someone can follow the following steps to launch health and fitness startup:
Step 1: Get trained and accredited
First and foremost, make sure you have the proper training, accreditations, and experience to start your own gym. Your clients will be counting on you not just to help them look great, but to keep their bodies healthy and safe using your services.
There are several different personal training certifications you can choose between, and other types of fitness offerings (such as yoga, Pilates, or aerobics classes) will come with their own certifications as well. You’ll also be responsible for making sure any staff you hire has proper certification.
Step 2: Identify your fitness niche
There are a variety of fitness niches to choose from. Explore these niches below to determine what kind of fitness center you’d like to open.
Specialty fitness center:
- This niche typically focuses on one specialty fitness class or activity. Some examples include aerobics, yoga, dance, Pilates, cycling, and much more.
- Specialty fitness centers often offer a variety of class options during the week based on differing levels, intensity, and complexity.
- Instructors are certified in a particular niche.
- Specialty fitness centers can often be more expensive due to the boutique experience, intimate design, and quality instructors.
- Monthly packages or memberships are often offered as an option.
- Traditional gyms often provide a variety of workout options in one location, including fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and personal training.
- They may provide additional amenities including massage, sauna, tanning, steam rooms, childcare, and more.
- These additional services are often offered for an additional fee.
Medical fitness and wellness center:
- These fitness centers often provide physical therapy and other medical services to help clients manage, recover from, and prevent health issues.
- Usually associated with a doctor’s office or hospital that makes program recommendations.
- These centers often have professional staff specialized in managing, tracking, and measuring the progress of clients.
- They often provide a variety of educational services for physical and mental wellness, in addition to the typical group fitness classes and gym equipment.
Step 3: Find the location
Once you determine what kind of gym you want to open, you will have to determine how much space you will need.
First, get clear on how many clients you want to be able to serve in your facility. Knowing how much space you will need will help you find a location147 that best suits your requirements. Do you need street access? Access to parking? Are you in an area with a lot of foot traffic? Will it be hard for people to find you? Are you on a bus route?
Initially, a good location is key to getting clients to your gym. Many gym owners believe that location is worth paying more money upfront so that your business gets seen.
Step 4: Figure out what additional staff and equipment you will need
Before hiring fitness instructors and personal trainers, check their training and accreditation carefully. Ask thorough questions during the interview, and consider “auditioning” the person before hiring them. You also may want to consider hiring them temporarily for a few test classes or personal training sessions before committing to keeping them as an employee.
Some questions to ask yourself in terms of hiring staff:
- Will you be the primary fitness instructor at your gym, or will you need to hire fitness instructors and personal trainers?
- Will the staff be employees or independent contractors?
- What are the accreditations and training that potential staff, fitness instructors, and personal trainers must have?
Will you need fitness center equipment?
If you need fitness equipment, you will need to decide whether to buy or lease. Leasing can help you stay current on the latest fitness technology, can give you an opportunity to assess your needs before purchasing, and will often include maintenance of the equipment.
However, if you lease equipment, you give up ownership interest, which might end up costing you more in the long run. Do your research and check with a lawyer before making a decision on whether or not to lease gym equipment.
If you decide to lease equipment, you can check to see if the company is a member of a leasing association such as the National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers or the National Association of Equipment Finance Professionals.
Step 5: Get financed
You will want to make sure your finances are in good shape so that you can get financed. Most financing groups and landlords want to see two previous years of tax returns and financial statements, and before starting your business, you should have enough money saved for personal expenses for at least 12 to 24 months.
Having a strong business plan in place can help solidify funding for your gym or fitness center. Be sure to check out our planning resources, as well as the sample business plans at the end of this guide.
Step 6: Market your gym
Once you hone in on your customer base, market and promote your business in places customers spend time. This sounds simple, but it takes consistency and dedication over time to build a solid customer base.
Consider hiring someone to take on a marketing, PR, or social media management role, and if you can’t afford that, do some of it on your own. By coming up with a marketing plan for your gym or fitness center, you’ll be able to focus your efforts and get the word out about your new business.
You may want to offer free guest passes, membership discounts, and other incentives to keep and attract new clients.