T Nation

Any Gym Owners Here?

Been looking to the future, and what I ultimately want to do for a living. I think the idea of being in the gym all the time would be awesome. Right now I’m getting my degree (Business Administration) and am trying to take steps into making the dream of owning a gym a reality.

I was just looking for advice from people who are on the same path; people who own a gym or would like to. What are some steps to take, some tips, anything really. Thanks

I own a training facility where we focus on athletes. Do you have an idea about whether you want to open a more private type club or a bigger commercial gym? Are you going to focus on one type of customer in particular?

General Tips:

  • Know your market and know what/how/how much they spend on fitness
  • Figure out ways to keep people in the facility all day. Mornings/evenings are easy. Most of your costs are fixed so it’s imperative to generate interest in all time slots.
  • Buy good equipment. It pays for itself.
  • Be ready for 12+ hours days as the standard. Aside from Easter and Xmas, I haven’t taken a single day off in months.

It’s a great life if you enjoy the gym atmosphere and you’ll find plenty of time for training for yourself.

Feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions and I’ll be happy to answer them.

[quote]flyhalfnightmare wrote:
I own a training facility where we focus on athletes. Do you have an idea about whether you want to open a more private type club or a bigger commercial gym? Are you going to focus on one type of customer in particular?

General Tips:

  • Know your market and know what/how/how much they spend on fitness
  • Figure out ways to keep people in the facility all day. Mornings/evenings are easy. Most of your costs are fixed so it’s imperative to generate interest in all time slots.
  • Buy good equipment. It pays for itself.
  • Be ready for 12+ hours days as the standard. Aside from Easter and Xmas, I haven’t taken a single day off in months.

It’s a great life if you enjoy the gym atmosphere and you’ll find plenty of time for training for yourself.

Feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions and I’ll be happy to answer them.[/quote]

Thank you very much for the information.

I always envisioned it to be a single club, superhero themed. It would not be like a big commercial gym; more so a place for people who are more committed. I guess the audience is hard to describe, gymrats, athletes, OLY lifters, powerlifters would be all, but it would be more “hardcore” than the average gym. Y’know, chalk, dropping the weight, being “loud” Wouldn’t seem out of the norm, like a mix between the T-Nation Training Lab and DeFrancos.

I’ll have to do more thinking on this front; and thank you again for taking the time.

[quote]IFlashBack wrote:
I always envisioned it to be a single club, superhero themed. It would not be like a big commercial gym; more so a place for people who are more committed. I guess the audience is hard to describe, gymrats, athletes, OLY lifters, powerlifters would be all, but it would be more “hardcore” than the average gym. Y’know, chalk, dropping the weight, being “loud” Wouldn’t seem out of the norm, like a mix between the T-Nation Training Lab and DeFrancos.

I’ll have to do more thinking on this front; and thank you again for taking the time. [/quote]

do realize this sort of clientele is not exactly a plentiful group. most people just aren’t that committed.

[quote]flyhalfnightmare wrote:
I own a training facility where we focus on athletes. Do you have an idea about whether you want to open a more private type club or a bigger commercial gym? Are you going to focus on one type of customer in particular?

General Tips:

  • Know your market and know what/how/how much they spend on fitness
  • Figure out ways to keep people in the facility all day. Mornings/evenings are easy. Most of your costs are fixed so it’s imperative to generate interest in all time slots.
  • Buy good equipment. It pays for itself.
  • Be ready for 12+ hours days as the standard. Aside from Easter and Xmas, I haven’t taken a single day off in months.

It’s a great life if you enjoy the gym atmosphere and you’ll find plenty of time for training for yourself.

Feel free to PM me if you have more specific questions and I’ll be happy to answer them.[/quote]

Not able to send PMs. I think it’s because I’m a new user? I did have some questions for you.

This has always been in the back of my mind. I’ve been thinking of putting a business plan together for probably 5 years. All athletes, mostly high school, and some college. Pro eventually, but not banking on it. Much like Defranco’s, I’d actually want it to be Defranco certified if I could.

