Richard Tidmarsh, owner of Reach Fitness, shares his expertise on how to open a gym and explains the five key areas to watch out for when doing so.
TIP 1: Prepare to work hard
Sounds pretty obvious… right? Richard stresses the importance of understanding what you want out of owning a business, and make sure it’s for the right reasons. It’s not always simple being your own boss. There comes a realisation when opening a gym, and that is that you will have “less time doing the fun stuff” and you’ll spend a huge chunk of your time doing admin, managing finances, employees etc.
“Do you want to be working on the business or in the business?”
TIP 2: Location
Deciding on a location is never easy. Everyone opening a walk-in business, no matter what industry, wants a prime location that beats all of its competitors; usually at the heart of a busy street/town/city.
Particularly in London, Richard explains there must be two easy forms of transport to your site. This could be anything from walking, biking, grabbing the tube to driving; but it’s this that will be a deciding factor as the whether people will want to join your gym.
Opening a gym in the city comes at a cost though, as prices can rocket to the thousands a month depending on where you’re looking at!
There is the option of looking at more remote locations away from the hustle and bustle of city life, as there will be populations of people that want to join a gym but due to their awkward location, it’s not enough to commit. If you can be certain that there is a gap in the market for a site somewhere more rural in the UK, then it’s a risky but potentially very rewarding decision to make!
TIP 3: Cashflow
Weighing up the cost of what goes in and out is crucial to get your business off the ground. After running Reach Fitness for 12 years and having sites for 8, Richard explains how he still receives unexpected costs in running his gyms. This can be a highly stressful price to pay if it isn’t considered at the start.
Many gym equipment providers offer finance for start-ups and those opening new sites. Find out more on our business finance page.
TIP 4: Fit for Purpose
The next tip from Richard is to look at whether your gym is “fit for purpose”. Almost every Personal Trainer has their own style of teaching and training, so you should determine what type of gym you will run, how much space you will require, consider types of flooring suitable for your site and check to see if it needs to be sound-proofed (particularly if the gym is part of a multi-story building, underground or close to neighbours).
Ceiling height is another factor to weigh up, as you will require plenty of space if you’re looking at installing rigs and providing heavy weights in your site.
TIP 5: Quality of Your Kit
Although it may not be a major factor at the early stages, good quality kit is something that will reflect your gyms overall quality and feel.
Ask yourself the question: Do you want a premium looking gym/studio?
Your answer will determine how much you should budget for. Richard explains how he’d always opt for more premium products as they’re made to last longer and prevents basic wear and tear.
“Jordan Fitness would always be my No.1 choice in terms of the quality of the equipment that is going to last me a long time.”
For further support in starting your own gym/studio, please contact us today.