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Starting a Fitness Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Vivian Giang

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Starting a fitness business is a heavy lift (pun intended). But it can also be a very rewarding industry to work in. You are helping people accomplish their fitness goals, and in turn, helping them to live healthier lives.

If you're looking to start a business with lucrative potential, this is a great industry to be in—the global health and fitness club market is projected to grow at a rate of 10.6% from 2018 to 2023. Furthermore, according to the 2019 International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHSRA) Global Report, the United States health club industry generated a record $32.3 billion in 2018. Comparatively, the United States health club industry only generated $25.8 billion in revenue in 2015.

If you're a fitness junkie, you already enjoy breaking a sweat. Now it's time to put in a different kind of work. Here's everything you need to do when starting a fitness business.

how to open a gym business plan

Starting a fitness business in 6 steps

A good fitness business is centered around providing excellent equipment, professional instruction, and personal training. But starting a fitness business requires a lot more than that. Here are the six steps you'll need to take to start your fitness business.

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Step 1: Decide what kind of fitness business you want to operate

There are many different kinds of fitness businesses out there. You can become a personal trainer, teach classes, or operate your own facility. There are pros and cons to each. Being a personal trainer is a low overhead venture if you're wondering how to start a fitness business with no money, but it requires in-depth knowledge of exercise and nutrition techniques. Operating a facility, on the other hand, requires a lot of overhead, but you can lean on the expertise of others. There are also gym franchising options to consider when thinking about starting a fitness business. Popular franchises include Crunch Fitness, Planet Fitness, and Pure Barre—you might even consider starting a Crossfit box.

If you're in need of inspiration for starting your fitness business, here are some popular options to consider:

Zumba studio

Physical therapy

Spin classes

Powerlifting gym

Yoga studio

Pilates studio

Step 2: Get trained

The next step in starting a fitness business is to get some training. Whether you want to know how to start a fitness training business or manage a gym, you need to have some background in fitness in order for people to actually think you know what you're doing. Good places to get credentialed include the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), American Council on Exercise, or National Academy of Sports Medicine. Legitimate certifications are accredited by either the NCCA (National Commission of Certifying Agencies) or the DEAC (Distance Education Accrediting Commission).

Of course, training in fitness isn't the only education you'll need. You're also going to need to do a lot of research into learning exactly what it takes to start a business.

Step 3: Write a business plan and select an entity

This step is pretty similar regardless of whether you're starting a fitness business or any other kind of business. When you’re writing a business plan, there’s a lot you'll need to include. You might find it helpful to use a business plan template to make sure you cover all of your bases.

Factors to consider when writing your business plan include:

An analysis of the market

Who your competition is

Marketing and sales plan

Financial plan and projections

The key is to make sure there's a need for your business and that you'll be able to generate enough business to continue operating after you've invested so much to get started.

Another important part of your business plan when starting up a fitness business is selecting your business entity. Given the nature of the fitness business, you should go with a business entity that offers owners some protection from liability. A limited liability partnership or limited liability company might make the most sense for you if you’re looking for some liability protection.

Step 4: Get necessary permits and insurance

There may be certain business licenses and permits required to operate a gym in your state and locality. You should check with your town, city, or county clerk’s office to make sure you're following all the regulations outlined by your various governing agencies for starting a fitness business.

One permit you'll most certainly need is a certificate of occupancy. A certificate of occupancy confirms that all building codes, zoning laws, and government regulations have been met. If you're leasing your gym space, it is typically the landlord's responsibility to obtain a certificate of occupancy.

Operating a gym also comes with some risks that opening another business might not. People are going to be working out, using equipment, walking around things they can trip over, and doing other potentially hazardous activities. You’ll want to make sure you get small business insurance for a host of scenarios so that if anything happens to someone while they’re in your gym, the business is covered.

You also want to be covered in the event that equipment is stolen or damaged. You might even want to encourage any instructors you hire to get personal trainer insurance as well.

Step 5: Get an EIN

There are a lot of reasons you need an employer identification number (EIN). It allows you to file taxes and avoid tax penalties, open a business bank account, speed up loan applications, establish business credit, and a lot more.

You can apply for an employer identification number online through the IRS. If you register with the IRS online, you should receive an EIN within minutes. Note that fitness businesses operating as sole proprietorships don't need an EIN, but it is still a good idea to get one for the aforementioned benefits.

Step 6: Get funding

If you're wondering how to start a fitness business with no money, some ventures aren't cheap, but you do have funding options that may work for you. According to health club consultant Bryan O'Rourke, costs start at $30,000 but can quickly soar to $500,000. What's more, getting a fitness business up and running takes some time—so you'll need to have a little in the bank.

If you’re looking for some startup funding there are a few options available to you, such as an SBA loan , a business line of credit, or a personal loan.

A business line of credit would give you access to money that you could pull from if you needed it in your early days of starting a fitness business. The difference between a line of credit and a loan is that while the money is available to you, you only have to pay interest on the funds you actually draw on.

There's also gym equipment financing , which is another great option if you're wondering how to start a fitness business with no money. The gym equipment purchased with the proceeds of the financing will, in turn, act as collateral for the gym equipment finance loan used to purchase it.

7 tips for starting a fitness business

Now that you know the steps you need to take when starting a fitness business, let's provide you with some tips that will help your business thrive. To provide you with the best advice possible, we talked to entrepreneurs who successfully started their own fitness business. Here's what they had to say:

1. Personalize your fitness business

The health and fitness club market is expected to grow to be a $147.1 billion industry by 2024, with an emphasis on personalized training.

Consider ClassPass, which operates in 18 countries around the world and is valued at $600 million. ClassPass teams up with classes at boutique studios to offer everything from cycling to yoga to dance to martial arts for its members. For a $19-$199 (which varies by subscription plan) monthly fee, members enjoy unlimited classes to studios in the ClassPass network and can attend the same studio up to a certain limit each month.

ClassPass’ success story is one example that customers want specialized, niche workouts offered in fitness boutique studios. If you're wondering how to start a fitness class business that will be attractive to a growing clientele, this is one example to follow. Other such examples include ShadowBox, a fitness boxing studio; GoRow Studios, a gym that specializes in workouts using rowing machines; then there’s modelFIT, a gym in New York and Los Angeles that is "marrying mindful nutrition with mindful exercise" and is a popular hangout for celebrities.

“People are kind of shying away from the lone wolf workout of going to a box or a membership gym because the [boutique fitness] market is more efficient,” says Eric Posner, CEO and co-founder of boutique cycling studio Swerve Fitness in New York City. “You get a better workout in a less amount of time and pay less than you would for a personal trainer by going to a fitness boutique.”

2. Make your fitness studio a place to hang out

In a panel discussion hosted by American Express' U.S. Small Merchants Group, ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia said fitness studios are “like the new restaurant scene"—it’s not just about burning calories and working out; it’s about the experience and lifestyle. It's paramount you know this if you want to know how to start a fitness business.

This concept of hanging out at your workout spot is how Posner, along with his co-founders Chelsea Kocis and John Henry McNierney came up with the idea for Swerve. It was just a few years ago that the three co-founders, who at the time were college athletes-turned-finance professionals, found themselves tired of taking clients through the typical dinner-and-drinks routine. Instead, they took them to cycling classes.

"We found this to be an unbelievable way to build relationships that were meaningful, as opposed to the typical steak dinners and drinks," says Posner.

“We were going to mostly cycling classes and what we saw about these classes was there were unbelievable ways to get an efficient workout in and do it with other people, but [these classes] weren't capturing the camaraderie of going with a group or going with other people. It was very individualistic,” continues Posner. “So, that's how we came up with the concept of a team-inspired indoor cycling workout.”

Making your gym a place people want to hang not only brings customers in the door, but also makes your fitness business a place they'll want to return to again and again.

3. Incorporate data into your services

We live in a data-driven world, so it makes sense that people want data-driven workouts. People want to see how many calories they burned, how their current performance compares to their past averages, and how they compare to other people—basically what they achieve when they leave a workout session.

Take the technologically-savvy Swerve workout room for example, where riders are divided into teams and try to bike their way to the highest score.

“Technology is playing a big role and the way that [Swerve was] able to tap into that is we have a console—you have a console on your bike—and you see your own personal metrics on this console during class,” explains Posner. “And there are big flat screens behind the instructors where you see your team's average score. After class, all your stats—and this shows how many miles you biked, how many calories you burned, where you ranked in class, and all that—can be viewed on your account profile.”

“So, we find that to be a huge motivating tactic for our riders… and that kind of adds another layer of accountability and it's very results-driven.” Want to know how to start a fitness business that will keep clients coming back? Give them the tools and data to accomplish their personal fitness goals.

4. Specialize in a type of workout or demographic

When Alana Kessler opened the doors to her yoga studio in 2009, she quickly realized classes offered to pregnant mothers who have busy, working lives basically didn’t exist. As a result, Kessler made prenatal classes essential to Sangha Yoga Shala's list of classes offered and has since then built a name for herself.

The key to how to start a fitness training business that offers quality, specialized classes is that you can’t skimp on good trainers. Spend time training instructors and finding excellent ones who will give your customers consistent results every time they’re in front of the class. If you want to know how to start a fitness business, the first thing you should figure out is how to acquire awesome trainer talent.

“I encourage my teachers to build,” advises Kessler. “I incentivize them to build with me. Some [studios] might tap out at a low rate to keep their overhead low, but I pay my teachers well.”

5. Get your studio on social media

Vanessa Packer, co-founder of modelFIT, told the audience at American Express' panel discussion that Instagram played an “instrumental part” in helping modelFIT become a lifestyle instead of just a gym. This means reaching out and engaging with your community on social media.

Do you make it easy for customers to post about their experience? Do you respond in a timely manner that builds connections with existing clients? Additionally, have you thought about untraditional marketing strategies to spread the word for your business? For example, ClassPass gave away passes to influential fitness bloggers in the beginning to quickly get their story out there. What social media marketing techniques could your fitness business do?

6. You'll need to wear many hats

According to Tyler Sellers, senior coach at Total Shape, starting a fitness business requires a lot more than just fitness instruction.

"You must be well-prepared for the behind-the-scenes logistics, especially at the start. As a piece of advice, being a small business owner means that you are the accountant, the administrator, the marketer, and the trainer at the same time," Sellers says.

7. Hire excellent staff

When Laurel Roach started TriFIT Wellness, a corporate wellness training facility in Phoenix, AZ, she says she didn't have a background in the fitness business. Therefore, she had to lean on the staff she hired in order to make her business a success.

"I recommend hiring the most qualified trainers because the wellness industry is notoriously under-regulated," says Roach. "Genuinely passionate employees are difficult to replace so make it a priority to hire and retain the trainers that make your customers feel like an all-star."


Start Your Dream Business

The bottom line

Starting a fitness business is a lot of hard work. But if you succeed, you'll join a booming industry that helps people live their life to the fullest.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

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How To Start a Gym Business In 7 Steps (+ Start-up Templates)

Published by caroline @ wellness creative co on 11 october 2023 11 october 2023.

Want to know how to start a gym business? Perhaps you’ve always loved fitness and want to start your own studio, or worked in the industry for years and it’s time to become your own boss. Whatever your reason for starting a gym, we’ve got you covered.

In this article – learn how to start a successful gym in 7 steps, including business planning, securing funding, and pre-launch marketing.

We’ve helped several new gyms and fitness studios to launch their businesses, so we know exactly what’s involved. Having worked in the fitness industry for 15+ years, we understand the operational, marketing, and financial aspects to setting up a successful business. So, you can shortcut the learning curve and benefit from our expertise in this guide…

How To Start a Gym or Fitness Studio – Overview

Here’s an overview of the seven steps towards opening a gym or fitness studio…

  • Define your idea
  • Create a plan
  • Secure funding
  • Find a location
  • Set up your gym
  • Grow your business

Let’s dive into each of these start-up steps in more detail…

#1 – Define Your Gym Business Idea

The very first step is to define the business idea for your gym, fitness studio, or health club. What’s the concept? Who is it aimed at?

For some people, this will come easily. They may have had a great fitness-themed business idea for a long time but only just decided to give it a go. But for others, this initial part can be tough. 

Perhaps you’re keen to start a fitness business but aren’t sure what kind of venture to go for. Or you want to look at all the options before making a decision. If so, then here is a list of gym business ideas that you can consider…

  • Classic gym or fitness centre
  • Boutique fitness studio
  • Gym franchise (Anytime Fitness, Snap, Orange Theory, etc.) 
  • Yoga or Pilates studio
  • Personal training studio
  • CrossFit box
  • Health club
  • Online fitness training business
  • Or you can start a business related to gyms, like a fitness equipment or accessories distributor, workout clothing brand, mobile personal training business, or fitness supplement manufacturer .

At this stage, it’s also important to think about what will make your fitness club different from others in the local area. Will you be aiming for a specific target market or type of exerciser? Will your gym be a high-end premium concept, a boutique studio that specialises in doing one thing well, or high-volume low-cost model?

The fitness industry is competitive, so for your gym to be successful, it’s vital to think about what’ll give you a competitive edge. Doing this from the start means you can mainstream it into your business plan, make your funding bids more appealing, and choose a location that supports your concept. Defining your unique selling point (USP) will set your business up for success long-term, so it’s crucial to do this from the get-go.

Fitness Business Ideas List Pinterest

#2 – Create a Gym Business Plan

Once you’ve defined your idea, you need to create a business plan for it. This will help you assess the viability of your concept and consider all of the little details. It’s also required for things like loan applications and renting commercial space.

Creating a business plan for your gym is vital if you want it to be a success. In fact, research shows that people who complete business plans are nearly twice as likely to successfully grow their businesses, or obtain capital. 

“Business plans double the chance of success”.

A solid gym business plan should include the following…

  • Executive summary
  • Industry and local market analysis
  • Company overview
  • Products and services
  • Sales and marketing strategy
  • Financial information
  • Implementation plan

Fitness Business Plan PDF Template

By covering these points, you’ll ensure that there’s adequate demand for your offering and you have a well-defined gym target market . It’ll also help you to understand the exact costs involved and whether you can afford to do it alone or need outside funding.

For a more detailed explanation of what each of these areas should cover, check out our article on writing a fitness business plan (with samples). Or get the start-up planning cheat sheet as part of our Fitness Business Templates bundle…

#3 – Secure Funding For Your Fitness Business

Once you’ve developed a sound business plan, you’ll be armed with the right info to seek funding for your gym. For some gym start-ups, this might involve securing several hundred thousand dollars to cover initial business costs. For leaner fitness businesses, you can do it on a smaller budget without the huge overheads.

Your business plan will help you estimate how much money is needed to start your fitness venture. It costs between $2000 and $4m to start a gym business, depending on the location and model you choose. Based on stats from Entrepreneur, here are approximate costs of starting different types of fitness business…

  • Big-box gym start-up costs (e.g. Planet Fitness) – $1.1-$4.2m 
  • Cost to start a small-medium sized gym (e.g. Anytime Fitness) – $77,000-$520,000
  • Boutique gym start-up costs (e.g. Orange Theory) – $575,000-$1.5m
  • Cost to start a fitness studio (e.g. Pure Barre) – $198,000-$446,000
  • Pilates studio start-up costs (e.g. Club Pilates) – $168,000-$280,000
  • Cost to start a group exercise class business (e.g. Jazzercise) – $2000-$7000
  • Bootcamp business (e.g. Fit Body Boot Camp) – $136,000-$198,000

As you can see, the money required to start a gym varies from a couple of thousand to several million dollars. Factors like the venue type, location, and equipment required will all influence the overall cost.

So, how do you secure funding for your gym or fitness studio? The most common sources of finance are…

  • Business loans from traditional banks
  • Business loans from online lenders
  • Loans from gym franchise preferred suppliers
  • Personal savings

Choosing the right funding option for your business will depend on a huge number of factors. It’s best to do your own research, speak to financial experts, and read the small print thoroughly so you know all of the implications involved in any borrowing.

If you want to open a gym with no money, then the key is to start small . Running a personal training business or selling online fitness programs are both good options. Neither requires investments in rent, equipment, or staff salaries, so you can save money towards a gym studio while running them.

You can also look for creative ways to cut your costs and open your gym on a tiny budget…

  • Find empty commercial spaces or shops and negotiate with the landlord. They might agree to let you run a short-term fitness pop-up for free rather than let it stand empty or be open to a revenue-share agreement where they receive a percentage of your profits instead of rent.
  • Ask gym equipment manufacturers if they’ll lend you some kit for free , in return for being a case study or showcase site. Equipment companies are always looking for impressive locations where they can show off new products, stage photo shoots, and customers who’ll give testimonials to other gyms.
  • Call in favours from your network to reduce costs wherever you can. You’re bound to have friends or family who can help with painting, carpentry, plumbing, graphic design, and numerous other jobs that’ll save money when opening your gym.

Opening your own gym or fitness studio can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to find creative ways of cutting the big costs, like rent and equipment. Don’t be afraid to ask – you might get a few ‘nos’ but when you finally get a ‘yes’ it’ll be worth it!

#4 – Find a Good Location for your Gym

The next step is to find the perfect location for your fitness business. There are lots of things that go into a good venue but the key is to find a place where your target customers are and rent is affordable.

Central gym locations will be more expensive. It’s great if there’s plenty of passing traffic but ask yourself if they’re your ideal demographic. Being close to your target market’s places of work, favourite hangouts, or residential areas are all good bets.

But it’s not just customers and cost that define a good gym location. In fact, Virgin highlight six different factors to consider when choosing the perfect business location . These are…

  • Accessibility
  • Competition
  • Business rates
  • Skills base in the area
  • Potential for growth

How easily customers and staff can access your location, security and crime rates, and proximity to competitors can all affect whether a location is suitable. It’s also important to consider local business rates (for utility bills), whether staff in the area will have the right gym skills, and if the location can accommodate growth. Doing your research, knowing what you want, and being patient until the right gym location becomes available will all stand you in good stead.

#5 – Set Up Your Gym

Once you’ve got a location sorted you can begin to actually set up your gym business. This means getting everything ready, from business licences and staff, to interior decor and equipment. 

You should aim to do this as quickly as possible without undermining quality. Once you’ve started paying rent on your location, your bank balance will start decreasing quickly. So, it’s vital to open and get your members in the door as soon as possible. 

To start a gym you will need…

  • Business license
  • Electrics and plumbing
  • Changing areas, toilets, and shower facilities
  • Interior fit-out, design, and decoration
  • Gym equipment and accessories
  • Trained staff
  • Operational processes
  • Membership models and pricing

Let’s look at each of these areas…

Business License

Obtaining a business license is a crucial first step. Research your local regulations, complete the necessary paperwork, and pay the required fees. Compliance with local laws ensures your gym operates legally and avoids potential legal complications in the future.

Acquire comprehensive insurance policies tailored for gyms. This includes liability insurance to safeguard against accidents, property insurance to cover equipment and facilities, and potentially business interruption insurance to protect against unforeseen events that could disrupt your operations.

Electrics and Plumbing

Ensure your gym has a safe and efficient electrical and plumbing setup. Hire licensed professionals to assess, repair, or install wiring, lighting, and plumbing fixtures. Safety and functionality are paramount to providing a secure environment for your clients.

Changing Areas, Toilets & Shower Facilities

Design comfortable and hygienic changing rooms, equipped with lockers, benches, and adequate lighting. Install clean and accessible toilet and shower facilities. Think about ease of cleaning and privacy when designing these areas to enhance the gym experience for your clients.

Interior Fit-Out, Design & Decoration

Create an inviting gym atmosphere by incorporating the right lighting, colour schemes, and branding elements. A well-designed interior can boost motivation and create a positive gym environment, which both have a positive impact on member retention and cash flow.

Gym Equipment & Accessories

Invest in quality gym equipment that’s tailored to your target audience’s needs. Depending on the type of gym you’re opening, this might include cardio machines, free weights, resistance training equipment, and accessories like mats and water stations. Balance functionality, durability, and cost-effectiveness when selecting equipment.

Trained Staff

Recruit certified trainers , experienced instructors, friendly front-desk staff, and meticulous cleaners. Ensure they are well-versed in customer service, first aid, and emergency protocols. Regular training sessions keep staff updated with fitness trends and ensure a professional and knowledgeable team.

Operational Processes

Establish efficient operational processes, including membership management, class scheduling, payment systems, and cleaning routines. Use gym management software to streamline administrative tasks, track memberships, and communicate effectively with members. Clearly defined processes ensure smooth day-to-day operations.

Membership Models and Pricing

You will have already developed pricing models in the business plan stage, but now is the time to refine and establish them. Determine your pricing structures, payment methods, and cancellation policies. Transparent and flexible membership options enhance customer satisfaction.

By addressing these areas during the setup phase, you’ll establish a safe, appealing, and well-equipped space for your members. It’ll build a strong foundation for success and allow you to press ahead with promoting your new fitness facility…

#6 – Launch Sales & Marketing

When opening a new gym or fitness studio, your launch efforts are vital to its success. It’s essential to sell as many memberships as possible in advance to maximise cash flow from the start. This means going all out on your sales and marketing efforts asap.

Some of the most effective ways to market a gym and generate pre-sales include…

  • Early-bird offer – offer a big discount to members who sign up two months before opening, and decrease the discount as the deadline gets closer (so customers are incentivised to act immediately or risk missing out).
  • Use 3D layouts and fly-through videos – to help potential members visualise the gym space. It’s natural for people to want to wait and see what the gym’s like before committing. But visuals help overcome this objection.
  • Elevator pitch – You’ll need a one sentence elevator pitch to use when talking to potential new members. It should summarise exactly who you help, what you do, and how long it takes e.g. “ We help [insert ideal client] to [overcome common problem] in [time frame]”.
  • Sales pitch – You’ll also need longer sales points to use with potential clients and answers to common objections. Explain the concept, what you’re trying to achieve, and the story behind why you’re doing it. Then talk about all of the start-of-the-art equipment, brand new training techniques, or anything else that sets your club apart from the competition. 
  • Website & Social Media – Create a website for your gym and social media profiles . Your website should contain all the info about your facility that a prospect or existing member might have, and both should act as a sales funnel for generating new membership leads .
  • Google My Business Listing – Set up your a free ‘ Google My Business ‘ listing so that anyone who searches for your gym online will see its location and contact details.
  • Organise a big launch event – to celebrate the gym’s opening and invite local media to attend. Promote the event on social media and give people a good reason to attend. They may not care about an opening but they will care about free fitness workshops, nutritional counselling, or tasty treats.
You might also like… 10 Effective Ways To Market Your Gym Or Fitness Centre .

It can be helpful to have a ‘soft-launch’ prior to the main event. This enables you to test out all of your processes and equipment before the hoards arrive. It also allows new staff to put their training into practice so that everything operates super-smoothly when you do open properly.

#7 – Grow Your Gym Business

Congratulations – at this point your brand new gym will be open! Of course, some would say that this is when the hard work really starts. But it’s a fantastic feeling to have opened the doors after all the effort getting your gym started.

Now it’s all about running your gym successfully and growing your business. We’ve seen gym owners do this in endlessly creative ways, but a few of the most effective include…

  • Marketing & Promotion – Continue your marketing efforts post-launch to drive a continual stream of leads and customers. Combine social media, digital and local advertising , and community events to promote your gym. Consider offering promotions or referral incentives to attract new members.
  • Community Engagement – Foster a sense of community within your gym. Organise fitness challenges , workshops, and member-exclusive events. Encourage trainers and staff to engage with members, creating a friendly and supportive atmosphere.
  • Maintain Your Equipment – Establish a regular maintenance schedule for gym equipment. Prompt repairs and replacements ensure that all machines are safe, functional, and in good condition. Regular maintenance also prolongs the lifespan of your equipment, saving costs in the long run.
  • Member Feedback & Satisfaction – Implement systems for collecting feedback from members. Regular surveys or suggestion boxes can provide valuable insights into member satisfaction. Address concerns promptly and use positive feedback for testimonials and marketing materials.
  • Continually Improve & Innovate – Strive to enhance the experience for members, to keep them coming back and telling all their friends too! Along with acting on feedback, use tech to improve your operations. Consider implementing apps or software for class bookings, personalised workout plans and progress tracking, or to aid administrative tasks, making operations more efficient.

Starting a Successful Gym Business

So, now you know exactly how to start a gym business and set it up for success. By following these steps, you’ll maximise your cash flow and profitability early on. This is the key to ensuring that your business lasts over the long-term and becomes a well-established brand in your community. 

If you’d like a little help along the way, then check out our Fitness Business Templates . They include a business planning cheat sheet, 50+ creative brand name ideas, and loads of sales and marketing resources too. 

Start a Successful Fitness Studio Gym Pinterest

Caroline @ Wellness Creative Co

Qualified personal trainer (BSc Sports Science) & nutritionist (MSc Human Nutrition) with 15+ years of fitness & wellness marketing experience working with global brands.

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Gym Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Gym Business Plan & Example

You’ve come to the right place to create a gym business plan.

We have helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their gyms.

Gym Business Plan Example

Use the example below as a template to write a gym business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

Steven’s Gym is a startup locally owned gym located in El Paso, Texas. Steven’s Gym will include various exercise equipment, strength training equipment, free weights, aerobic equipment, and plenty of cardio equipment. The gym will also offer HIIT group classes, spin classes, strength training instruction, and personal training.

Located in an up and coming, newly developed, and highly trafficked area of town, Steven’s Gym will attract both men and women ages 16 to 75+. There is something for everyone at Steven’s Gym, whether someone is just beginning their fitness journey or is a seasoned athlete and gymrat. The gym will have a welcoming atmosphere, experienced personal trainers, friendly staff, and frequently cleaned equipment and restrooms.

The membership options are affordable and will be offered on a month-to-month basis, a 6 or 12 month contract, or the ability to pay for an entire year upfront. Discounts will be offered to military, teachers, and healthcare workers.

Service Offering

The following are the services that Steven’s Gym will provide:

  • Strength training equipment
  • Cardio equipment
  • Free weights/dumbbells
  • Aerobic equipment
  • HIIT group classes
  • Strength training instruction

Customer Focus

Steven’s Gym will target all men and women ages 16 – 75+ who are interested in achieving and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. El Paso is a very diverse city that includes men and women from all walks of life. There are numerous blue collar individuals, white collar individuals, government employees, and military members as the local Army base is one of the largest in the country. Since Steven’s Gym will be very affordable, it will be able to attract people from all walks of life.

