The ABCs of Opening Your Own GymDiana Smith
Many personal trainers dream of the same thing: owning their own gym. In fact, it’s a pretty solid dream – why would you toil under someone else’s roof, letting them take a huge chunk of your hard-earned money? Gyms actually tend to be a surprisingly profitable endeavor: after the initial investment, they don’t cost much to run. Also, with our health and weigh-obsessed society, most of them do well. However, you might be feeling stumped: what are the first steps you need to take to turn your dream into reality. Here are some useful tips.
Develop your vision
Before you start, you should know exactly what you want. A clear vision is what you need to establish whether your idea is possible or just a pipe dream. What kind of a gym do you want to run? What will distinguish it from all the other gyms in your area? Are you prepared to sacrifice a huge portion of your time, spending every day there, and doing even the jobs that don’t necessarily have anything to do with training – like management, cleaning, and administrative work? It’s good to go in with your eyes wide open. You need to have a concept that will attract customers, and the
Consider the finances
There are no two ways about it: you need a solid financial plan for launching your own business. First of all, consider whether you are more comfortable working with a partner, or alone. While a partnership might make it easier in terms of investments, in many cases they fall apart. Make a projection of costs. To start your venture, you need to try to predict your startup and your running costs. Significant startup costs include space renovations – like mirrors and gym flooring – equipment and clothing for the employees. The running costs are the monthly rent and utility bills, salaries for the employees, marketing and branding costs, insurance, and every other recurring cost.
Create a client list
Setting out on your own without a client list is equal to madness. If you are just starting out, and don’t yet have your loyal clients, the time is probably not ripe for your own gym. If you are working at someone else’s gym, you need to be certain that your clients would be willing to quit their current gym and follow you. In the world of personal training, high quality, referrals and word of mouth rule supreme. Don’t get carried away in your financial estimates. If you are unsure whether someone will follow you, it’s better to err on the side of caution in your estimates. Being too optimistic could mean you underestimate the costs and overestimate the profit.
Plan your sources of income
Personal training sessions might be the most obvious source of income for a gym, but they are far from the only one. Having a full book of loyal clients that will follow you will certainly help you get on your feet. However, there are plenty of other ways to make a profit. Group workouts are always popular. Leasing your space to other trainers is also smart – but if you have a very specific image you wish to achieve, make sure you find trainers that fit your vision beforehand. If you wait until after opening, you might find that none of them are willing to leave their current gyms. Selling merchandise like t-shirts, gear and supplements could be very lucrative in the long run.
Perhaps the most important part, except for careful and realistic planning, is your motivation. Are you willing to do whatever it takes to succeed? If your answer is yes, then go for it!