Clientele is of course very important, but to me location is paramount. Where I’m at there are 5 high schools in about a 15 mile radius and another 3 or so in a 25 mile radius. Group athlete training is where it’s at, imo. Parent’s will pay buckoo bucks if they think lil Johnny might get a scholarship or go pro.

Now if I could just pick a name…

Good luck IFlashBack, if you decide to go for it.

If there is one thing I learned from the pain and gain movie, give free memberships to strippers and everyone else will follow.

[quote]sufiandy wrote:
If there is one thing I learned from the pain and gain movie, give free memberships to strippers and everyone else will follow.[/quote]
Yeah man if you’re in the right city that has that sort of thing it seriously is genius lol.

A former training partner of mine is opening little gyms all over. He specializes in group training. That is the way to go imo. As a gym owner you’ll see things differently. That cool guy deadlifting 600 lbs is no longer cool, he’s a liability. Meat heads like us tear up equipment faster than Susy does and we don’t buy any supplements/ drinks from the gym. We’re also loud and the average gym goer doesn’t feel comfortable around that.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
This has always been in the back of my mind. I’ve been thinking of putting a business plan together for probably 5 years. All athletes, mostly high school, and some college. Pro eventually, but not banking on it. Much like Defranco’s, I’d actually want it to be Defranco certified if I could.

Clientele is of course very important, but to me location is paramount. Where I’m at there are 5 high schools in about a 15 mile radius and another 3 or so in a 25 mile radius. Group athlete training is where it’s at, imo. Parent’s will pay buckoo bucks if they think lil Johnny might get a scholarship or go pro. [/quote]
This basically IS the gym I train at. They cater largely to local high school athletes in all sports doing small group training sessions. That’s the bulk of their income. It’s a small, laid back, very much non-commercial gym, which in addition to the school athlete clientele, has attracted a group of around a dozen dedicated powerlifters, a couple figure ladies, a physique guy or two, an oly lifter, a couple boxers, and a few of us are looking to take up strongman. Chalk is provided, you can blast whatever music you want, there is no decibel limit on weight clanging, we’ve got things like atlas stones, a cambered bar, a monolift, a competition bench, a deadlift bar, a squat bar, farmers walk implements, etc. It’s pretty close to the kind of place all us meatheads wish we could own lol. I have no idea how stressful or difficult it actually is to run though.

[quote]sufiandy wrote:
If there is one thing I learned from the pain and gain movie, give free memberships to strippers and everyone else will follow.[/quote]

SHIT you beat me to it!

Anyone who has specific questions and can’t PM can reach me through my facility’s website. The gym is called The Academy of Sports Performance. I’m happy to answer questions about business plans, gym management, or really anything related. I wish I had more resources during the creation of my place and I’m happy to help others who are coming up in the field.

[quote]flyhalfnightmare wrote:
Anyone who has specific questions and can’t PM can reach me through my facility’s website. The gym is called The Academy of Sports Performance. I’m happy to answer questions about business plans, gym management, or really anything related. I wish I had more resources during the creation of my place and I’m happy to help others who are coming up in the field. [/quote]

How did you get your original funding? Out of pocket or through a bank? This is a pretty interesting topic for me because my retirement plan is to open my own place. It’s going to be a martial arts place in my hometown that caters to BJJ/stand-up along with powerlifting.

Out of pocket. I previously worked at another job that payed pretty decent and I saved up. The initial start up costs can be pretty variable depending on the connections you have and how nice you want to make things.

[quote]flyhalfnightmare wrote:
Out of pocket. I previously worked at another job that payed pretty decent and I saved up. The initial start up costs can be pretty variable depending on the connections you have and how nice you want to make things.[/quote]

I see. Got a chance to see behind the scenes from my instructor who opened up a school last year. Lot of things I would do the same and lot of things I would do different. It was strictly a martial arts place but I want my place to cater to lifting/fitness as well. Luckily, I get to travel with my job and I have trained at a ton of places over the years and made lots of notes on what I want my place to look like and what seems to be a pretty reliable model to get members/students.

