If you’re one of those people that go to work mainly for the income and you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, treading water, so to speak, why not think about making a life-changing move? You have always loved to be in good shape and why not make fitness your business and service the many people who have their own fitness agenda.
Where to start?
If you are serious about launching your own gym, you need to crunch the numbers; calculate all of your start-up costs and work out how much income you need to break even. Then take a look at your immediate area and find out where all the gyms are at; it’s never smart to be too close to a competitor, one of you will lose out – people don’t like to travel too far to work out and like most service sectors, fitness centres are all about location.
Create a business plan
This would cover every aspect of the business, including:
- Start-up costs
- Running costs
- Organisation flow chart
- Projected forecasts (1-5 years)
- Asset management
Creating the business plan should be the first thing you do, once you’ve crunched the numbers and it is doable. When you think the plan is complete, hand it to a business guru and he will probably find a few things that need to be looked at again.
The good news is a warehouse is perfect for a gym, lots of open space to house your state-of-the-art gym equipment. You ideally want a long lease, with the option to renew and you need enough space for a boxing ring (and maybe an MMA cage) if you want to tap into the combat sport market. Regarding equipment, always go for the top names, which are tried and trusted and with gym equipment installation from a leading UK white glove logistics provider, your valuable equipment will be online and ready for use on your launch date.
You will need the following:
- Reception staff – This person could also be the manager.
- Person trainers/fitness instructors – Freelance or ‘per course’.
- Service staff – food and beverage.
You will probably have to directly employ a few people, but with personal trainers and other fitness professionals, contract or ‘per hour’ avoids liability.
The main man
The head of the gym should be someone with an impressive history in the world of sports and fitness and if you don’t fit the bill, approach a few people with a view to forming a partnership. Your business rides on their reputation and that should secure you a solid client base. Look at it another way, if you want to learn mixed martial arts, you want to have an instructor with a proven track record, so you should be choosy about the fitness pros you employ. If you have been feeling a little negative due to the pandemic, read this article.
Identify your target groups
There are many groups that use fitness centres;
- Teenagers training in combat sports – Self-defence and competition.
- Athletes, pro boxers and MMA fighters
- General population – Those wishing to regain fitness – Housewives and middle-aged men.
- Men’s & women’s sports teams that train in the area.
- Self-defence classes
You will need to invest in digital marketing in order to make a big splash; try to create a unique ambience in your gym, as this is what people are looking for; that positive vibrant energy you feel when you walk into a busy gym. One thing is for sure, more people are into fitness now than ever before, so the demand is huge and people don’t have the money to spend on top fitness equipment and rely on their local gym.
The personal trainer market
Of course, you will run a range of fitness classes, but the one-on-one personal training sector is huge, so you will need to find the best PTs in your area and you may even have to beat the rates they are currently receiving. The PT with an impressive resume is always busy and you will need at least 3 men and women who are available at short notice; when a client enquiries, you can call the PT and they can meet and discuss fitness goals. If all goes well, the customer pays for the course and the PT takes on the schedule, arranging their own timetable with the client. Your relationship with your fitness team is critical, as they are the ones who work with your clients; be fair but firm and do recognise effort when you see it, as this builds staff morale. The fitness sector is unlike any other and it takes charismatic people to head up a gym; promote team spirit and support your staff as much as you can and your business will grow from strength to strength.
Equipment care & maintenance
Your fitness equipment will be varied and expensive; the same company that installs the equipment can handle the maintenance, which is very technical. The logistics people are great, they even train your staff on how to manage the equipment, which is all running on one network and should anything go wrong, they have 24/7 support.
As the business owner, you have to look for ways to minimise risks to the enterprise and with a gym, insurances are essential. Policies that cover fire, theft and most important of all, personal injury. Talk to an experienced business lawyer about running a gym and he or she can open your eyes and yes, there is a lot of government red tape, but it is vital that the business is legal and fully protected.
Gyms are reopening in the UK, as Covid measures are being scrapped and this is the perfect time to set the ball rolling. One final piece of advice, if you haven’t already got personal trainer certification, this should be your number one priority; this can be done online and it gives you some credibility.