opening a new gym

Discussion in 'Gym Management' started by BarCoach, Feb 3, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. BarCoach

    BarCoach Coach Coach

    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    82
    I've been asking a lot of questions about this lately, but I'm just trying to get the gym open and running as quickly as possible, and as best I can. I'm wondering what advice others might have about opening a gym. I made an appointment with a small business center at the college and they are going to help me set up a 5 year business plan. I've scoped out some potential buildings and their costs, I've looked up prices for used and demo equipment, planned what classes will be offered, have one other good coach on board. What else do I need to be doing? I don't want to miss anything.

  2. ZJsMom

    ZJsMom New Member

    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    17
    I would plan your marketing. Set up an advertising budget and don't overlook free media opportunities. I would thinking getting kids in the door right off the bat would be one of the challenges.
  3. gymch34

    gymch34 New Member

    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    1
    Best advice other that researching demographics etc, is to research how many gyms you will be in competition with and how far they are. Also, make sure you are financially stable-will you be able to live w/ no salary for at least 6 months? Do you understand payroll, taxes, irs, and all laws regarding labor laws, unemployment? Do not rush into anything! The #1 thing I would receommend is to enroll in jeff Metzers boot camp (google Kids first sports center in cincinnati). Its expensive, but worth every penny!
  4. Obeg

    Obeg New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    1
    About 5 years ago I toyed with this idea as well - not that seriously but seriously enough where I put together a budget, looked for buildings, discussed my idea and plans with others on my site very similar to this one. It is a fun topic to think about. Things I learned are:

    - It's all about the building - even so much that a great building will trump a great location easily. So if you find a perfect building that is a little out of the way - it is still better than the not-so-perfect building right off the interstate.

    - Get a building bigger than you think you can afford. Don't fall for the "this one is big enough for now - we will move later as we grow" - as 1) you probably won't ever do that, 2) the way leases run having your current one end and a new perfect building be available at the same time is unlikely 3) as you outgrow your building you WILL lose existing and new customers.

    - With the above said - an alternative to this if you do run out of space that I find intriguing that a gym near here is doing - you can always later open a second location just for team. The pros of this is that the team gets away from the mess that is Rec -- however - team is your 'advertising' - and moving that away from the full pocketed rec parents might not be wise.

    - Look for more in the building than just floor space. Think of the other niceities you might like to have that would be great as you grow.
    ** A good, comfortable observation area for the parents (aka money).
    ** Office space for your staff.
    ** Room to put up at least a low wall to divide the athletes from the parents and their rowdy kids.
    ** Separate room(s) for other activities such as cheer, dance, rec classes
    ** Maybe a nice quiet room somewhere in the back where the team girls can do their homework
    ** Room for a locker room for the athletes. Our gym has lockers - but no locker room - so the team girls have to change in the public bathroom. I think they deserve better.
    ** Look around and imagine the building set up for a meet? (aka money!) Can you host it? Enough room for bleachers? Enough bathrooms? Enough parking?

    So although you may only "need" that 8,000 foot building now - maybe you should go for that 25,000 foot one?



    I could go on and on as this is a subject I love and when my rich uncle dies - I will have a gym. lol
    1 person likes this.

  5. BarCoach

    BarCoach Coach Coach

    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    82
    Obeg,
    Thanks for that message. It came at the right time. Last night, the head coach told me, "Don't come tomorrow". It really hurt my feelings, and I started doubting whether I could and should open this gym. I don't want to create a bad relationship with her. I think it needs to be really open and friendly. But I do want to open the gym. It has been my dream for a long time and I can't just let go of an opportunity that is right in front of me. So thanks for reminding me of what I want.

    I'll definitely get a big enough building. Don't you think it is important to be in a highly visible location. There is a 22,000 SF building I've looked at that is surprisingly cheaply priced, but its tucked way back where you can't see it until you're right there at it. I thought it wasn't a good location, but maybe thats ok.
  6. coachmolly

    coachmolly Coach Coach

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    658
    Country:
    USA USA
    Definitely go for a building with enough space to host meets, exhibitions, open houses, all that stuff because that is how you bring in money and customers. Another thing to consider, good lighting! When a family comes to look at your gym, their overall impression probably isn't going to be as good if it looks like a dungeon. I know that alone kept me from a gym when I was investigating as an athlete. Bright, colorful gyms are always more welcoming and look more "kid friendly".
    Develop a goal and mission statement for the gym. Let people know what your gym values, what you're working for, what is important to you and your employees.
    Look for a place with room for birthday parties. Either a separate room, balcony area, or space out of the way of the equipment. That's another way to pull in potential customers, get your name out there, and increase revenue for the gym. It's not the teams that make the money, it's the solid rec programs and "fun" stuff.
    For when the gym is up and running, think about hosting an open house during the first few months. Advertise at schools, family events, community centers, anywhere that could have interested individuals/families. At the open house offer some special perks (10% off classes, free t-shirt for registering, waive the registration fee, that kind of thing) and just let people look around the gym.
    Contact local school cheerleading teams. I'm not talking all-star cheer type stuff, but local high schools. A lot of girls, at least in my experience, are interested in coming in for an hour a week to work with specially trained gymnastics coaches on spring floors, tramps, all that good stuff. If the high school coaches are willing to pass along the info to their team you could get a few girls pretty quickly.
    It sounds like a great opportunity for you and like you're well on your way. I wish you all the best!
  7. Obeg

    Obeg New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    1
    The building sounds good. How much work will it need to get ready? Will it have to be gutted or is it already warehouse space? Structural supports in places where it will allow you to have a full floor or two? Ceilings high enough for a trampoline? Plenty of parking? Zoned properly? Already has or can have pits installed?

    I can only compare to what I know best which is around here - and the big dogs around here - none of them are really in very visible locations. They are all off the beaten path a little bit. Other than for drive by traffic (how much new business will you get that way anyway?) - there is little benefit in being in the middle of things. The reverse is could be true considering parents will get sick of high traffic areas, lack of parking, etc quickly.
  8. gymjourneymom

    gymjourneymom New Member Proud Parent

    Messages:
    1,331
    Likes Received:
    259
    Country:
    USA USA
    When new gyms open in our area they get those temporary stick in the ground signs & put them along all the main roads & intersections. Advertising that a new gym is opening in the area & a website to refer to. I know they've gotten me to at least check out their websites. The gyms are often in industrial parks where a lot of offices or factories are. Just an idea that might help:D. They've also done it off & on just to advertise that enrollment is "open" or special events, they are hosting. Good luck!!!
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  9. BarCoach

    BarCoach Coach Coach

    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    82
    Thanks for everyone's responses. I'm getting anxious. I really want to be in the gym coaching. It's really hard to be patient, but I know I have to make sure I do everything right, and not rush into it. I just wish I could start NOW!
  10. JohnMc

    JohnMc Guest

    I know the feeling, but besides getting the gym started and coaching make sure you look up how to deal with the business aspect of running it.
    Costs, financial strength to sustain , legal aspects .........
    Good luck.
  11. BarCoach

    BarCoach Coach Coach

    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    82
    We've been thinking about building a new building rather than renovating one, but i can't find a good estimate of the cost. Anyone know where i can do that? Any opinions on whether its better to renovate or build?
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page