Management Team

Steven will manage the day-to-day tasks of running the gym. Steven will hire a gym manager to manage membership and three trainers. Steven will outsource a local CPA to handle payroll, accounting, and tax payments. He will also outsource a local advertising company to develop the gym’s logo, branding, photography, social media accounts, website, and billboard design.

Success Factors

Steven’s Gym will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Large, clean, and spacious fitness center that has all the necessary equipment for their fitness routine.
  • Knowledgeable and friendly staff of trainers.
  • Best value for membership pricing. The membership pricing options are affordable and offer military, teacher, and healthcare employee discounts.
  • Convenient hours of operation.

Financial Plan Highlights

Steven’s Gym is seeking $300,000 in debt financing to begin operations of the business. The funding will be dedicated towards securing the warehouse space, gym build-out, and purchase of the equipment. Funding will also be dedicated towards three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and working capital. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Securing warehouse space, gym build-out, and design: $25,000 to $125,000
  • Gym equipment purchase: $50,000 to $100,000
  • Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $15,000 to $55,000
  • Marketing & advertising: $15,000
  • Working capital: $10,000

how to open a gym business plan

Company Overview

Who is steven’s gym.

Steven’s Gym is a new, locally owned gym located in El Paso, Texas. Steven’s Gym will include strength training equipment, free weights, aerobic equipment, and plenty of cardio equipment. The gym will also offer fitness classes, strength training instruction, and personal training. Located in an up and coming, and highly trafficked area of town, Steven’s Gym will attract both men and women ages 16 to 75+. There is something for everyone at Steven’s Gym, whether someone is just beginning their fitness journey or is a seasoned athlete and gymrat. The gym will have a welcoming atmosphere, experienced trainers, friendly staff, and frequently cleaned equipment and restrooms. The membership options are affordable and will be offered on a month-to-month basis, a 6 or 12 month contract, or the ability to pay for an entire year upfront. Discounts will be offered to military, teachers, and healthcare workers.

Steven’s Gym History

Steven’s Gym is owned by Steven Malone, a retired Army Master Sergeant who is also a seasoned powerlifter. Steven was stationed at El Paso’s Fort Bliss for many years before eventually retiring and deciding to stay in El Paso and embark on his dream of eventually owning his own gym. As a frequent gym goer, Steven recognized that El Paso lacks high quality independent gyms. The nicest and most equipped gyms in El Paso are large franchises that have too many rules and regulations. Steven envisioned a gym that was welcoming to all types of people that is encouraging, clean, and adequately equipped for those who are focused on sustaining an active, healthy lifestyle.

Since incorporation, Steven’s Gym has achieved the following milestones:

  • Found a 10,000 square foot warehouse space for lease in El Paso, Texas that can easily be converted to a gym.
  • Registered Steven’s Gym, LLC to do business in the State of Texas.
  • Began the branding image, logo, website, and social media accounts for the gym.
  • Began researching and pricing out equipment.

Steven’s Gym Services

The following will be the services Steven’s Gym will provide:

Industry Analysis

The Gym industry is expected to grow to an annual revenue of $38 billion in the next five years. This growth is likely a result of increased per capita disposable income, in addition to growing health-consciousness. As consumers’ disposable income levels rise, individuals are usually more willing to purchase gym memberships. Additionally, time spent on leisure and sports is expected to increase over the next five years, effectively increasing the potential pool of consumers.

During this period, demographic changes are expected to drive revenue growth for operators. In particular, as healthcare costs continue to escalate, health insurance providers may implement incentives to promote preventive health practices, including the use of fitness centers among individuals within their provider network. Additionally, initiatives that promote the health benefits of exercise will likely increase over the next five years, stimulating industry revenue.  

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

Steven’s Gym’s target audience will include all men and women ages 16 – 75+ who are interested in achieving and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. El Paso is a very diverse city that includes men and women from all walks of life. There are numerous blue collar individuals, white collar individuals, government employees, and military members as the local Army base is one of the largest in the country. Since Steven’s Gym will be very affordable, it will be able to attract people from all walks of life.

Customer Segmentation

Steven’s Gym will primarily target the following customer profiles:

  • High school and college students
  • Locally-based Military
  • Athletes who frequently train for fitness competitions

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Steven’s Gym will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below. Gold’s Gym Gold’s Gym is a large franchise-owned gym with two locations in El Paso. Gold’s Gym gives access to everything one needs to transform their life: state-of-the-art amenities, a variety of fitness classes tailored towards someone’s fitness needs, and the world’s best trainers. There are weekly fitness classes for group workouts ranging from martial arts-inspired cardio classes to foundational yoga sessions. There are also certified trainers if someone is new to exercise or just looking for more guidance and coaching. Gold’s Gym’s amenities include cardio equipment, group exercise, personal training, a pro shop, sauna/steam rooms, group cycle, free weights, functional training, kids club, locker rooms, and wifi.

Planet Fitness Planet Fitness is for people from all walks of life, whether they’re a first-time gym user or a veteran member, they are there to provide a workout environment in which anyone and everyone can be comfortable. All Planet Fitness members enjoy unlimited access to their home club and the support of their friendly, knowledgeable staff anytime they need it. PF Black Club members receive additional benefits, including the ability to bring a guest for free and access to any of their 2,000+ PF locations. Also, the PF member can take advantage of their free fitness training or find motivation by reading real member experiences on Planet of Triumphs. The goal of Planet Fitness is to provide a clean, safe, welcoming environment for anyone who walks through the door, and all the equipment, amenities, and support they need once they arrive.

Anytime Fitness Anytime Fitness is a welcoming gym that exists to help someone get to a healthier place – by giving the right support at the right times, in the ways the member wants. Every member receives a free, personalized Get Started Plan when they join. Their friendly, professional staff is trained to help someone along their fitness journey, no matter how much support they need. Aside from a large selection of strength and cardio equipment, Anytime Fitness offers the following services – 24-hour access, 24-hour security, convenient parking, anywhere gym access, private restrooms, private showers, health plan discounts, wellness programs, cardio TVs, and HDTVs.

Competitive Advantage

Steven’s Gym will be able to offer the following advantages over their competition:

  • Large, clean, and spacious facility that has all the necessary equipment for their fitness routine.

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

Steven’s Gym will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Large, clean, spacious, and well-equipped facility.
  • Dedicated team of trainers.
  • Affordable membership pricing plans.

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for Steven’s Gym is as follows: Social Media Marketing Strategy Steven’s Gym will invest in advertising the gym on social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. By using targeted social media marketing, Steven’s Gym will be able to reach the appropriate target audience of El Paso. Before opening, Steven will hire an advertising agency to develop the branding and photography needed to create captivating social media posts.

Billboards Steven will invest in two billboards strategically located at busy intersections that receive thousands of traffic daily. The advertising agency will develop the print for the billboard design. Website/SEO Marketing Strategy Steven’s Gym will invest in a strong SEO presence so that when someone enters “El Paso gym” or “local gym near me” in their Google or Bing search bar, Steven’s Gym is at the top of the list. Their website will list all of Steven’s Gym’s services, location, pricing, and contact information. Word of Mouth Word quickly spreads around town and once a few people experience the clean, affordable, and professional staff at Steven’s Gym, more and more people will come in to see for themselves and sign up for a membership plan.

The pricing of Steven’s Gym will be moderate and on par with competitors so customers feel they receive value when purchasing their services.  

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for Steven’s Gym.

Operation Functions:

  • Steven Malone will be the sole gym owner and operator of Steven’s Gym. He will oversee the staff, maintain that the cleaning schedules are being enforced, and ensure that all equipment is working per standard and safely. He will also manage all ordering of new and replacement equipment, schedule the group HIIT classes, and daily management tasks.
  • Steven will hire a gym manager to be in charge of members and member management.
  • A team of three trainers will run all of the fitness classes. As the membership grows and clients require more attention, more trainers and fitness classes will be added.
  • A local CPA will manage all high level accounting functions, such as payroll and tax payments.
  • Steven will also hire an advertising agency to develop the gym’s branding, photography, website, social media accounts, and billboard design.


Steven’s Gym will have the following milestones completed in the next six months. 8/1/202X – Finalize contract to lease warehouse space. 8/15/202X – Begin build-out and design converting warehouse space into a functional gym. 9/1/202X – Hire advertising company to begin developing gym’s branding, logo, social media accounts, website, and billboard design. 9/15/202X – Order all equipment. 10/5/202X – Hire gym manager and team of personal trainers. 10/15/202X – Train staff on proper policies and procedures. 11/1/202X – Grand Opening of Steven’s Gym.  

Steven’s Gym will be solely owned by Steven Malone. Steven is a retired Army Master Sergeant who has been stationed off and on at El Paso’s Fort Bliss for the past twelve years. Upon retirement, Steven decided to make El Paso his permanent home and embark on his dream of owning his own gym. Steven recognizes the lack of quality, independent gyms in El Paso and wants to open a gym that fits his idea of what a high-quality gym should be.

As a former powerlifter and personal trainer while serving in the military, Steven is aware of the proper equipment and facilities a gym should have. Steven envisions his gym to be friendly, clean, well-equipped, and affordable for the average person so that people from all walks of life will feel comfortable going to the gym and achieving their fitness goals. Steven will dedicate his life and focus on ensuring that his gym is always clean, staffed with the best trainers, and members are happy with what the gym has to offer.  

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

The revenue drivers for Steven’s Gym are the membership fees it will charge each person that signs up to become a member. Each member will be placed on a membership plan where they can either pay month to month, enroll in either a 6 or 12 month contract, or pay for the entire year upfront.

The cost drivers will be the payroll for the staff, rent, utilities, cleaning supplies and equipment, and gym equipment purchase and maintenance. Other cost drivers will be the targeted marketing costs on social media and monthly fees for the CPA and advertising company.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

Key assumptions.

The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and in order to pay off the startup business loan.

  • Initial Number of New Clients per Month: 60
  • Average Monthly Membership Fee: $150
  • Gym Lease per Year: $100,000

Financial Projections

Income Statement

Balance Sheet

Cash Flow Statement

Gym Business Plan FAQs

What is a gym business plan.

A gym business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your gym. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing strategies and details your financial projections.

You can  easily complete your gym business plan using our gym business plan template here .

What Are the Main Types of Gyms?

There are many types of gyms or fitness centers. There are large, franchise gyms that have multiple locations across the country. There are also large single facility gyms. Finally, there are smaller gyms that tend to focus on a particular fitness segment, such as strength training, CrossFit, or group HIIT training.

What Are the Main Sources of Revenue and Expenses for a Gym Business?

The primary source of revenue for a gym or fitness center are membership fees. Typically, members pay month-to-month, or fulfill a year-long contract.

The key expenses for a gym or fitness center are the costs associated with payroll, purchase and maintenance of equipment, cleaning supplies, marketing costs, and working capital. Other expenses will be rent, utilities, taxes, accounts payable, and other licensing fees (if necessary).

How Do You Get Funding for Your Gym?

Gym businesses are most likely to secure funding from banks. Typically you will find a local bank and present your gym business plan to them. Family and/or friends could also be potential investors and other types of capital-raising such as crowdfunding are other common funding sources.

A well-crafted gym business plan, complete with a solid financial plan is essential for attracting any type of potential investor. This is true for a new gym business or established businesses looking to grow.

What are the Steps To Start a Gym Business?

Starting a gym or fitness center can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Write A Gym Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a solid gym business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include market research on the fitness industry and potential target market size, information on the services and/or products you will offer, marketing strategy, mission statement, business model and pricing strategy and a detailed financial plan.  Our business plan template is the perfect guide to show you how to start a gym business plan.

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your fitness   business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your gym business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Gym Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your gym business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws. 

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your gym business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations. 

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 

7. Acquire Necessary Gym Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your gym business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your gym or fitness   business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising to reach your target audience.

Learn more about how to start a successful gym or fitness business:

  • How to Start a Gym Business

Where Can I Get a Gym Business Plan PDF?

You can download our free gym business plan template PDF here. This is a sample gym business plan template you can use in PDF format.

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Gym business plan: a checklist with templates & examples

In this article, you'll find a checklist of everything you need to know to create a business plan for your gym or fitness business.

If you've recently discovered an ambition to start a gym , or this has been your dream for years, we've got you covered!

The first step in your journey is to create a gym business plan. This will include understanding your business's structure, determining your target market and what sets you apart from other gyms (your unique selling point), forecasting future finances, and any further details about your venture.

Your gym business plan is the key to your success. It will help you make better decisions and attract potential investors. Creating a business plan is ongoing; it's not something you do once and then forget about. Your business plan should be flexible and adapt as you move forward. 

You have to consider many elements to ensure your gym will succeed. All stages of your business plan are critical. In this article, we'll be doing a deep dive into understanding the core essentials of creating a fitness business plan.

A boxing gym owner holding a clipboard, standing in front of punching bags.

What is a gym business plan? 

A gym business plan is a document that informs the reader about your company and where it's headed. In other words, it answers essential questions such as:

  • How does your business work?
  • How are you going to succeed?
  • What steps do you need to take to succeed?

According to research, entrepreneurs who write formal business plans are more likely to be successful . 

This is especially true for business owners seeking external financial support. A formal business plan can help new businesses by providing a clear focus for their ideas.

Why it’s important to have a business plan for your gym? 

Simply put, your gym business plan is an organized and detailed process that provides a roadmap for your business. If someone reads it – like a potential investor, for example – they should be able to understand how you expect the gym to progress and succeed over time.

Plus, putting together a business plan with detailed description forces you to take a critical look at your operation as it currently stands and identify room for improvement or new areas of opportunity altogether.

Depending on where your business is located, a well-crafted business plan can serve multiple purposes.

Keep reading for even more reasons you need a business plan from day one!

Two people working in front of a laptop.

Taking advantage of a steadily growing industry

The gym industry is booming, allowing gyms to capitalize on this growth. In the US alone, over 87 million people regularly attend the gym and spend billions of dollars annually on membership fees.

And according to projections, the global gym market is expected to reach 434 billion USD by 2028 – a 171% increase from 2021! This steady growth provides room for gym owners to get in on the action and reap the benefits.

By having a gym business plan that considers the health & fitness industry as a whole, you'll be able to capitalize on this growth.

Ensures your business idea is feasible 

If you're considering starting a fitness business, know it will be complex. You have a fantastic idea and think it could take off--but how can you test that theory without launching the business? 

This is where a business plan comes in handy. By working through your concept and creating a well-rounded plan of action, you'll be able to figure out key details like numbers, market trends, and what your competition is doing and save yourself loads of time down the line.

It helps to bring in investors and secure funding 

To secure funding for your gym business from investors, you need a comprehensive business plan. This document helps startup businesses obtain the initial capital they need and provides established companies with funds for expansion.

Would-be contributors usually request substantiated data— such as numbers backed up by facts and figures—before deciding whether or not to invest in a project.

If you don't have a business plan, chances are slim that you'll receive money from sources like investors, banks, or other financial organizations outside your company.

Set and reach goals, both big and small 

Having long-term and short-term goals is a great start, but it's time to take the next step. A successful business plan will contain specific tactics on how you plan to achieve your objectives. 

This might be through your business model, acquiring equipment, hiring new talent, or marketing campaigns.

A successful business needs a clear plan to achieve its goals. Breaking down important goals into smaller, more manageable pieces would be best. 

And remember-- as your business changes and grows over time, so should your plan. Keep it updated regularly. 

Business planning is no longer a daunting task

A business plan is a vital tool for new and established businesses. It provides direction and helps to set the foundation for a successful start. 

By budgeting, analyzing your market, and setting out your goals and strategies, you can make more informed decisions about how to proceed. This process also makes it easier to track your progress over time and assess whether or not you are on track.

Something to consider before creating a gym business plan

Consider the cost of starting a gym. There are many potential expenses, such as equipment, personal trainers, class instructors, insurance policies, property fees, etc.

Also, consider how much time you are willing to invest in this venture – especially during the beginning stages when there is likely to be a lot of work involved in getting everything up and running smoothly.

It can be challenging to maintain a good work/life balance when starting any business; it will probably require working additional hours outside of your usual schedule.

Money and time are essential, but there are other things you need to be successful. 

People skills, marketing know-how, and financial smarts are essential if you want to succeed in the gym business world. It's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it if this is your passion. A solid plan is the first step toward making your dream a reality.

The 11 key elements of a detailed gym business plan

Before you develop your business plan, think about where you are and where you want to see yourself. Keep this vision in mind, as it will help guide you through writing your business plan. There will be countless opportunities wherein consulting your business plan will assist you in making a decision.

To create an effective health club business plan, you will need extensive research on your fitness industry, competitors, and future finances. 

Following these 11 steps, you can build an excellent gym business plan that covers all aspects of your health club.

Step 1: Executive summary

Your executive summary needs to be clear and concise while also grabbing attention. What you want readers to know is:

  • Your mission/purpose
  • How you'll achieve success (What will make you a success story?)

And finally, your vision for the future. Though it may seem tempting to hurry through this section because it is shorter than other parts of the business plan, don't rush! 

This is your chance to shine and explain what makes your company special. Don't worry if you feel like you have more to say about your goals and vision. You can expand on these topics in your company overview.

Step 2: Company overview

Your company overview is where you get to sell your gym and its potential. Build on your executive summary's vision and mission statement, delving deeper into what makes your gym unique. 

Think of your vision statement as a tagline for your future website. When outlining the purpose of your gym, which audience it will cater to, and how you plan to achieve business goals, also consider including the following: 

Your personal mission statement for the business- i.e., what outcome do you hope to see?

Then, give your readers some information on your background:

  • What have you done in the past?
  • Have you had any other businesses?
  • What is your current status?

This is helpful for investors and partners to know so they can understand where you've been and where you're going. The more they know about you, the more trust they'll have in you.

Step 3: Services and amenities

Outline your strategy in detail: what services you'll offer and how you will develop new offerings. This includes if you need to hire someone or build a facility, such as a spa or a studio. 

This information will help you realize when or where your business requires more funding and extra staff.

By describing your products and services, you can gain valuable insights into your gym's size. Test your vision to determine if you have the necessary funding for these assets. If not, consider how you might acquire the required financing.

A picture of a well-equipped gym.

Some potential products you could invest in are: 

  • Gym equipment like treadmills and rowing machines 
  • Specialist equipment to cater to different types of gym-goers, such as bodybuilders 
  • Food and drinks like energy drinks or healthy foods 

And services like: 

  • Personal training sessions 
  • Group classes like yoga, spinning, or body pump 
  • Lockers for storing belongings while working out 
  • Spa amenities like saunas or massages 
  • A swimming pool 
  • Physiotherapy

Furthermore, thinking about increasing your market share is a significant next step. You could start by offering pro bono services at local workplaces and schools, eventually introducing a fee.

This way, you can attract larger customers while still providing value.

When creating a business plan - be it for a gym or something else entirely - remember that its purpose is to lay out your objectives easily for potential bankers, partners, employees, and investors.

Step 4: Management team

It is essential to consider the positions you'll need to fill and how these people can help your gym succeed. 

You should write a summary emphasizing their skills and management experience while incorporating what they will be responsible for and any incentives you plan on offering.

Furthermore, creating an employee ladder is vital to establish who or what each new hire will report to so your business can secure its success.

Step 5: Market research and marketing strategy

Marketing is a field where creativity can shine. It's all about identifying different groups of people who would buy your product, coming up with reasons why they should choose you over others, and figuring out ways to get more sales.

Learn more:

Gym marketing strategy

Gym promotion ideas

Gym membership pricing

Best gym features

Even if marketing your fitness business isn't your favorite thing, remember that your marketing strategy will help you lay out a plan for expansion if you do it right. Your first target should be to summarise what you found in your market research. Are you still stuck? 

Consider where you are situated, similar businesses nearby, and who makes up the community around you.

Define your target market here. It could be

  • Working professionals
  • Senior executives

Or a particular group, like cyclists. After that, try to understand why this specific demographic would join a gym – for example, are they looking for cardio?

After you have completed your market research, take some time to understand your target audience. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can I make this customer base loyal?
  • What makes my company unique?
  • What's the best membership package I can offer?
  • Is there a need for special equipment or offerings?

In your plan, identify and communicate what makes your business valuable and unique. 

This is called a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and it will help instill confidence in potential investors that they are making a wise choice by investing in your company. 

Furthermore, detailing marketing strategies in this document provides peace of mind that future income streams are lined up and secure.

There are many marketing strategies you can use to grow your business, including:

  • Improving your services
  • Advertising and sponsorship
  • Loyalty plans and website promotions
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Investing in new equipment or technology

Step 6: Competitor analysis - Understanding direct and indirect competitors

To do a competitor analysis, research businesses in your field that offer similar services. These are your direct competitors. 

You can mention indirect competitors, but this section is mainly for an in-depth look at businesses like yours. Depending on your business type, you could have brick-and-mortar and online rivals.

When investigating a competitor, these are some critical areas you'll want to focus on: 

  • Services and products they offer 
  • Target audience 
  • Pricing and business model 
  • Strengths and weaknesses

how to open a gym business plan

Step 7: Create comprehensive financial projections

Starting a gym requires careful budgeting. Make sure you consider every possible purchase and estimate the cost of each item.

The following are key areas to cover when starting your business:

  • Lawyer fees
  • Recruiting expenses
  • Constructional endeavors
  • Exercise equipment for the workplace
  • Three months' worth of bills and other operational costs
  • An accounting software

It's time to be practical and ascertain how much money you will need to open your gym and make it thrive. This way, you'll get a better understanding of what falls within your budget and what will require additional funding.

Next, you need to prove to investors, stakeholders, and employees that you have a feasible plan for attaining ROI. 

Consider revenue streams such as classes, services provided, and product sales- anything that brings in money. Set down an estimate here based on research and expert opinion.

If you're looking for ways to make money, selling healthy food could be a great option. You could create your protein shakes or energy bars, for example. 

If you plan to sell food, ensure you stay up-to-date with food hygiene standards.

Step 8: Financial forecasting

Your sales forecast for your business's first, second, and third years should be detailed. Specifying the number of active members, you estimate for your first year would also be beneficial. Estimate using:

  • Unit sales per month
  • Any relevant past data
  • How purchases will be broken down (as specified in financial projections)

Step 9: Financial strategy

How can you use your fees in a way that will increase customer registration? For example, if all the other gyms in your area charge higher prices than average, this could be an opportunity to set your business apart by being financially conscious (lowering membership fees or having better offers than competitors).

Consider ways to show your appreciation for loyal customers, such as discounts or complimentary services.

Furthermore, if you're in the process of creating a gym and spa business plan, consider adding discounts for those who use both facilities. For example, many people would love to take advantage of the jacuzzi after working out.

Writing your pricing strategy down will help give you peace of mind about what's to come for your gym.

Step 10: Payment option

An easy and accessible payment system is crucial for any business, let alone a gym. To retain customers , ensure your payment processing is up-to-date and user-friendly. 

Let potential investors know what platform you're using or planning to use, so they can see that you're taking customer experience seriously. A positive buyer experience will encourage loyalty among your clientele.

Step 11: Funding

Make it clear where your business will obtain the extra startup capital it needs. 

This is a chance to be practical about your company. Can you realistically obtain the funding required to reach your targets? Or do you need to readjust your plan?

Below are some vital external resources that might provide the necessary funding:

  • Loans from friends or family members
  • Crowdfunding campaigns
  • Business partners or sponsors

If you are looking to gain investors, be sure to detail where the funding for your project will come from and how much of a return they can expect. You should also include any previous loan applications related to this venture here.

You're almost there!

Now it's time to put all the elements outlined above into a gym business plan. This plan will be a reference point when you need to make tough decisions, help secure investment, and show direction to new employees or partners.

A picture showing a planner and a pen.

Your next steps to successfully run your gym

Here's a personal checklist to help you ensure that you have everything covered before you open your gym. Use it as a reference point throughout the development process to ensure nothing is overlooked.

  • Write a business plan
  • Register business
  • Apply for a business license and permit
  • Open business bank accounts
  • Select an online payment platform
  • Obtain taxpayer's ID
  • Purchase insurance
  • Rent/purchase facility
  • Purchase/rent equipment
  • Secure funding
  • Recruit employees
  • Drafting contract documents along with any other legal documents required
  • Design company logo
  • Develop website
  • Write website content
  • Create social media accounts
  • Design leaflets & brochures
  • Organize branded uniforms
  • Launch party

Any business, no matter how big or small, comes with its fair share of challenges. However, the payoffs in the end always make it worth your while

Starting a gym can be an exciting and rewarding venture. However, it is important to ensure that you are well-prepared with all the necessary information before you open your gym. 

A comprehensive Gym Business Plan detailing the market research, financial projections and strategy, services and amenities, management team, and more should be developed to ensure success. 

Additionally, obtaining the necessary licenses, finding and hiring trainers, investing in the right equipment , and appealing to members with friendly incentives are all important steps.

Gym business plan template & examples

In addition, we've gathered a few of the gym business plan templates and examples below. These samples will provide you with suggested language for your own document as well as guidance on what to include.

Adam Fitness Centre

Grow think's template

PAWSitively Fit Club

Ecogym business plan

Capital Health and Fitness Club

Frequently asked questions on good gym business plan

How can i start my own gym business.

Follow these steps and understand gym business plans:

  • Choose your area/location
  • Develop a comprehensive business plan
  • Apply and obtain all necessary licenses
  • Find and hire certified trainers
  • Invest in the right equipment for your business
  • Appeal to members with friendly incentives

How do I write a business plan for a gym?

To write a gym business plan, you can implement the steps below:

  • Executive summary
  • Company overview
  • Services and amenities
  • Management team
  • Market research and marketing
  • Competitor analysis 
  • Financial projections
  • Financial forecasting
  • Financial strategy
  • Payment option

What type of gym is the most profitable?

Out of the gyms surveyed in November 2020, 69 percent of CrossFit gyms were profitable, while half of martial arts gyms reported being in the black.

Is owning a gym a good business?

Owning a gym can be profitable, but you will need more time to make yourself rich. To succeed in this industry, you must put in the effort.

Do gym owners make money?

According to ZipRecruiter, an American jobs marketplace, gym owners in the United States will earn an average of $69,472 annually as of June 2022.

Do gyms make a lot of money?

A gym that is managed efficiently and has a good mixture of members can generate quite a bit of money. For example, if a gym has 1,000 people paying $50 monthly, the gym could bring in $50,000 each month. And if the monthly expenses for the gym are $20,000 per month, the profit would be $30,000 per month.


