Fitness Center Business: How to Get Started with My Own

Embark on the entrepreneurial journey with our comprehensive guide on “How to Start My Own Gym.” Unlock insights into crafting a business plan, securing financing, and navigating the legal aspects of gym ownership. Explore facility design, equipment procurement, and effective marketing strategies to attract and retain members. From staff recruitment to creating engaging fitness programs, this resource provides practical steps for turning your passion for fitness into a successful gym venture. Whether you’re a fitness professional, investor, or enthusiast, this guide equips you with the knowledge and strategies to launch and manage a thriving gym. Seize the opportunity to make a lasting impact on your community’s fitness landscape and bring your vision for a fitness haven to fruition.

You have discovered the ideal business franchise, and now you are prepared to take the first steps. There is a whole other world to beginning a business than simply applying for a local business license. We have assembled this basic overview for starting your fitness center business. These instructions will help ensure that your new venture is organized, staffed appropriately, and legitimately helpful.

Stage 1: Plan your Business 

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An instantly recognizable brand is fundamental for success with a new business. A franchise can assist you with outlining the specifics of your business and help you navigate any problems that may arise.

What are the costs involved in opening an exercise center? 

Startup costs for a fitness center are high. Most modest fitness centers cost somewhere in the range of $200,000 and $400,000 to get moving. A larger fitness center may cost upwards of a million dollars or more. Franchises may help lower operating expenses, yet you need to pay a monthly franchise fee, so all of this should be taken into consideration.

Some fitness center owners attempt to bring down their basic overhead by purchasing used exercise equipment. There are benefits and problems associated with this move. Customers at new fitness centers need to see equipment that they can trust. Used equipment and machines may not be in the best condition. If you decide to purchase used equipment, make sure that the machines have been thoroughly examined and overhauled to ensure maximum functionality.

What are the progressing costs for an exercise center? 

The biggest cost for a fitness center is the upfront cost of exercise equipment, which can run upwards of $200,000 or more. The second-biggest expense is either the franchise fee or lease, contingent upon the size of the business.

Who is the objective market? 

The typical fitness customer is someone who simply wants to stay in shape or someone who seeks a trainer to meet an individual fitness goal. Most fitness centers develop a clientele through online advertising or through positive word of mouth. Dedicated customers are those who enjoy working out on a continuous basis and have long-term fitness goals.

Uncommitted or indifferent customers are the individuals who join for a brief period, but end up quitting in a matter of months – or less. There are many fitness brands that impose a signup fee upfront to help defer the cost of a member leaving the center before their contact ends. This fee can also help with additional expenses such as advertising costs.

What amount would you be able to charge clients? 

Fitness centers for the most part charge somewhere in the range of $20 to $50 every month for membership and require individuals to sign a one-year (or multi-year) member contract. A few fitness centers offer reduced memberships if the customer pays for a full year in advance. In addition, as we mentioned, fitness centers usually impose a signup fee, which is normally between $100 to $300.

Surplus profit fluctuates depending on the popularity of the business and the type of fitness center you are running. Consider your intended market and the location of your center. In case you’re in a high-lease area, you can charge more for memberships, individual training sessions, classes, and other optional programs.

Can an exercise center make a good profit? If so, how? 

Expenditures and profits vary depending on the size of your business. However, it’s normal for a busy fitness center to generate anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 every month in profits during its first six months. After a year, a successful fitness center can generate as much as  $20,000 in profit every month. As per the AFS 2016 Marketing Best Practices Research Report, a typical fitness business in the U.S. makes $63 per Sq Ft., or up to $200,000 to $300,000 every year. Bigger fitness centers can make up to 10 times the amount of profit.

How can you make your business progressively profitable? 

Creating additional profit with a fitness center is fairly straightforward. Many small fitness businesses make a supplemental income by leasing building space. These “side businesses” are set up to lease space from the franchise owner, allowing for additional revenue. For instance, a fitness center owner may rent space to a chiropractor, a tanning business, a massage therapist, or even a healthy food/nutrition option like a juice bar.

What will you name your business? 

Picking the right name is very important. Read our detailed blog on the best way to name your business. We suggest checking if the business name you pick is available as a web address/URL and staking the name out before you announce anything to ensure no one else claims it.

Stage 2: Form a lawful substance 

When embarking on the journey of how to run your own gym, one of the pivotal stages involves transitioning your business idea into a legally recognized entity. This step is essential as it forms the foundation upon which all operational aspects of your gym will be built. Establishing a legal business structure, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), is a popular choice for many gym owners due to the protection it offers. Essentially, by forming an LLC or similar structure, you shield your personal assets from being targeted in the event that your fitness center faces legal issues or is sued.

Choosing the right business structure is one of the critical requirements to open a gym, as it influences everything from your liability and taxes to your capacity to raise funds. While LLCs are widely preferred for their flexibility and protective features, other structures like Corporations, Partnerships, and DBAs (Doing Business As) might better suit your specific needs. Each structure comes with its unique set of benefits, obligations, and tax implications. Corporations, for instance, provide extensive liability protection but at the cost of more complex regulations and tax requirements. On the other hand, DBAs offer the least amount of bureaucratic overhead but offer little in the way of legal protection.

