Start your own gym
You like to motivate customers, help them achieve their goals and become the best version of themselves. You give your training with heart and soul and you are ready for the next step: your own gym! But then how do you do this? Where do you start and what should you keep in mind? In this blog, we explain together with gym owner Jim Davids step by step how you can start your own gym/box and what you have to take into account to realize your dream.
Jim: “Starting a gym, well, where do you start? Opening space to provide training? Put down a concept? Marketing approach? Do you do it from your piggy bank, the bank or an investor? If it concerns an investor, do you divide the shares, or do you pay interest (in the form of a loan?) It is all difficult but NOT impossible. ”
Starting a gym is not easy, but if you are willing to work hard then it is definitely worth it. The first question you should ask yourself is: Why do you want to open a gym?
If the answer is “to get rich,” then you might have to take a different path.
If the answer is ‘because it is my love and passion’, then continue reading. The reason behind opening your own gym contributes to maintaining focus and drive, even when things are not going so well. Maintaining this drive is necessary to become a successful business.
Think really carefully about the choice you make. Perhaps being a personal trainer or fitness instructor suits you better. You have fewer risks and undoubtedly better working hours (mainly the first period after opening your gym). If you ask yourself this and still want to dive into the deep, opening your own gym is the right choice for you!
Step 1: Make a business plan!
Many companies that start from a passion and love for the profession skip a number of important steps. Creating a business plan is one of these steps. Having a mission, vision, objectives, core values, target group, market research, budgets, etc. on paper provides a very clear guideline. In addition, with a good business plan, you can immediately see if your dreams can be realized.
So start with thorough market research. Talk to fitness center owners to find out what it took to get their business up and running. Learning from those who are already successful in your field is an invaluable education that can save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.
Is the market big enough for an extra gym? How are you going to distinguish yourself from the rest? Study your competitors and potential market well to see where your chances lie.
Jim: “I can write for hours how everything went for me, but below is a list of crucial points:
- Business plan
- Financial plan (including a liquidity budget)
- Marketing plan
- Plan A and a Plan B
If you have a plan, speak it out, present it to your parents, friends, acquaintances, ask people in the gym if they want to make an hour off for you, from your business network. Collect as much criticism as possible and forge the best plan! ”
Step 2: Knowledge and diplomas
Nowadays, many people call themselves a personal trainer or weight loss coach, even without having the right qualifications. It is important to be in possession of the right knowledge, experiences, and papers. After all, you become responsible for maintaining the body of your customers and they want to be sure that they are in good hands with you. Therefore, study the courses well and the value of the matching diplomas.
There are various personalization certifications you can choose from, and other types of fitness offers (such as yoga, pilates or aerobics classes) also come with their own certifications. You are also responsible for ensuring that every staff member you hire has the correct certification.
Step 3: Identify your niche
There are different fitness niches to choose from. Explore these niches below to determine what kind of fitness center you want to open.
Fitness center specialty: this niche usually focuses on one special fitness class or activity. Some examples are aerobics, yoga, dance, pilates, cycling and much more. Specialized fitness centers often offer a variety of lesson options during the week based on different levels, intensity and complexity. Instructors are certified in a certain niche. Specialized fitness centers can often be more expensive due to the boutique experience, the intimate design and the quality of the instructors. Every month, packages or memberships are often offered as an option.
Traditional gym: Traditional gyms often offer different training options in one location, including fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment and personal training. They can offer additional facilities including massages, saunas, tanning beds, steam baths, childcare and much more. These extra services are often offered for an additional fee.
Medical fitness and wellness centers: these fitness centers offer physiotherapy and other medical services to help clients manage, repair and prevent health problems. Usually associated with a doctor’s office or hospital that makes program recommendations. These centers often have professional staff who specialize in managing, monitoring and measuring client progress. They often offer a variety of educational services for physical and mental wellness, in addition to the typical group fitness classes and fitness equipment.
Family fitness and wellness centers: often offer different training options, including group fitness lessons, strength and cardio equipment, and personal training. Family fitness and wellness centers include exercise options for adults, seniors, teenagers, and children. These centers often offer lessons and programs for young people such as swimming lessons, sports clubs, summer camps for children and childcare. In addition, these centers can offer additional wellness facilities such as massage, sauna, solarium, and steam rooms.
Jim: “What I did first was to investigate where the need really lies (overall, because everyone is different). Then I put on my naughty shoes and I visited 30 personal training studios. Just walk in and say what your plans are. Then say that you are not sitting around the corner ;-)). Some are open to telling you some things, others keep you at a distance and prefer to send you away. ”
Step 4: The correct location
When you have determined which type of gym you want to open, it is important to look at the space required. Think of the things that are important to you and your potential customers, such as parking space, bus route, good accessibility, etc. A good location is part of the key to success.
Jim: “You call the broker and then … Do you negotiate yourself? While you have never negotiated these kinds of deals yourself. Call in the help! You don’t learn by doing everything yourself, first, take a good look, try it and be open to criticism. ”
Step 5: Staff and equipment
Some questions to ask yourself in terms of hiring staff: Are you the primary fitness instructor in your gym, or do you need to hire fitness instructors and personal trainers? Will the staff be employees or independent contractors? Are there accreditations and training that potential employees, fitness instructors, and personal trainers should have?
You then determine which fitness equipment you need. Mainly machines, or free weights? If you have a limited budget, choose as many multi-functional materials as possible to get started. You can always expand your assortment over time. We are happy to advise you to see which materials are most suitable for your space and goals!
Step 6: Financing
Logically this is, of course, one of the first steps. If you are unable to financially open the gym of your dreams with your own money, you can apply for financing through a good business plan. Take into account all major, but especially minor costs. It is better to estimate too many costs than too few!
Jim: “After I had an image of what I wanted, I went ahead with my plan. Of course, I knew where the need lies in fitness, that is pretty simple, HELP! Everyone has and wants help to achieve their goals, but how will you offer them and at what price?
To investigate this further, I first went looking for an investor, someone who believes in me and wants to help me. Because that’s what it’s all about, people have to give it to you. I worked as a Personal Trainer for more than 10 years. As a Personal Trainer, you are in a higher segment. People who have a lot to spend. Some I have been training for more than 10 years now. I received a lot of tips and tricks from those people. ”
Step 7: Let the promotion begin!
Everything is round. Your perfect gym is about to open its doors. Then the next and most important step comes into view: finding customers. That sounds simple, but it requires a lot of consistency and dedication to build a solid customer base. If you have the option: get started with a marketing specialist! That way you can focus on what you do best: running your new business.
Jim: Finally, if you really think you are ‘free’ as an entrepreneur, ‘can share your own time’ et cetera, then you are really wrong! You have to shoot 70 hours a week, you have to take hours, you have to evaluate, you have to improve, you have to plan, you have to orientate, you have to network, you have to do your administration, you have to manage, you have to switch, you have to switch do your shopping, you have to sell yourself, you have to keep developing yourself, you have to give training, you have to master marketing, you have to face setbacks …. Do I have to continue?
What is my advice? Don’t think in the now, don’t get stuck in your dream, but think in the long term. As an entrepreneur, start with a plan and dare to take risks! ”