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How to Start a Profitable Gym Business [11 Steps]


By Nick Cotter Updated Feb 02, 2024

image of a gym business

Business Steps:

1. perform market analysis., 2. draft a gym business plan., 3. develop a gym brand., 4. formalize your business registration., 5. acquire necessary licenses and permits for gym., 6. open a business bank account and secure funding as needed., 7. set pricing for gym services., 8. acquire gym equipment and supplies., 9. obtain business insurance for gym, if required., 10. begin marketing your gym services., 11. expand your gym business..

Before launching a gym business, a comprehensive market analysis is crucial to understand the competitive landscape and identify potential opportunities. This will inform your business strategy and help tailor your offerings to meet the needs of your target audience. Follow these steps to perform an effective market analysis:

  • Research the local demographic to determine the primary audience for your gym. Look at age, income levels, fitness interests, and lifestyle habits.
  • Analyze competitors in the area, noting their services, pricing, marketing strategies, and customer reviews to identify gaps and opportunities.
  • Identify current fitness trends and consumer preferences to ensure your gym meets the evolving demands of the market.
  • Assess the availability and cost of potential locations, considering visibility, accessibility, and proximity to your target market.
  • Survey local residents to gain insights into what they look for in a gym, including preferred equipment, classes, amenities, and membership options.
  • Examine the local economic climate to predict future market growth, stability, and potential challenges that might affect your gym business.

image of a gym business

Are gym businesses profitable?

Gym businesses can be highly profitable, depending on location, the services offered, and the size and costs of the operation. The more services a gym provides and the larger it is, the more potential for profit there tends to be. Additionally, gyms with established brand recognition and a good reputation tend to be more profitable than those without.

Creating a comprehensive business plan is a crucial step in launching a successful gym. This document will serve as a blueprint for your business, outlining your vision, objectives, and strategies to achieve them. Consider the following key points when drafting your gym business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Provide a brief overview of your gym, including your business name, location, and the services you will offer.
  • Market Analysis: Research your target audience, local competition, and fitness industry trends to demonstrate your gym's potential for success.
  • Services and Amenities: Detail the types of workouts, classes, and amenities your gym will offer to differentiate it from competitors.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy: Outline how you plan to attract and retain members, including pricing, promotions, and sales tactics.
  • Operational Plan: Describe the day-to-day operations, including hours of operation, staffing, and management structure.
  • Financial Projections: Provide realistic financial forecasts, including startup costs, monthly operating expenses, and projected revenue.
  • Risk Analysis: Identify potential risks and challenges and how you will mitigate them.

How does a gym business make money?

Gym businesses make money by selling memberships or day pass fees to customers. Additionally, gyms also often generate revenue through retail sales of sports nutrition products, fitness apparel, and gear. They also make money by offering personal training services and hosting classes like yoga and Pilates. As a target audience for an 11 Steps To Starting a Successful Spice Business, one might look to entrepreneurs and food businesses looking to add a variety of spices to their product line.

Creating a distinctive and compelling brand is crucial for your gym to stand out in a competitive market. It embodies your gym's identity, values, and promise to your customers. Here's how to develop a strong brand for your gym:

  • Identify your target audience: Determine who your gym is catering to, whether it's beginners, athletes, families, or a specific niche like CrossFit or yoga enthusiasts.
  • Define your brand values: Decide on the core principles that represent your gym, such as community, health, empowerment, or innovation.
  • Create a unique value proposition: Highlight what makes your gym different and better than the competition. This could be your cutting-edge equipment, exceptional trainers, or unique classes.
  • Design a memorable logo and tagline: Your logo should be visually appealing and reflect your gym's personality. Pair it with a catchy tagline that encapsulates your brand's essence.
  • Choose a consistent color scheme and typography: Use colors and fonts that align with the emotions and energy you want your brand to convey.
  • Develop a brand voice: Whether it's motivational, friendly, or professional, ensure your communications reflect this tone across all platforms.
  • Implement brand elements across all touchpoints: From staff uniforms and gym decor to your website and social media, ensure your brand is consistently represented.

How to come up with a name for your gym business?

When deciding on a name for your gym business, take time to brainstorm ideas and do some research. Think of words related to fitness, health, and energy that will help to create an attractive and memorable brand. Consider the types of services you offer and the target audience you wish to attract and use this to inform your brainstorming process. Ultimately, it's important that your gym's name is easy to pronounce and simple to remember so that customers will easily be able to identify your business among others.

image of ZenBusiness logo

When starting a gym business, formalizing your business registration is a pivotal step that legitimizes your venture and sets the foundation for its operation. It's crucial to understand and comply with the legal requirements to ensure your gym can operate without any legal hitches. Below are key points to guide you through the process:

  • Choose a business structure that best suits your needs, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation, considering factors like liability, taxes, and management style.
  • Register your business name with the appropriate state agency, ensuring it's unique and meets state naming requirements. If you plan to operate under a different name, file a 'Doing Business As' (DBA) name.
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax purposes, especially if you plan to hire employees.
  • Apply for any necessary business licenses and permits specific to gym operations, which can include a general business license, health club registration, building permits, and zoning clearances.
  • Register for state and local taxes to ensure you meet all sales tax, payroll tax, and state income tax obligations.
  • Consider consulting with a business attorney to ensure that all legal documents are in order and that you're fully informed about the legalities of owning and operating a gym.

Resources to help get you started:

Explore critical resources designed for gym entrepreneurs to gain insights on market trends, operational best practices, and strategic business growth advice:

  • IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association) Reports: Comprehensive industry data, trends, and research reports. https://www.ihrsa.org/
  • Fitness Business Insider: A newsletter offering the latest news, strategies, and tips for fitness professionals. http://www.fitnessbusinessinsider.com/
  • Mindbody Business Blog: Expert advice on managing and growing your gym, with insights on customer engagement and retention strategies. https://www.mindbodyonline.com/business/education/blog
  • Club Industry: A leading source for fitness business news and resources, including articles on operations, marketing, and leadership. https://www.clubindustry.com/
  • Fitness Mentors Online Course: Offers certification and business growth courses tailored to the fitness industry. https://www.fitnessmentors.com/

Starting a gym requires not only physical equipment and space but also the appropriate licenses and permits to operate legally. This step is vital to ensure your gym meets local, state, and federal regulations. Here's what you need to consider:

  • Business License: Obtain a general business license from your city or county clerk's office to operate legally.
  • Building Permit: If you're constructing a new gym or renovating an existing space, you'll need a permit from the local building department.
  • Health and Safety Permits: These are required to ensure your facility meets health codes and safety regulations.
  • Signage Permit: If you plan to install a sign for your gym, check local zoning laws and obtain the necessary permits.
  • Occupancy Permit: This certifies that the building complies with all building codes and is safe for customers.
  • Zoning and Land Use Permits: Confirm that your gym's location is zoned for its intended use.
  • Specialized Certifications: Depending on the services you offer, you may need certifications such as for a swimming pool, childcare, or spa facilities.
  • Tax Registration: Register for state and federal taxes, and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if you have employees.

What licenses and permits are needed to run a gym business?

Most gym businesses must obtain several licenses and permits before they can legally operate. These include a business license, a fictitious name registration (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA), an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS, a seller’s permit to collect and remit sales tax, and any city/state licensing or permits required for specific types of businesses. Additionally, the premises may need to be inspected by the fire marshal or other local agencies. Depending on the location of the gym, there may also be zoning requirements that need to be met.

Once you've solidified your business plan and legal structure, the next essential step is to manage your finances effectively. Opening a business bank account is critical for keeping your personal and business expenses separate. Additionally, securing funding is vital to cover startup costs and maintain cash flow as your gym grows. Follow these steps to get started:

  • Choose a bank: Research banks that offer business banking services. Consider fees, accessibility, customer service, and additional benefits such as business credit cards or loan options.
  • Open a business account: Gather required documents such as your business license, EIN, and personal identification. Then, visit the chosen bank to open your business checking and savings accounts.
  • Explore funding options: Determine how much funding you need and explore options like business loans, investors, crowdfunding, or personal savings. Compare interest rates, repayment terms, and any associated fees.
  • Apply for credit: Consider applying for a business credit card to help with initial purchases and build your business credit history.
  • Keep detailed records: From the start, maintain meticulous records of all financial transactions. This will be crucial for tax purposes and future financial planning.

Setting the right prices for your gym services is crucial to your business success. It balances affordability for customers and profitability for your business. Here are some key pointers to help you establish your pricing strategy:

  • Competitive Analysis: Research what other local gyms are charging to get an understanding of the market rate. Set your prices competitively, but don't undervalue your services.
  • Cost-Based Pricing: Calculate all your costs including rent, utilities, staff salaries, and equipment maintenance. Ensure your prices cover these costs while allowing for a reasonable profit margin.
  • Value Proposition: If you offer unique services or state-of-the-art facilities, you can price higher. Clearly communicate the value customers will get from your higher prices.
  • Multiple Membership Options: Offer a variety of membership plans to cater to different needs and budgets. Consider tiered pricing for peak and off-peak hours, family packages, and student discounts.
  • Dynamic Pricing: Be open to adjusting your prices based on demand, seasons, and economic conditions. Regularly review and update your pricing structure.
  • Transparency: Clearly communicate all costs to avoid hidden fees. This builds trust with your clients and can improve retention rates.

What does it cost to start a gym business?

Initiating a gym business can involve substantial financial commitment, the scale of which is significantly influenced by factors such as geographical location, market dynamics, and operational expenses, among others. Nonetheless, our extensive research and hands-on experience have revealed an estimated starting cost of approximately $71000 for launching such an business. Please note, not all of these costs may be necessary to start up your gym business.

Starting a gym requires careful selection of equipment to ensure your facility meets the diverse needs of your clientele. From weights to cardio machines, each piece plays a crucial role in shaping the fitness experience. Here are some essential steps to guide you in acquiring the right gym equipment and supplies:

  • Determine your budget: Allocate funds for high-quality, durable equipment that can withstand heavy usage.
  • Identify your audience: Cater to your target demographic by choosing equipment that aligns with their fitness goals and preferences.
  • Choose reliable suppliers: Partner with reputable vendors known for quality products and good customer service.
  • Prioritize essential equipment: Start with basic items like free weights, treadmills, and resistance machines before adding specialty gear.
  • Consider space efficiency: Opt for multi-functional equipment to maximize space, especially if your gym has a limited area.
  • Look for discounts or used equipment: Save money by purchasing second-hand items or buying in bulk. Ensure used equipment is in good condition.
  • Don't forget accessories: Stock up on gym essentials like mats, mirrors, sanitation supplies, and maintenance tools.
  • Plan for maintenance: Set aside resources for regular servicing to keep equipment safe and operational.

List of software, tools and supplies needed to start a gym business:

  • Gym Equipment - $2,000 - $5,000
  • Weights - $100 - $500
  • Computer System - $1,000 - $3,000
  • Fitness Monitoring Software- $100 per user per month
  • Signage and Promotional Materials - $200 - $500
  • Class Scheduling Software - $100 per month
  • Website Software - $50 - $300
  • Accounting and Billing Software - $80 per month
  • Security System and Cameras- $500-$1,500
  • Cleaning Supplies & Equipment –$50-$200

Securing the right business insurance is a critical step in protecting your gym and its members. It safeguards against potential liabilities and helps ensure the longevity of your enterprise. Here's how to go about obtaining the necessary insurance:

  • Identify the types of insurance required for your gym, such as general liability, professional liability, property insurance, and workers' compensation.
  • Consult with an insurance broker who specializes in gym or fitness center insurance to get professional advice tailored to your specific needs.
  • Compare quotes from multiple insurance providers to find the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive rate.
  • Consider additional coverage options like business interruption insurance, equipment breakdown insurance, and cyber liability insurance.
  • Ensure that the policy limits are sufficient to cover significant claims and that the deductible is affordable for your business budget.
  • Review and understand the terms and conditions of the insurance policy, including any exclusions or limitations.
  • Stay compliant with local regulations by securing any mandated insurance coverage before opening your gym.
  • Regularly review and update your insurance policy to reflect changes in your business, such as expansions or new services offered.

Marketing your gym services is crucial for attracting new members and establishing your brand within the community. A well-crafted marketing strategy will help you stand out in a competitive market and build a loyal customer base. Here are some effective ways to promote your gym services:

  • Develop a strong online presence: Create a professional website and engage with potential customers on social media platforms. Share workout tips, success stories, and promotional offers to keep your audience engaged.
  • Offer promotions and discounts: Attract new members with introductory offers, discounts for long-term commitments, or referral incentives for current members who bring in friends.
  • Partner with local businesses: Collaborate with local health food stores, clinics, and sports shops for cross-promotion. This can help you reach a wider audience and gain credibility.
  • Host community events: Organize open days, fitness challenges, or health workshops to get people excited about fitness and showcase your gym's services.
  • Invest in targeted advertising: Use local print, radio, and online advertising platforms to target your key demographics. Consider pay-per-click advertising for increased online visibility.
  • Leverage testimonials and reviews: Encourage satisfied members to leave positive reviews online and share their stories on your platforms to build trust with prospects.

Expanding your gym business is a pivotal step in scaling your success and broadening your reach to new clients. As you consider this growth phase, it's important to identify strategies that align with your business goals and the needs of your market. Here are key points to guide you in expanding your gym business:

  • Assess your current success and identify areas that can handle growth or require improvement before scaling up.
  • Explore new locations for opening additional branches, ensuring they are accessible and in areas with high demand for fitness services.
  • Diversify your offerings by adding new classes, personal training options, or incorporating innovative fitness technology to attract a wider clientele.
  • Invest in marketing to raise awareness of your expanded business, using both digital platforms and community outreach to engage potential customers.
  • Form strategic partnerships with other businesses or corporate clients to create a network that can facilitate growth.
  • Consider franchising as an option if your brand is strong and you wish to grow through entrepreneurs investing in your business model.
  • Reinvest in your existing facilities and staff to ensure the quality of your services remains high as your business grows.


How to create a gym business plan

  • Annabelle Amery
  • Sep 5, 2023
  • 10 min read

how to create a gym business plan

When starting a business , it’s crucial to create a comprehensive and clear business plan. This applies to all types of businesses , including a gym business . A gym business plan is a strategic document that outlines the goals, objectives and strategies for starting and running a successful gym.

A gym business plan serves as a roadmap for entrepreneurs, providing guidance on how to navigate the challenges and complexities of the fitness industry. It helps entrepreneurs define their vision, mission and target market, as well as identify the resources and steps needed to achieve their goals.

Need a way to promote your gym business online? Get started with Wix’s website builder , which includes built-in marketing and scheduling tools.

Why create a gym business plan?

A gym business plan is particularly important for individuals who are new to entrepreneurship. It provides a structured approach to starting a gym by outlining the necessary steps, such as securing funding, finding a suitable location and acquiring equipment. Some of the other main advantages include being able to:

Attract funding: A well-written gym business plan can attract potential investors or lenders who may be interested in supporting your venture financially. It demonstrates your understanding of the market, your competitive advantage and your plans for profitability.

Understand resource requirements: A comprehensive gym business plan helps entrepreneurs identify the resources required to start and operate their gym successfully. This includes business registration (cost to start an LLC ), equipment, staff, marketing materials and other supplies necessary for day-to-day operations.

Achieve long-term success: A gym business plan provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to thoroughly analyze their target market and competition. By conducting market research and competitive analysis, they can develop strategies to differentiate their gym from others in the industry.

Set goals: A well-crafted gym business plan helps entrepreneurs set realistic and measurable goals for their gym. These goals can include financial targets, membership growth, customer satisfaction levels and other key performance indicators.

Make better decisions: Having a clear business plan in place helps entrepreneurs make informed decisions about various aspects of their gym, such as pricing, marketing strategies and expansion plans. It serves as a reference point for evaluating options and making choices that align with the overall business strategy.

Guide your website messaging and design: A gym business plan also includes considerations for creating a business website . Today, making a website is crucial for attracting customers and promoting your gym. The business plan can outline the website's purpose, design, functionality and marketing strategies to drive traffic to the site. Be inspired by these fitness website examples .

How to write a gym business plan in 6 steps

A gym business plan is a crucial document that outlines the strategies and goals for starting and running a successful gym. It provides a roadmap for entrepreneurs, guiding them through the process of establishing and growing their fitness facility. To create an effective gym business plan, it is important to include six main parts:

Executive summary

Business and domain names

Market analysis and research

Operations plan

Marketing and advertising

Financial plan

01. Executive summary

The executive summary is a concise overview of your gym business plan. It provides an introduction to your gym, highlighting its unique selling points and summarizing the key elements of your plan. The executive summary should include a brief description of your gym, your mission statement, an overview of the target market and competitive landscape, a summary of your marketing, your advertising strategies and an outline of your financial projections (including how you plan to raise money for your business ).

Example of an executive summary for a gym:

“ABC Fitness is a state-of-the-art gym located in downtown Cityville. Our mission is to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment where individuals of all fitness levels can achieve their health and wellness goals. With top-of-the-line equipment, certified trainers and a variety of group exercise classes, we aim to be the premier fitness destination in our community.

In an increasingly health-conscious society, the demand for fitness facilities continues to grow. ABC Fitness differentiates itself by offering personalized training programs tailored to each member's specific needs. Our strategic location in the heart of the city ensures easy accessibility for our target market of urban professionals.

To attract customers, we will implement a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes online advertising, social media promotions, and partnerships with local businesses. We project steady growth in membership numbers over the next three years, resulting in increased revenue and profitability.”

02. Business and domain names

Choosing the right business name for your gym is crucial for building brand awareness and trust. It should reflect your gym's values, target market and unique selling proposition. Here are some steps to consider when deciding on a company name:

Brainstorm keywords and concepts related to fitness, health and wellness

Use a business name generator (or specifically a small business name generator ) for inspiration and to generate unique name ideas

Consider the availability of domain names associated with your chosen company name

Check the availability of the chosen domain name using domain registration websites

Be inspired: Gym business name ideas , Fitness business name ideas

Learn more about registering your business once you’ve landed on your business name and legal structure.

03. Market analysis and research

Including market analysis and research in your gym business plan is essential for understanding the competitive environment and developing a better business strategy.

Target market: Analyze the target market by identifying demographics, psychographics, and fitness preferences of potential customers. Conduct a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) to assess your gym's internal and external factors.

Competitors: Research competitors in your area to understand their strengths, weaknesses, pricing strategies and marketing efforts. Identify opportunities for differentiation by offering unique services or targeting underserved segments of the market.

04. Operations plan

The operations plan outlines the logistical aspects of your gym, including location, premises, equipment and staffing needs. Make sure to select a suitable location that is easily accessible, has ample parking and aligns with where your target market is based.

Then determine the size and layout of your gym space based on the number of equipment, exercise areas, locker rooms and amenities. Research and budget for the necessary gym equipment, including cardio machines, weightlifting equipment and fitness accessories.

Lastly outline staffing requirements by identifying the number of trainers, instructors, front desk staff and maintenance personnel needed.

05. Marketing and advertising plan

The marketing and advertising plan lays out the strategies and campaigns you will implement to promote your gym business. To do this you’ll need to first identify your target audience and tailor your marketing efforts to reach them effectively.

Then, plan out a strong brand identity by creating a logo, color scheme and visual elements that resonate with your target market. (Need help creating a logo? Check out these fitness logo ideas or Wix’s free logo maker .)

Consider using various marketing channels such as social media platforms, online advertising, local partnerships and community events. Then plan compelling content that highlights the benefits of joining your gym and showcases success stories from existing members. You can also implement referral programs or incentives to encourage current members to bring in new customers.

06. Financial plan

The financial plan is a cornerstone of any gym business plan, providing an in-depth overview of how the business will secure initial funding, manage expenses, generate revenue and outline the projected time frame for achieving profitability. This section is pivotal in demonstrating the financial viability and sustainability of the gym business to potential investors, stakeholders and lenders.

Startup costs and funding: Starting a gym business entails various upfront costs that should be carefully estimated for accurate financial planning. These costs include lease or purchase of the gym space, equipment procurement, interior design, licensing and permits, marketing, initial staffing and operational supplies. Funding for these startup costs can come from diverse sources, such as personal savings, business loans, grants, partnerships or investments.

Revenue projections: Revenue projections provide a forecast of the expected income over a specific period, usually the first few years of the gym's operation. These projections should be based on thorough market research, competitor analysis and realistic expectations.

Profit and loss projection: The profit and loss projection, also known as the income statement , offers an overview of the gym business's revenue, expenses and net profit or loss over a specific period. It provides insights into the financial health of the business and its potential profitability.

Time frame for profitability: The time frame for achieving profitability in a gym business depends on factors like membership growth, marketing strategies, operational efficiency and retention rates. Typically, gyms aim to reach profitability within the first year or two of operation

steps to developing a business plan

Gym business plan examples

Creating a gym business plan from scratch can be a daunting task, especially if you're new to entrepreneurship. Fortunately, there are many resources available that provide gym business plan templates to help you get started. These templates serve as a framework for organizing your ideas and ensuring that you include all the necessary components in your plan. Here are two draft business plans for hypothetical gym businesses, incorporating the main parts discussed earlier.

By using templates as a starting point, you can customize them to fit your specific vision and goals for your gym. Remember to conduct thorough research, analyze your target market and develop strategies that set your gym apart from the competition. With a well-crafted gym business plan in hand, you'll be well-equipped to start your journey towards building a successful fitness facility.

Business plan template #1 : neighborhood fitness studio

The Neighborhood Fitness Studio is a boutique gym located in a residential area, catering to individuals seeking a personalized fitness experience. Our mission is to provide a welcoming and supportive environment where members can achieve their health and wellness goals. With certified trainers, state-of-the-art equipment and a variety of group exercise classes, we aim to become the go-to fitness destination in our community.

Company name and domain name

We have chosen the name "FitHub" for our neighborhood fitness studio. The domain name www.fithub.com is available and aligns well with our brand identity.

Our target market consists of local residents aged 25 to 45 who value convenience and personalized attention

Competitor analysis reveals that there is no other gym within a two-mile radius offering specialized fitness programs tailored to individual needs

We plan to differentiate ourselves by offering personalized training plans, nutrition counseling and small group classes

We have secured a 2,000 square foot space in a commercial building with ample parking for our gym

The gym will be equipped with cardio machines, free weights, strength training equipment and a designated area for group exercise classes

We will hire certified personal trainers, fitness instructors and front desk staff to ensure excellent customer service

Marketing and advertising plan

We will utilize social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote our gym and engage with potential customers

Local partnerships with health food stores and wellness centers will allow us to reach a wider audience

We will offer a free trial period for new members and implement a referral program to incentivize word-of-mouth marketing

Business plan template #2 : upscale fitness center

The Upscale Fitness Center is a premium gym targeting affluent individuals who prioritize luxury and exclusivity. Our mission is to provide a high-end fitness experience that combines cutting-edge equipment, personalized training and luxurious amenities. With our state-of-the-art facility, expert trainers and exclusive membership perks, we aim to become the preferred fitness destination for the elite in our city.

We have chosen the name "Elevate Fitness" for our upscale fitness center. The domain name www.elevatefitness.com is available and reflects our commitment to helping members elevate their fitness journey.

Marketing analysis and research

Our target market consists of high-income individuals aged 35 to 55 who value personalized service and are willing to invest in their health

Competitor analysis reveals that there are no other fitness centers in our city offering the same level of luxury and exclusivity

We plan to differentiate ourselves by offering VIP amenities, personalized training programs and exclusive member events

We have secured a 10,000 square foot space in a prime location, featuring high-end finishes and top-of-the-line fitness equipment

The fitness center will include dedicated areas for cardio, strength training, group exercise classes and a spa-like relaxation area

We will hire certified personal trainers, nutritionists and spa professionals to provide a comprehensive wellness experience for our members

We will leverage digital marketing strategies, such as targeted online advertising and influencer partnerships to reach our affluent target market

Exclusive membership events and collaborations with luxury brands will create buzz and attract high-profile individuals

We will offer personalized consultations and complimentary services to prospective members to showcase the unique value of our fitness center

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How to Start a Gym or Fitness Center

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Michele Richardson

10 min. read

Updated November 13, 2023

Free Download:  Sample Gym Business Plan Templates

You wake up at sunrise to teach the first class of the day at your new fitness studio. You love motivating your clients to reach optimum levels of health and wellbeing. This is what keeps you going when you face challenges or get overwhelmed in the nitty gritty of running your own fitness center.

If this sounds like something you would love to do, then this article is for you! I’ll walk you through how to start your own gym or fitness center, as well as give you the resources to help you start your dream business.

Starting a gym or fitness center is not easy, but it can be extremely rewarding if you’re willing to put in the hard work.

To supplement this guide, I’ve interviewed two successful fitness business owners, Kaylee Cahoon of SMARTCore Method, and Marcela Xavier of Bread and Yoga. What struck me most about both interviews was the clarity and vision the owners had surrounding starting their businesses in the first place, and how specific they were about who they wanted to impact through their fitness services.

  • The fitness industry in America:

The fitness industry has exploded in recent years. In the U.S., total revenues reached 27 billion U.S. dollars last year. Recent marketing aimed at fighting obesity, as well as trends toward improving health and fitness, have contributed to this market rise.

The low level of market concentration has made a variety of fitness niches accessible in local communities. Only 18 percent of total revenue in 2016 was from the top four largest players in the fitness industry, while small speciality gyms and independently-owned fitness businesses made up the rest.

In addition, many of these gym and fitness centers employ very little to no staff, which makes startup costs and barriers to entry low. With the proper mix of skills, training, and commitment, starting a gym or fitness center can prove a successful business move.

  • First, ask yourself: Why do you want to open a gym?

Kaylee Cahoon, the creator and owner of SMARTCore Method in Franklin, Tennessee, says that starting a fitness enterprise must come from love and passion, or you won’t last very long in the industry.

With over thirty years of experience in movement, including professional modern dance, choreographing, teaching, and various somatic movement modalities, Cahoon developed the SMARTCore Method to teach clients how to move smarter for optimal health and wellbeing. The method is a blend of somatic movement education, strength, balance, and functional and body weight training.

Her business is driven by her passion to educate clients to pay attention to their bodies for optimal function, not just follow fitness fads and trends that often end up being harmful to the body in the long run. “The fitness world needs to take a much harder look at what’s happening in the body, how the body functions, and how it relates to other parts of the body,” she says.

