The fitness industry is evolving daily; new trends, with more business models and instructional techniques, appear daily. The job of fitness professionals is to help people achieve their fitness goals and live healthier lives, which can be very rewarding. Also, a fitness business has high-profit potential, so it is no surprise that you have chosen to start a fitness business. You have found this article and want to create a fitness business but do not know where to start – luckily for you, you have come to the right place.
Starting a fitness business is a natural thought for professionals in the fitness industry and anyone who loves and enjoys physical activity. You should remember that creating a fitness business is more than just your love for physical exercise – you need to have the essential business skills to succeed in the fitness industry. Not every personal trainer creates a successful fitness business mainly because they lack the necessary skills to establish a business. There are no guarantees when starting a business, but if you follow the right steps, your dreams could become a reality.
Starting a fitness business is not easy, and the pandemic also brought many more obstacles as many fitness centers and gyms resorted to online classes and fitness training. The good thing is that online presence is vital if you want your fitness business to grow. It would be best if you considered many other things, such as access to client management software and proper business marketing. Starting a fitness business requires a lot of preparation and planning, but once you are done reading this article, you will be on the right path.
So, let us get straight to it – what are the things you need to do and the steps to take when starting a fitness business? This article outlines five easy steps you should follow if you want your fitness business to be successful in 2022. Before we go into that, let us look at what a fitness business is about.
What is a Fitness Business?
As a fitness professional, before starting a fitness business, you must know what a fitness business entails. A Fitness business is a facility that provides group exercise classes that have a defined focus or a space with gym equipment where people can exercise and achieve their fitness goals. A fitness facility can be divided into group fitness-focused studios and traditional big-box gyms. On the other hand, a fitness service covers a wide variety of fitness services related to the fitness industry.
The fitness industry has many opportunities for creative fitness professionals who want to help people achieve their fitness goals. Group fitness-focused studios place a lot of emphasis on creating a community where people train together, while the traditional big-box gyms focus more on individual training. The pandemic improved people’s commitment to fitness and health as they sought other ways to stay healthy and achieve their fitness goals – online workouts and training. It is up to you to decide which fitness facility you want to choose for your fitness business.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Fitness Business?
Of course, if you plan to start a fitness business, you need to know how much it will cost to create one from the ground up – as low as starting from home to as high as owning a gym with all the equipment and amenities. There are many ways that you can fund your fitness business, but this will be explored later in the article, so keep reading! Now, back to the main question – it usually costs between $10,000 to $50,000 to start a fitness business, and the cost varies on your niche (the type of fitness business). If you are going for a mega-gym with all the equipment, you may be looking at about $1,000,000.
Honestly, these figures are all estimates as it depends on what exactly your fitness business is all about. A mid-size gym could cost about $115,000, while a cycling studio could be about $50,0000. Setting up a group fitness-focused studio may be much cheaper than traditional big-box gyms as they require little equipment and small spaces. This tells you that the cost of starting a fitness business depends on your niche and varies worldwide.
Let us look at some things you may only need to spend money on once when starting a fitness business (depending on the type of fitness business).
- Gym Equipment: you can either choose to lease or buy gym equipment – renting it will help you stay on top of the latest fitness trends but will not be a one-time cost. A fully-equipped commercial gym will cost about $50,000, and purchasing gym equipment for a personal studio will cost about $10,000. You can get a discount if you buy the gym equipment as a complete package, so you should keep that in mind.
- Certifications: When starting a fitness business, you must have the necessary certificates to build trust between you and your potential clients. Your staff, if you have any, should also have the required accreditations – this usually costs between $500 and $800 per certification.
- Location: if your fitness business is in-person, you will need to consider the costs of a physical location. You will spend about $800,000 if you want to own the space; when choosing a place for your fitness business, do enough research on the commercial spaces in your chosen area.
- Permits and Licenses: there are some particular permits and licenses that you need to have when starting a fitness business. The prices of these permits and licenses will vary across the board, but you should remember that they are necessary and should not be overlooked.
- Miscellaneous: when starting a business, there is a high chance of unforeseen circumstances, so you need to put some money aside, so you do not get stuck. You should have about $500 set aside for miscellaneous gym costs.
- Insurance: the amount you spend on insurance will vary based on different factors, but you should have about $12,000 for this purpose. Your fitness business and the equipment in your facility must be covered.
Let us look at some of the things you will need to spend money on continuously when you start a fitness business.
- Equipment Lease: as stated above, you can either choose to lease or purchase equipment, and leasing equipment will help you to stay on top of the latest fitness trends. The costs for leasing gym equipment will vary depending on what you want and how many pieces you will get. The average prices will be between $3,934 to $8,067.
