Starting my own small gym business: Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by projectaero, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. projectaero

    projectaero New Member

    I am looking at starting up a personal trainer's gym in the next 8 months or so.
    Basically i know where i wanto go and where to expand i just got to get your opinion on what are some things i need to do.

    What do you think are the items i need, i dont want to have all machine weights, basically i want it old school with a part of new school, so bench, leg press, squat rack, dips, boxing bags, what else you think would be needed

    As i am renting out a location do you think that it would be best to buy specialized flooring, but something easy to move somewhere else maybe a type of those jigsaw mats.

    Rent of Buy Equipment:
    Do you think i should rent or buy equipment, basically i can cancel my membership and work out at the gym what i will have, say for instance if its $400 week for all equipment thats close to $20,000 in equipment per year, so would it be best to buy it all first?

    What costs do you think would be involved in basically getting it up and running, ie building rent, equipment, advertising etc.

    What i will be offering: Weight Loss, Muscle Gain, Group Classes, Eventually Competition preparation but not yet, Nutritional help and maybe eventually kick boxing/ boxing. I will be doing it all myself as its going to be a quiet location where people who arent comfortable to get out there, or who are beginning or someone who wants to come to a gym workout hard. Basically going to be there to motivate them, spot them, show them correct techniques etc.

    Also if i buy a commercial fridge etc do i have to lock in a contract with a drink business or can i buy my own stuff like bottled water, protein shakes etc and charge what i want, within reason ?
    Also on that topic would i be allowed to have protein there for customers to use say if they are on a bulk and charge say $1 - 2 per shake or is that illegal ?

    Making Money:
    As i don't have the money i will be getting a loan from a bank etc so i am wondering with a private one on one gym how much should i be offering per client within reason ans with that how long would it take on average for me to make enough money to pay back the loan as i dont care how much i make just wanting to get this business off the ground and working full time on it.

    There the only details i have at the moment as i am just brainstorming still.
    Have about 6-8 months to get it worked out.
    Any help will be appreciated

  2. bluejacket

    bluejacket New Member

    i dont own a busn. or have much of a background in that area but a few things jump to mind.

    you should be talking to people who do own a busn. (preferably gym type places) and making notes on everything they say. local gyms may not be willing to talk since your the comp. so just go "out of town". obviously they have been thru it before and can make you aware of costs and permits and questions you never even thought to think of.

    again, although i have no idea of whats involved, i gotta belive the local BBB or chamber of commerce should have some resources/help for how to start your own busn. that should help especially with the bank/loan info since your going to want to know what your getting into long before your start signing anything.

    your gym plan sounds nice but perhaps not neccessary for what you have planned. most of your clients will be wanting to lose wgt and will need help with motiv. and technique, so that is accurate. from what ive seen very few gainers go the PT route and even then just a few sessions for diet help, measurements and techn. tips. fewer still go for contest prep. this isnt to say these folks dont exist but more as the occasional client every now and again as opposed to your day in day out people who will pay your bills. since you plan to go it alone and want a one on one gym you will have a lot of space and equip only being used by 1-2 people at any given time. im not sure you can afford to pay for your rent and loan with that type of plan.

    why not just work out of someone elses gym for a time and build up some clients (that you can take with you) as well as contacts with other trainers. then you can have some of them (the trainers)  work out of your gym (eventually) for a small cut and that way your not starting from scratch but rather with reliable clients and friends.

    most of this is just off the top of my head and maybe youve already covered it. i would seriously talk to other owners in the bus and get some guidance on the loan stuff as well.

    good luck
  3. the_dark_master

    the_dark_master New Member

    Build up a client base, centred 'round a few "different" style gyms. Experience is what counts - it's no good setting up a gym thinking clients will just materialise; it doesn't happen like that. Start small & build up (Kaizan, style)

  4. stevejones

    stevejones Member

    For all the important stuff, you really need professional advice.  Advice about renting equipment or buying equipment/loans/all the other important stuff is best handled by agencies who can properly evaluate your particular situation.  There are many  out there that specialize in advertising your gym, decorating your gym, and doing other services for you until you no longer need them.  They give good advice and are usually worth the money.  If I wanted to make money with my gym I would use one of them.  Actually, I did use one for a brief period, and they were of significant help.

    As far as the little stuff goes, I'd like to throw some comments out there, because I own a little gym.   I've marketed it a little, but am very particular about who I want to let in as a member.  I'm not interested in making money with it (it's a tax write off), is what I have experienced----

    Do's and Dont's:
    1. I don't care how good your flooring is or how excellent your mats are, don't have free weights anywhere except the ground floor.  You will be far too worried about people dropping weights.

    2.  Have a lot of machines.  All the money belongs to people who want to fart around on machines, do aerobics, and other lame crap.  Powerlifters/hardcore bbers won't make you a dime.  