In 2009, Marcela Xavier, the owner of Bread and Yoga, saw a need for a yoga studio in the Inwood community in upper Manhattan. She started the studio with the intention of creating a gathering space for the community that was inclusive of all ages and people. In addition to the many types of yoga offerings, Bread and Yoga offers a wide array of holistic programs for children and adults aimed at encouraging them to maintain overall health and wellbeing.

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Get clear on why you want to start a gym or fitness center

Your reason behind opening a gym will help you maintain the focus, clarity, and drive it takes to become a successful enterprise.

Be honest with yourself. You may find that instead of starting a gym, you want to become a personal trainer or fitness instructor. Make sure you think through the possibilities and determine if starting a gym is really the right choice for you.

Don’t skip the market research phase

Talk with fitness center owners to find out what it took to get their business up and running. Learning from those that are already successful in your given field is a priceless education that can save you lots of time and energy in the long run.

  • 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 gym:

  • 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.

Family fitness and wellness center:

  • Family fitness and wellness centers include athletic and country clubs.
  • They often provide a variety of workout options, including group fitness classes, strength and cardio equipment, and personal training.
  • Family fitness and wellness centers include exercise options for adults, seniors, teens and children.
  • These centers often provide classes and programs for youth such as swim lessons, sports clubs, summer camps for kids, and childcare.
  • May offer additional wellness amenities including massage, sauna, tanning, and steam rooms, sometimes for an additional fee.

Should you start a for-profit or nonprofit fitness center?

It’s worth considering whether or not you’d like to start your fitness center as a for-profit business or a nonprofit.

A nonprofit family wellness center, such as the YMCA, will provide services and programs for community members who cannot afford to pay full price. Often this is done on a sliding scale, based on income; students and seniors also typically get a discount at nonprofit family wellness centers. For-profit wellness facilities do not offer these discounts.

  • 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 location 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.

For Kaylee Cahoon, finding the right location was extremely important. She wanted to be in an area that was still developing and where many things were happening. It was also important for her to be around a more highly-educated population, and to have nearby medical facilities since her fitness niche focuses on “educating” the whole body.

  • 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.

When Bread and Yoga first opened its doors, Marcela Xavier taught about ten yoga classes per week. Eventually, she secured a strong group of teachers so that she could fully focus on the leadership aspects of the business. Finding a strong group of quality yoga teachers was extremely important to her when it came to fulfilling her overall mission and vision, and she did this by holding auditions for yoga teachers to see how they taught, who they were, and what they were all about.

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.

  • Sample business plans and further resources:

These sample business plans are an excellent resource in starting your own gym or fitness center.

Having a well-thought-out business plan can help you solidify your financing and give you the clarity of mind you need to achieve your business goals.

Surprisingly, many people do not take the time to write a business plan and are unable to move forward with their business goals—so make sure you don’t make this mistake.

Below are some free sample business plans to help you get started:

  • Yoga Center Business Plan
  • Health Club Business Plan
  • Multi-Sport Complex Business Plan

To find out more about various loan options, contracts, and other forms of assistance for small businesses, check out The U.S. Small Business Administration.

To learn about pertinent tax information for businesses, check out the businesses section on the IRS website. You will need to sign up for an EIN (Employee Identification Number) for federal requirement purposes  as well.

Find out what documents, registrations, and licenses your state requires for opening a gym online via the Small Business Administration’s Licenses and Permits Resource.

Clarify your ideas and understand how to start your business with LivePlan

Content Author: Michele Richardson

Michele Richardson is a writer, actress and entrepreneur living in New York City. Her writing has appeared in a variety of web sites, and as a published playwright.

how to open a gym business plan

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Appointy Blog

How To Draft the Perfect Gym Business Plan

A gym

A good gym involves a lot more than just the right exercise equipment. You need to think of the type of clientele you’ll be serving, membership and subscription fees, hosting fitness classes, and finding new ways to make your gym stand apart from your competitors. Setting up a gym is by no means an easy task, which is why the best way forward is to start off with a gym business plan.

So what is a business plan?

It is a formal document that lays down who you are as a business and gives a realistic picture of where the business will go in the future. At a fundamental level – It is a document that shows exactly how your business works, how it’s going to succeed, and the steps you need to take to get there.

Do you even need a business plan for your gym?

Industries are now gradually clawing back to their pre-pandemic growth rate. Old enterprises are re-opening and new businesses are popping up faster than we can imagine. To new entrepreneurs, business plans are more of a formality that can be overlooked. But sometimes, undermining the importance of a strategic plan for the growth of your business can backfire.

According to a study , business owners who have a well-defined business plan have almost twice the probability of securing capital and growing their enterprise when compared to those who don’t. 

Business plan statistics

How will a gym business plan help you?

The primary purpose of a plan is to create a roadmap of how a gym will progress in the foreseeable future. Writing a business plan can be a useful exercise to help you discover fresh ideas which you might have missed and gauge if there is any room for improvement. While starting a gym, you can rely on your business plan for things like:

  • Deeper assessment of the market : Making a business plan forces you to research the various aspects that will influence your gym’s success. These could include things like your ideal clients, target market, facility and equipment costs, local competitors, and any other market variables that could impact your business’ success.
  • Choosing the right way forward: By getting ideas down on paper through various rough drafts of plans, you will be able to evaluate what has the best chance of success. This allows you to focus your time and energy wisely.
  • Fund acquisition: Without a clear image of how the money will be used, no smart investor or lender will put money into a business. A good business plan lays out how the money will be spent and what the primary goals will be.
  • Detailed mapping: Even though you have company goals in mind and rough ideas for achieving them, having your strategies written down is not the same as having them in your head. A good gym business plan will include thorough plans for marketing, resource allocation, hiring new staff, and other initiatives to help you achieve your objectives. It can assist you in understanding the scope of the fitness industry and determining the resources required to get started.

How do you go about writing one?

Creating a business plan is an organized and detailed process that helps you define the key metrics associated with your business. For this, you need to have a mindset that helps you to make strategic decisions while having realistic expectations . To begin with, ask yourself: 

  • Where are you right now?
  • Where do you want to be in the future?
  • And, how do you envision yourself getting there?

Understanding the answers to these questions will put you in the right spot to draft the best possible plan for your gym. Generally, there are 2 types of business plan templates: 

  • Lean start-up business plan ; and
  • Traditional business plan .

A lean start-up business template highlights the key components of your strategy which allows you to view all the relevant details of your business in a single go.

gym business plan template

However, having just a lean start-up plan for your business isn’t enough. Banks and financial institutions require extensive business plans as they can showcase an in-depth study of your business and how you plan to take it forward.

A compromise between the two might be the best for your gym . A lean business plan template could be useful for having an overview of your setup. There will be many occasions where you might need to refer to your plan for some important decision, and a lean business plan would be useful in those instances. On the other hand, a detailed gym business plan will be a necessity during fund acquisition, asset expansion, and internal guidance. So keeping both of these handy will not put you at a disadvantage, to say the least 🙂

The 9 key elements of a detailed gym business plan

Drafting a gym business plan is by no means an easy task. You have to strategize a plan of operation, dig deep into the market, run competitor analysis, project financial data for upcoming years, and collate everything in a single document.

We have established businesses that can be susceptible to changes, so owners of pre-existing gyms need to know about how they should update their business plans for future reference.

On the other hand, upcoming gym owners might not know what to include in their business plan, simply because this isn’t something people do on a daily basis. On top of that, they also have to keep their preparation for setting up their gym on track.

While all of that may seem a little overwhelming at first, it’s okay to work at your own pace and do your tasks one step at a time. You don’t have to learn everything at once. This is why, for your reference, we have put together a series of blog posts on:

  • How to draft a gym business plan; and
  • How to start a gym . 

Now that you have a fair idea of what a gym business plan means and how important of a role it plays in the growth of a gym, let’s look at its 9 key elements which will help you cover every single aspect of your gym without missing out on anything:

  • Executive Summary
  • Gym Business Overview
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Products and Services
  • Sales and Marketing Strategies
  • Management and Operation Plan
  • Financial Projections
  • Funding Requirements

We have also included a sample gym business plan for you at the end of this blog ( Click here to go right to it ) .

1. Executive Summary

Having a strong executive summary is crucial if you’re looking for investors or loan sanctions. If your first few pages aren’t compelling enough, potential investors or loan officers would find the document mundane, which is the last thing you would want! 

This section is basically a summary or an overview of the business plan. Give a brief description of your gym along with a summary of the market analysis that you have done. Then explain why your gym is uniquely qualified to fit in this market. Your executive summary should address the following questions:

  • What is your business model and its strengths?
  • What market demand will your gym fulfill?
  • What key market data supports your concept?
  • What is your competitive advantage?
  • What will be your support line in terms of revenue, expenses, and profit/loss for the first three years?
  • What are you requesting in terms of funding?

While you’re working on the executive summary, you might find yourself wanting to fill in more data than required, and it is important that you DON’T . The purpose of the executive summary is to highlight your goals for the gym and to give a very high-level understanding of the steps you will be taking in order to achieve those goals. You will have plenty of opportunities to fill in all the relevant information under the coming sections.

2. Gym Business Overview

This is a more detailed description of your gym, the clientele you serve (or the clients you hope to serve), and how it stands out from the competition. This is also a good place to include your goals for your gym

The executive summary captures the mission statement and a high-level understanding of the goals that you want to achieve. You can build on these points in your gym business overview to provide further detail. Try to cover:

  • The purpose of your gym – Spreading awareness about maintaining good health, helping people stay fit, etc.
  • Target audience ; niche-specific type of gym
  • The founding details of your enterprise
  • Strategies you will be adopting in different departments to achieve your goals
  • The legal structure of your business

3. Market Analysis

Focus on writing about what your market is about and the specific niche your gym fits into. Think of things like:

  • Do you have a niche?
  • What kind of audience comes under this niche? 
  • What are the current trends in the fitness industry? Do your business plans cover these trends and how compatible are these trends with your ideal clients?

Carefully examine your local market and your gym’s potential to fit into that market successfully. It’s a good idea to include some hard data and statistics to show where the market has been and where it’s expected to go.

4. Competitor Analysis

Research your competitors . You should make a list of direct and indirect competitors with their strengths and limitations, as well as how your gym compares to them.

  • Direct competitors: This includes gyms similar to yours in the local area that are going after the same type of customer.
  • Indirect competitors : These are the other types of gyms, health and fitness-based centers in your local area that target your market with different kinds of products and services.

You can talk to locals, hand out questionnaires, and do surveys to gain some insights. Ask them why they chose their current gym, what all do they think they are missing out on, and try to capitalize on that. Getting real-time information can be difficult but it is the most valuable feedback you can get . Collate the data under this heading and highlight how your gym can fulfill the wants of your potential customers.

5. Products and Services

This section is a detailed breakdown of what you offer to your customers. It should cover membership options, group classes, available exercise equipment, and personal training opportunities. You can also include child care options, or special training sessions, whatever fits your idea.

Discuss the needs that your services fill for your target audience. Use this section to detail any plans to add or change services, including the projected cost and payoff for those changes.

You could also explore opportunities to sell products. This can help you establish your brand and kick off an additional source of revenue. Ensure that if you plan to sell health food items, keep in check with food hygiene standards and include procurement sources and a budgeting overview. 

6. Sales & Marketing Strategies

Sales & marketing strategies are a key part of the fundamentals of funding plans and financial projections. These are highly dependent on market research and competitor analysis . Your marketing strategy can comprise of:

  • Improving services
  • Advertising
  • Sponsorship
  • Loyalty plans
  • Website promotions
  • Email marketing
  • New equipment

There are no boundaries to your ideas here. It is very important to try and cover all possible bases because these strategies will help you maintain the rate of client acquisition and increase your client retention period. For an in-depth understanding, this section should address the following questions:

  • What membership types will you offer and what will you charge for them?
  • What are your sales forecasts?
  • What is your strategy to get your target market into your club and convert them into members?
  • What is your unique selling proposition?
  • What promotional offers and marketing strategies will you use during pre-sale and post-launch?
  • How will you retain your members?

It’s easy to overlook marketing strategies while doing extensive research on other things which constitute your business plan, which is why we’ve created a list of some simple, low investment, and high ROI gym marketing ideas. Check out this blog to learn about different ways to get more clients for your gym.

7. Management & Operations Plan

This is one of the most important sections of a business plan, while you’re in the phase of opening a gym because this will outline how your gym will actually function and what are the various moving parts involved.

Lay out the key members of your management team and the experience they can bring to help grow your business. This should not be limited to fitness experts and trainers you hire, but also people with business experience who will help you with administrative tasks. It is important to show any potential investors that the right people are in place to help your gym succeed.

If you plan on managing the club, include your bio alongside the rest of the management team’s profile in the appendix. Provide an organizational chart along with a description of any non-management staff you’ll need. They can include:

  • Personal Trainers
  • Sales/membership managers
  • Storage handlers
  • Customer service
  • Maintenance personnel

Outside of rent, labor is the biggest expense for most fitness club operators, so having the right compensation is critically important. Break down your management and staff profile, along with their compensation and benefits plans. ( Xanax )

How you structure compensation and benefits will impact your ability to attract and retain a strong team and can make the difference on whether or not your business is profitable in the short and long term. So give these points and good thought before cementing anything in your plan.

8. Financial Projections

Include your financials for the most recent year, as well as your projected revenue for the coming years. These projections should be based on the solid market research you’ve done.

Create comprehensive financial projections that include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the next three years based on the expected best and worst-case scenarios. Provide context for these numbers by comparing them to industry benchmarks. Start-up costs, payroll expectations, debt payment schedules are important to reference as well.

Make sure to consider membership and revenue-generating service ramp-up, membership churn, and staff compensation in your projections.

9. Funding Requirement

Use this as an opportunity to think realistically about your business. Include the key external resources you might consider to get funded. These could be:

  • Personal savings
  • Soft loans (family members, friends, gifts)
  • Crowdfunding
  • Sponsorship from other business

Detail exactly where you plan to get your funding from, and how much . If you’ve previously made loan applications, make a note of them here for any potential investor to consider.

Conclusion (+ Free template)

Starting a business has its own set of challenges, but the payoff is well worth the effort in the end. If you have a gym business plan that covers all you’ve learned so far, you’ll be able to kickstart a gym with a bang! Simply because your plan:

  • Will act as a point of reference for you when you have to make important decisions.
  • Be a resource to help you secure investment.
  • Give you the security that you have explored all aspects of your new business.
  • Show partners or new employees which direction you aim to head in.

Want a template to get you started? 

Check out this gym business plan template that we’ve created for you. 

how to open a gym business plan

Download the FREE gym business plan template!

Save it or print it out and use it to create a robust business plan!

Yay! You are one step ahead in a successful personal training business!

Every business is unique. So, don’t be afraid to tailor your own gym startup business plan that is specific to your needs.  Even though sample business plans are designed to assist you in creating the ideal presentation for your clients and investors, it is ultimately up to you to decide how you can best communicate your ideas.

About Appointy

We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day. 

If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below. 

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how to open a gym business plan

2. Company Overview

The company overview section provides a more detailed description of your gym business.

It includes the legal structure, location, ownership, critical success factors, business history, and everything about your business.

First, provide the basic details of your gym including what is the name and what type of gym you are operating.

Mention the names of your gym owners/partners along with the qualifications. You can also include the business history(if any) and milestones you have achieved.

After that, describe your business goals to convey a high level of aspirations and vision that you want to achieve. Here is an example, describing the business goals and objectives:

Setting future business goals for a gym is a crucial step in outlining a clear path to achieve success and growth. The Stayfit Company’s goals and objectives include;

  • Increase the client base by 100 customers within the first year of operation.
  • Relocating to a large and more appropriate location facility by the first year of operation.
  • Expand service offerings to provide a comprehensive fitness experience.
  • Establish partnerships and increase brand visibility to become a recognized fitness brand in the community.
  • Increase total memberships to 500 within 5 years.

Remember, this section gives an in-depth understanding of your business and business owners. So, make it clear and intriguing.

3. Industry and Customer Analysis

In the industry and customer analysis section of your gym business plan, it’s necessary to offer a comprehensive overview of the fitness industry and target market.

This section gives you a deep understanding of your industry and target customer attributes which will help you in business planning.

Here are some questions that will help you in the analysis:

  • What is the current market size of the fitness industry in terms of revenue?
  • What are the current trends in the gym business?
  • Who are the target audience, and which customer segment do you wish to serve?
  • What is the growth forecast for the gym business?

For example, look at this market segment and target market of the gym business with the help of Upmetrics:

market segment and target market of the gym business

As a gym owner, you can target the following customer profiles:

  • Blue-collar employees (factories, warehouses, service industry)
  • White-collar individuals(corporate or government employees)
  • High school & college students
  • Military members and their families
  • Athletes who often train for fitness competitions

In short, a thorough industry analysis will educate you about the local market and help you prepare marketing strategies according to the market trends.

4. Competitor Analysis

This competitor analysis will help you understand the top competitors and identify the strong points of their service offerings.

As a gym business, you should make a list of the number of gyms or other fitness businesses operating in your locality, their size, and their customer base. Try to specify who are your direct and indirect competitors.

  • Direct competitors can be other local gyms
  • Indirect competitors can be another type of gym or fitness center, or health club in your area.

Now, let’s focus on your direct competitors and provide an overview of each competitor, including their size and where they’re based. Evaluate their strengths and weaknesses including their service offerings and pricing structures.

Refer below example; showing competitor analysis description:

gym business competitor analysis description

A better way to conduct this analysis is by noticing things from a customer’s perspective. You might even ask your competitors’ clients what they like or dislike about them to get valuable insights.

This way you can understand what makes your competitors successful and what gaps you can fill. Also, consider the unique selling proposition of your gym business.

Specify your tactics to stay ahead in the competitive landscape and make all the difference in the local gym market.

5. Service Offerings

Next, specify the scope of your service offerings and elucidate how they meet the diverse needs of your clientele.

This section must be informative, precise, and client-focused, as it is a detailed breakdown of what your fitness business offers your customers.

You can include a comprehensive suite of services encompassing types of membership options, available exercise equipment, personal training sessions, group fitness classes, or nutritional counseling.

Here, you can take a reference from the below example written using Upmetrics AI Assistant :

Also, detail any membership fees or pricing plans in this section to add or revise services. Mention if your gym provides any additional services, like physical therapy, massage therapy, recovery modalities, etc.

6. Marketing Strategy

Writing the sales and marketing plan section means jotting down all the customer acquisition strategies and the tactics for how to retain them.

You can consider the following marketing approaches to gaining and keeping customers for your new gym business:

Unique Selling Proposition

Define your gym’s USPs depending on the market you serve, the gym equipment you use, and the unique services you provide. Highlight certified gym trainers, specialty programs, and regular community events.

 gym's USPs

Social media marketing

Use social media platforms to attract more users. Create engaging content and entice your audience with inspirational posts and special offers. Connect with your customers digitally as well as in the gym.

Establish a professional website and brand symbol (gym’s logo) to reach a wider audience. Showcase all your service offerings and build trust among potential customers.

Loyalty plans

Consider loyalty plans to retain existing gym members and encourage long-term commitment. Create membership tiers or referral programs to offer discounts or additional benefits.


Partner with local businesses (health food stores, fitness centers, or clothing brands), and fitness influencers to cross-promote services or offer collaborative discounts. That can expand your gym’s reach and draw a broader audience.

Offline advertising

Traditional offline marketing can still be effective in engaging with your local community. Clearly state your advertising strategies, including open bulletin boards, print marketing, flier distributions, or community events. For instance,

Consider following offline advertising strategies to reach specific demographics:

  • Local Print Media: Advertise in local newspapers, magazines, or community newsletters to target residents in your area.
  • Flier Distribution: Distribute flyers or brochures in strategic locations such as community centers, local cafes, or residential areas to raise awareness about your gym.
  • Community Events: Sponsor or participate in community events, fairs, or health expos. This not only promotes your gym but also allows for direct interaction with potential members.

Pricing strategy

Try to develop detailed strategies, like offering special introductory discounts, free trials, seasonal promotions, or membership packages with additional services to attract and retain members.

7. Management Team

A strong management team is essential to showcase your gym’s ability to thrive in the industry. This management team section emphasizes the key members who can help grow your fitness business.

You can highlight your key managers, fitness experts, personal trainers, or nutritionists. Also, explain each member’s expertise and roles.

Also, discuss the compensation plan in this section, along with their salaries, incentives, and other benefits. For instance,

compensation plan of gym business

8. Operations Plan

This operations plan is like a map that shows how you will make your business work.

It provides detailed insights into the day-to-day operations of your gym and highlights key areas such as staffing and operational processes.

Consider adding below essential components to your operational plan:

Try to mention the number of trainers, support staff, and therapists needed. Briefly outline the duties they will perform and detail their qualifications & training required.

Operational Process

Summarize the processes and techniques you will use to run your gym. Your operational process section may include hosting fitness classes, assigning trainers, scheduling the group HIIT classes, billing, training staff, etc.

Equipment & Machinery

You can include the list of gym equipment and machinery required for the gym, such as strength training equipment, pull-up bars, cardio equipment, free weights/dumbbells, and aerobic equipment.

Refer to the below example written using our AI assistant:

9. Financial Plan

Presently, you are in the business planning phase, but devoting some time to putting together the most realistic financial projections is also crucial when you start seeking funding from investors.

It is a detailed blueprint of all the cash flow and revenue streams, initial startup costs for setting up your gym and equipment, profit margins, and operational costs.

So, mention all the below elements in your gym business plan outline:

  • Profit and loss statement
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet
  • Break-even analysis
  • Business ratios
  • Exit strategy

This financial forecast has a substantial value in terms of whether you secure funding or not. And evaluate the funding resources, including bank loans, SBA-guaranteed loans, crowdfunding, or personal savings.

Here’s an example of a projected P&L statement for a gym business plan with the help of Upmetrics:

projected profit and losss statement for a gym business plan

Download Free Gym Business Plan PDF

Need help writing your gym business plan from scratch? Well, here you go; download our free gym business plan pdf now and start writing.

This modern, user-friendly business plan template is specifically designed for your gym business.

With a step-by-step guide and example, it helps you write a solid gym business plan without missing any crucial steps.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.


Start Drafting Your Plan with Upmetrics

With Upmetrics, you will get easy-to-follow steps, 400+ sample business plans, and AI support to streamline your business planning approach.

Our financial forecasting tool will help you develop accurate financial forecasts for 3 or more years if you’re not great with financial formulas.

Whether you’re venturing into a new business or aiming for expansion, Upmetrics provides valuable resources and insights to build successful and professional business plans that perfectly align with your objectives.

So, don’t wait; start planning now !

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Frequently asked questions, where can i find examples of successful gym business plans.

There are various online platforms where you can find sample business plan templates. Consider reputable sources like Upmetrics , which offers a successful gym business plan template for your specific needs.

What should I include in my gym business plan?

You should include the following key elements in your gym business plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Company overview
  • Industry and market analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Service offerings
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations plan
  • Financial plan

What are important gym location factors to consider when writing a business plan?

While writing a business plan, consider the following gym location factors:

  • Easy accessibility and high visibility area
  • Assess the availability of sufficient parking space
  • Check and comply with local zoning laws and regulations
  • Analyze the local demographics to align with the target market
  • Evaluate the proximity of competitors

How often should I update my gym business plan?

It is very necessary to regularly update your gym business plan, especially in dynamic industries like gym & fitness. Consider updating it at least once a year or more often if there are significant changes in your business.

What are the common mistakes to avoid in a gym business plan?

Following are some of the most common mistakes you should consider avoiding when writing a gym business plan.

  • Ignoring thorough market research
  • Overestimating financial projections
  • Neglecting competitors analysis
  • Overlooking marketing strategy

About the Author

how to open a gym business plan

Vinay Kevadiya

Vinay Kevadiya is the founder and CEO of Upmetrics, the #1 business planning software. His ultimate goal with Upmetrics is to revolutionize how entrepreneurs create, manage, and execute their business plans. He enjoys sharing his insights on business planning and other relevant topics through his articles and blog posts. Read more

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Download Gym Business Plan

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Gym Business Plan Template

Gym business plan.

If you want to start a new gym business or expand your existing business, you need a detailed gym business plan.

Since 1999, we have helped over 10,000 fitness business owners create business plans to start and grow their gyms, health clubs, martial arts studios, fitness studios, and other athletics businesses.

Write a Business Plan for Your Gym Business

A good business plan includes financial projections, detailed strategies and action plans. We recommend that you start with a simple gym business plan template.

Below are links to each section of a winning gym business plan:

  • Executive Summary – The Executive Summary is the most important section of your business plan. It should be clear, concise and provide an overview of your gym business plan.
  • Company Overview – The Company Overview section should include your company name, business model, location, history, and a brief description of your products or services. You can also include your company’s mission statement and/or a list of your key objectives.
  • Industry Analysis – The Industry Analysis should include information on the size of the fitness industry, trends, competition and growth potential.
  • Customer Analysis – The Customer Analysis should include a description of your target market, customer needs and how you plan to attract and retain your target audience.
  • Competitive Analysis – The Competitive Analysis should include a description of your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses and your competitive advantage for how you plan to compete with them.
  • Marketing Plan – The Marketing Plan should include your sales and marketing strategy, pricing strategy, and the promotion plan for your gym.
  • Operations Plan – The Operations Plan should include a description of your gym facilities, necessary gym equipment, fitness instructors, personal trainers and staff members, policies and day-to-day procedures. It may also include your gym or fitness business milestones.
  • Management Team – The Management Team section should include biographies of the gym owner, your executive team members, and key employees.
  • Financial Plan – The Financial Plan should include your gym’s financial statements, funding requirements, and investment analysis.
  • Appendix – The Appendix should include any supporting documents such as your gym’s lease, contracts, permits and licenses.

Next Section: Executive Summary >

Gym Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my gym business plan.

gym business plan template

Growthink's Ultimate Gym Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your fitness business plan .

Where Can I Download a Gym Business Plan PDF?

You can download our gym business plan PDF template  here . This is a business plan template you can use in PDF format.

What Is a Gym Business Plan?

gym business plan template example

A gym business plan provides a snapshot of your gym business or fitness center as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your long-term goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes solid market research for your local target market to support your plans.  

Once you have a handle on your market and the basics of running a small business, include more detailed information in your formal gym business plan. This better prepares you for financial negotiations with banks and other business opportunities to help your fitness business grow.

Why Do You Need a Gym or Fitness Studio Business Plan?