- Utility: a fitness facility will use a lot of electricity annually, especially if it is accessible 24/7, so you will need to spend money on utility bills. Fitness facilities that operate on a large scale usually spend an average of $63,465 to $68,413 annually.
- Insurance: some insurance needs to be paid annually, like the $12,000 premiums to start, so you will have to add this to your ongoing budget costs as the payments should be up to date.
- Cleaning Supplies: you will need to spend money on cleaning supplies as your fitness facility must be kept clean always. Fitness facilities that run on a small scale usually spend an average of $150 monthly, while large-scale fitness businesses spend an average of $12,609 to $29,980 yearly.
- Maintenance: you will spend money on maintaining your fitness facility and repairing equipment in unforeseen circumstances. This could cost about $25,040 every year. You need to maintain and check all your gear if you do not rent them – you would not want someone to get injured while using your gym equipment due to poor maintenance.
- Permits: some permits require a renewal fee, so you must consider them. Compliance permits usually have renewal fees, so you must check with your locality to ensure you are on the right track.
Five Steps to Starting a Fitness Business
As stated above, creating a fitness business is not an easy task as so many things need to be put in place. Now that you know what exactly starting fitness is and the estimated costs for creating and managing your fitness facility, let us check out the five steps you should follow to start a fitness business successfully. These five steps are the essential things to put in place when starting a fitness business in 2022.
1. Ensure You Get Proper Training
Before starting a business, a person must get the necessary training in that field to know what they are doing. Also, people will rather hire someone with training and the required certifications. This also applies to a fitness business; you need to learn how to become a fitness instructor or a personal trainer before starting your fitness business. It is not advisable to get training while on the job.
Choose Your Niche
To get the proper training, you need to know what exactly it is you want to do – there are different types of fitness businesses, and you need to know which it is you want to do. You could choose to open a dance studio, be a personal trainer, open a yoga studio, start a Zumba class, become a physical therapist, open a walking or running club, and many others. It is advisable to choose one instead of all as that will be much more convenient for you.
As a fitness business owner, you should always do what you love! Once you have chosen your niche, you can do thorough research on the industry and get the necessary training and certifications. Keep in mind that you are free to change your mind if whatever niche you choose becomes frustrating and difficult to keep up with.
It would help if you understood the credentials you need as your potential clients will prefer to hire a personal trainer or visit a fitness facility with certifications and accreditations. Apart from that, some states require specific permits and licenses before you can own a fitness business.
Know Your Competitors
You should know the kind of formal training the competitors operating in your area have; this way, you will be able to match them to compete. In other words, other fitness trainers working in the area where your fitness business will be located will have a certain level of training. You should research the kind of training they all got so you will not be at the bottom of the leaderboard.
If your competitors have a high level of training, you should match them so you will be capable enough to compete. If they have an average level of training, you should surpass it just a little bit so you will have the upper hand. You can also try starting light and then continuing after your fitness business has been established, so you know the training your business needs. It is all up to you.
2. Understand Your Competitors
Once you have chosen your niche (the type of fitness business you want to explore), gotten the proper training, and are sure you have decided what you genuinely love to do, the next step is starting your fitness business and understanding your competitors. You must study your competitors to help you establish your fitness business excellently.
Choose a Location
When choosing a physical location for your fitness facility, there are so many things you have to consider. First, you need to decide whether you want to lease or buy the space for your fitness facility. So, you should look for suitable physical locations for your fitness business but do not focus on anyone yet – look around and weigh your options. When looking around, you need to consider the kind of fitness facilities available in the area you are considering.
Studying your competitors in your potential fitness business area will help you to develop unique selling points. These points are what will make your potential clients choose your fitness business over that of your competitors. It will also help you know the price range you will offer your potential clients. By evaluating the prices individuals in the area can afford, you will learn how much you can charge your clients for your services.
Deciding the area you want to operate your fitness business is essential as it will determine the tone for the rest of your business life. It will determine your fitness business’s price list, your operating hours, and your competitors. You shouldn’t choose a place with too many fitness facilities because this means more competition for you and surely, you do not want to deal with that.
Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Like I said earlier in this article, you will need to choose a specific type of fitness business you want to focus on. This applies to identifying your strengths and weaknesses. You could already have something in mind before starting your fitness business, or you can choose along the way. I also said that you should feel free to change your niche if you think the current one is frustrating.
It would be best if you went for something different – maybe opening the first yoga studio in that area.
For example, you may decide to start a Zumba class but find out that the place you want to open your fitness business has about four Zumba classes already. If you choose to be the fifth person offering Zumba classes in that area, that will be a weakness because the competition will be too tight.
Identify Your Target Market
The fitness industry is open to many people as there is no limit when choosing to live a healthy life. Even with that, not everyone will come to your fitness business – once you select a niche, you can only serve certain persons, so you should be aware of your target market. Is your fitness business for children, adults, or the elderly? Does your fitness business target pregnant women? Once you can answer these questions, you will be able to identify your target market.
