How Much Would You Pay for a Hardcore Gym?

I am curious as to how much one would be willing to pay each month to go to a small, but fully equipped hard core gym; loaded with power lifting, strongman, and olympic lifting gear and functioning as a place for athletes to train as well.

The most profitable gyms today appears to be geared toward personal training for the upper class stay at home mother. The large commercial gyms today seem to want to push out any lifters whos’ routine may be disruptive to the others. For example a golds gym I trained at removed the olympic/bumper plates to discourage dead lifting, their words were, quote: people have been getting a little carried away dead lifting. end quote.

I have checked out some cross fit gyms, but it is designed for cross fitters; it is not geared for serious power lifters, strongmen, or olympic lifters.

So my question is how much would you be willing to pay each month to train at a fully equipped facility that actually encouraged lifters to bail on a clean and press, has room for indoor sled pulling, prowler pushing and tire flips, not only had bands/chains, but racks with band rods (so you do not have to wrap the band around a dumbbell), reverse hyper and GHR machine, maintained a truly heavy and complete dumbbell set, had logs and farmers walk bar, etc.

In addition to how much you would be willing to pay each month, I am curious as to how much you pay each month now for what type of services and what your location is.

I am from Suffolk County on Long Island, pay $160 a month for mma and $50 a month of a generic gym membership. I would be more then willing to pay around $100 a month for a gym membership similar to what I described above in addition to the $160 I pay for the mma.

Not some crazy amount.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to train in a PL environment and support a small gym, but paying something like 100$ a month is way to much.

You can get plenty strong with just a barbell and some other basic stuff. The thing I like about Eric Lilliebridge’s training is how much he trains his squat/bench/dead with just straight weight.

Although id like bands/chains/monolifts and all that jazz… I can get by on a cheap gym membership.

I think there are some PL gyms that charge out the ass. Right now I am paying $35 a month and before that I wasn’t paying anything. It’s all supply and demand. If there are no good cheap gyms around I would probably pay more. Really all it takes is a gym with a decent squat rack and bench. Training partners are far more important than equipment.

Didn’t you start this thread in another sub-forum?

$3,500. Buy everything in one month, build an awesome home gym, equivalent to $7.30/month for a 40 year membership, music never sucks, get strong, be awesome.

I work at a hardcore gym so it’s free to me but the going rate here is $30 per month or $300 for a year. All the stuff you mentioned is here. I’d say a hundred is too high, but prices for everything may be higher where you live (I’m in Atlanta). Crossfit gyms are worth another look though if you can’t find a good PL gym. There are plenty who are down with lifting, especially now that CF Football is popular and Louie Simmons is involved with certifications

Thanks for the posts…WhiteFlash I originally posted this in power lifting and olympic lifting, but it was deleted from both and moved to combat for some reason, so figured I would try to post again.

[quote]strengthstudent wrote:
I work at a hardcore gym so it’s free to me but the going rate here is $30 per month or $300 for a year. All the stuff you mentioned is here. I’d say a hundred is too high, but prices for everything may be higher where you live (I’m in Atlanta). Crossfit gyms are worth another look though if you can’t find a good PL gym. There are plenty who are down with lifting, especially now that CF Football is popular and Louie Simmons is involved with certifications [/quote]

Where in Atlanta are you lifting at? I looked at quest but unfortunately the hours aren’t so great and it’s a 45 minute drive so I wouldn’t be able to go there. Definitely looking for somewhere more PL friendly.

call me a shithead but I think real hardcore gyms charge enough to cover the dues instead of trying to earn a buck off of the powerlifting community. If it becomes a situation where the gym owner has to dedicate his full day to managing the gym, then I guess that has to get rolled into the dues but otherwise WTF?

If I had the money, I’d open a hardcore gym, I’d charge enough to cover the cost of the space and any equipment upgrades that the guys wanted over the next year or so…and that would be it. If we had more members, dues would go down or equipment would go up. I wouldn’t be looking to profit off of guys who work 9-5 jobs who are competing in a sport where they can’t earn a dime for their accomplishments (outside of sponsorships).

In response to unstable; I openly criticize your post, but do not mean any disrespect.

I think your idea is rather Utopian, neglecting individual motive and inherent risks associated with opening a facility by ones self.

