The time has come: you have been thinking it over long and hard and have finally decided to take the plunge into gym ownership. Starting a business is no easy task, let alone a business in a highly competitive field, so learning everything you possibly can as early as possible in the process is key. Whether you have experience managing a gym or fitness center or not, knowing what to expect makes a world of difference, so here is a guideline on where to begin.
Type of gym you want
First and foremost, decide what kind of gym you want. Do you want to start your own niche facility, cater to wider demographics with an all-around fitness center, or open a franchise from an established chain? Do you want to build a brand new facility from scratch, or would you prefer to take over an existing gym?
Next, knowing the right questions to ask is crucial. You want to be sure you have as much information as possible, but what you don’t know to ask about could be a huge missing piece.
If you’re taking over an existing facility, you need to ask the seller questions like:
- Why are they looking to sell?
- What condition the actual building and equipment are in?
- What the current strengths, weaknesses, and areas for opportunity are?
- What kind of marketing strategies do they employ?
- What they’re sales system looks like?
- How strong the employees are and what staff turnover is like?
- What kind of programs and services are offered and how profitable each one is?
Starting from the ground up is a whole other ballgame. Rather than inheriting existing equipment and practices, you will have to put them all in place yourself. Utilize the list of questions above but instead ask yourself, “how will I accomplish…” to get an idea of the requirements. Do your due diligence here by doing as much research as you can.
Financing your gym
Additionally, you want to make sure you can finance your new gym. Starting a new business is a big expense, and poor financial planning from the get-go can quickly end your dream of being your own boss. The long-term solution is to budget and save as much as possible. Consult a financial advisor for assistance in coming up with a savings plan. If you’re eager to get the ball rolling, investors are a good way to raise capital, as well as bank loans or home equity loans. Maybe your credit history isn’t as sparkling clean as you would like, but not to worry – there are finance companies that offer bad credit loans to help you out in a pinch.
Seek a mentor
One final tip: it’s definitely worth finding an industry expert who was in the same position as you and invite them for an informational interview. Learn what worked for them, what didn’t, which steps went well, and what unexpected challenges they faced before and after opening their facility. There are also consultants who specialize in owning and operating fitness centers who can help guide you through the complicated process. After all, if you’re taking a risk by starting your own gym, you want to make sure it’s calculated, and you have all the information you need to make a proper plan.