How to open a gym business like a Pro?

Do you want to open a gym business but don’t know how to do it the right way? Are you afraid that you will end up losing your investment due to high-competition in fitness industry?

Don’t worry… You should lay back and read this post… we will explain you how to open a gym business just like professionals.

But before moving forward just answer these questions:

  • Do you like to wake up early in the morning to teach your first gym class of the day?

  • Are you willing to invest all of your efforts to run a fitness business?

  • Do you have the patience to achieve the break-even point?

If you answer a ‘Yes’ to all the questions above then we are quite sure that you will be a successful fitness entrepreneur. Kicking off a fitness center or gym business is not an easy task, but it can be really fruitful if you work hard and put your efforts in the right place.

As you are all set to learn how to setup a fitness business, we will first give you an overview of the fitness industry in the country.

American Fitness Industry

The fitness industry of USA has seen an increasing trend in both the number of businesses and revenue growth for past few years. The total revenue of the industry is around $31 billion in the year 2017, with an annual growth rate of 2.1% for the past five years.

The fitness industry is gaining attention due to the recent marketing trend which aims to fight the obesity, which was an alarming issue, and improved health conditions. The fitness market is less concentrated which led to the development of several niches. There numerous new entrants into the fitness market and is still growing due to low barriers to entry and less initial investment requirement. If the businesses incorporate new marketing techniques and get a mix of skills or training, gym business can prove profitable for fitness entrepreneurs and investors.

So, after getting an overview of the fitness industry you are good to know the essentials to open a gym business.

1) Local market research:

Before kicking off, you should get a know-how about the locality and the surroundings. Try to research on the local demographics to learn about your target market. is a good site where you can learn about the local demographics of the town. You should look for population (male/female), age group distribution, median age, income level, employment overview and number of households. This really depends upon your business and your own requirements.

The demographics information is really important for business decisions. If the median age of your gym business locality is 55 to 60 years and comprises mainly of female population, then it is not a wise decision to open a self-defense institute or martial arts club.

Apart from the demographics, it is much important to learn about the level of local competition. You can search simply through Google map for the fitness gyms or health studio in your city/town or zip. Make a list of competitors with their business types and analyze the level of competition. If there 20 yoga studios in your town then opening another yoga business will not prove much profitable.

2) Identify your gym niche:

Do you want to open a Pilates studio? Weight lifting gym? Boxing gym? Or what? Deciding on the gym’s niche depends on your interest, capital and the availability of specialized trainers.

Here we list some types of niche which are more common in the fitness industry:

  • The most typical fitness gym niche comprises of yoga, Pilates, spin, aerobics, dance, body-building and cycling.

  • Specialty fitness studios or boutique gyms offer specialized classes which is dependent on the fitness trainer. This is a good option for those fitness business owners who can invite well-known trainers.

  • Medical fitness centers which are mostly recommended by doctors for the patient therapies and post-treatment workouts.

  • Traditional gyms and family fitness studios.

  • Fitness center chains including amenities like massage, spa, saloon, and child care etc.

3) Decide the location:

Once you have chosen the gym niche you have to determine where you will open up your gym and the required gym space.

The first prominent factor which makes a successful gym business is its location. The location of your gyms should be based on the population distribution data. You should aim to be nearest to your target audience. The best gyms that generates high revenue are in the areas where the demand of the gym is highest and which are easily accessed through shortest routes. The best earning gyms are the ones whose customers resides in the 1-kilometer radius.

After deciding on the locality you should determine the size and space for the gym. First you have to decide how many gym customers you are willing to serve in your gym’s facility? Apart from this you should also consider the following factors while deciding your location:

  • Do you have access to parking?

  • Does your facility have street access?

  • Is your facility on the bus route?

  • Are female having kids your target audience? Will you provide child daycare?

If you consider all the above factors, this will help you find a better location for your gym facility

4) Figure out the equipment you will need:

This is the main question which comes next after deciding your gym facility. You need to decide what equipment you will need for your gym like machines, weights, mats, lockers and many more. This depends on the type of your gym and your clientele. The best fitness gym offers a wide variety of workout opportunities. These exercises varies with the interests of the customers and what fitness goals they want to achieve.

You should have free weights for your gym members. The gym customers with serious health and fitness goals would like to reduce weight and develop strength, muscles and flexibility. The free weights include dumbbells, plates, barbells, kettlebells and other training tools.

5) Funding for your gym:

As a famous proverb goes like “You get what you pay for”. Your gym success is also based on the amount of funds you invest in your business but you should invest your capital efficiently and effectively.

If you are opting for getting finances from investors or financial institutions, you need to show your tax returns and financial statements to get an approval for your finances disbursement.

6) Get all the legal work done:

This is the most important task before starting your gym’s operations. You should not ignore this part so that you can be relieved from any risks involved.

Here is the list of all the legal work you should do before marketing your gym:

  • Apply for Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is used for tax administration purposes and easy to obtain. You can fill out the form online and apply to get your EIN. (Note: Requirements varies between each state in the US. So check the requirements first)

  • Apply for the business license. It is necessary to get a business license for many types of fitness businesses. You might need to get a professional certification to open a certain type of gym.

  • Register for federal, state and local tax. The tax scenario is based the location of your gym and the state in which you operate.

  • Register your business name. You should register the name of your business to start operation legally. If you are sole proprietor or personal trainer you might not need to register your name.


After considering all the above points mentioned you are now ready to start your gym operation and market your gym to your target audience. Make sure that you pay attention to all the elements mentioned on how to start a gym like pro to earn success and generate good revenue.

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