The initial cost of starting a facility that I described above varies from $15,000 to $30,000. These costs include initial rent expense (security deposit, first and last months rent), insurance policy premium, cost of incorporation to remove individual liability, any build out/construction costs due to alterations made to existing structure, and the purchase of gym equipment).

The monthly expenses would vary between $1500-$2500 each month (rent, insurance, utilities, upkeep, and miscellaneous costs).

I doubt anyone would be willing to invest $15000-$30000 with monthly liabilities of $1500-$2500 without the intention of producing a profit. For anyone working the typical 9-5 job this is a fairly large amount of money to put at risk without any intention to reap a profit.

The probability of a new business failing is rather large; operating with no intention to earn a profit increases the risk of failure by requiring the owner to invest additional money when costs exceed the revenues. I think members would be extremely wary to accept the liability of incurring added monthly dues, either permanent or temporary.

If a group of individuals, say 30, came together with the intention of equally investing money and time to produce a nonprofit gym, this would reduce individual risk, but I have still yet to find 5 people whom would be willing.

Assuming the gym owner is also the operator, he/she would be required to forgo the earnings from the typical 9-5 job. Assuming this annual salary is $50,000 this would have to be added to the operating costs of the gym.

This brings monthly fees from 1500-2500 to 5500-6500 (roughly). For arguments sake, let?s say that monthly expenses are still just $1500, how would you produce a way to charge members varying prices to cover costs. If only 10 members signed up the first month, the monthly dues would be 150 each. Would the initial member be told his dues are 1500 but will decrease to 750 if a second member signs up? I understand your stance on cost sharing, but it only works when there is enough initial members, it fails when a new business initially has no members.

You might say that the owner does not need to be there, but again the tragic truths of reality exist, requiring ,at least initially, an individual preferably the owner the remain present (possibility of theft, make sure member are happy, make sure equipment is operating properly, etc.)

I could delve much deeper into this topic, but I think I?ve already bored most readers, which I apologize.

In short, I think it is extremely difficult to start and maintain a gym as a sole owner with the intentions of not taking a profit. The risks are too large and initially the gym may operate at a loss for the beginning months. I understand a gym can be very lucrative, but I don?t see an issue with someone profiting by means of opening up a gym. I?m sure many member of T-Nation have fantasized of quitting their job to open a gym.

In retort to your last statement,
?I wouldn’t be looking to profit off of guys who work 9-5 jobs who are competing in a sport where they can’t earn a dime for their accomplishments (outside of sponsorships).?

I find it rather incomprehensible to make such a statement. Again I think it stems from your Utopian ideology, but am I curious as to what exactly you mean.

Do you not think an individual business owner should only make a profit in certain fields? Is there any difference between the individual profiting from owning a car dealership to the individual owning a gym? Basically every activity you or anyone else engages in does not produce them a profit, but they voluntarily pay an individual who profits from this activity because the user enjoys it. In addition what do you mean by “guys who work 9-5 jobs” is there a classification of individuals that deserve special treatment due to their selection of employment?

I know this may be off topic, but I am curious as to what you mean by both of those statements, if you could elaborate further. My last comments may have sounded like I am inherently ridiculing your statements, I apologize. I have come across many people with similar ideological stand points, but yet to hear any rational explanation of how such a system would function effectively and efficiently.

I think to both your points, ‘hardcore gym’ runs the full spectrum from a dirty basement to something like Westside. If I have a few buddies come over to my home gym, I wouldn’t expect much in return other than some good spotters.

However, if I moved the gym out into town and my responsibilities for membership, maintenance, financial stuff, etc. shot through the roof, you’re damn right I’m going to want to make a profit and rightfully so.

where i am there’s a great PL gym for $125/year. not big, just awesome.

biglifter…agreed. I have an awesome setup at home and tell all my friends to end their gym membership and train any my house, of course at no charge, even comes with free protein shakes after every workout! Setting up a fully equipped facility capable of handling 100-200 members is a different story. Which is what I am curious about in this post.

I don’t think you’ll get much consensus on the topic, simply due to geography. And we have a really good contrast both being from NY. Higher population density (more potential members) and generally more expensive everything down there. You probably pay $100/mo. and think nothing of it. If I opened a gym up here and charged that, no matter how awesome the setup is, tumbleweeds would roll through all day long. Even at $20-$25/mo. there isn’t the interest around me in something hardcore and I’d have to wuss it out to get the membership (chick only rooms, cardio, juice bar). See, I just lost 10 lbs. off my bench even writing about that.

