How to Open a Gym: The Steps You Need to Take

Beautiful women working out in gym together

Are you thinking about opening a gym but aren’t quite sure how to do it?

Owning a gym can be a very fulfilling and lucrative career. Fitness is a $30 billion industry in the US, with the average person spending $112.48 on fitness-related activities each month. 

But, gym competition is incredibly stiff. There are nearly 40,000 health club facilities in the US, with one in five Americans belonging to at least one health club facility. Competition is stiff, so you’ll need to figure out a way for your gym to stand out. 

What do you need to do?

Check out this guide to learn how to open a gym. 

1. Get Your Credentials 

Even if you don’t plan to work as a personal trainer at your gym, it’s still important to have the right credentials before you open your doors. People want to see that you can walk the walk and talk the talk. 

You should earn your personal training certification from an accredited body such as:

  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • National Federation of Professional Trainers
  • Athletics and Fitness Associations of America
  • National Council for Certified Personal Trainers
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association
  • National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association
  • The American Council on Exercise
  • National Council on Strength & Fitness
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine
  • International Sports Sciences Association

When hiring personal trainers and fitness instructors, you should look for ones who have one of the above certifications. 

2. Figure Out Your Brand 

Before opening, you also need to figure out what type of gym you want to run. Do you want to open a “standard” gym with weight machines and cardio equipment? Or, do you want to open a specialized studio, such as a pilates studio or yoga studio?

Here are some other questions you should ask to figure out your gym’s brand:

  • Who’s your ideal customer? (ie, do you want to cater to those who have a lot of disposable income or those on a tight budget?)
  • How do you plan to interact with your customers?
  • What do you want the personality of your gym to be?

Answering these questions will help guide your business decisions and set your gym apart from the competition. 

3. Choose a Location 

Once you’ve figured out your gym’s brand image, you need to choose a location. To find a location, you first need to find a space that’s zoned for a fitness facility. 

Depending on the zoning laws in your city, you may need to get a conditional use permit for your gym. You also want to make sure you find a space with:

  • Adequate square footage
  • High ceilings
  • Ample parking 
  • Natural lighting
  • Space to install bathrooms/showers

It’s also a good idea to research the competition to make sure there isn’t a competitor gym nearby. 

How to Open a Gym: Time to Open 

Now that you know how to open a gym, it’s time to put these tips to use. Pretty soon, you’ll be opening the doors to your new gym. 

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more tips on running and marketing a gym. 

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