Fitness is big business, as baby boomers lead the charge to remain healthy for a lifetime. Gyms and fitness centers have come a long way, and new gym owners have a seemingly endless array of choices. Yet many new gym businesses fail because their owners try to be all things to all people. A written business plan is crucial to growing and developing your gym in a controlled, sustainable manner. In addition, gyms are expensive to build and outfit. Potential investors and loan officers look to the business plan to decide whether to invest in your gym.

What Are the Sources of Funding for Gyms?

To secure funding for a gym, the main sources of funding are small business loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional plan. Such a solid gym business plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.

The second best way to secure funding for a gym is through angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. Venture capitalists will not fund a gym. They might consider funding a chain of gyms, but never an individual location. This is because most venture capitalists are looking for millions of dollars in return when they make an investment, and an individual gym or fitness center could never achieve such results.

How Much Will It Cost to Start a Gym?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the start-up costs for starting a gym will vary depending on the size and scope of your business. That said, you can expect to spend anywhere from $25,000 to $500,000 or more when starting a gym.

How Do I Write a Business Plan For A New Gym?

A business plan for a new gym will include your purpose for entering the fitness industry, key market data, direct and indirect competitors, and a more detailed description of your marketing plan, management team, target customers , and more. Outside of the 10 key elements noted in the gym business plan outlined above, you may also include the following information:

  • Mission Statement: Define your philosophy on fitness and why you are opening this specific gym.
  • Facility: Describe your gym’s layout and which gym and strength training equipment you will be using.
  • Services: Describe the fitness services you offer, such as personal training, available exercise equipment, hosting fitness classes, and child care.
  • Gym Membership Fees: Explain your pricing structure for gym memberships including membership options and other additional services.
  • Financing: Detail how you will finance your startup costs and day-to-day operations.
  • Growth Plan: Outline your plans for growing the business, including expansion into new markets and acquisitions.
  • Risks and Threats: Describe the risks facing your gym and how you plan to address them.
  • Exit Strategy: Explain how you will sell or close the business, including a timeline for doing so.

As you can see, a business plan for a gym is comprehensive and detailed. It should be updated regularly to reflect your changing business goals and strategies. Having a well-written business plan is essential to any successful gym or fitness center.

What Marketing Strategies Are Effective For A Gym Business?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the marketing strategies that are effective for a gym will vary depending on the type of gym you own. However, some general marketing tips include:

  • Creating a strong branding strategy, including a recognizable logo and tagline.
  • Developing marketing materials such as print ads, website design, social media profiles, and more.
  • Creating a referral program to incentivize loyal customers to refer their friends.
  • Developing partnerships with other established businesses in your community.
  • Running promotional events such as free trial days or discounts for monthly memberships.

As you can see, many marketing strategies can be effective for your gym. Your marketing strategy should support your overall business strategy, which is defined by your vision and mission statements and unique selling proposition.


  • Gym Business Plan Home
  • 1. Executive Summary
  • 2. Company Overview
  • 3. Industry Analysis
  • 4. Customer Analysis
  • 5. Competitive Analysis
  • 6. Marketing Plan
  • 7. Operations Plan
  • 8. Management Team
  • 9. Financial Plan
  • 10. Appendix
  • Gym Business Plan Summary

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Download a Free Business Plan Template

How to Open a Gym

Each year, millions of people join gyms to get fit and lose weight. To be profitable, a gym model typically revolves around several key revenue streams. The most basic is the gym membership. However, membership dues or fees are typically not enough to make gym owners rich. This is why most gyms supplement their core revenue stream with supplemental revenue from fitness classes, juice bars, tanning salons, and renting space to personal trainers.

Learn how to start your own Gym and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services .

Gym Image

Start a gym by following these 10 steps:

  • Plan your Gym
  • Form your Gym into a Legal Entity
  • Register your Gym for Taxes
  • Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  • Set up Accounting for your Gym
  • Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Gym
  • Get Gym Insurance
  • Define your Gym Brand
  • Create your Gym Website
  • Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your gym. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas .

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

What will you name your business?

  • What are the startup and ongoing costs?
  • Who is your target market?

How much can you charge customers?

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Gym Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship , you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name , we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability .

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Want some help naming your gym?

Business name generator, what are the costs involved in opening a gym.

Startup costs for a gym are significant. Most modest gyms costs between $200,000 and $400,000 to get going. A larger gym may cost upwards of a million dollars or more. Franchises may carry lower operating costs, but you have to pay a franchise fee, which may or may not make it a cheaper option to get started.

Some gym owners try to lower their initial overhead by buying used equipment. This is a double-edged sword. New gym goers want to see new equipment. Used equipment may not be in the best condition. If you go this route, make sure to have all used equipment thoroughly inspected and serviced prior to use.

What are the ongoing expenses for a gym?

The largest expense for a gym is the initial investment in gym equipment, which can cost upwards of $200,000 or more. The second-largest cost is either the labor cost or rent, depending on the size of the business.

Who is the target market?

Preferred customer types include individuals who want to lose weight or hire personal trainers to meet personal fitness goals. Most gyms advertise locally in newspapers or by word of mouth. Good clients are those interested in working out with a serious long-term commitment.

Poor clients would be those who join for a short period of time and then quit. However, many gyms actually capitalize on this by charging a joining fee which protects the gym from early cancellations. The up-front fee is usually several months worth of fees, allowing the gym to recover advertising costs.

How does a gym make money?

The standard business model for a gym is to collect membership dues in addition to supplemental revenue. Supplemental revenue includes income from various classes, like:

  • Aerobic classes
  • Spin classes
  • Circuit training
  • Military fitness
  • Jujitsu training
  • Dance classes

Most gym memberships are charged on a monthly basis, with other revenue (like special workout classes) being charged either monthly or as a flat fee upfront.

Other sources of revenue include:

  • Personal training
  • Tanning beds and related services
  • Supplement sales
  • Chiropractic services
  • Massage services

Gyms typically see an influx of new members in January, peaking in the second quarter, then falling during the summer months. This makes the gym business highly cyclical.

Gyms usually charge between $20 and $50 per month for memberships and require members to sign a one year (or multi-year) membership contract. Some gyms offer discounted deals if the client pays for a year in advance. On top of that, gyms charge a sign-on fee, which is usually between $100 to $300.

Supplemental revenue varies according to the demand and the type of gym you want to run. Consider your target market and gym location. If you’re in a high-rent district, you can charge more for memberships, personal training services, supplements, classes, and tanning and chiropractic services.

How much profit can a gym make?

Revenue and profit varies by size. However, it’s typical for a gym to generate between $1,000 and $2,000 a month in revenue within the first 6 months. After a year, a successful gym will generate at least $20,000 per month. According to the AFS 2016 Marketing Best Practices Research Report, a typical small fitness center in the U.S. makes $63 per SqFt., or up to $200,000 to $300,000 per year. Larger gyms can make up to 10 times as much money.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Generating more profit with a gym is simple. Most gyms add supplemental revenue as space permits. These “side businesses” are set up to rent space from the gym owner, creating predictable streams of income. For example, a gym owner might lease space to a chiropractor, a tanning company, a massage therapist, or even a food services business to handle the juice bar.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship , partnership , limited liability company (LLC) , and corporation .

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your gym is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services . You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website . If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil .

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history , which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate gym business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits .

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses .

Certificate of Occupancy

A gym business or fitness center is typically run out of renovated warehouse or commercial space. Businesses with a physical place of business require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) . A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

If you plan to lease space for your gym business:

  • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
  • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a gym business.
  • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.

If you plan to purchase or build a gym or fitness center:

  • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
  • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for you business’ location to ensure your gym business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

Music Licensing

Many gym businesses play music to keep customers focused and entertained during their workouts. In order to play music in a business setting, permission must be acquired from the composer or license holder. Typically, it is possible to obtain “blanket” license allowing a businesses to play music owned by a large catalog of artists and recording studios. Such licenses can be obtained from Performance Rights Organizations, such as ASCAP and BMI.

Learn more about music licensing requirements and how to obtain a blanket license here.

Liability Waivers

Working out at a gym can be a high risk activity, especially for individuals lifting heavy weights or with certain medical conditions. It is strongly advised to have new gym members sign a liability waiver accepting personal responsibility for any injuries.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance . This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance . If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

FInd out what types of insurance your Gym needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Gym.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners , we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended : Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker .

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator . Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a gym

Word of mouth and local advertising are the two primary methods of gaining new membership. Many gyms take out ads in local newspapers and offer discounts for first-time members. They may also offer free workout days or even free personal training services to attract new members.

How to keep customers coming back

A gym is often seen as a commodity service business. Because of this, you must differentiate yourself. Big chains, like Planet Fitness, for example, define a niche or target market and demographic. You should do the same. Catering to a specific group of people also works. For example, you could market your gym as a specialty gym for busy professionals. You could also set up your gym to be especially accommodating to women.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business .

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended : Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders .

Other popular website builders are: WordPress , WIX , Weebly , Squarespace , and Shopify .

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com

Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

The type of people who start a gym are usually people who are passionate about health and fitness and have good business sense. Because owning a gym requires a massive time commitment, it’s not suited to individuals who need a flexible work schedule.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a gym?

Gym owners typically arrive early in the morning, before 5 am, and may leave well after the sun has gone down. Gym owners may also have to work weekends, especially in the first few years when the business needs extra support.

The key day-to-day activities of a person involved in a gym business include opening the gym and cleaning up and prepping for the day, checking the register for any sales from the previous night that weren’t deposited, cleaning up and checking the equipment before opening, and managing gym members and employees.

If you run the business yourself, you will also need to manage the accounting for your gym, which includes verifying that all membership dues are current and that all classes are paid in full. Since a gym’s core income comes from gym memberships, doing the accounting for this is one of the more important tasks a gym owner has to perform.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful gym?

People who open and run a gym usually have experience running or managing a gym. While not required, it is helpful to have a degree in at least one of the following:

  • BS in Athletic Training
  • BS in Culinary Science (Culinology®)
  • BS in Nutrition & Dietetics
  • BS in Nutrition Science
  • BS in Nutrition, Exercise and Health Science
  • BS in Pre-Health
  • MS in Biochemical & Molecular Nutrition
  • PhD in Biochemical & Molecular Nutrition
  • PhD in Community Nutrition & Health Promotion
  • MS in Community Nutrition & Health Promotion
  • MS in Dietetics
  • MS in Exercise Physiology & Nutrition
  • PhD in Exercise Physiology & Nutrition
  • MS in Food Literacy, Quality & Safety
  • PhD in Food Literacy, Quality & Safety
  • MS in Interdepartmental Nutrition Program (INP)
  • PhD in Interdepartmental Nutrition Program (INP)

What is the growth potential for a gym?

Small gyms are usually run by one or two people and may include a lot of personal training. They typically won’t have extensive supplemental revenue, however. An example of a small gym would be a so-called “black iron” gym, where members join primarily to hire a personal trainer and weightlifting coach.

Scaling a gym requires significant investment. For mass appeal, most gyms need at least 3,000 square feet of space to accommodate cardio equipment, a wide range of resistance and training machines as well as free weights.

Large-scale gyms also partner with supplement companies, self-employed personal trainers, and sometimes food services businesses.

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Find a business mentor.

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

How and when to build a team

Most gym owners start by hiring freelance or self-employed personal trainers. This is because many gym members expect to have experts in the gym, even if they don’t pay for personal training services.

These are some of the first positions you should fill because they’re the largest revenue generators. You can rent space to a personal trainer for between $1,000 and $2,000 per month. Hiring salaried employees also makes sense as the business grows. Typical payscales start at $20,000 to $30,000 per year for full-time entry-level positions.

Useful Links

Industry opportunities.

  • Ranking of gym franchises
  • The Association of Fitness Studios
  • Descriptions of 6 fitness industry organizations

Real World Examples

  • Profile on gym owner
  • Large gym franchise
  • Independent gym

Further Reading

  • Advice from a gym owner
  • Steps for opening a fitness center
  • Tips from 13 gym owners

Entrepreneur Interviews

Valerii Kutieov, Power Strength Gym

Read Interview

Terra Castro, Detroit Body Garage

Have a Question? Leave a Comment!

We earn commissions if you shop through the links below.  Read more

Back to All Business Ideas

How to Open a Gym

Written by: Carolyn Young

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by: David Lepeska

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

Published on December 15, 2021 Updated on March 11, 2024

How to Open a Gym

Investment range

$24,550 - $119,100

Revenue potential

$250,000 - $1 million p.a.

Time to build

1 – 3 Months

Profit potential

$50,000 - $200,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Americans are more health-conscious than ever and gym owners are reaping the rewards. It’s a growing industry worth more than $35 billion, and even small gyms can tap into that market. Gyms make money from memberships, fitness classes, sales of refreshments and supplements, and renting space to instructors and personal trainers, so opening your own gym has great profit potential.

Starting any business is not easy, however, and opening a gym will require diligence and knowledge. Fortunately, this step-by-step guide will provide all the information you need to jump into the gym business.

Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.

Form your business immediately using ZenBusiness LLC formation service or hire one of the Best LLC Services .

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons.

Every business has pros and cons that you should consider with care before deciding if opening a gym is the right path for you.

  • Passion – If you’re passionate about fitness you’ll be doing what you love
  • Steady income – Membership revenue should be fairly steady
  • Few employees – You don’t need a big staff to run a gym
  • Startup costs – The gym space and equipment won’t come cheap
  • Competition – Most areas have many gym options
  • Long hours – Gyms tend to be open 12 hours or more per day

Gym industry trends

An appealing new concept called hybrid gym membership has the potential to shape the future of the industry. Hybrid members have the option of taking advantage of the gym’s online offerings — from a personal trainer to a variety of yoga and fitness classes — or coming to the gym in person. Outdoor spaces for workouts and personal training are also trending, so gyms have been looking to use outdoor areas for classes and workouts.

The most popular fitness classes are yoga, Pilates, circuit training, and high-intensity interval training. New workouts are popping up as well, such as Pound, a cardio jam session inspired by the beat of drum-playing.

Industry size and growth

  • Industry size and past growth – Following a decade of steady growth, market analyst IBISWorld values the US fitness industry at more than $36 billion. The industry is still recovering from the pandemic-driven downturn in 2020.(( https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/market-size/gym-health-fitness-clubs-united-states/ ))
  • Growth forecast – The global health and fitness club market is predicted to grow by 7% annually through 2027.(( https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/health-and-fitness-club-market )) 
  • Number of businesses – There are more than 100,000 gym, health, and fitness clubs in the US.(( https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/number-of-businesses/gym-health-fitness-clubs-united-states/ ))
  • Number of people employed – The fitness industry employs more than 800,000 people.(( https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/employment/gym-health-fitness-clubs-united-states/ ))

gym industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Trends in the gym industry are:

  • Hybrid gym membership, a combination of in-person and online sessions, is gaining popularity
  • Increasing use of wearable technology such as fitness trackers and heart rate monitors
  • Outdoor gyms and physical activities such as organized hiking 
  • Growing preference for home exercise facilities

Challenges in the gym industry include:

  • Building a client base and retaining members
  • Rising prices of gym memberships

gym industry Trends and Challenges

Consumer spending

  • Average consumer spend – US consumers spend $59 on gym membership, $48 on on-demand fitness services, and $136 per month on studios.(( https://www.cardlytics.com/blog/which-fitness-spend-trends-build-the-strongest-new-years-resolutions/ ))
  • Potential customer base – More than 23% of the US population engaged in sports and exercise per day in 2020.(( https://www.statista.com/statistics/189562/daily-engagement-of-the-us-poppulation-in-sports-and-exercise/ ))
  • Average prices – A budget gym membership could cost as low as $40 per month while a high-end gym membership could be as expensive as $80 per month, or an average of $60 per month.(( https://www.glofox.com/blog/gym-membership-prices/ ))

gym industry consumer spending

What kind of people work in gyms?

  • Gender – 60% of fitness trainers in the US are male, while 40% are female.(( https://www.zippia.com/fitness-trainer-jobs/demographics/#gender-statistics ))
  • Average level of education – Almost 60% of fitness trainers hold a bachelor’s degree.(( https://www.zippia.com/fitness-trainer-jobs/demographics/#degree-level-types ))
  • Average age – The average age of a fitness trainer is 37 years old.(( https://www.zippia.com/fitness-trainer-jobs/demographics/#age-statistics ))

gym industry demographics

How much does it cost to start a gym?

Startup costs for a gym range from $25,000 to more than $120,000. The low end represents a smaller space with less equipment. You could always start small and expand your gym later, to a larger space or multiple locations.

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your gym, in addition to the space itself. Here’s a list to help you get started:

  • Ellipticals
  • Training bench and free weights
  • Kettlebells
  • Other weight training equipment
  • Medicine balls
  • Resistance bands
  • Sanitization stations
  • Reception desk

How much can you earn from a gym?

The average profit margin of a gym is 20%, while the average annual cost of gym membership is about $500.

In your first year or two, if you’re able to sign 500 members, you’d bring in $250,000 in annual revenue and $50,000 in profit, assuming that 20% margin. As your brand gains recognition, sales could climb to 2,000 memberships, giving you $1 million in revenue and a tidy profit of $200,000.

Gym business earnings forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a gym. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Startup costs – Costs of equipment and space are high
  • Competition – It’s a very saturated market

Related Business Ideas

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How to Open a Gym

How to Start a Supplement Business

Step 2: hone your idea.

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a gym, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market.

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Check out the competition & identify an opportunity

Research gyms in your area to see their membership and fitness training offerings, prices, and online customer reviews. You might find an area without a gym, or maybe the local gyms don’t have good trainers. A small boutique gym with more personal service and training might be another opportunity.

how to open a gym business plan

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, like yoga classes.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away.

What? Identifying your gym’s core offerings

In addition to your workout facility, consider what else you might be able to add to increase your revenue. You could offer:

  • Fitness classes of various types
  • Vitamins and supplements
  • Fitness apparel
  • A juice or smoothie bar
  • Online classes & hybrid membership

How much should you charge for gym services?

The average cost of a gym membership is $500 per year. The typical cost of a fitness class is $35 to $50 per person per class. You should aim for a profit margin of around 20%.

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market depends on the concept you choose and the classes you offer. If you offer high-intensity circuit training, your target market will probably tend to be younger. You’re most likely to find those customers on Instagram rather than Facebook.

Where? Choose your gym location

When it comes to choosing the best gym location, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, aim for a central location that is easily accessible via public transportation. This ensures that your gym is conveniently reachable to a larger pool of potential customers. Additionally, prioritize a commercial space that offers ample ventilation and natural light, creating a welcoming and refreshing environment for your clients.

In terms of the physical space, it’s beneficial to find a location that is spacious enough to accommodate the necessary gym equipment and classes you plan to offer. This ensures that your clients have enough room to comfortably engage in their workouts and participate in group activities. It is also important to find a space that requires minimal renovations or repairs, allowing you to start your gym operations smoothly.

Lastly, consider the lease terms of the commercial space. Look for a flexible lease agreement that can be extended as your gym business grows. This allows you the flexibility to adapt and expand your operations according to the demands of your clientele. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on Craigslist , Crexi , and Commercial Cafe .

gym business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Gym Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
  • The name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “gym” or “fitness”, boosts SEO
  • Choose a name that allows for expansion: “Fusion Fitness Center” over “Yoga Bliss Studio”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion

Discover over 250 unique gym name ideas here . If you want your business name to include specific keywords, you can also use our gym business name generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Find a Domain

Powered by GoDaddy.com

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that set your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Gym Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary : A brief encapsulation of your gym business, highlighting its unique value proposition, financial potential, and the roadmap to success.
  • Business Overview : An outline of your gym, including its mission, objectives, location, and the type of gym experience it will offer to clients.
  • Product and Services : Detailed descriptions of the gym memberships, personal training services, classes, equipment, and any additional amenities or products you’ll offer.
  • Market Analysis : An examination of the local fitness industry, potential gym clientele demographics, and demand for gym services in your target area.
  • Competitive Analysis : An assessment of other gyms and fitness offerings in your area, how your gym will differentiate itself, and strategies to gain market share.
  • Sales and Marketing : Your strategies for attracting and retaining gym members, including pricing, promotions, advertising, and your online presence.
  • Management Team : Profiles of the key team members, their roles, experience, and how their expertise will contribute to the success of the gym.
  • Operations Plan : The day-to-day logistics of running the gym, such as location, hours, staffing, and facilities management.
  • Financial Plan : Projections of your gym’s financial performance, including startup costs, revenue streams, profit margins, and break-even analysis.
  • Appendix : Supplementary materials like resumes of key team members, detailed financial projections, and any legal or regulatory documentation pertinent to the gym business.

what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to gyms.

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your gym will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC , which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization , and answer any questions you might have.

Form Your LLC

Choose Your State

We recommend ZenBusiness as the Best LLC Service for 2023

how to open a gym business plan

Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number , or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

how to open a gym business plan

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist , and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans : This is the most common method, but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans : The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan .
  • Government grants : A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Venture capital : Offer potential investors an ownership stake in exchange for funds, keeping in mind that you would be sacrificing some control over your business.
  • Friends and Family : Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding : Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal : Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a gym. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.

types of business funding

Step 8: Apply for Gym Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a gym requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA ), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package . They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account .

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your gym as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.

types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.

You can use industry-specific software to manage your memberships and payments, such as PushPress , GymMaster , or PerfectGym .

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks , Freshbooks , and Xero .
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using website builders . This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

Your clients are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization ( SEO ) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

Digital Marketing & Online Presence

  • Facebook & Instagram Ads: Target specific demographics with tailored ads.
  • Social Media Posts & Stories: Regularly share engaging content, including member success stories and workout tips.
  • Website Optimization: Ensure your website has optimized calls to action and high-quality content for better search rankings .
  • Google Business & Yelp: List your business on these platforms to enhance local search visibility.
  • Blogging & SEO Content: Share informative content on fitness, nutrition, and gym news to attract and engage visitors.
  • Video Marketing: Create and share videos that could potentially go viral, using humor and relatable gym experiences.
  • Personalized Newsletters: Send out regular updates, fitness tips, and member spotlights.
  • Targeted Advertising: Use platforms like Google AdWords to appear in relevant searches.

Experiential & Community Marketing

  • Fitness Flash Mobs: Organize engaging public displays to garner attention.
  • Pop-Up Workouts: Create temporary workout spaces in high foot traffic areas.
  • Workout Celebrations: Host events that combine fitness with social elements, like dance and themed workout nights.
  • Community Fitness Projects: Sponsor local fitness initiatives to boost public presence.
  • Corporate Wellness: Partner with local businesses for exclusive employee wellness programs.

Personalization & Member Experience

  • Fitness Concierge: Offer workout and nutrition planning for a personalized gym experience.
  • Birthday Perks: Celebrate members’ birthdays with a special workout or offer.
  • Competitions & Giveaways: Host challenges with prizes for participation or achievement.
  • Testimonials & Stories: Highlight member transformations and testimonials.

Brand Building & Partnerships

  • Co-Marketing with Brands: Partner with related businesses for joint promotional efforts.
  • Sponsor Local Events: Increase visibility by sponsoring events related to your target market.
  • Influencer Marketing: Engage with influencers to promote your gym to a broader audience.

In-Person Marketing Efforts

  • Signage & Flyering: Use eye-catching signs and distribute flyers in strategic locations.
  • In-Person Sales & Promotions: Represent your gym at local markets, trade shows, and industry events.

Education & Expertise Sharing

  • Podcasts & Webinars: Share your fitness expertise through online platforms to build trust and authority.
  • Infographics: Create and share visually appealing infographics with workout tips and health statistics.

Niche Targeting

  • Family Fitness Initiatives: Offer programs and discounts tailored to families.
  • Senior Programs: Develop classes and workouts suited to older adults.
  • Student-Focused Offers: Create student-centric promotions and late-night workout sessions.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your gym meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its strong USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your gym could be:

  • Personal fitness for women
  • Work out when you want; we’re open 24/7
  • Hybrid members have access to all our classes online

unique selling proposition

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a gym, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in a gym for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in fitness and health . You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.

Step 12: Build Your Team

As your business grows, you will need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a gym include:

  • Front Desk Clerk – greet customers, sign up members
  • Fitness Trainers – Run fitness classes, personal training
  • General Manager – Staff management, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media, other marketing

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed , Glassdoor , or ZipRecruiter . Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.

Step 13: Run a Gym – Start Making Money!

Opening a gym is a great opportunity to help people live healthier lives and make a good living at the same time. The gym industry is growing fast as Americans are investing more in their overall health and fitness, so this is a great time to jump into the market. To differentiate your gym from the competition and attract more members, think of a unique concept and innovate on the latest trends.  

You’ve made the right first move by gathering all the relevant information. You should now be ready to flex your entrepreneurial muscles and open your own successful gym!

  • Gym Business FAQs

A gym can be a very profitable business. Profit margins are a healthy 20% and you can make money from memberships, fitness classes, clothing and supplement sales, and more.

You can choose any type of business entity for your gym. An LLC offers many benefits, particularly personal liability protection. If your gym is ever sued for something like an injury, an LLC will protect your personal assets.

You can’t open a gym with no money, but you might be able to get financing to start one. Your best bet is an SBA loan.

The failure rate of gyms is a little over 50%. It’s a very competitive industry and gyms require convenient locations and a good marketing strategy.

Opening a gym carries the risk of losing the significant capital that you must put into it. You’ll also have liability risks from people getting injured while using the facilities. You also face the risks of entering an extremely competitive industry.

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  • Decide if the Business Is Right for You
  • Hone Your Idea
  • Brainstorm a Gym Name
  • Create a Gym Business Plan
  • Register Your Business
  • Register for Taxes
  • Fund your Business
  • Apply for Gym Business Licenses and Permits
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get Business Insurance
  • Prepare to Launch
  • Build Your Team
  • Run a Gym - Start Making Money!

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How to Create a Flawless Gym Business Plan

women on battle ropes in gym

Your gym business plan is your roadmap to success. It guides you on your journey, helps you to make better decisions, and attracts potential angel investors to your business. Creating a business plan is a process. It’s easy to think of your business plan as one single document that you build and then you’re done. But, your business plan evolves and changes with you; it’s not a static checklist. 

Whether you’re starting a new small business or expanding an existing one, a business plan sets the foundation for success.

A great gym involves more than fitness equipment. Setting up a gym is a big task which is why you want to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed. All stages of your business plan are equally important and essential for the final steps. In this article, we try to understand the core elements of a gym business plan and how you can craft a business plan for your fitness business. 

