T Nation

Opening a New Fitness Facility, Advice?


#1

My father (now retired) wants to open a new fitness facility in our small town of Morgan County, Ohio. He’s currently making some calls for the space. Here are questions I have

He is consider leasing equipment from Rogue, is this a good idea ?

I have no idea to tell how many people will get memberships so I’m having a hard time figuring out if we can offered the place in the long term of things, is there any good way to estimate ?

There is no competition in the county when it comes to a fitness center, how can we make the most of this monopoly ?

I wanted to draw in the kids over at the local HS (only 1 HS in the entire county) to integrate a power lifting program so that the kids can compete in the teen division at certain annual meets, is this a good draw ?

What about staff, is a personal trainer required ?

What about insurance, liability ?


#2

There have been a few threads on here about gym ownership, I’d start by searching for those. I believe @AnytimeJake might have been one of the owners with a good thread.


#3

This might have been one of them:


#4

Does he have any professional experience in the fitness industry?

10 seconds of online research tells me that the county has nearly 20% of people living below the poverty line. So go into it knowing that a gym membership is a luxury item. 5 more seconds of research tells me that there are about a dozen gyms within a 30-40 minute drive, including a CrossFit box. So, there’s plenty of competition.

Definitely check the thread USMC posted (side note - if Jake starts posting on the forum again, that’d be very cool). This is also a more recent thread where @pookie79 got advice about opening a gym.

I’d try contacting federations that hold local meets and get their input.

Trainers aren’t “required”, but they’re definitely a potential source of income and clients. The trade-off is that you’re getting into the issue of everything from staffing, taxes, and insurance, to inter-personal drama and client poaching (trainers taking gym members and training them elsewhere).

Basically a must-have, otherwise you’re opening yourself to a host of potential problems.


#5

I wouldn’t setup a traditional gym. If you want to target the high school then that is what you should do.

Before classes start:
3 times per week powerlifting group sessions
3 times per week general strength for HS sports (football/basketball/whatever) group sessions.

After classes end, same deal.

Then run classes in the evening. The rest of the time can be an open gym.

Once a quarter run a mock powerlifting meet.

To give you an idea, in my area this model draws 8x as much per member as your ordinary gym.

As you can see, this is hard damn work and that’s before you include the daily toilet scrubbing, mopping, vacumming and putting weights away. Not to mention the abuse of the equipment.

And it will only be a matter of time before some asshole hurts themselves doing something dumb and blames you. So yes, insurance.

As it’s a very high risk business, make sure you set it up in a way that you don’t take on the business debts if it goes under.