Given the complexities involved in choosing the best structure for your gym business, it’s highly advisable to seek professional legal advice. Consulting with a lawyer who specializes in business law can provide you with invaluable insight into the nuances of each structure. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal requirements, ensuring that your gym complies with both state and federal regulations. They can also assist in drafting and reviewing important documents, negotiating leases, and advising on the best practices to safeguard your business from potential legal pitfalls.

Stage 3: Register for charges 

You should apply for a variety of state and government grants before you really get started. To be eligible for subsidies you should apply for an EIN. It’s extremely simple and free!

Get a business financial balance and charge card 

Using a business banking account and credit accounts is essential for your personal finance protection. If your personal and business accounts are combined, your assets (your home, vehicle, etc.) are in danger if your fitness business is ever sued.

Open a business financial balance 

This separates your own assets from your organization’s, which is essential for individual financial security. It additionally makes bookkeeping and other financial documentation simpler.

Get a business charge card 

This will help you keep your personal credit separate from your business transactions – and also help with bookkeeping by tracking expenses and efficiently itemizing them.

It additionally collects your business financial transactions, which can be helpful later on for tax purposes.

Stage 4: Set up business bookkeeping 

Recording the various costs and profits is essential for any successful business. Keeping exact accounts will also ensure that you understand where your business stands financially – and make it easier when paying taxes at the end of the year.

Stage 5: Obtain important permits and licenses 

Failure to obtain essential permits and licenses for your fitness center can bring about huge fines, or even end up closing your business.

State and local business licensing requirements 

Certain states require certain licenses in order for someone to open a fitness center. Get familiar with permitting requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s website for state business licenses.

Most franchisees are required to gather and share information on the local laws governing businesses. But make sure you do the homework and find the specific rules and regulations in your area.

Additionally, certain city and neighborhood permitting rules might also be in effect. For more data about city licenses and permits:

Check with your town, city or area agent’s office 

Get assistance from one of the neighborhood affiliations recorded in the US Small Business Association’s registry of local business resources.

Endorsement of Occupancy 

A fitness center business with a special needs focus might need to redesign or modify a location in order to better serve its members. Franchises that move into a space that will need to be altered will require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO affirms that all construction laws, zoning laws, and government guidelines have been met.

On the off chance that you intend to rent space for your fitness center business: 

It is normally the owner’s duty to acquire a CO.

Before renting, confirm that your landlord has or can get a CO that is geared toward a fitness center business.

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After a significant remodel, a CO should be sought out. If your place of business will be heavily redesigned before opening, it is recommended to read your lease agreement carefully. Make sure that the language in your agreement states that your rent payments will not begin until the appropriate CO has been obtained.

In the event that you intend to buy or build a fitness center for special needs: 

You will be liable for acquiring the appropriate CO from your local government permit and license center.

Research all construction standards and zoning restrictions for your business area to guarantee your fitness center business will be stable and ready to get a CO.

Music Licensing 

Numerous fitness center franchises play music to keep members engaged during their exercises. In order to play music in a business setting, you have to seek permission from the artist or license holder. Ordinarily, it is feasible to get a “cover” permit allowing an organization to play music owned by a long list of artists and recording studios. Such licenses can be acquired from Performance Rights Organizations, for example, ASCAP and BMI.

Study music license essentials and how to acquire a comprehensive permit here.

Obligation Waivers 

Working out at a fitness center can pose some health risks, particularly for people lifting heavy weights or with certain ailments. Encouraging new fitness members to sign a waiver is essential in case they incur any injuries during their workout.

Stage 6: Get Business Insurance 

Similar to business licenses and permits, your fitness center needs protection in order to work securely and legitimately. Business insurance ensures your operation’s economic survival in case of an unforeseen consequence.

Various businesses facing specific risks have several kinds of protection strategies available. If you’re uncertain of the sorts of dangers that your business may confront, start with General Liability Insurance. Independent business owners commonly require this insurance, making it a prudent choice to initiate your business.

Get familiar with General Liability Insurance. 

Another useful protection strategy that many organizations use is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have full-time employees, it is likely that your state mandates  Workers’ Compensation Coverage.

Stage 7: Define your image 

Your image is what your business relies on – how it is perceived by others in the marketplace. A solid, dependable brand will help your fitness center stand apart from the competition immediately.

Step-by-step instructions to advance and market an exercise center 

Word of mouth and local marketing are the two essential components for ensuring Verbal exchange and nearby publicizing are the two essential strategies for adding new members.  A thriving fitness center will take out ads in both physical newspapers and online sites featuring promotions on new memberships. They may also offer free gym days or exercise classes that can be trumpeted through demonstrations at a nearby mall or department store.

Step-by-step instructions to keep clients returning 

A fitness center, by the nature of its business, lends itself to a community atmosphere. The more emphasis placed on friendly interaction and group activity the better. A fitness center that focuses on a special needs clientele exemplifies this scenario.. A good way to keep members engaged and wanting to return is to offer superior customer service – and an emphasis on community. Big chains, such as Planet Fitness, for instance, also focus on targeting a specific market. The special needs market is obviously a goal here. You might also consider focusing on a female demographic within that category – ensuring a safe and casual fitness environment.

Stage 8: Establish your Web Presence 

A business website allows potential clients to get familiar with your fitness center and the amenities and programs that you offer. You can also use social media to engage with people online – pulling in new members through a more interactive experience on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

Special Strong provides adaptive fitness for children, adolescents, and adults with mental, physical and cognitive challenges. Start your own Special Strong gym franchise today and create a lasting impact on your community.