely will be. This will help you to organize your finances and plan your costs for the future.

Make a strategy for your gym. What is your key selling point and differentiator from other gyms in your niche and in your local area? Who is your audience and why should they come to you? Part of this is choosing the right location.

Location and Equipment

When it comes to opening a gym, your ideal location should be based on your gym’s niche. If you want to be more commercial, make sure your gym is in a location that stands out and has a high footfall. If you want to specialize in something like powerlifting or bodybuilding, it’s okay for your location to be more off the beaten track.

For gyms, there are additional location considerations that some people forget to check. The main thing is to make sure the floor is strong enough to handle all of the weights.

Once you have your location sorted, it’s time to install fitness equipment and gym essentials. Find out what your audience wants and what you need. Pro-tip — for a great deal, look for other gyms that want to get rid of their old equipment.

Should You Open a Gym?

Starting a business in the fitness industry has its challenges and can have ups and downs — be prepared for the reality of being a gym owner.

The most important thing to do before opening a gym is to have a solid plan in place. What differentiates your gym from others in the market? How much are you able to spend, and do you need funding? These are all questions to ask before diving in with both feet.

We hope this post taught you the basics of how to open a gym. If you found this post helpful, you can find more useful related content on our blog.