You should also be aware of your target’s market training habits – you need to know the time they exercise, the kind of equipment they prefer to use, and how seriously they take training. All this information will help you to understand your potential clients and serve them better.
3. Write a Business Plan
As they say, there is no successful business without a business plan, so once you have the necessary training and understand your competition better, create a business plan. This step is quite difficult as it requires business skills, but it is equally important because your business plan helps you identify your goals and ideas. With a business plan, you can easily explain what it is you want to achieve and share them with the necessary parties.
You will also need a business plan if you want to secure funding – your investors will need to know what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it. Some local and state governments will also want to see your business plan before you can obtain a license. When drawing up your business plan, you should consider some of the following tips:
You will need funds to start your fitness business, and you can use your business plan to secure financing for your business. If you have enough, you can choose to fund your business personally, or you can find other means to do so. If you need funds, you can take a loan from the bank (most banks will not handle 100% of the costs, so you will need to have your cash), you can access gym equipment financing, and you can collect from friends and family (if you do this, you should have a proper contract drawn up, so both parties know how much they gave and how much they are to receive)
You can also try out a business line of credit or an SBA loan (Small Business Administration-backed loans). The only downside to trying out these two options is that you may need to secure the loan using your holdings.
Choose the Right Business Entity
Defining your business structure is essential when creating a business plan – you need to know the type of business entity your fitness business falls under. It could be a limited liability company, partnership, or sole proprietorship. All three options have their characteristics, so you must do your research if you are not entirely sure of what they entail. For example, registering your business as a sole proprietorship means no legal connection between the business and the business owner.
Your business plan should include your financial expectations, that is, how much you intend to spend on every aspect of the fitness business. It should contain an estimate of the costs of starting a fitness business, including your leasing costs and how much you intend to spend to transform the space into a fitness facility. The equipment and amenities you will have in your fitness facility depend on your niche.
After writing down an estimate of the costs of starting a fitness business, you should also draw up an estimate of what you think your fitness business can earn in its first few years and several years after its establishment. This will be a difficult task for you, but you need to understand that your figures should be based on actual calculations and not be turned into a guessing game. Lastly, if you will be hiring staff, your business plan should include an estimated number of employees you may need to employ.
The essence of creating a fitness business always steers towards one goal, and that is to help people achieve their fitness goals. To help people live healthier lives through your fitness business, you first need to have people – your fitness business must be able to draw in clients. So, your business plan must include your marketing plan. You will need to calculate and have your marketing costs.
You will need to study your competition closely to understand your target market and how they will benefit from your business. Once you know this, you should outline how you plan to market your fitness business and services to your target market.
4. Market Your Fitness Business
People can only know about your fitness business if you have a good marketing strategy. You can use your knowledge about your target audience to market your fitness business. You cannot be quiet about your fitness brand if you want to attract clients – you see that marketing strategy you have drawn up in your business plan, and now is the time to put it into action.
You can consider several marketing tools; the most effective is having a solid online presence. Social media is a powerful tool, and you have to use that powerful tool to your advantage. With social media, you can directly reach out to your target audience and create a unique fitness business. Social media is a big part of the fitness industry, so it is never a bad idea to use it to your advantage.
Before opening your fitness facility, you should promote your services and try offering discounts to potential customers. Create an Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter account and publish daily content to engage your potential clients. You can give fitness advice, post workout videos, and post updates (a before and after photo). The last option seems to affect people positively, so you should try it out.
5. Client Management Software
The last step on our list is client management software – once you have established your fitness business, you need access to client management software (apps for fitness professionals). Applications like this will help you manage every fitness business aspect efficiently. Since you will be new in the game, it will be an excellent idea to have someone do all the hard work for you while you take care of the easy stuff.
Technology has made our lives easier, and the fitness industry has not been overlooked. Client management software is perfect for someone in this scenario. You can do several things with this software, and it will reduce your workload. The software allows you to keep track of your client’s progress. Written below are some of the things you and your clients can do with client management software:
- You can communicate with your clients by sending them automated messages.
- Clients can also access their progress through the software – usually in a graph form – and this will serve as a source of motivation.
- You can manage your schedule, bookings, and payments
- Clients can pay for and book sessions (either in-person or online) using the software.
- You will be able to access several workout and meal plans that you can share with clients.
There you have it – the five easy steps you need to follow if you want to start a thriving fitness business in 2022. The road to creating a fitness business is not smooth, but if you follow all these steps, you will be on the right track. Remember, client management software will help you to run your fitness business efficiently – learn more here – so it should not be overlooked.
Interesting Related Article: “How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Going to Impact the Fitness Industry“