I’m willing to give up my garage and lift in the cold (up in Canada).

That probably isn’t helpful so I’ll say this:
When my wife and I visit her family out on the west coast, we pay an extra $2 each per time plus drive an extra 10 minutes each way for a good gym over one that is good enough, but typical of most “firness” places. Extrapolate that out to maybe 8 trips each per month and time/gas and I’d likely be willing to pay an extra $20 or $30 over a standard gym rate for the area to life somewhere that is lifter friendly.

Both being private gyms, whereby you can’t become a member simply by paying a monthly fee.

I completely agree with you as far as the investment goes…I don’t want to hijack this thread but the most I would ever pay to train at a commercial “hardcore” gym would be $50 a month. I’m sure you’ve already considered that the demographic shrinks substantially when you cater to the “hardcore” side of things, and I’m sure that you know even gyms that have been featured in articles where World Champion powerlifters train have recently closed and those champions have moved to private gyms where the overhead cost in insurance, rent etc. is not a factor.

biglifter…yes I am from Suffolk county on long island and go to school in Nassau. I myself have paid $270 a month for 2 gym memberships and 2 bjj memberships (one each by my home and one each by my school). It may sound ridiculous, but I would train bjj before school in Nassau and bjj at night in Suffolk and go to the gym some days at home and some days near school. In addition to just enjoying to train, it is also a social event. It’s fun training with different people, trying new routines, and getting a change of environment. I can easily justify my willingness to spend between 200-300 a month. A lot of the guys I trained with had multiple bjj and gym memberships and were also completely willing to spend 200-300 a month training.

This post is not an attempt to justify or persuade anyone as to why one should be willing to spend that much, but my attempt to find out what people would spend and if it is worth me taking the risk to open up my own “micro” gym. Again everything does vary by geography, in upstate new york the rent for a similar building would be a fraction of what it is around here. The cold weather increases the need for indoor space to do tire flipping and sprint training, in addition to heating an inefficient warehouse type structure.

Some of the posters don’t display a location, in your post I would appreciate if you stated what state or region you are located in to address the geographical bias.

unstable… yes I agree, that is why I am so curious about individuals willingness to pay. At 50 dollars a month the numbers are rather tight and the number of members one needs to break even doubles from a price of 100. I am not saying that it can’t be done a 50 a month, but if I new I could find 20-30 people to sign up in the first month at even $75 I would stop writing this post and order my equipment! At 50 dollars I need to do more research to ensure I can direct enough new member to the gym to cover the monthly rent and insurance. My primary concern is the risk of paying out of pocket the monthly expenses.


I’m at Iron Beast Barbell in Gainesville. OTP but the drive’s not too bad from the north end of town. I think it’s worth it though, because there are alot of competitors who lift at the national and international level here. If you’re around, swing by and train with us on the house. I’ll PM you directions if you want.

I currently pay over $100 a month to train at my gym. I live in the San Francisco area, where there are plenty of commercial gyms that I could train at and pay $50 or less. When I moved back to the area I checked out these commercial gyms, then the PL gym I go to now. Hands down I’m not disappointed with my choice. Maybe disappointed that the price is so high, but I feel the rewards make it worthwhile.

I train 4 times a week, and each day the coach/owner gives personal attention to each lifter. There aren’t many members that come regularly, so maybe that is why the price is high. Or maybe it’s because the gym offers high level coaching, equipment, community and training environment. Everyone who trains there is serious (most compete) and almost all of them are stronger than me.

I’m new to PL, and I just started going to this gym in late August. Since then I’ve added 20 lbs body mass and increased my PRs in every lift, which are still going up; 50lbs (455-505) on my deadlift, about the same on the squat, and only since training there have I been able to bench heavy again, due to a previous shoulder injury.

Cliffs Notes: I pay over $100/month. My gym kicks ass. I wish I paid less but I’m happy with the results. I think it’s worth it.

I’m in New England, outside of Boston. The best gym in the area would be Total Performance Sports, but it’s too long of a drive for me…their rates are $39 per month, not including classes etc:

@trip, I wonder if there are any loopholes that you can work to keep the gym “private” until it gains more momentum?