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6 Things To Consider Before Opening A Gym

    woman standing surrounded by exercise equipment

    Opening a gym can be somewhat challenging in this market as the competition is fierce, and retaining clients is just as difficult. Recent statistics show that about 8 percent of males and 14 percent of females quit gyms within just one year of membership.

    However, this hasn’t stopped the fitness market from rising. Today, the global fitness industry is valued at over $96 billion, so this increasingly popular business venture is on everyone’s top list. But what will set you apart from the rest if you’re planning to open a gym?

    Success in any business requires careful planning and consideration; the fitness business is no exception. You also need to focus on your service areas, like hiring trained staff and how to manage finances. All this forethought will help you make a strategy that can, if not guarantee success, surely improve your chances of standing out in the market.

    So, what factors do you need to weigh before taking the plunge into gym ownership? Below, we have shared some insights that help prospective gym owners launch their new venture successfully. 

    1. Design a Marketing Plan

    Promoting your new gym is essential before you open the doors. It builds anticipation and sets in excitement for your venture. However, you need to develop a marketing plan that utilizes print, digital, grassroots, and word-of-mouth strategies to market it properly. 

    Print ads and partnerships with local businesses can generate buzz. Also, create a user-friendly website and build a strong social media presence to reach people online. A more successful move that many new facilities adopt is offering discounts and pre-opening free classes to get people in the door.

    For your gym’s grand opening, consider researching gym opening event ideas to make the event memorable for prospective members. An engaging opening event can make a lasting impression and foster community connection from day one. A grand opening party will allow you to invite local media and influencers to preview your gym and market it on their channels, organically spreading the word about your place. 

    2. Conduct Market Research

    One of the most important steps is conducting a thorough market research. You’ll want to closely analyze demographics in the area where you plan to open and look at factors like age ranges, income levels, and interests of the local population. This will allow you to identify your target market and tailor your gym offerings accordingly.  

    Here are a few things that you can do: 

    • Drive around the area to observe and assess competing gyms and take notes on their pricing structure, amenities offered, class schedules, and how busy they appear at various times of day. 
    • Try out a few gyms as a guest to get first-hand experience of the equipment, cleanliness, staff, and overall vibe. 
    • Talk to gym employees and members to find out what they like and dislike about the gyms. 
    • Also, speak with residents to discover what types of fitness services are lacking in the area. For example, you may find that no gyms cater to seniors or offer childcare. 

    This thorough market research will provide valuable insights to help you create a unique gym tailored to fit the needs of your community.

    3. Choose a Location

    If you think your gym’s location doesn’t matter, think again. A spot with plenty of parking, high visibility from main roads, and heavy foot traffic is key to your gym’s success. And if it is near residential areas, it is ideal, as most members prefer a gym close to home or work. 

    You may also need to ensure the space is large enough to accommodate all the equipment, classes, and amenities in your business plan. Pay attention to the zoning laws and secure any required permits or licenses for development. Additionally, negotiate favorable lease terms in case you need to move someday. 

    4. Buy Quality Equipment 

    The equipment and layout of your gym will directly impact members’ experience, so invest in high-quality equipment. Look for commercial-grade cardio machines, weights, racks, and other gear suited specifically for your target market. For example, serious weightlifters require ample free weights and squat racks, while yoga students need a large open space with proper flooring and heating.

    Also, allow room in your budget and floor plan for future equipment expansion. Don’t skimp on quality since durability and safety are vital – members could get injured on cheap or faulty equipment. Work with reputable equipment suppliers and manufacturers to buy machines that will stand the test of time.

    5. Hire Qualified Staff

    From the front desk staff to personal trainers and group fitness instructors, carefully hire personable, knowledgeable, and professional team members. Personal trainers with certifications from reputable organizations like ACE, NASM, or ACSM are more trustworthy because these certifications ensure they have the skills necessary to provide safe and effective workouts.

    To retain these staff members and attract more quality talent, offer competitive pay, benefits, and incentives. You can also create thorough training programs to equip your team with excellent customer service skills. Your staff will be the face of your brand, so invest time to build an all-star team.

    6. Understand Legal and Regulatory Issues

    To avoid issues down the road, consult lawyers, accountants, and insurance agents to ensure you meet all legal and regulatory requirements. Work with a business attorney when signing leases, drafting policies, choosing your business entity, and establishing ownership structure. Hire an accountant to advise on taxes, bookkeeping, payroll, insurance needs, and staying compliant.

    Also, you need to research state and local regulations for health clubs, exercise facilities, equipment standards, signage rules, accessibility codes, and other relevant laws. 


    While starting a gym takes significant time, money, and effort, the rewards of owning a fitness business can be tremendous. By researching the market, planning strategically, hiring the right team, securing proper financing, and promoting your vision, you can build a gym that meets clients’ needs while accomplishing your entrepreneurial dreams. Considering these key factors before opening can set you on the path to a successful future.