I figure that being more of a start-up, a bank is probably not going to touch me.

I just pulled the trigger on my second gym, owned the first one for 5yrs, love it. Sitting here looking back at 5yrs this thing is way different than I pictured. I’m glad I had a mentor going in, he owned 5 gyms, and helped me alot. BBer’s are only a small part of my membership, less than 10% I’d guess, right now I have aprox. 600 members, less than a 100 use my place regularly.

Do some reading going in, because it’s way different than you imagine. I pay 8000$ a mth for rent, thats only 5000sqft, if i only targeted athletes, because thats who I train, I’d be bankrupt, the truth is, seniors and soccer moms pay my bills ( they don’t; complain, breakshit, bounce cheques,)

This was my buddies advice, build a gym for women, and the guys will come too, if you build a gym for guys, not so much.I chose a franchise, but I joke that I’m the roughest gym in the chain, by a long shot, we have racks, trapbars, SSsquat bar, prowler out back, chains and bands, and so on, but I made sure going in that my franchise alows this.

It cost me roughly half a mil. to open first gym in cash and credit, this is where the franchise helps, the first time I went to the bank they laughed at me, then I bought the franchise for 20grand, and the bank gave me anything I wanted, because the franchise has a 95% sucess rate. The funny part is me and my friends train in my garage, because my gym is painted bright yellow, and there’s sappy music playing, haha, but I’m making bank and doing what I love.

Tough call, to open what you dream of and posibly go broke, or open what makes money, and spend your days traing and flirting with beautiful women in a bright airy coed curves, I guess I sold my soool lol. goodluck bro

[quote]AnytimeJake wrote:
I just pulled the trigger on my second gym, owned the first one for 5yrs, love it. Sitting here looking back at 5yrs this thing is way different than I pictured. I’m glad I had a mentor going in, he owned 5 gyms, and helped me alot. BBer’s are only a small part of my membership, less than 10% I’d guess, right now I have aprox. 600 members, less than a 100 use my place regularly.

Do some reading going in, because it’s way different than you imagine. I pay 8000$ a mth for rent, thats only 5000sqft, if i only targeted athletes, because thats who I train, I’d be bankrupt, the truth is, seniors and soccer moms pay my bills ( they don’t; complain, breakshit, bounce cheques,)

This was my buddies advice, build a gym for women, and the guys will come too, if you build a gym for guys, not so much.I chose a franchise, but I joke that I’m the roughest gym in the chain, by a long shot, we have racks, trapbars, SSsquat bar, prowler out back, chains and bands, and so on, but I made sure going in that my franchise alows this.

It cost me roughly half a mil. to open first gym in cash and credit, this is where the franchise helps, the first time I went to the bank they laughed at me, then I bought the franchise for 20grand, and the bank gave me anything I wanted, because the franchise has a 95% sucess rate. The funny part is me and my friends train in my garage, because my gym is painted bright yellow, and there’s sappy music playing, haha, but I’m making bank and doing what I love.

Tough call, to open what you dream of and posibly go broke, or open what makes money, and spend your days traing and flirting with beautiful women in a bright airy coed curves, I guess I sold my soool lol. goodluck bro[/quote]

Where in Ontario do you live? I wouldn’t mind coming to check out your franchises if possible.

About an hour east of TO can’t say much more on here, but you can try to get the Pm working, I’ve had good luck with this franchise, even though I’m not one that plays well with others,

[quote]flyhalfnightmare wrote:
Anyone who has specific questions and can’t PM can reach me through my facility’s website. The gym is called The Academy of Sports Performance. I’m happy to answer questions about business plans, gym management, or really anything related. I wish I had more resources during the creation of my place and I’m happy to help others who are coming up in the field. [/quote]

Thanks, I sent you a message through your website.

You have a really nice place! This is pretty much what I am looking at doing myself. Training Facility, vs Traditional Gym.