  • What is a gym business plan? 
  • Why do you need a fitness center business plan?
  • 8 steps to create a great gym business plan 

What is a Gym Business Plan? 

Before we dive into how to create your business plan, let’s start at the beginning. So, what is a gym business plan? Well, it’s a document that tells the reader who you are as a business and a realistic idea of where the business is heading. At a basic level, your business plan answers the following questions: 

  • How does your business work?
  • How are you going to succeed?
  • What steps do you need to take to succeed?

Research shows that entrepreneurs who write formal business plans are more likely to succeed . Business owners seeking external financial support are also more likely to commit their thoughts to a formal business plan. With a new business, it’s beneficial to pull your ideas into focus and put pen to paper. 

The 6 Crucial Steps to Opening a Gym or Studio

Why do you need a fitness center business plan .

The main aim of your gym business plan is to create a blueprint for your business. For instance, if a potential investor were to read your business plan, they would understand how your gym will progress and succeed in the future. Your business plan also helps you to identify fresh opportunities and see gaps in your current business model or setup. Depending on where your business is, a business plan can be dual-purpose. Here’s why you need a business plan from day one. 

1. Test Your Business Idea 

Starting a fitness business is by no means easy. So, you have an idea, and you think it could be a winner. But you can’t always go out and test that idea. A business plan allows you to feasibly test that idea without actually starting the business. Working through your idea and creating a business plan allows you to break down numbers, analyze the market and competitors, and save you a lot of time in the long run. In the early stages, it’s a good idea to work through your idea and create a business plan. The more knowledge you have about your business, industry, and potential customers, the better you can see if your business idea could be a success. 

2. Attracts Investors and Secure Funding 

If you want to attract investors, you need a business plan. Most businesses need to secure funding and seek outside financial support. A thorough business plan helps you to obtain startup capital and funding for your new gym business. Even established businesses often need extra funding for expansion and business growth. Potential investors and finance companies will need concrete numbers with facts and figures to move forward with your business. Without a business plan, there is little to no chance of getting funding from investors, banks, or other external financial institutions. 

Read More: How to Get Financing For Your Gym

3. achieve short-term and long-term goals .

It’s great to have both short-term and long-term goals in mind, but it’s important to go a step further. A good business plan will contain detailed strategies on how you intend to achieve these goals. It could involve your business model, equipment plans, hiring strategies, and marketing efforts. Think about everything that you need to do to achieve your goals. Most businesses tend to have overarching business goals that are supported by smaller goals. It’s crucial that your business plan maps out your strategies for achieving your goals. Because goals and strategies can shift, as your business evolves, you can update your business plan as necessary. 

4. Make business planning manageable 

A business plan is important for both new and established businesses. Firstly, a business plan gives you a higher chance of success. Budgeting, market analysis, and planning will set the foundation for a smoother beginning. When you have set out your goals and strategies to help you achieve them, you can implement what you need to progress. This whole process helps to make business planning more manageable and effective. A great business plan helps you to manage your business, monitor, and assess your progress over time. 

Chris Cooper, a gym owner, author, and the founder of the Two Brain Business offers expert insight into the proven formula for a successful fitness business . In an episode on The Fitness Founders Podcast, he talks about how gyms were forced to rethink their business models during the COVID-19 crisis and where fitness operators should spend their time and money to be successful. 

Read More: How ABC Glofox Can Boost Your Business

8 steps to create a great gym business plan .

how to open a gym business plan

Developing a business plan is an organized process where you go through specific steps to achieve a final result. To start, think about where you are now and where you want to be. This will help you get into the right mindset when writing your business plan. There will be many times when you will refer to your business plan to help you make a decision. So, the more information you have, the better. You will need to dig deep into your business idea, future finances, competitors, and fitness industry to help you collate the information together. By following these eight steps, you can begin to cover all the different aspects of your health club and start building a great gym business plan template. 

1. Executive Summary 

The executive summary is always at the top of the business plan. It should be an attention-grabbing business pitch that’s short and concise, yet interesting. You will continue to flesh out the points from your executive summary throughout the document. But this first section should be very clear and engaging. Although the executive summary is the first document in the business plan, it can be easier to write it at the end. Keep in mind what it should include so that you answer your own questions as you write your business plan. The executive summary should explain: 

  • Who – who you are and what you offer. 
  • Why – what you hope to accomplish. 
  • How –  how you are going to get there, 

2. Company Overview 

The company overview is a more detailed description of your business. You go beyond talking about who you are and delve into the type of clientele you plan on serving, how your business stands out from the competition, and the goals of your business. Because gym business models can differ, now is a good time to explain how you will run your business in more detail. Your executive summary states your mission statement and explains your thoughts at a high level. As you go through your business plan, you have the opportunity to expand and build on your thinking to showcase your business. Your company overview can include: 

  • Expand on the purpose of your business. 
  • Business model and structure.
  • Products and services you offer. 
  • Target market research.  
  • Founding story. 
  • Legal structure. 

3. Industry Analysis 

The industry or market analysis is where you investigate the local market. Think about your niche, current trends in the market, and how your business aligns with market demand. You’re looking to evaluate the fit of your business in today’s market. Try to include some facts and statistics about your industry and the future of the market. For example, a gym looking to obtain funding for expansion into online fitness would include trends and statistics on the rapid acceleration of digital fitness and where the market is headed in the future. 

4. Customer Analysis 

Within the gym industry, there are various niches and audience segments. Even within one business, you can have multiple target audience personas. The customer base you choose to target will have a big impact on your business, the types of services you offer, and how you market yourself. Start by breaking your target customers down by the following: 

  • Demographics – age, gender, income level, occupation, location, and education, etc.   
  • Psychographics – needs, interests, opinions, beliefs, and values, etc.  

5. Competitor Analysis 

A competitor analysis investigates businesses that are direct competitors to you. These are the gyms that offer a similar service in your niche. Although you can mention indirect competitors, this section is mainly for a detailed analysis of your direct competitors. Depending on your business type, you could have both in-person competitors as well as digital-only competitors. Although it may be impossible to find out everything about a competitor, you can usually get a clear idea from your research. Break down each of your competitors into the following: 

  • Services and products they offer 
  • Target audience 
  • Pricing and business model 
  • Strengths and weaknesses 

6. Marketing Strategy 

The marketing section of your business plan is the place to explain everything you plan to do to get your services in front of your target audience. Include your strategy, projected startup costs, and consider who will be handling the marketing efforts of the business. Your marketing strategy can include: 

  • Social media marketing 
  • Advertising 
  • Email marketing 
  • Referral program 
  • Sponsorships
  • Partnerships 

7. Management Team 

Ideally, you and your team members have fitness experience within your niche. This section is a great place to highlight the skills, experience, and expertise of your management team. By doing this, it helps to show how specific team members will help you to achieve success. Lay out key members of your team. This doesn’t need to be limited to your fitness experts, but other experts who will guide your business like marketing and sales managers, customer service, and maintenance personnel. How you structure your business and the type of compensation and benefits you offer will help you to attract and retain high-quality talent over time. 

8. Financial Plan 

Depending on where you are with your business, your financial plan can include current financials for the most recent year and future projections. Your projected revenue should be based on facts and solid research with supporting numbers. The financial plan can include a five-year projection with detailed breakdowns of monthly and annual earnings. Think about your income, cash flow, costs, and outgoings. Your finances are the backbone of your business, so it’s important to be as thorough as possible. 

In Summary 

Starting a business is hard and comes with its own set of challenges. A good business plan gives you a point of reference to help you navigate your business. Whether you’re looking to expand your gym or start from scratch, a business plan covers all aspects of your gym so that you have every opportunity to succeed. While you may face some unforeseen issues, a business plan helps you to identify potential problems as much as possible. Your business plan isn’t a static document set in stone, instead, it can serve as a guide to growth and your future success through changing times. 

If you’re looking for a fitness business platform that can help you create a fitness franchise that will stand the test of time, ABC Glofox is the platform for you. Along with reducing your admin time by 20%, the ABC Glofox platform, on average doubles user revenue in just 18 months.

If you’re ready to take the next step in growing your fitness business, book a call with a member of our team today.


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How to Grow a Gym Business in 2024 (10 Steps)

Learn how to grow a gym business with this detailed guide. From market research to financial management, we’ve got you covered to grow a profitable gym business.

Fitness Income Ideas

The gym industry has seen tremendous growth in the past decade, and there seems to be no sign of it slowing down. With more and more people becoming health-conscious, the demand for fitness services is only going up. According to IBISWorld’s market research report, the gym, health and fitness club industry revenue is projected to reach $37 billion by 2023. This means that starting a gym business can be a lucrative venture if done right.

However, with the rise in competition, it’s important to have a solid plan in place that sets your gym apart from others. That’s where this gym business growth guide comes in. Read on to learn the best way to grow a fitness gym and how you can utilize the best gym management software to manage and grow your gym business.


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#1 Develop a Solid Gym Business Plan

Before you start investing time and money into opening a gym business, learn these things you should know before opening a gym , because you need to have a clear roadmap of how you will achieve success. This is where having a solid gym business plan comes into play.

A business plan outlines the vision for your gym business, including financial projections and operational strategies. Not only does this give you clarity on what steps you need to take next, but it also helps secure funding from investors or lenders.

Your business plan should include details such as target demographics, competition analysis, marketing strategies and financial projections over the next three-to-five years. By having all these details outlined before launching your gym business will set yourself up for success.

#2 Create a Gym Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

In today’s competitive market, having just an ordinary gym won’t cut it. In fact most gyms look pretty much identical inside – treadmills here, weights there – so how will potential clients decide which one they want?

You need something unique that aligns with your customer’s needs. To get ahead of competitors , you need to have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

A USP is what sets your gym apart from others. For example, it could be offering unique amenities such as a sauna or juice bar, having 24/7 availability, or offering group fitness classes.

Having a unique selling proposition gives your gym business an edge over others and can help convert potential clients into members. Having established the importance of the gym industry and a solid business plan, we move on to market research that is crucial in identifying target demographics and their fitness needs.

#3 Conduct Gym Target Market Research

Identifying target demographics and their fitness needs.

If you want to grow a successful gym business, the first thing you should do is identify your target audience. You need to know who your gym is catering to before you even think about opening your doors. If you aren’t sure what target market is right for your gym, be sure to learn how to choose a target market for your gym business so that you can be laser focused with your gym marketing efforts.

Are you targeting young professionals? Stay-at-home moms?

Seniors looking for low-impact exercises? Once you have identified your target demographic, it’s time to figure out what their fitness needs are.

Do they want to lose weight? Build muscle?

Improve flexibility or endurance? It’s important to create a gym environment that caters to these specific needs.

But don’t limit yourself just yet! Keep in mind that people’s fitness goals change over time, so make sure your gym offers a variety of options for different stages of their fitness journey.

Analyzing Competition and Market Trends

Market research also involves analyzing your competitors and keeping up with market trends. You need to know what other gyms in the area are offering and how they are marketing themselves. Are they offering unique amenities or specialized training programs?

Don’t be afraid of competition though – it means there is demand for fitness services in the area! Use this knowledge to make informed decisions about what services and facilities will make your gym stand out from the rest .

Additionally, staying on top of market trends will ensure that your gym stays current with new ideas and innovations in the industry. Whether it’s incorporating virtual reality into workouts or partnering with wellness apps, keeping an eye on trends can help keep your business relevant and competitive.

In short, identifying target demographics along with their needs and desires, as well as analyzing competition along with market trends is essential if you want to open a successful gym business. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to provide unique experiences catered towards customer satisfaction while also standing out from the competition.

#4 Choose a Prime Gym Location

Barrys Bootcamp Gym Entrance Design

Location, Location, Location: Factors to Consider When Selecting a Gym Location

Finding the perfect location for your gym is essential to its success. Your gym should be easily accessible, visible and have ample parking space. If your gym isn’t convenient for potential customers to get to, they will likely choose a competitor with a more convenient location.

You could have the best trainers in the world and top-of-the-line equipment but if people can’t find you or get there easily, it won’t matter. Accessibility means different things depending on where you are located.

A city center will require public transportation options, while a suburban location may need a lot of parking spaces. The accessibility of the location also depends on your target audience.

For example, if you are targeting retirees or an older crowd, you might want to consider opening up near health centers or retirement homes. Visibility is another essential factor when it comes to selecting a gym location.

When people drive by your building, they should know instantly that there is a fitness facility inside. You should make sure that your signs are clear and visible from all angles so that potential customers can easily locate you.

Negotiating Lease Agreements and Building Out the Space

Negotiating gym lease agreements when renting space for your gym can be challenging but necessary. Landlords always want higher rent prices than what’s reasonable so it’s up to you as the tenant to negotiate suitable terms.

Make sure that both parties agree on everything related to rent payments before signing any lease agreements. Once you’ve secured your lease agreement, it’s time to build out your space according to what services/products you plan on offering at this new location.

Building out space requires detailed planning and budgeting for all materials needed including flooring materials such as rubber mats or carpet squares if being installed over concrete floors; mirrors; soundproofing materials; locker rooms and showers for members; and much more. You’ll also need to consider the design of your gym.

The layout should be easy to navigate, with plenty of natural light and an inviting atmosphere. Make sure that equipment is spaced out accordingly, considering the needs of your target audience.

For example, if you’re targeting serious weightlifters, you will need more weight training machines than cardio machines. Location is everything when it comes to owning a gym.

You need to find a convenient location that is visible from all angles and has ample parking space while keeping in mind your target audience’s needs. Once you’ve secured the right spot, negotiating lease agreements and building out the space requires detailed planning and budgeting for everything necessary to make your gym stand out from competitors.

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#5 Select the Best Gym Equipment and Amenities

Gym Equipment Wall Rack Storage

Choosing the Right Fitness Equipment for Your Gym Target Audience

When it comes to equipment, many gym owners make the mistake of trying to please everyone by cramming in as much equipment as possible. However, this strategy is doomed to fail. Instead, you should focus on providing equipment that fits your target audience’s needs.

For instance, if your gym caters to powerlifters, then you shouldn’t waste money on fancy cardio machines they won’t use. One thing I can’t stand is gyms that invest in a ton of flashy high-tech equipment just for show.

Sure, it might look cool and impress potential customers at first glance, but it doesn’t help people get fit. Instead of buying into gimmicky trends like vibrating dumbbells or whatever else the fitness industry is pushing these days, focus on investing in dependable basics that will last.

Offering Unique Amenities to Stand Out from Competitors (e.g. Sauna, Juice Bar)

It’s no secret that there are countless gyms out there all competing for the same customers. So how do you stand out from the crowd?

By offering unique amenities and perks that your competitors don’t have! One amenity that I always appreciate is a sauna or steam room.

Not only does it promote relaxation and aid in muscle recovery after a tough workout, but it can also be a selling point for customers looking for a spa-like experience in addition to their fitness routine. Another amenity worth considering is a juice bar or healthy snack station.

Not only does this give members an easy option for refueling post-workout, but it also helps foster community by providing a space where people can socialize and interact outside of just exercising together. Ultimately, when deciding which amenities to offer at your gym, consider what sets you apart from other gyms in your area and tailor your offerings accordingly.

#6 Hire Gym Staff and Implement Training

Hiring qualified personal trainers and fitness club support staff.

One of the most important aspects of running a successful gym business is hiring qualified trainers and support staff. This can make or break your gym’s reputation, as members are paying not only for access to equipment but also for expert guidance in their fitness journeys. When hiring trainers, it is essential to prioritize qualifications over personality.

While a trainer with a friendly personality can be appealing, they must also have the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively train clients. Look for certifications such as NASM, ACE or ACSM that shows their commitment towards education.

Additionally, ensure that your support staff has experience in customer service roles. They should be able to handle member inquiries and complaints professionally and effectively.

Providing ongoing training opportunities to ensure quality service

Hiring qualified staff is only the first step in ensuring quality service at your gym. It is equally crucial to provide ongoing training opportunities for your team to keep them up-to-date on industry trends, new technologies, and best practices. Investing in regular professional development sessions or bringing in outside experts can help keep your team’s skills sharp and provide them with fresh ideas on how to better serve members’ needs.

Furthermore, providing continuing education opportunities helps keep employees engaged and invested in their work at your facility. It communicates that you value their growth as professionals while ensuring they stay motivated.

Staffing plays a critical role in the success of any gym business venture. Taking the time and effort to hire qualified trainers & support staffs while providing ongoing training opportunities will not only improve member satisfaction but will also drive revenue growth for years to come.

  • Best Gym Staff Management Software
  • How to Hire Gym Staff and Build an A+ Team

#7 Launch Gym Marketing Strategies

Developing a strong gym brand identity.

One of the most important aspects of growing a successful gym business is developing a strong brand identity. Your brand is what sets you apart from your competitors and makes your business unique.

A strong brand will not only attract potential customers but also help retain current members. So how do you develop a strong brand identity for your gym?

First and foremost, focus on creating a clear and consistent message that resonates with your target audience. Are you catering to hardcore fitness enthusiasts or everyday gym-goers?

Once you know your target audience, develop messaging that speaks to their needs and goals. This will help build trust and loyalty among members.

Another important aspect of building a strong brand is creating a visual identity that reflects your gym’s personality and values. This includes designing an appealing logo, selecting color schemes that evoke certain emotions, and choosing imagery that aligns with your messaging.

Utilizing Social Media Platforms to Reach Potential Customers

In today’s digital age, social media has become an essential tool for businesses looking to expand their reach and connect with potential customers. As such, it’s crucial for gym owners to have an active presence on social media platforms like Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. To make the most out of social media marketing for gyms, it’s important to understand the unique strengths of each platform.

For example, Instagram is ideal for sharing visually appealing images/videos of workouts or healthy meals while Twitter might be better suited for quick updates or motivational messages. Regardless of which platforms you use, it’s important to keep content fresh and engaging by posting regularly (at least once per day) and using hashtags effectively to reach new audiences.

Hosting Events and Promotions to Attract New Members

Yet importantly hosting events can be an effective way to attract new members to your gym. For example, you can host a free introductory workout class for newcomers or offer discounted rates for new members signing up during a promotional period. Other ideas include partnering with local businesses to offer joint promotions or hosting charity events that bring the community together while raising awareness of your brand. Learn gym event ideas and how to find the best gym software with event management to get your creative juices going.

Ultimately, the key to successful event marketing is creativity, so don’t be afraid to take risks and think outside the box when planning your promotions. Whether it’s offering a unique incentive or partnering with a local influencer, finding ways to differentiate yourself will help you stand out in a crowded market.

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  • How to Market a Gym

#8 Choose Gym Membership Options: Flexible Plans and Upselling

Flexible membership plans: catering to different budgets and fitness goals.

One of the biggest mistakes gym owners make is assuming that all members have the same fitness goals and budget . This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In order to truly grow your gym business, you need to offer flexible membership plans that cater to different budgets and fitness goals. For example, some members may only want access to cardio equipment while others may want access to a range of strength training equipment.

Some may be interested in attending group classes while others prefer working out alone. By offering a variety of membership plans, you can attract a wider range of customers and increase revenue streams.

It’s important to do market research before deciding on the types of memberships you offer. Look at your competition and see what they’re offering, but also consider taking it one step further by creating unique membership packages that set you apart from competitors.

Upselling Personal Training Sessions or Other Services

While flexible membership plans are important for attracting new members, upselling additional fitness services is critical for increasing revenue per member. One effective way to upsell is by offering personal training sessions.

Not only do personal trainers provide additional value for members by helping them achieve their fitness goals faster, but they also generate significant revenue for your business. You can also consider adding other services such as nutrition coaching or massage therapy sessions that appeal to your target demographics. Read more to learn how to market nutrition services at a gym .

These types of services not only provide an additional source of revenue but also increase member loyalty since they’re getting more value from their membership. However, it’s important not to oversell these services and make them feel like a constant sales pitch every time they enter the gym.

Members should always feel like these services are optional add-ons rather than mandatory purchases. Offering flexible membership plans and upselling additional services is critical for growing your gym business.

By catering to different budgets and fitness goals, you can attract a wider range of customers and increase revenue streams. Additionally, upselling additional services such as personal training or nutrition coaching provides additional value for members while generating significant revenue for your business.

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#9 Focus on Customer Retention

Creating a welcoming atmosphere for gym members.

One of the most important aspects of running a successful gym business is creating an environment that makes members feel welcome and appreciated. A well-lit, clean and spacious space with modern equipment is simply not enough to keep members coming back. Members need to feel like they belong, like they are part of a community that values their presence.

To create this sense of community, gym owners need to invest in customer service training for staff. Staff should be friendly, knowledgeable and attentive to member needs.

They should greet every member by name when they enter the gym and inquire about their fitness goals or progress. They should also be available to answer questions or provide assistance as needed.

In addition, consider offering classes or events that promote social interaction among members. This could include group fitness classes such as yoga or boot camp, or special events such as charity runs or nutrition workshops.

Implementing loyalty programs or referral incentives

Loyalty programs and referral incentives are critical tools for retaining customers in the competitive gym industry. They reward members for their loyalty while also encouraging them to bring new business through referrals. Loyalty programs can take many forms – from rewards points that can be redeemed for merchandise or services, to free membership upgrades based on length of membership. Use the best gym software with loyalty program management and best gym software with referral management to streamline your gym’s loyalty and referral programs.

The key is making sure the program offers real value to members without breaking the bank. Referral incentives can also be effective if done properly.

For example, offer current members a free month’s membership if they refer a friend who signs up for at least three months. This not only incentivizes current members but also encourages them to spread positive word-of-mouth about your gym.

Ultimately, keeping customers engaged and invested in your gym requires ongoing effort and investment in customer service and loyalty programs. But the payoff – long-term retention of valuable customers – is well worth it.

#10 Implement Gym Financial Management

Budgeting for gym expenses such as rent, equipment maintenance, staffing costs.

One of the most important aspects of running a successful gym business is budgeting properly. Without a solid financial plan in place, it’s easy to overspend and put your business at risk.

When creating a budget, it’s essential to factor in all expenses including rent, equipment maintenance and staffing costs. Firstly, let’s talk about rent.

Location is key when it comes to owning a gym. You want to be in an area that is accessible and visible to potential customers.

However, prime locations often come with high rental costs. Therefore, you need to factor in rent as part of your monthly expenses.

Make sure you have realistic projections for membership numbers so you can estimate how much revenue you’ll be bringing in each month. Secondly, equipment maintenance costs should also be included in your budget.

Gym equipment is expensive and when it breaks down or needs repairs, it could cost a lot of money depending on the severity of the problem. It’s important to invest in high-quality equipment that will last longer and require less maintenance over time.

Staffing costs are another expense that should not be overlooked when creating a budget for your gym business. The quality of trainers can make or break the success of your gym so investing in qualified trainers is key for ensuring customer satisfaction and retention.

Monitoring revenue streams through financial reports

Once you have created a well-thought-out budget plan, it’s crucial to monitor revenue streams through financial reports regularly. Monitoring financial reports allows you to track your progress towards reaching business goals such as profitability or growth. There are various reports that gyms should keep track of including income statements and cash flow statements which help track money coming into the business versus money going out of the business over time periods such as weekly or monthly periods.

Analyzing these reports allows you to identify areas where you can cut costs and optimize profitability. For example, if your gym is spending too much on marketing but not seeing a high return on investment, you can adjust your strategy to focus more on cost-effective methods.

Overall, having a solid financial management plan in place is essential for any gym business looking to succeed in the long term. By budgeting accurately and monitoring revenue streams through financial reports, you’ll be able to make informed decisions that will help grow your business over time.

How can I increase my gym profit?

To increase your gym profit, you can consider offering additional services like personal training and nutrition counseling, implementing value-added memberships with exclusive perks, optimizing your pricing structure, focusing on customer retention through exceptional service and loyalty programs, enhancing member engagement through Exercise.com’s gym management software, upselling products and merchandise, and maximizing facility usage through partnerships and rentals.

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How can I increase my gym clients?

To attract and retain more clients for your gym, you can implement targeted marketing campaigns using Exercise.com’s marketing tools, establish a strong online presence through a professional website and social media, leverage referral programs to encourage word-of-mouth referrals, form partnerships with local businesses to expand your reach, host open house events, utilize online advertising platforms, offer trial memberships or free introductory classes, and provide an exceptional member experience through Exercise.com’s gym management software.

How can I differentiate my gym from competitors?

To differentiate your gym from competitors, you can focus on offering unique services or programs, emphasizing your gym’s strengths or specialization, providing exceptional customer service, creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, and leveraging Exercise.com’s gym management software to deliver a personalized and seamless member experience.

How can I retain gym members and reduce churn?

To retain gym members and reduce churn, you can implement strategies such as offering personalized attention and support, providing ongoing motivation and goal tracking through Exercise.com’s platform, organizing member challenges or events to foster community engagement, continuously updating and diversifying your offerings to meet member needs, and regularly seeking and acting upon member feedback to improve their experience.

How can I effectively market my gym on a limited budget?

Even with a limited budget, you can effectively market your gym by utilizing cost-effective digital marketing strategies such as social media marketing, content marketing through a blog or YouTube channel, leveraging online directories and review platforms, implementing referral programs to incentivize word-of-mouth marketing, and leveraging Exercise.com’s marketing tools to target specific demographics and track campaign performance.

How can I leverage social media to promote my gym?

Social media can be a powerful tool to promote your gym. You can create engaging and shareable content, showcase member success stories, offer exclusive promotions or giveaways, collaborate with fitness influencers or local businesses, encourage user-generated content through challenges or contests, and use Exercise.com’s platform to streamline social media management and track engagement metrics.

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How can I expand my gym’s reach beyond the local community?

To expand your gym’s reach beyond the local community, you can leverage Exercise.com’s custom branded fitness apps to offer online workout programs for sale , nutrition services, or virtual training sessions, create engaging content on your website or blog that attracts a broader audience, partner with fitness influencers or brands to reach their followers, and utilize online advertising to target specific demographics or geographic areas outside your local market.

How can Exercise.com help me grow my gym business?

Exercise.com’s gym management software can help you grow your gym business by streamlining operations, automating administrative tasks, membership management, scheduling, and billing. It also enhances the member experience through personalized communication, targeted marketing campaigns, and goal tracking. With Exercise.com’s platform, you can engage with your members, offer specialized services, sell products and merchandise, and foster a sense of community through custom branded fitness apps. Overall, Exercise.com provides the tools and features to help you optimize your operations, attract and retain clients, and drive the growth of your gym business.

