Starting a gym is not just a great business to do, but being surrounded by healthy, positive people during your workday also brings a great happiness in all other aspects of your life. Plenty of people say they’d like to own a gym, but gym startup costs sometimes make that a challenge.
The truth is, opening a gym can be
difficult. According to Forbes, investing an already-established fitness
franchise can cost as much as 350,000. It’ll cost less if you’re opening your own boutique
studio, but that also comes with its own set of costs and needs.
The good news is there are ways to
cut your startup costs in half. It takes planning, patience, and
resourcefulness, but it’s totally doable.
None of the tips are out of the
realm of possibility for a prospective gym owner; in fact, they’re all pretty
simple. All it takes is sticking to your budget.
This article will discuss the five major ways in which you can cut costs when opening a small scale gym or a fitness studio.
Buy Used Equipment
Of all the tips on this list, buying used equipment is the thing any new gym owner can do successfully without a ton of planning. The truth is that so many people get rid of gym equipment (gym owners, home gym owners, fitness enthusiasts, to name a few), and there are always sales on used equipment that’s in perfectly good condition.
When it comes to buying used workout equipment, all the savings in the world won’t matter if the equipment
isn’t in good condition. From both an aesthetic and financial standpoint,
buying old equipment is not a good idea. It doesn’t look good in your facility,
and if someone gets hurt using it you’ll have a whole host of new problems
(that cost even more money) to deal with.
Scour websites like Craigslist,
Facebook marketplace, and other online forums. Also, call around to boutique
studios in the area and see if they know any gyms in the area that are closing
or getting rid of equipment.
A lot of gyms make the mistake of
trying to be too many things for too many people. Sure, a lot of gyms offer a
pool, aerobics classes, a full weight room, and a track; but you’re likely not
going to be doing that from day one.
If you’re a business owner on a
budget, you’ll save a ton of money by deciding on one type of fitness gym to
start. Be a yoga studio, a CrossFit gym, a recreational facility. This way you
can budget for only the equipment you need.
Once your gym grows and starts
bringing in consistent revenue, make it part of your growth plan to expand the
types of fitness offerings your gym provides. Remember, members can’t miss
something they haven’t ever had yet.
Don’t feel like you need to be
“everything” all at once.
Hire an Expert (or Two)
Depending on where you open your gym
and the nature of your opening (are you buying out an old gym, or opening a
brand new facility) you will be subject to acquiring permits and paying the
fees associated with them.
It might seem expensive to hire or
consult an expert to help you get all this figured out; however, having someone
to help you that’s done it before decreases your chance of messing it up.
Keep in mind that gyms need good
insurance, too. In the event that something happens in your gym, this is an
area you don’t want to skimp in.
Either way, you’re going to spend
money here—better to do it the right way and not have to pay twice for not
Hire Part-Time Staff
Depending on the size of your gym,
it might also be good to start with a smaller staff than you expect to have
down the road. Instead of bringing on several full-time coaches or trainers,
it’ll save you a lot in startup costs to limit it to one or two full-timers and
leaving the rest part-time.
Keep in mind you can always expand
your staff. Since most coaches work at an hourly rate, it shouldn’t be too hard
to fill out your staff and cover all the classes that need it.
Gyms aren’t just about
equipment—they’re housed in large facilities, and usually, come with other
things like bathrooms and saunas. Want to know how to start a gym business
and save money? The budget for these facility costs right off the bat, so that
you don’t overspend.
In the same manner that people who
buy expensive houses they can’t afford go “house poor” (they can
afford their expensive house but have no real disposable income), many gym
owners overdo it on their facilities, then need to carry an unreasonable amount
of memberships to cover the monthly costs.
Also, consider asking the facility
manager about leasing options. You may be able to save money by signing a
longer lease or on startup costs. It never hurts to see where you can save a
Owning a gym is an amazing thing,
but the gym start up costs can make it difficult to achieve your dream. But
with some savvy planning and willingness to be resourceful (and/or creative),
you can totally make your dream a reality.
Simple tips like buying used equipment, consulting experts to see where you can save a buck, and setting a realistic plan for your facility and its associated costs) are things any prospective gym owner can do.