    3.  Don't try to have a hardcore gym.  Gay it up alot.  Have bright colors everywhere with lame little slogans like "just do it"   Basically, try to appeal to families.  

    4.  Put up signs everywhere telling people to turn off machines or make sure you walk around turning off elliptical, treadmill, or bike machines.  They use up a ton of electricity.  It really adds up
    5.  Put mirrors in most places, but not EVERYWHERE.  Fat people hate to look at themselves, especially fat ass women, so have some areas where they can ride bikes or do treadmills without having to see themselves in the mirrors.  

    6.  Invest in a card reader.  Once you start the gym, chances are you're not going to have a lot of employees or might not be able to afford it.  Plus, you will have to leave the gym, so card readers are an excellent way to avoid problems.   Don't give out keys to a lock, people are unscrupulous and will copy the key and give it to family/friends.

    7.  Even if you don't have the money for fancy locker rooms, buy some cheap lockers and have a shower put in the mens and womens bathrooms.  I guarantee you that showers will get you clients that otherwise you wouldn't get, and they are good clients.  They pay you money every month when all they do is piddle around on an elliptical machine in the morning, take a shower and then go to work.  You never see them.  These are the best clients.  Guys like me are bad for your business, UNLESS you live in a very big city and will market specifically to hardcore lunkheads.  Then you might get enough of us to keep you afloat. Otherwise, we don't fit in with the average joes and will hurt your business.
  5. robefc

    robefc New Member

    (stevejones @ May 01 2007,09:19)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Gay it up alot.</div>
    Love it!

    I think you should go into management consultancy Steve, cut through the b*llshit and tell it straight! [​IMG]
  6. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    Have people sign waivers for membership... protect your assets and do not add extra liabilities. Check out different type of small business insurances.
  7. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    Definitely sell protein shakes (and maybe smoothies if that's the kind of folks you are hoping to attract). If you need health and hygiene permissions then get them.

    Around half the folks who train at my gym order a protein fix before they leave. Also, be sure to sell the powder too. Buy in bulk and sell off in 2-5lb tubs. I expect it's worth having some creatine mono and other trendy supps too.
  8. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    Sound deadening. This regardless of and especially with music. Nothing cheapens a place like echos and reverb-timed music bouncing back at you a second time. Echos also make any yells or grunts more pronounced. There is even a difference between flat and gloss paint, although glossier finishes are easier to clean. Saving any foam packing panels you can find and covering them with cloth will make some nice looking wall additions that can even have a poster or instructions put on the face of them with double-sided tape. Use the same cloth on all of them for a pro look. The styrofoam insulation boards you buy in 4x8 sheets will work and can be painted, but not as effective as foam. Carpet where you can; it absorbs sound well. Carpet up to a chair rail on the walls if you wish.
    I've noticed that skating rinks will use a drop ceiling (which absorbs sound itself) to minimize sound reflection, absorb sound, and lower HEATING AND COOLING costs. Less air, less bills. But not too low, or it feels cavelike.
    Once you have a customer base going; take a poll for their favorite music and their workout times. You can then customise your selections. As Steve said (everything he wrote has huge merit), the stuff we like (metal/ hard rock) will turn off the soccer moms and accountants who spend money. You need to build a gym that we mostly think would suck. But no LUNK ALARMS! People gotta breathe!  [​IMG]
  9. 9to5lifter

    9to5lifter New Member

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">All the money belongs to people who want to fart around on machines, do aerobics, and other lame crap. Powerlifters/hardcore bbers won't make you a dime.</div>
    [​IMG] Funny, but true in my (and everyone's I think) experience. I like the term &quot;gym squirrels&quot; used by quad. It accurately describes the picture you see when you walk into a heavily crowded popular gym.
  10. liegelord

    liegelord New Member

    Shock people; put in a lifting platform in a corner with bumper plates.

    And put a curl rack in so the squat racks can be used for squats.
  11. jwbond

    jwbond New Member

    I am a small business owner of an unrelated industry. However, my father recently retired decided to purchase a gym (guess he couldn't sit still).

    Gyms are a competitive industry and you need to think a lot of things through. You can have the best gym in the area, but you need to do something to attract members. &quot;If you build it, they will not necessarilly come&quot;.

    There are too many things to go over what needs to be done prior to starting, but I can't emphasis enough that plan as much as you possibly can and figure out your monthly expenses and what amount of income it will take to cover that. No matter how much you plan, you will be surprised.

    Also, be sure to have a lot of cash on hand. Most businesses do not turn a profit for years, which becomes expensive, as you need to be able to live yourself as well as pay for the losses on the business until it gets out of the red.

    good luck! and plan plan plan! dont just jump into it

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