Get Started Growing a Gym Business

Growing a gym business is not an easy feat, but with hard work and dedication it’s definitely possible. There are many factors to consider, from identifying your target audience and location, to selecting the right equipment and staff.

However, by following these key points outlined above you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving gym business.

Market research is crucial when starting any business, but especially for gyms. It’s important to understand the demographics of your target audience and their fitness needs in order to provide them with the best service possible.

Additionally, analyzing competition and market trends will help you stay ahead of the game. Location is also essential in creating a successful gym business.

Accessibility, visibility, parking – these are all factors that potential customers will consider when choosing a gym. Negotiating lease agreements and building out the space can also be costly – so it’s important to budget accordingly.

Equipment selection should be based on your target audience as well as any unique amenities you’re offering. Providing high-quality training staff will also set your gym apart from competitors.

Ongoing training opportunities for staff members will ensure that they are able to provide quality service for members. Marketing strategies can make or break a gym business – having a strong brand identity through social media platforms and hosting events/promotions can attract new members.

Offering flexible membership plans while upselling personal training sessions or other services will also generate revenue streams. Customer retention is essential in keeping members coming back – creating a welcoming atmosphere and implementing loyalty programs/referral incentives can help foster long-term relationships between members and gym staff.

Overall, growing a successful gym business requires passion for fitness as well as strategic planning skills. By following these key points I’ve outlined above you’ll be on track towards building a thriving community of fitness enthusiasts at your very own gym!

Overhead Squat FMS

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how to open a gym business plan

How to Create a Business Plan for Your Gym

Crafting a gym business plan that prioritizes modern technology can help your new fitness business succeed.

how to open a gym business plan

A passion for fitness alone isn't enough to open a gym. If you want your business to thrive, you must create a roadmap for success. Gym business plans outline your business's goals and strategies to help you reach those goals, providing a structured framework for decision-making, resource allocation, and long-term growth.

Let’s explore everything you need to know to craft a successful business plan for your gym.

Why Do You Need a Gym Business Plan?

Writing a business plan can feel daunting, and you may wonder if it's worth the time and resources. While you may feel overwhelmed now, pausing to plan offers significant benefits.

Improves Success

A well-thought-out business plan improves your chances of success and accelerates growth. Studies show that entrepreneurs with formal business plans are more likely to succeed .

Additionally, companies with well-developed plans grow 30 percent faster than those without. Why? A strategic business plan creates a path toward achieving important milestones. It outlines specific strategies, timelines, and measurable targets, enabling you to track progress and adjust as needed.

Helps Secure Funding

Whether you're seeking a loan or attracting investors, a comprehensive business plan is essential to secure funding for your gym. Potential investors and banks typically require a business plan that includes market data and opportunity, a high-level marketing and growth plan, and projected costs and revenue.

Crafting Your Gym Business Plan With Modern Technology at The Forefront

With over 32,000 United States health clubs vying for members, new gyms must incorporate modern technology in their business plans to outperform their competitors.

"Technology spans nearly every element of the modern gym environment," says Randy Hetrick, Founder and CEO of OutFit Training. "From member acquisition, utilization, and retention analytics to scheduling, billing, goal setting, program design, biometric analysis, and more – technology touches nearly every aspect of a modern club."

In today’s rapidly evolving fitness landscape, adopting a tech-forward strategy isn't optional; it's a necessity.

Benefits of a Tech-Driven Business Approach

Improves member retention.

Providing a location to pump iron and break a sweat isn't enough to retain members. In fact, most gyms lose 50% of new members within six months of joining. Today, gym goers demand more than just equipment. They want a seamless experience that takes their fitness to the next level. Incorporating modern technology, such as personalized workout apps, virtual classes, and progress tracking, enhances your member's experience and improves retention.

Streamlines Operations

Repetitive administrative tasks are a time suck for gym owners. Ditch the spreadsheets and opt for a more efficient gym management strategy by investing in gym management software. Gym management software streamlines fitness facility operations by centralizing tasks like member registration, class scheduling, and billing. It also automates routine processes, like membership renewals and payments, reducing administrative work and minimizing errors.

Diversifies Revenue Streams

The demand for online exercise courses has increased 132% year-over-year. This trend presents opportunities for gym owners interested in diversifying their revenue streams and bringing in more money.

Offering virtual workouts caters to individuals who may be too busy to visit the gym every day. It can also help boost in-person attendance by 12%. This means not only meeting the needs of those who prefer the flexibility of virtual workouts but also encouraging more people to show up at the gym when they can. It’s a win-win situation for gym owners looking to adapt to changing preferences and attract a broader audience.

The Core Components of a Tech-Driven Gym Business Plan

Now that you understand the importance of a business plan and technology's role in helping your gym thrive, let's explore the essential elements aspiring entrepreneurs should include when crafting their strategies.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary serves as a bird's eye view of your gym, providing insights into your business model at a glance. This section introduces your business idea to readers and includes your mission statement, goals, leadership, operations, and locations.

Products and Services

This section outlines the range of products and services your gym will offer. Here, you should provide pricing information and detail your services' unique features and benefits, emphasizing how technology will enhance the overall fitness experience for your members.

Market Analysis

If you want to turn your dreams of gym ownership into a reality, you need to understand consumer behaviors in your area and economic trends in the fitness industry. In this section, delve into your local market, identifying target demographics, competitors, and potential growth areas. Analyze the demand for tech-driven fitness solutions and showcase how your gym is positioned to meet and exceed these market needs.

Marketing Strategy

This section should detail your marketing strategy, outlining how you plan to promote your gym and attract members. Include both traditional and digital marketing approaches, like social media marketing. A well-crafted marketing strategy will include strategies for building brand awareness, promoting special offers, and fostering community engagement.

Financial Projections

This section should outline your gym's financial planning and projections. If you already own a fitness business, include your financial statements from the previous two years, a listing of current or desired equipment to be purchased, and other relevant financial documents.

Aspiring gym owners should provide detailed financial projections, including revenue forecasts, expense estimates, and expected profit margins. If you need funding, include details about the financial assistance your gym will require. Most likely, you already know your business growth path. Demonstrating that growth path to third parties will help you unlock the funding you need to spur things into action.

The Importance of Financial Forecasting

Opening a gym is not for the faint of heart. Industry professionals estimate that 81% of fitness studios fail in their first year. This failure rate is often due to insufficient funds. If you want to avoid becoming a negative statistic, it’s essential to have a realistic financial plan in place before you open. Financial projections can help establish a budget and create benchmarks toward achieving your gym’s financial goals.

Creating Data-Driven Financial Projections

Financial projections predict the future income and expenses of your gym. This information helps you anticipate financial needs, set realistic goals, and demonstrate your business’s viability and potential success to investors.

Steps to Create a Financial Projections

Collect relevant data.

Established gyms can consult their historical data, like past financial statements, when crafting their financial forecast. However, aspiring gym owners with no historical data must conduct more research. Helpful data to explore when creating financial forecasts includes comparable market research (local and national), industry benchmarks, and analyst reports.

Forecast Expenses

Typical gym expenses vary widely from facility to facility. Opening a gym can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million. When creating your financial forecast, consider the cost of opening a gym and ongoing operational expenses like staff salaries, insurance, the cost to lease property, and marketing.

Forecast Sales

Make a list of your planned revenue streams and project the monthly sales for each. Possible revenue streams for gyms include memberships, merchandise, digital classes, and personal training. Use the data you collected at the beginning of this process to make sales predictions. Remember that revenue tends to ramp up over time, so include a reasonable growth rate for revenue, start at $0, and build into what you believe is realistic.

Forecasting Profit

To forecast your net profit, compare how much money you plan to spend on the business with your predicted revenue. Demonstrating a path to profitability will show your lenders or investors (and most importantly, yourself) that your gym can be a successful and profitable operation.

Innovative Marketing Strategies for the Modern Gym

You could have talented trainers, high-tech equipment, and unique classes, but if no one knows your gym exists, you won't stay open long. including a comprehensive marketing strategy in your business plan is essential to attract new members. this strategy should include a variety of digital channels and outline what techniques you plan to utilize to reach your target audience., create a well-designed website.

Today's consumers expect businesses to have a website. Nearly everyone conducts online research before making a purchase. If you want to be on your target audience's radar, you must provide them with the opportunity to learn about your gym online.

If it's in your budget, we recommend working with a website designer. Poorly designed websites can do more harm than good, driving away potential customers. Skilled website designers will ensure that your website looks professional and is easy for users to navigate.

Optimize for Search Engines

Many business owners think having a website is enough to get discovered. However, creating a professional-looking site is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want your business to show up when prospects search for gyms in their area, you must invest in search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO enhances your website's visibility by optimizing your site's content and structure to rank higher in search results. This makes it more likely that prospects will find your business. Tools like Semrush and Ahrefs can help you identify keywords to include on your site that may help improve your ranking. Given how tricky SEO can be, having a pro in your corner can make things way easier and boost your gym's online game.

Implement Social Media Marketing

With over 302 million social media users in the United States alone, social media marketing helps gyms reach a wider audience. Leveraging platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok allows fitness establishments to connect with potential clients, share engaging content, and build a community around their brand.

When crafting your social media marketing strategy, include multiple social platforms. Today, the average user engages with up to seven platforms a month . Creating content across different platforms aligns with user behavior and maximizes your gym's visibility.

Utilize Email Marketing

As other digital marketing strategies have arisen, you may wonder if email marketing is still relevant. Let’s set the record straight. With 99% of email users checking their inbox daily , email marketing remains an effective tool for reaching and engaging your target audience.

Gym owners can utilize email marketing to promote special offers, fitness challenges, and exclusive content to their members.

Leveraging Technology to Enhance Your Members’ Experience

When deciding what products and services you want to include in your business plan, consider ways you can integrate technology into the workout experience. Offering fitness tools beyond the standard free weights and cardio machines will help improve your members' health journey and help you stand out from competitors.

Member Apps

If you want to attract tech-savvy members, Randy Hetrick recommends investing in a gym app, saying,"Start with a great member app that engages, challenges, and rewards your members for exhibiting the behaviors that will deliver the results they seek."

Not techy enough to create an app yourself? No worries. Gym management software often includes custom-branded member apps as part of their software solution. These apps allow members to view and reserve classes, track workouts, and access digital exercise programs.

Remote Training

While some people enjoy going to the gym to pump iron, 56.1% of exercisers prefer working out at home . Offering remote training options like digital personal training or online classes can help you tap into this market and add another revenue stream to your business.

Wearable Tech

As fitness technology advances, exercisers have become increasingly interested in tracking their health data. Nearly one-third of Americans use wearable tech like smartwatches to track metrics like steps, heart rate, and burned calories.

Recognizing consumer interest in this trend, successful fitness brands like Orangetheory Fitness utilize smart tech in their workouts. This provides members with helpful information on their health and facilitates friendly competition.

Consider elevating your gym’s membership experience by investing in customized wearable tech for your members. Providing devices like MyZone trackers at the beginning of each training session lets you gamify classes through leaderboards showcasing individual efforts.

Smart Equipment

With 38% of gym goers citing equipment as their primary reason for visiting their gym, investing in quality exercise tools is crucial. Smart equipment like Peloton bikes and Tonal strength machines track users' progress and provide real-time feedback. This data allows individuals to refine their exercise techniques, prevent injuries, and optimize their workout efficiency.

Gym Pricing Strategies and Membership Models

Determining the right pricing strategy for your gym can be tricky. If you charge too much, you'll scare away your target audience. On the flip side, if you charge too little, you'll hurt your bottom line.

To strike the right balance, examine your forecasted expenses and research your competitors' pricing. This will give you a strong idea of how much money you need to bring in each month to stay profitable and how much you can charge to remain competitive in the market. Below are standard pricing model options that may be a good fit for your business.

Monthly Memberships

Monthly memberships are one of the most popular membership models among gyms. These plans have a fixed monthly fee that grants members access to gym facilities and services.

Tiered Memberships

Membership plans structured in tiers offer varying levels of access to amenities and services based on the chosen tier. Higher tiers often come with additional benefits at a higher cost.

Class Packages

If your gym offers a variety of classes, you may want to consider offering class packages. This membership option allows members to purchase packages that include a set number of classes allowing flexibility in attendance.

Measuring Success: Key Metrics to Track in Your Business

After creating a gym business plan, ensure it stays on track by using metrics to monitor its progress. Research shows that companies that track their progress are more likely to achieve their business goals . While the best metrics to track will vary from business to business, keeping tabs on the following metrics will give you valuable insights into the health and growth of your gym.

Net Profit Margin

Net Profit Margin is a profitability ratio that calculates the percentage of net profit relative to total revenue. Your net profit margin is one of your gym's most important financial health indicators. This metric helps determine how much of every dollar your make is kept as profit.

Gross Profit Margin

Gross Profit Margin is the percentage of revenue left after subtracting the cost of products and services sold (like labor, equipment, and other consumables), showing how well a gym manages its core operations.

Revenue Growth

Revenue growth is the percentage increase in total income over a specific period, reflecting the expansion or contraction of the business. It's important for gyms (and all businesses) because steady revenue growth indicates an increasing demand for your services.

Member Retention Rate

Your gym's member retention rate is the percentage of members retained over a set time period. A high retention rate indicates happy clients that contribute to a consistent revenue stream.

Member Growth Rate

Your gym's member growth rate reflects the percentage increase in members over a specific period. A higher growth indicates an increase in popularity and will likely increase revenue.

Bottom Line

Opening a successful gym requires a little planning. But, investing time into crafting a strategic business plan increases your likelihood of success and improves your chances of receiving funding. Check out the U.S. Small Business Administration's resources for more information about creating a business plan.

More Advice for Gym Owners

  • Best Gym Management Software
  • Ultimate Guide to Opening a Gym
  • Grow Your Gym: Capitalize on Fitness Business Trends
  • Best Fitness Industry Events for Fitness Professionals
  • How to Increase Gym Membership Sales

Intro to Gym Equipment Financing for Gym Owners

  • Harvard Business Review. Research: Writing a Business Plan Makes Your Startup More Likely to Suceed
  • Bplans. Do You Need a Business Plan? Scientific Research Says Yes
  • IHRSA. Media Center
  • IHRSA. The 2020 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report
  • IHRSA. How to Build a Successful Health Club Franchise Model
  • Power Reviews. Survey: The Ever-Growing Power of Reviews (2023 Edition)
  • socPub. 5 Mobile Marketing Mistakes and How to Fix Them
  • Statista. Social Media Usage in the United States-Statistics & Facts
  • Forbes. Top Social Media Statistics And Trends of 2024
  • Optinmonster. Is Email Marketing Dead? Statistics Say: Not a Chance.
  • GoodFirms. At-Home Fitness Regime Is the Top Fitness Trend in 2022: GoodFirms' Survey
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Study Reveals Wearable Device Trends Among U.S. Adults
  • BDC. SMEs and Growth: Challenges and Winning Strategies
  • U.S. Small Business Administration. Plan Your Business

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Written and reviewed by:.

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Our independent reviews are funded in part by affiliate commissions, at no extra cost to our readers.

The cost of living crisis has hit many UK households hard. With NI increases and rising taxes, consumers are aiming to minimise their expenditure. But not, it seems, when it comes to gym memberships.

Figures from the annual State of UK Fitness Industry Report, published by the Leisure Database Company (Leisure DB) show that, in March 2023, the UK fitness sector increased by 11.5% year-on-year. This was due to a rise in average monthly membership fees, despite individuals apparently cutting back on spending.

The good news is that, if you’re a fitness professional or personal trainer looking to start your own gym business, you will still have a huge share of people interested. But so too will your competitors. New gym owners now need to use smart strategic planning to stand out against rivals and give consumers clever incentives to continue spending money with your firm.

Luckily, we’ve been helping startups to establish and grow for over two decades, and we’re experts in the challenges ahead. In this article, we’ll take you through the top priorities you need to think about when starting a gym business, in areas like finance, marketing, and health and safety.

By the end, you’ll know everything you need to write a commercial gym business plan that would make even Joe Wicks proud.

There's a huge amount of planning that needs to go into launching a gym. Thankfully, one area which needn't cause undue stress is creating a website to promote your business. Thanks to modern templates like the one below , you can create one of your own in under an hour.

Gym Website Template

At Startups.co.uk, we test and rate website builder tools, and we've identified Wix as one of the best you can choose for creating a business site. Wix even has a selection of  custom website templates designed specifically for gyms  – you simply drop your own company information, wording and preferred imagery into your chosen template. Better still, it's completely  free to try  for yourself.

This article will cover:

How has covid-19 changed the industry, how much does it cost to launch a gym, how do you find a good gym premises, how should you price your gym, are you qualified to start a gym business, how should you market your gym.

At Startups.co.uk, we're here to help small UK businesses to get started, grow and succeed. We have helpful resources for helping new businesses get off the ground – you can use the tool below to get started today.

What Does Your Business Need Help With?

Market size intro data viz

If you’re considering starting a gym business, you’re likely feeling nervous about the state of the industry and the possible impact that future lockdowns might have.

The pandemic has been difficult for all businesses, but its impact has been particularly harsh on gyms and exercise facilities, as three national lockdowns forced the closure of facilities all over the UK.

For many gym owners, the impact was devastating. The Gym Group, one of Britain’s largest low-cost gym operators, reported revenue losses of 48% as it said goodbye to 200,000 members in 2020 alone.

However, post-Covid, much of this damage seems to have been reversed. Going to the gym topped the list of activities people were most looking forward to when coronavirus restrictions were lifted. As lockdown measures were relaxed, The Gym Group’s shares jumped by 28% in 2021 – recouping virtually all of its earlier losses – whilst ClassPass recorded a 600% week-on-week increase in the number of new members attending fitness classes.

All of this paints a confusing picture of potential negatives, and cause for optimism. So what post-Covid considerations do you need to make if you’re looking to start your own gym business?

How has Covid-19 impacted gym health and safety?

Right now, one of the biggest concerns people have about returning to the gym is the threat of contracting Covid-19, as workout spaces can be a common environment for germs. That means cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitising are three of the top priorities for new gym owners. Things like hand sanitiser stations and face masks have become the norm.

You can create your own cleaning and hygiene routines around these three simples steps:

  • Train all your employees to ensure personal hygiene (e.g. washing hands) and disinfecting procedures. Employees should learn how to safely use disinfectants, and wear PPE when cleaning.
  • Have a daily cleaning schedule for employees to follow to ensure the facility is cleaned regularly.
  • Document your cleaning practices to ensure that all facility disinfecting is being accomplished daily.

You could also hire third-party cleaning staff to manage this area of your business. Most commercial cleaners charge by the hour or by the square foot. For an hourly rate, you can expect to pay anything between £18 – £40, but if the company charges by the square foot, costs average around £0.25 per square foot.

Another important reason for investing in health and safety is to reassure customers that you are making their work out area safe and hygienic. Make sure you shout about the many ways you are working to protect clients from COVID-19 and other illnesses, by putting up flyers and signs. You can also require your employees and customers to wear a mask, unless they are exempt.

What if there’s another lockdown?

It’s impossible to say what the impact of another lockdown would be or might look like. However, judging by previous legislation, gyms will most likely be at risk of closure.

If that happens, you could lose members and start to run out of money very quickly. Surveys estimate that UK fitness clubs lost an average of £470,000 in revenue between March 2020 and April 2021 – or just over £36,000 per month.

Though staff member salaries may still be covered by the government, you’ll still have a lot of overheads to consider, such as rental costs. The best way to evaluate whether you could afford to open your gym is to look at your cash reserves.

Reserves refer to any earnings that can be put aside and used by your business during unforeseen events and emergencies. They can take a lot of different forms, for example, a capital reserve might be any cash you would receive from selling your assets.

Meeting with a third-party accountant is the best way to work out how much money you might have in cash reserves, and whether this would be enough to tide you over in another lockdown.

Can people be tempted back from home exercising?

The Leisure-Net Team’s National Post Lockdown Recovery Survey found that 48% of respondents said they had been more, or the same level of, active during lockdown, implying many respondents had continued to WFH (workout from home).

Changing demand and habits from your gym users will influence your business model. So, how popular has home exercising become? Will your gym be trumped by online fitness classes and YouTube yoga sessions?

Not necessarily. In the same survey, a huge majority of respondents (88%) said they still planned to use gym facilities more or the same amount when they reopened, suggesting that fitness centres remain sought-after.

Daniel Herman fitness business founder

Daniel Herman is founder and director of BioSynergy , a sales website for fitness products . Herman says: “In the long term, I think Covid-19 will have a positive impact on the sector, as it has increased awareness about the importance of health and fitness beyond sport and aesthetics. I think in future, the industry will have to embrace a multi-channel approach to meet the differing needs and requirements of their members.”

Gyms across the UK had to adapt quickly to the coronavirus lockdowns, doing everything from renting their equipment to clients, to streaming fitness sessions directly into people’s homes.

Take advantage of the change, and look to attract the new home-fitness audience that has emerged during lockdown. For example, you could offer free trial sessions for people who began working out from home and might now be looking to transition to a gym environment.

Key takeaways:

  • Create a health and safety strategy to ensure customers feel safe using your facilities.
  • Make sure you have enough cash reserve to survive another lockdown before opening a gym.
  • Think about adapting your services for home exercising

Starting a gym business is an expensive venture. The average initial investment cost when opening a mid-sized, commercial gym is around £80,000-£100,000. If you are only willing or able to invest less than this, you might want to start with something smaller, like a fitness studio.

Barry Cronin is executive director at Central London YMCA , a fitness studio . Cronin tells us: “The fitness industry is very difficult to get a foothold in now. To get a financial return you have to have the right site, the right size, in the right place, with the right market – it sounds obvious but if you look around, most of the single sites that are failing just don't fulfil that simple criteria.”

Purchasing equipment

Gym equipment is an expensive area to invest in. How much you spend depends on the amount and type of equipment you want, but you should expect to budget at least £35,000 for a fully-equipped inventory.

Here’s a handy breakdown of the average costs for some of the most popular commercial gym machines:

A good rule of thumb is to have enough equipment for 15% of your membership list to use in a given hour. So, if you have 200 members, you’ll need to have 30 machines. Based on our above chart, that means an initial upfront cost of £34,800 just for equipment.

If this sounds out of your price range, don’t give up straight away. Some websites, like Powerhouse Fitness allow you to purchase commercial gym equipment on finance.

And be sure to shop around – brand new equipment isn’t entirely necessary if you’re looking to save money. Used commercial equipment websites, like gymkituk.com , can supply second-hand materials at a more affordable price.

Renting equipment 

Another good way to save money upfront on commercial gym equipment is to rent it from a third-party provider. Here’s how the estimated costs compare for buying vs. renting equipment, based on prices given by equipment hire company, Hire Fitness .

For purchasing and owning your gym equipment, we calculated an initial upfront cost of around £39,500 for 200 members. In comparison, one month of renting equipment would cost an estimated £2,048 based on this chart.

However, this might be beneficial in the short term – particularly as you build up your client base – but rental costs quickly become more expensive in the long term. Based on these estimates, if you bought your equipment outright, you would see a return on your investment within 18 months when compared to hiring.

Hollie Grant Portrait

Hollie Grant is founder of Pilates PT , a fitness studio in Fulham. Grant says: “The financial side of the business is always the most important consideration. Whenever I have been tempted to scale the studio up and take on a bigger space or move to group classes, the numbers just do not work. Whatever your heart tells you, you must be able to back it up with financial security!”

how to open a gym business plan

Pilates PT studio

Opening a gym via franchising

For a more cost-friendly route to opening your gym, you should use a fitness franchise. There are a number of established fitness chains which offer you the chance to open a gym, or offer fitness services, at one of their existing sites; giving you a headstart on location and market.

Anytime Fitness is one of the leading health chains in this sector and operates over 5,000 franchise gym outlets in seven continents, having initially launched in 2012. It offers a franchise package for minimum liquid capital investment of £170,000, which includes everything from support and training through to access to marketing materials.

Accounting software

Keeping on top of your finances is tricky, which is why a third-party accounting software option is a great way to manage your budget and revenue.

Marlena Bueschl is director of Surge Fitness , an EMS personal training company . Bueschl says: “Initially, we outsourced all accounting and book-keeping to allow us to focus on the operational aspects of getting our studio up and running. We soon realised however, that bringing the process in-house would give us access to much more tailored and directed financial and management information.

From a software perspective, we use Quickbooks, which fits our requirements very well. Far more important however, is the way and extent that the accounting system can integrate with other processes, such as the CRM and billing systems. Choosing providers from the start that offer deep integrations will save many, many hours of work.”

The right platform can help you automate your accounting process to be as efficient as possible. If you want to know more, read our expert guide to the best accounting software for small businesses.

Surge Fitness studio

Surge Fitness studio

Employing staff

When you first open your doors, you will likely be the primary fitness instructor and oversee most of the training and direct contact with your members. However, you may want to employ personal trainers from the get-go for more specialist fitness areas, like pilates or yoga.

Before taking on new staff, you need to check their training and accreditation carefully. Consider making test classes or personal training sessions a part of the interview process to see how they interact with members before committing to keeping them as an employee.

You should also ask yourself whether you want to hire staff as employees or independent freelancers, as the latter might make more sense budget-wise if you’re only expecting to run classes for a few hours a week per instructor.

To get a full understanding of the different types of accreditation necessary for each fitness trainer role, you can use the CIMSPA professional standards library for a detailed breakdown of every requirement.

  • You should budget around £35,000 for purchasing equipment, based on a gym with 200 members.
  • You’ll get more long-term value from buying gym equipment than renting.
  • Franchising can save you money during the startup period.
  • Accounting software is a great way to manage your finances.
  • If you’re employing staff, make sure they have all the right accreditation, and think about hiring freelancers to keep costs down.

Location is crucial when starting your own gym. The IHRSA, a not-for-profit trade organisation representing health and fitness facilities, found that on average, 50% of gym users quit their gym within 6 months , with the majority citing inconvenient locations as their main leaving factor.

According to US-based marketing firm, Dstillery the average gym goer does not travel more than 4 miles to exercise. Basing yourself near denser populations is a good way to increase your consumer share – as Stephen Sharkey, owner of Thrive Fitness , agrees. Sharkey says: “Don't even consider starting up in an area that has less than 70,000 people within a six minute drive.”

How do you find the right building? The recommendation for the amount of space you need in a fitness centre – not including communal areas and bathrooms – is 10-15 square feet per person. That means you’d need a work out space of around 1,000 square feet for every 100 monthly members.

