How to Start a Fitness Business

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

For personal trainers, it’s a natural progression to want to open your own studio or gym. Maybe you want a more flexible schedule, a life change, or you’re tired of kowtowing to a boss.

Whatever the reasons, your passion for helping others to get healthy, strong and to feel good about themselves is a worthy, admirable goal.

But how do you go about opening a gym or studio in a financially responsible way? Fitness centers can be profitable business opportunities for those willing to put in the work and research. Our society is more health conscious than ever, so the demand is definitely there.

If you’ve been dreaming about starting your own business, here are a few tips to get the ball rolling.

  • Business Plan

    It take a lot of planning to see if it’s even feasible to open your own facility. The average cost of opening a gym is anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, according to an article in Entrepreneur. It’s more likely on the higher side of that range. Most people don’t have that kind of money sitting around in their bank accounts.

    If you decide to take a loan out, you’ll need to show your lender a detailed business plan to accompany the business loan application. You won’t get a bank loan without a business plan. Don’t hesitate to ask for help in this part of the process — calling on a friend who has experience or education in accounting and business could be a real stress saver.

    At the bank, be prepared to answer a lot of questions about return on investments. The plan will also include what type of gym you plan to open, who will be your main clientele, what equipment you’ll be providing, and location of your business.

    If you need additional help with your business plan, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers services to help people develop plans and provides assistance in getting loans.

  • Credentials

    Clients want to know if you’re a credible personal trainer and an expert in the fitness field. Trainers can obtain certification through a variety of professional organizations specializing in fitness, including the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, or the International Sports Sciences Association.

    In addition to obtaining a personal training certification, it lends to your credibility if you have at least a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, kinesiology, nutrition, or some related field.

    If you are business-minded, it makes sense to either have a marketing degree, a business degree or even an associate degree in business administration.

    Business school scholarships are available, so you don’t necessarily need to dive deep into your pockets to pay for training and school.

    Ask yourself if you can pay off schooling and get loan on a gym or studio at the same time. A banker may ask something like, “If your car transmission goes out on your car, can you make your monthly payments?” If the answer is no, you won’t likely get a loan these days.

    Becoming an active member of an association is a good idea as well. The IDEA Health & Fitness Association is for fitness and wellness professionals and includes about 22,000 members from over 80 countries, most of whom practice in North America.

  • Learn From the Best

    Brian Gajeski, a fitness pro who went from part-time personal trainer at a boxing gym to a successful owner of a fitness business, believes in paying it forward with the following advice for other big dreamers:

    • Spend 4 to 6 months talking with other gym owners in the country. He found they are more than willing to help others and share tips learned from struggles in starting their own businesses.

    • Make at least three calls a week to chat to other business owners. Make a schedule and follow it.

      Have a list of questions for the gym owners and take notes during the calls. Try to resist the urge to talk about your own plans.

    • Ask them about expenses and operating costs, as well as the number of clients and sources of revenue generated.

    • Inquire about management of their own employees.

    • Ask them to Identify hurdles and unforeseen problems that occurred along the way.

    • After a few months, you should be targeting owners who own the same type of business you are trying to start.

There are many details that need to be considered when starting your own fitness business. It’s a lot to consider and understand before making the leap into personal freedom. But once you find your groove, you’ll be making other people’s dreams of a happy and healthy life come true! Be sure to read some of our suggestions on the best health and wellness bloggers for inspiration.

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