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Gym Ownership: 3 Things to Expect as a Gym Owner

October 5, 2022

Thinking of joining the fitness wave by opening a gym?

Gym Ownership: 3 Things to Expect as a Gym Owner

Thinking of joining the fitness wave by opening a gym? There is no denying that fitness is big business with an increasing number of people becoming more health-conscious and recognizing the benefits of exercise. Social media, healthy eating habits, preventative health care, and wearable technology are all helping drive the surge in fitness. Gyms of all shapes and sizes are stepping up to meet this large and growing demand. In particular, boutique fitness studios, specializing in affordable and specialized group fitness, have seen exponential growth over the last decade.

Gym ownership can have significant rewards. There are few businesses where you can make a difference in people’s lives helping them become healthier, improve self-esteem and reduce stress. Before you get started, it’s important to remember that opening a gym is a significant commitment that requires a lot of thought and critical decision-making on your part.  

Let’s dive into some of the most important things you can expect as a gym owner. 

Knowing Your Role

Maybe you’re already a player in the fitness industry and have dreams of gym ownership and being your own boss. Perhaps you have no professional background in fitness but understand the strong fundamentals of the industry and wish to invest. Either way, owning a gym or fitness studio involves more than just buying gym equipment or teaching exercise classes. Your responsibilities as a gym owner go far beyond the fitness product and involve marketing, staff management, daily operations, safety, finance, and more. 

As a gym owner, you will be required to wear many hats, especially in the early days. Understanding all aspects of your business is critical to your success. Ultimately, however, you can’t run the business alone. To operate and grow your business, you will need to find the right people to fill out key roles. Most fitness studios have one to two managers, sales and desk personnel, coaches, and possibly a cleaning staff. Assembling and maintaining a top-notch team will be one of your most important keys to success.

Unlike other businesses, it is not mandatory for a gym owner to be present at all times in the gym. Finding the right dedicated staff can help to ensure your business runs smoothly. This will help you attain a better work-life balance and spend quality time with your friends and family, or provide you the time to focus on additional growth opportunities.

Understanding the Costs of Gym Ownership

The true costs of gym ownership will vary depending on the size and scope of the business. For instance, a large, big-box gym stocked with high-end machines will carry a significantly higher initial and ongoing price tag than that of a boutique fitness studio.

Some things that will affect your startup and ongoing costs include:

Location. Where you choose to open your business will have a significant impact on the overall cost.  Prime real estate in the most attractive retail districts, known as Class A properties, maybe the most convenient for potential members but will come at a cost. Alternatively, properties in less established or older areas of town, known as Class B or C properties, will be cheaper but could be less attractive to potential members. Unless you happen to be a property owner, most gym businesses lease their space.  When you lease a space, the real estate expense is the upfit, also known as leasehold improvements.  This upfit will include building out the interior of the space such as the lobby area, gym area, and any amenities such as lockers, bathrooms, and showers. In many cases, you will also be responsible for the buildout of the mechanical, plumbing, and electrical. One of the benefits of opening a gym as part of a franchise is that the franchisor will typically assist you in locating and building your studio.

Equipment. Equipment needs vary greatly depending on the type of gym you own. All big-box gyms, and some boutique fitness studios, have significant fixed equipment needs (i.e., strength machines, cardio machines, and free weights). In a new trend, some HIIT or bootcamp boutique fitness studios, such as Volofit, have gone the opposite direction stressing variety and functional fitness exercises. These boutique studios offer members an unlimited variety of exercises with small inexpensive equipment that can be varied each day and often include modalities such as kettlebells, battle ropes, slam balls, and strength bands. HIIT or bootcamp studios typically have low equipment costs compared to other types of gyms. Another item to factor in is maintenance and replacement costs. Most equipment will need to be replaced over time and larger fixed machines, such as treadmills, will require ongoing maintenance.

Marketing. Let’s face it, there are a lot of gyms out there. Yes, you need a strong fitness product to be successful but you also need a strong marketing engine to get your name out there and bring in new members. Your marketing spend will include upfront dollars to raise brand awareness and attract new members prior to the business opening. You will also have ongoing marketing expenses to continuously bring in new members. If you’re an independent operator without any marketing background of your own, doing this by yourself can be a daunting task. On the other hand, outsourcing this essential task can come at a significant expense. Partnering with a boutique fitness franchise, however, can not only help take the guesswork out of your marketing endeavors but also cut down on your spending. Some franchisors provide extensive support in all facets of marketing including website design, social media, email templates, newsletters, apparel, flyers, promotions, and much more. By joining a franchise, you are gaining years of experience and know-how to help your business thrive.

Focusing on the Top Line

Much like costs, your top-line revenue model will depend on a variety of factors including the type of gym you open, where you open, and the services you offer. The model for big box gyms is to attract a large volume of members with a very low monthly membership price. In contrast, boutique fitness studios focus on an individualized and curated approach to fitness at an affordable monthly price. A downtown location in a large city will have a much different revenue profile than a gym in a smaller rural town. In terms of the revenue line items, most gyms operate on a membership basis. This is a huge plus because it provides a recurring revenue stream that gives you month-to-month predictability. While membership fees typically make up the bulk of your revenues, some gyms also offer other services that can add significant dollars to the top line. Additional revenue drivers can include apparel sales, equipment sales, food and beverage sales, supplement sales, health assessments and one-time promotion fees.

Changing Lives with Volofit

Designed by leading experts in the fitness industry and born from Tough Mudder, Volofit is the only fitness boutique franchise that delivers whole-body fitness with a premium customer experience. Volofit’s functional HIIT workouts change daily to give each person the tools to be fit for life: make them stronger than ever, developing next-level endurance, peak agility, and explosive power. 

When you join the Volofit team, you are not just investing in a gym franchise opportunity, you are becoming part of the VFam community, backed by comprehensive training and support, marketing expertise, and the incredible opportunity to improve lives—including your own. This is your chance to transform your career and become part of a new direction for fitness in the United States.

To learn more about Volofit’s gym ownership franchise opportunities, submit a form today!