When looking at a premises, you should also consider if it has:

  • Room for a cafe/seating area
  • Office space for admin work
  • Space for locker room and shower amenities
  • Lifts and disability access
  • Room for expansion

How does location impact your prices?

Where your gym is located can also have a huge impact on your service prices. For example, here is the cost of a monthly gym pass for Nuffield Health, based on five different UK locations.

Nuffield Health locations

Usually, this price difference is due to rental costs. For example, here is a line chart to illustrate how Nuffield Health’s five gym locations compare to each area’s average property cost.

Nuffield Health location and cost ratio

As the chart shows, the price of a monthly membership at each gym location increases or decreases alongside each area’s average monthly rental cost. This means that when costing for your gym startup, take into account where you are located as it will impact how you price and market your business.

  • Make sure a space has all the listed facilities before purchasing.
  • Look for large populations when finding a location.
  • Think about how your location will impact your cost – areas with higher rental costs will not only impact your budget, but also your pricing model.

Gym membership prices usually have lots of different payment options to suit all walks of customers – whether they use the gym daily, or just for a few weeks after the Christmas period.

Most gyms have payment options for:

  • Single-day memberships
  • Monthly memberships
  • Annual memberships

Depending on what your unique business model includes, you might also choose to offer gym-only memberships or gym-and-fitness class memberships, to suit customers who want access to different areas of your fitness centre. Many brands offer off-peak membership for those who use the gym during working hours (between 9am-5pm).

Tori Porter

Tori Porter owns a fitness and wellbeing communications agency , and is also an avid gym user. Porter says: “I recently quit my gym membership because I was going abroad for a few weeks and it felt like a waste to be tied into a rolling contract. I also find sometimes I don’t make the most of a contract, so it’s better for me to find pay as you go or more flexible options.”

Researching your local demographic will help you to decide the best pricing package for your target market. For example, if the average household income in your area is £30,000, you need to ensure your pricing plan reflects this figure.

Market research can take a lot of different forms, but a good jumping off point is to talk to other fitness centre owners about their business journeys. You could also run surveys using social media, to find out what local community expectations are for gym costs, and what they might think is missing from their existing facilities.

You can get basic demographic details from your local authority but there are private companies that will give you a more detailed profile of the local population for a fee. Finding sources isn’t always simple, but you can always start with an ordinary web search.

What is a competitive price for gym memberships?

We’ve picked out five of the most popular gym brands from across the UK, and compared their costs in the below table to best illustrate the average price of a gym membership in the UK. (The price shown is specific to each gym’s Liverpool branch, to ensure a fair comparison.)

According to this chart, the average gym cost is around £37.92 for a monthly membership, billed annually.

Of course, as we’ve mentioned, the location of your gym, cost of your equipment, local demographic, and the prices of nearby competitors are also huge influences on how much you should charge your members. Make sure you consider all of these factors when designing your pricing plans.

  • Like your competitors, you should design flexible payment options to attract more customers.
  • Student and family discounts are another great way to keep service users spending.
  • The average price for a monthly gym membership is around £38.

Gym management software

Once your gym business has been established, you need to think about how to best manage the day-to-day operations of your centre.

Gym and club management software is designed to manage schedules, memberships, and facilities. The right tool can be used to store member information in a database, manage financial records, schedule your classes, and help users to reserve facilities.

Top software options include:

You might also need a business email to communicate with your patrons. Read our step-by-step guide to find out how to create a business email .

If you’re going to run a fitness centre, passion for health and wellbeing is an obvious requirement, but here are some other soft skills that gym owners should have:

Personal accreditation is another requirement – and that means more than a medal at your local fun run.

You should have a minimum of a Level 2 qualification as a fitness instructor, which you can complete either in-person or online. YMCA Fit offers this qualification as a part-time and full time course .

One of the first things you should do if you’re looking to set up a new business is get started with writing a business plan. Have a read through our specially-designed free business plan template to understand the steps involved.

Rules and regulations

Starting a new gym business is a potential minefield for injuries and accidents, so it is in your best interests to be rigorous about safety procedures.

There is currently no specific agency that oversees safety guidelines for the industry. However, for your gym to qualify as a safe environment for users and staff, you will need to conform to basic standards set out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a government agency responsible for workplace health and safety and employee welfare.

UK Active (formerly known as the Fitness Industry Association) has an easy to understand code of standards on its website which, if followed, will qualify your gym under HSE guidelines. These are:

  • All staff employed within a gym or fitness centre must have adequate safety training. There must be an appropriate number of first-aiders in relation to the size of the club – only HSE approved first aid courses count.
  • All fitness instructors must be trained to standards required by the European Register of Exercise Professionals.
  • All gym equipment, including lifts, electrical appliances, and boilers, must be kept in a safe condition and regularly inspected by appropriate people.
  • All gym equipment must be maintained according to the manufacturer's guidelines, with all checks documented, and records kept on site.
  • Gym owners are legally bound by employer legislation for any instructors or other staff members you take on.
  • If you have a café or food area on site you will also need to comply with Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006.

Here are some useful resources to learn more about gym accreditation:

  • European Register of Exercise Professionals 
  • The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences 
  • Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity 
  • Health and Safety Executive

If you're employing staff to work at your gym business then you are legally required to have employer's liability insurance . This insurance will cover you for any compensation claims made by your employees for injury or damage caused by work.

We also highly recommended that you get public liability insurance. As you and your employees will be interacting directly with the public, this will protect you if someone incurs injury or damage on your site. Buildings and contents insurance, while not a legal requirement, should also be another consideration.

You can use insurance price comparison websites to find the best option for your business, but here are some of the most popular providers:

  • SimplyBusiness
  • Direct Line For Businesses

Depending on the range of activities your fitness centre will offer, you might need special licensing. Common activities in gyms that need a licence include:

  • To sell or prepare food on the premises, businesses must register with their local authority environmental health department .
  • To use copyright recorded music during gym sessions, you will require an ‘exercise to music' licence from Phonographic Performance Limited . If you are a member of UK Active, you qualify for a discount.
  • To play background music elsewhere in your gym – for example in changing rooms, workout areas or a cafe- you'll need to apply for a ‘background music’ licence, also from PPL.
  • To show television programmes in the fitness rooms or communal areas, you'll need a television licence from TV Licensing , which you can get easily online.
  • To keep computerised records of individuals' personal details and/or use CCTV you need to fill in an online form, and register as a data user with the Information Commissioner's Office .

If this is your first time registering a business, you will also need to fill out certain admin tasks such as registering for VAT, or as an employer. Read our expert guide to learn more about how to start a business .

  • Gym owners need certain soft skills, and a minimum of a Level 2 certificate in fitness instructing.
  • Your gym will need to adhere to the code of standards set out by HSE.
  • Legally, you will need to purchase employer’s liability insurance. We also strongly recommend buying public liability insurance.
  • You need to purchase licensing for things like playing music or selling food.

So, you’ve decided on a premise and have honed into what your customer base and pricing costs are. Now, you need to know how you’re going to spread the message to advertise and promote your gym in places where your customer spends a lot of time.

But, as an SME, you won’t have a big budget when it comes to marketing. So how can you communicate with your target audience directly, completely free of charge? Thank goodness for the World Wide Web.

You do need… a website

According to BrightLocal’s 2020 consumer survey, 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year , which means you’re missing a trick if you don’t have a website already established and waiting for users to find.

Thanks to the beauty of modern technology, it’s simple to set up your own website and domain. Specialist website builders can do all of the coding and design for you, offering easy-to-use templates that you can alter and personalise.

Here are some popular website builders:

We would recommend Squarespace and Wix as the best options for gym businesses. They are particularly good for creating an attractive interface that can sell a service and take booking payments – areas where a gym website should excel.

If you want to know more about creating a business website , read our step-by-step guide to learn about website builders, buying a domain name, and more.

You do need… social media

Experian reported that 84% of UK SMEs use social media for marketing purposes , and for good reason. It’s free, quick, and lets you target incredibly specific audiences.

Surge Fitness social media screenshot

Surge Fitness' social media page

Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also an excellent platform for guerrilla marketing – using weird and often low-cost, viral messaging to sell a product or service.

Olly Randall

Olly Randall is co-founder of Social Fitness Co , a digital marketing agency for fitness studios . Randall says: “The biggest challenge for startups is generating brand awareness and attracting new businesses. Social media is a great way to get as many eyes on your product or service as possible. However, people on Facebook aren’t looking for a gym, so you need to find a low-barrier offer to stop them scrolling and catch their attention, like offering a one-week free trial or a foundation membership.”

You might need… third-party advertising

If you’d rather not take on responsibility for marketing your gym, then you should consider hiring a third-party consultant in a marketing, PR or social media management role.

Digital marketing is key to making an impact online. Find out our top tips for the best digital marketing strategies for small businesses.

Olly Randall, co-founder of Social Fitness Co , adds: “Gym owners that choose to take charge of their own business marketing often go wrong due to inexperience, and not correctly targeting their demographic. If you are unfamiliar with using Facebook ads, for example, you can make mistakes, which can dramatically increase your advertising costs. Third-party agencies work with lots of clients who have similar issues. They can take a more strategic and experience-led approach, saving you time and money to put towards other areas of your business.”

How can you make sure your gym is inclusive?

If you want to attract the largest audience possible, and ensure your gym is a comfortable environment for customers, then you need your business to be inclusive and accessible for every type of user.

The phrase ‘gym culture’ has historically been used to position gyms as testosterone-driven, male-centric spaces. FitRated reports that 71% of female gym goers they surveyed said they had an experience that made them feel uncomfortable at the gym, with 54% saying it had led them to avoid certain rooms or areas.

Thankfully, that image is changing. To craft a more inclusive environment at your gym, follow other, big-name gym brands by introducing safety-conscious, women-only spaces. Other emerging norms, such as parent-and-kid classes, can also contribute to the cause.

Supporting people with disabilities

In 2018, Future Fit Training released their report Raising the Bar , which found that 86% of fitness employees who were surveyed didn’t think most exercise professionals were adequately trained to work with disabled people.

Your business needs to be accessible for customers with disabilities or disorders. If you are hiring staff, invest in training programs to ensure that they are sensitive to the disabilities they might encounter. Make sure that your building doorways are wide enough for mobility equipment, and look into buying specialist disability-friendly gym equipment.

Supporting diversity and body-positivity

Health and wellbeing is all about feeling good in yourself and your body, which is why it’s important to celebrate all body types.

Marketing materials are an important part of showcasing this support. Make sure you represent a wide range of service users in any promotional packages or images.  Train staff in how to handle unacceptable, body-shaming behaviour towards customers.

Remember, inclusivity is about inviting conversations and being open-minded to new issues. You should also signpost communication channels through which people can contact you with any complaints or concerns they might have.

Lisa Grant

Lisa Grant is owner and manager of Revolution, a female-only gym founded in 2020. Grant tells us: “There is so much competition in the fitness industry, so it’s crucial to find what you are good at, passionate and enthusiastic about. I wanted to create a ladies-only gym which would provide a safe space where women can be who they want to be without judgement, an environment where they are supported. That’s my ultimate goal, the sense of being a part of something.”

Revolution gym

Revolution gym

  • Digital marketing is an excellent and low-budget way to advertise your business to potential customers.
  • Third-party advertisement managers and PR consultants are a good solution if you feel out of your depth with marketing.
  • Inclusivity is important. Inclusive classes, such as women-only, attract a wider audience and create a more comfortable gym environment.

We’ve given you lots of action points to consider when starting a gym. So which should you do first? Here’s a realistic timeline for how long each step should take you.

Startups.co.uk is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Startups.co.uk to provide free reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews.

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Related articles.

a man writing on paper

How To Start Gym Business In India? [Setup Cost, Business Plan]

How to start a gym from scratch, gym business plan.

  • Is fitness your passion? Has it driven your lifestyle in such a manner that you're ready to take your journey to the next step?
  • Then this blog is curated just for you fitness entrepreneurs. Starting any business is never a piece of cake, and with wrong or misleading strategies, many fall apart even before booming properly.
  • With the dawn of the Pandemic, from millennials to Gen-Z every individual has drastically turned their focus towards building their immunity, dietary preferences, and overall maintaining their health.
  • Gyms in India have become a necessity instead of luxury or show off.
  • A commercial gym can easily turn into a flourishing business for people with passion and an entrepreneurial drive.
  • Follow these steps and understand about gym business plan in India.

Step 1- Finalise An Area/Locality

  • A gym's success is strongly dependent on the type of location you're starting your venture at.
  • If you are opening your business near the residential colonies and commercial areas, your business will be easily leading to substantial profits from the first month of its inception.
  • But if you choose a locality that is not prominent or well-known to the customer's eye or lacks an easy reach, your business is doomed to failure.
  • Always pick a place with a decent or more crowd whilst keeping in mind public accessibility.

Step 2- Have A Solid Business Plan

  • If you are funding the entire business with your own money or from a family member, you wouldn't be in the mandatory rule for this step.
  • But if you are asking for bank loans or pitching to potential investors, you need a solid business proposal.
  • According to market analysis, a gym opening cost in India can range from anywhere between 5 lakh to 10 lakh rupees.
  • And any big business investor wouldn't be agreeing to give out money without a sound business plan ready, so plan it beforehand.

Step 3- Obtain All Licenses

  • Every business has to be compulsorily registered officially and adhered to all governing laws.
  • From building permits, tax procedures, and initial investment-related licenses.
  • If you are adding numerous amenities like an indoor pool for swimming, water aerobics along with side separate spaces or floors for spa, steam, sauna, and locker rooms, all things have to be permitted legally.
  • Gyms are also a place where injuries or mishaps can be occasionally inevitable, hence, opting independent contractors and well-balanced business insurance might help avoid major damage. You should also fulfil your GST registration to avoid indirect taxation and manage your invoices.

how to open a gym business plan

Step 4- Hire Certified Trainers

  • The ability of your fitness center is defined by the presence of trainers on-site.
  • It is a crucial part where you should not skim.
  • A certified trainer will not only bring authenticity but will increase the quality and word of mouth marketing for your gym.
  • The trainers' industrial experience will help you gain better insights into the gym business.
  • Consider hiring trainers who have obtained either of these certifications below-
  • GFFI (Gold's Gym Fitness Institute)
  • BFY Sports & Fitness
  • CBT (Certified Bodybuilding & Gym/Personal Trainer)
  • IAFT (Indian Academy of Fitness Training)
  • A trainer cost for standard gyms starts from 15,000 and ranges up to 1 lakh rupees depending on their qualification and experience.

Step 5- Get The Right Equipments

  • This is something that comes first into our mind when planning to open a gym.
  • Installing the correct equipment for your gym should be on your priority list.
  • You have to consider the member's safety, modern technologies, and timely maintenance.
  • To set up any standard equipment, the costing can range from anywhere between 3,00,000 to 40,00,000 lakh rupees.
  • Additional spaces need extra props and pricing will vary with times escalating.
  • Some commonest equipment needed to start a gym include- Treadmills, Stationary biCycles, Free weights, yoga mats, Bosu balls, Cable pulleys, weight benches, Dumbbell/Kettlebell sets, Ellipticals, Aerobic Steppers, Stair-master and abdominal crunchers.

how to open a gym business plan

Step 6- Invest In Interiors

  • Just hanging a couple of motivational posters around the normal rented space never does the trick.
  • It looks pretty dull and doesn't let out a vibe that you initially want your crowd to feel.
  • Your passion and motive with the gym should reflect on its interiors.
  • This is a long-term investment and will go positively in attracting potential members during the initial phase.
  • Research styles, designs, matching equipment, good-quality speakers, and more during purchase.

Step 7- Offer Member-Friendly Incentives

  • Nowadays, just offering standard gym packages doesn't do the trick.
  • Many gym owners offer amazing additional activities that range from physiotherapy to fat loss.
  • This will give the customers an array of options to pick from or customize their packages hence, adding up to your profits.
  • Today's gyms offer numerous activities like- Pilates, Yoga, circuit training, aerobics, Zumba, resistance training, high-intensity cardio workouts, and many more.
  • Consider adding these for a much vivid and engaged crowd.

Step 8- Promotion & Marketing

  • People are always on the lookout for something different, unique, exciting, and reasonably priced packages for their workouts.
  • You can promote your venture by running multiple campaigns from fitness activities, demo classes, attractive discounts, and customised goodies(merchandise, bags, etc.)
  • One can also lure potential members with attractive annual packages or combined additional activity+ facility packs along with special discounts like-bring your buddies, family, and more.

Step 9- Opt For Franchise

  • If you are passionate yet feeling overwhelmed at the idea of beginning everything from scratch, lookout for a franchise .
  • A renowned brand ownership will take care of most of your above steps from legal permits to good locations.
  • Otherwise, you can also go for a franchise of a mediocre or decently performing gym chain, to learn the mechanics of running a gym.
  • With restrained possibilities of failure , it will help you avoid any big inciting losses for the future.

how to open a gym business plan

Step 10- Staff & Maintenance

  • For any and every gym you would be requiring-

👩🏻‍💻 Receptionist

🧑🏻‍🔧 Cleaning personnel

💁🏻‍♂️ Sales Rep

🧑🏻‍🌾 Housekeeping

🤸🏻‍♀️ Special Trainers

👨🏻‍⚕️ Doctors if providing Physiotherapy

🧑🏻‍🏭 Service Technicians

  • On an average monthly basis, the charge for staff and maintenance of gym equipment could range anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000. Plan as per needs.

Write in the comments section below if you found these tips helpful for how to grow gym business in India.

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how to open a gym business plan

Q. Is gym a profitable business in India?

Ans: 1. The profitability of a gym depends on the locality and affordability in which you build up your gym. 2. For example, if you have invested around 50 lakh rupees, your annual turnover would turn approx. 15 lakhs that will include- rent, taxes, staff maintenance, etc.

Q. How much does a gym owner make in India?

Ans: 1. Some gyms work on the owner earning money on commission per client. 2. While owners who have their gym stationed in a posh locality tend to earn a handsome amount per month that could go in lakhs.

Q. Is a gym a good business to start?

Ans: 1. Apart from a good amount of investment, an ample amount of patience is needed in the initial stages to gain profitability in the gym business. 2. A premium quality gym with modern types of equipment and the latest technology can easily turn your profits double in no time.

Q. How much does a gym cost to open?

Ans: 1. Any commercial gym setup cost in India can range up to anything from 5 lakh rupees to 50 lakhs easily. 💰 2. It all depends on the size, style, and locality of your fitness center.

Q. What is the salary of a gym trainer?

Ans: The salary of a gym trainer in India depends on the following factors-

  • Experienced- 40,000 to 1,00,000 rupees 💸
  • Fresher- 15,000 to 25,000 rupees 💴
  • Special Certification- Starting from 60,000 rupees 💷

Q. How much does gym equipment cost in India?

Ans: 1. The gym equipment cost in India depends on the quality and brand of products you choose. 2. Modern gears can cost easily in lakhs while old school or even second-hand pieces will be cheaper. 3. Gym equipment including cardio machines cost around 2 to 3 lakhs approx. in India.

Q. What do gym owners struggle with?

Ans: In the beginning stages, gym owners struggle with-

  • Getting new clients
  • Managing staff
  • Being self-motivated
  • Trainer conflict
  • Financial tracking/profits
  • Staff management

Q. How much space is needed for a gym?

Ans: 1. It all depends on the number of clients coming in every day, you have to take care of. 2. For example, if you have approx. 200 people dropping in every day around 2000 square feet is needed for everything. 3. Your spaces will include- cardio space, free workout space, machine area, and weights area.

Q. How many members does an average gym have?

Ans: On average, small to large gyms with franchises have over 1000 members.

Q. Is it better to lease or buy gym equipment?

Ans: 1. This decision is solely based on your financial budget. 2. If you purchase your equipment, you are bound to pay more in the beginning but will stay with you in the longer term as a safer investment. 3. While in terms of renting or leasing equipment, you might pay less initially but eventually, you would be spending more on rent and maintenance. 4. Hence, leasing won't incur many profits or prove to be a valuable asset.

Q. What's the difference between a gym and a fitness center?

Ans: Gyms are mostly indoors and have a specific set of equipment to work out with.

While fitness centers include a variety of activities that focus more than muscle development like-

💃🏻 Aerobics

🤽🏻‍♀️ Outdoor exercises

🤹🏻‍♀️ Circuit training

🤸🏻 Kickboxing

👯‍♂️ Stepper classes

🏋🏻‍♀️ Resistance training

Q. What age group uses the gym the most?

Ans: The commonest age group that join the gyms start at the tender age of 16 and range up to 70.

Q. How much does it cost to furnish a gym?

Ans: 1. Generally, in a budget gym furnishing costs can go up to 30,000 rupees. 2. While posh gyms tend to spend lakhs of rupees on interiors for the contemporary upgrade.

Q. What does a gym include?

Ans: Any basic gym will include the following items-

  • Cardio machines- treadmill, cycles, CrossFit, ellipticals, etc.
  • Dumbbells/Barbel and weight areas
  • Free workout area
  • Machinery equipments
  • Small reception or office area

Sukanya Mukherjee

Sukanya Mukherjee

Check out the best of small business ideas, information on GST, business tips & tricks & more.

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  1. How To Start a Gym Business [7-Step Guide + Downloadable Templates]

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  2. How To Start a Gym Business In 7 Steps (+ Start-up Templates)

    Here's an overview of the seven steps towards opening a gym or fitness studio…. Define your idea. Create a plan. Secure funding. Find a location. Set up your gym. Launch. Grow your business. Let's dive into each of these start-up steps in more detail….

  3. Gym Business Plan Template + Example

    A gym business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your gym. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing strategies and details your financial projections. You can easily complete your gym business plan using our gym business plan template here.

  4. How To Open a Gym Business In 7 Steps

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  5. The Ultimate Guide to Opening a Gym: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Cost of Opening a Gym. The cost of opening a gym varies based on many factors, including location, equipment, renovations, and staffing. Depending on the type of gym you want to open, startup costs can range from $ 50,000 to well over $1,000,000. Below, we'll discuss the costs you should plan for when opening your gym.

  6. Gym Business Plan: A Checklist With Templates & Examples

    For example, if a gym has 1,000 people paying $50 monthly, the gym could bring in $50,000 each month. And if the monthly expenses for the gym are $20,000 per month, the profit would be $30,000 per month. Open Comment Form. In this article, you'll find a checklist of everything you need to create a business plan for your gym or fitness business.

  7. How to Start a Profitable Gym Business [11 Steps]

    1. Perform market analysis. Before launching a gym business, a comprehensive market analysis is crucial to understand the competitive landscape and identify potential opportunities. This will inform your business strategy and help tailor your offerings to meet the needs of your target audience.

  8. How to create a gym business plan

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  9. How to Open a Gym Business

    Write your business plan. To ensure your gym is a success, you need a business plan. A well-thought-out plan can guide your strategy, identify risks, and help you secure funding to expand and grow your enterprise. Don't skip this step. A business plan can also help you better understand your market, the costs of getting started, how you'll ...

  10. How to Start a Gym or Fitness Center

    Get clear on why you want to start a gym or fitness center. Your reason behind opening a gym will help you maintain the focus, clarity, and drive it takes to become a successful enterprise. Be honest with yourself. You may find that instead of starting a gym, you want to become a personal trainer or fitness instructor.

  11. Gym Business Plan: Building a Roadmap for Fitness Center Success

    1. Executive summary for your gym or fitness center. Think of the executive summary as the company overview of your gym business plan - it's the first thing people see, and it sets the tone for what's inside. In these few paragraphs, you can grab your reader's attention and give them a sneak peek into your gym's exciting future.

  12. How To Draft the Perfect Gym Business Plan

    How you structure compensation and benefits will impact your ability to attract and retain a strong team and can make the difference on whether or not your business is profitable in the short and long term. So give these points and good thought before cementing anything in your plan. 8. Financial Projections.

  13. How to Write a Gym Business Plan [Free Template]

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  14. Gym Business Plan Template [Updated 2024]

    Gym Business Plan. If you want to start a new gym business or expand your existing business, you need a detailed gym business plan. Since 1999, we have helped over 10,000 fitness business owners create business plans to start and grow their gyms, health clubs, martial arts studios, fitness studios, and other athletics businesses.

  15. How to Have a Successful Gym Business (10 Steps)

    Step #1: Develop a Clear Business Plan. Creating a comprehensive gym business plan is the foundation of a successful gym. This plan should clearly outline your business goals, strategies, and financial projections. A detailed business plan will not only guide you through the early stages of your gym but also serve as a reference for future ...

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    Your business name is one of the key differentiators that set your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it's important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity. Step 4: Create a Gym Business Plan. Every business needs a plan.

  18. Fitness Business Plan Template (+ Free Examples)

    Its comprehensive tools for client management, workout programming, scheduling, and reporting can streamline business processes and improve client engagement and retention. This template provides a structured approach for creating a fitness business plan. It can be customized to reflect the specifics of your fitness business idea, market, and ...

  19. How to Create a Flawless Gym Business Plan

    Try to include some facts and statistics about your industry and the future of the market. For example, a gym looking to obtain funding for expansion into online fitness would include trends and statistics on the rapid acceleration of digital fitness and where the market is headed in the future. 4. Customer Analysis.

  20. How to Grow a Gym Business in 2024 (10 Steps)

    #1 Develop a Solid Gym Business Plan. Before you start investing time and money into opening a gym business, learn these things you should know before opening a gym, because you need to have a clear roadmap of how you will achieve success.This is where having a solid gym business plan comes into play.. A business plan outlines the vision for your gym business, including financial projections ...

  21. How to Create a Business Plan for Your Gym

    Forecast Sales. Make a list of your planned revenue streams and project the monthly sales for each. Possible revenue streams for gyms include memberships, merchandise, digital classes, and personal training. Use the data you collected at the beginning of this process to make sales predictions.

  22. How to Start a Gym Business

    Design a business plan: Our free business plan template is available here. Get qualified: The Level 2 certificate in gym fitness instructing, as a full-time course, takes only two weeks to complete. Register your business: This takes 24 hours and costs only £12, so it makes sense to get it done early.

  23. How To Start Gym Business In India? [Setup Cost, Business Plan]

    Step 2- Have A Solid Business Plan. If you are funding the entire business with your own money or from a family member, you wouldn't be in the mandatory rule for this step. But if you are asking for bank loans or pitching to potential investors, you need a solid business proposal.