Before Opening a Gym, Here’s What You Need to Know

It’s a dream that most personal trainers put high up on a pedestal. They work hard every day, slaving away, waking up at the crack of dawn, working with difficult clients, and they train themselves, all for the chance of one day, maybe having the possibility of opening up their own gym.

It takes hard work, of course. It takes commitment. It takes strength. Finances. Planning. The list goes on and on.

But, as a personal trainer yourself, you know all these things.

There are a few things however, that you might not know about opening your own gym.

If you’re in the position to take the plunge, start your own fitness facility, and throw your name up on a warehouse door to welcome in as many clients as possible, we’ll be the first to congratulate you. But, we’ll also be the first to ask you to sit down, grab your favorite protein drink, and take a deep breath while you consult the list below.

We’ve compiled a few of the most important details you’ll need before you open your own gym. Some of them might be obvious, some of them you might never have considered – either way, we’re here to help you accomplish those dreams you’ve been pining after for years.


You’re Going to Get a Reality Check Anyway, So Make Sure You’ve Got a Realistic Plan in Place

Research. Research. Research.

You know you have to do it, but we’re here to tell you that you’re going to have to do more of it than you ever thought possible. When you think you’ve done the adequate amount of research, sit down and do more while you remember that nothing adequate is ever worth doing. What’s all of this research for? Developing a realistic plan that’s going to help you not only open your doors but keep them open for years to come.

This of course, is your business plan, and it’s going to be the backbone of your dream. You’ll need to consider everything from finances and operating costs to unforeseen expenses to the hurdles you’ll face starting your own gym to the style of gym you’re hoping to open. You’ll need to consider clientele, niches, property cost, location, unforeseen problems, loans, banking battles --- in other words, the whole nine yards and then some.

Research all the questions you might have, research the challenges others have faced when opening their own gyms, research rates, location, gym failures, and gym successes.

Try to consider where your gym will fit in when compared to the other gyms in the area. Will you be just another facility with exercise equipment, or will you fill avoid in the area that could make you successful. Do you have a goal or a mission statement? A brand message you want to promote? All of these tiny, but important, details need to be considered, thought out, established, and included in your realistic business plan before you can even consider cutting the red tape with giant scissors to the doors of your gym.


If You Can, Have the Funds Ready Before You Open

We know.

This is way easier said than done, but accumulating the wealth you’ll need to start a gym before you actually start the gym is going to make your life so much easier. Finances stand in the way of so many peoples’ dreams when, in reality, it doesn’t always have to. A healthy amount of planning, saving, and allocating funds can help you get where you need to be. Granted, doing this this way might take you longer than you’d anticipated, but in the long run, it can help you immensely. If you’re willing to wait it out, take on another job, save up your money, and get to work on your new gym, then you’re already making the necessary sacrifices and moves toward opening a successful gym.


With all the planning you’ve done, you likely know what your startup costs and expenses will be, so if you’re able to establish those finances up front, your dream is going to be a lot closer than you ever thought possible.
Bring home that extra income. Work a few more shifts. Save your pennies. Skip buying those new gymshark leggings. Do what’s necessary to establish the wealth you need before you try to open your gym to make your life a whole lot easier.


Ensure That You’ve Already Got a Healthy Amount of Guaranteed Clients

This is probably one of those “duh, I know that” things, but it’s worth mentioning.

While you’ll probably devote a chunk of your budget to marketing and getting the word out about your gym, starting up a fitness facility without a healthy dose of guaranteed clients is an incredibly unwise decision. You’re a personal trainer, right? So, you’re already practiced in the art of networking and bringing on clients. Let your current and potential clients know that you’re playing around the idea of opening up your own gym. Ask them what they think about it, if they’d be interested, and what they’re missing out on at their regular gym now. Can you offer those things to them? If so, let them know!

Bringing on your gym’s clients is going to come down to the relationships you already have, the relationships you’re willing to make, and the consistent and dedicated branding of your gym.

Moving gyms isn’t always a simple task. Just because someone likes you and thinks you’re good at what you do, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to leave their gym for you. Why? Most of the time, money and convenience are the hurdles. Maybe their gym is closer to them. Maybe they don’t want to pay to get out of the contract they already have.

Either way, you need to ensure that you’re able to offer your clients more bang for their buck and guarantee that you’ll be able to meet their needs. Ensure that you’re doing everything in your power to secure these dedicated clients before you begin plans for your gym. What’s the point of leasing or buying a beautiful facility, filling it with the best equipment, and the most quality trainers if no one is willing to show up?


Know Your Long-Term Vision, But Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust

Like we said with research, it’s important to set realistic goals.

You’ll need to know what your short-term goals are, but we don’t recommend diving into a gym or fitness facility of your own without having a five, ten, fifteen, and even a twenty-year plan. Know what you want before you start. Have a firm grasp on where you want this business decision to take you. Ask yourself questions like, “am I aiming to be the most popular gym in the tri-county area?” or “what kind of training style do I see working best for the longest amount of time in this location?”

Think long, think hard, and think smart. If you’re planning to lead, be your own boss, and run your own business, you need to have a vision in place. Know what you want, how to go after it, and don’t be afraid to adjust your goals a little as you learn and grow.

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