Running Your First Fitness Facility

So you’ve been doing the personal training thing for a while now; you’re a rock star at it, and you have decided you want to start your own exercise facility. After all, there is a lot to enjoy about the idea:

  • Be your own boss
  • Run your own gym center
  • Create your own rules
  • Work when you want
  • Keep All of Your hard earned money
  • Sounds like a dream? Not so fast!

I’ve colleagues and interns inform me all the time their objective is to start their own fitness facility. While I admire their ambition, I can not help but think — slow down, have a step back and let’s first think about it.

Now do not get me wrong, owning your own company is awesome and being your own boss definitely has its advantages.

However there are all those small things that many don’t believe or take into consideration, and before they know if they are burnt out and close up the shop earlier than was planned.

Let’s look at some things to think about and understand before you make that leap. These are a few things I wish I fully comprehended before I opened my own gym and hopefully my errors can assist you until you begin your own fitness facility.

(searching for help in building your own personal training business? Have a look at Fitness Marketing Monthly, an exclusive newsletter designed to help fitness experts just like you make more money, work less, and get the life you really want.)

The Checklist

1. Business Plan — Before you begin your own fitness facility, you definitely need this. It’s the backbone of any company, and it needs to entail a ton of details to make sure this decision will be for the best. Ensure that your business plan comprises the following.

Research — You gain quite a lot of knowledge is a private training center as a gym facility, but are you an expert in your area on all things fitness? Is there a popular niche in the area, what will you bill, what locations are available, what’s the competition, what’s the upstart costs? All of these are preliminary questions that have to be attended to.

Mission Statement — Just like business IT support, which is mandatory for all modern company, every company needs a mission statement which will guide their doctrine through each choice.

2. Money — It requires a reasonable amount of cash to begin your own fitness facility. Not only is fitness equipment expensive, but in addition the concealed here and their expenses add up very fast.

Here are two tips for you off the bat.

One, whatever costs you develop with, whether it be overall startup costs or monthly costs — add another $500 to get a total startup and $100 to monthly expenditures. Surprise expenses like toilet paper holders may pop up, therefore have some built-in space to accommodate them. If you had a website built, remember that there will be expenses associated with small business web design.

Two, you need to have 2-months of savings that can cover expenses upfront. This gives you some leeway through the initial months and leaves you ready for hidden expenses or potential down periods.

Here are some costs that you need to consider:

Rent — This will likely be your biggest expense when you start your own exercise facility, and on that note are you going to rent or own? Each will bring unique expenses.

Utilities — Electricity, gas, water, town, internet, cable, garbage services are common utilities that can add $300-1,000 a month to your expenses. Make sure that you factor these in and proceed when planning for them. Insurance and Liability — You are going to NEED this and it is not affordable.

Floors — Whether it be stained flooring or carpet this price can run anywhere from $2-5 a week. Outfitting a space even as little as 1,500 sq/ft can run you a pretty penny.

LLC, S-Corp, or comparable — Another annual cost that you NEED to have and depending on where you’ve found this can be hundreds of dollars for program and yearly fees.

Office Supplies — Depending on your gym facility you’re going need numerous office supplies. Things such as benches, desks, printer, garbage bins, whiteboards, picture frames, posters, mini fridge, towels, business cards, etc.. Also do not forget the design and development for a web site, should you plan to have any. These can accumulate very quickly into one big bill if you are not ready.

3. Many Hats — If people ask what I do, it is trendy to say I have my own company and get to coach athletes daily. While it’s fantastic to call myself a small business owner and coach, in reality, it’s only a little portion of my job description.

Should you start your own fitness facility, understand you’ll be in charge of a ton of additional tasks; and as I tell my interns, although I’m a fulltime coach, I work part-time doing the following tasks.

Maintenance/Custodial — You’d be astonished the total amount of time that has to be spent daily cleaning and upkeep. Vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, and wiping down equipment, repairing projects, shoveling snow, taking out the garbage. This job never ends.

Weekly time spent 5-7 hours

Accountant — For a sole proprietorship, self-accounting and accounting are easy enough. I use Express Accounts Accounting Software, which is free for Mac users and allows me to track everything and prepare accounts for the tax year.

This saves a whole lot of cash instead of paying an accountant, but it does imply at the end of every month carrying a good chunk of time to sit down and document everything.

Understand, though, that in case you add employees or alternative avenues to your business, then you have to hire a professional to deal with this for you. Professionals that you thought you would not need such as IT consulting, are beneficial to ensure that your gym operations run smoothly. Weekly time spent on these professionals is 1-2 hours.

Advertising/Marketing — There are a whole lot of great articles on the PTDC that cover personal trainer marketing and advertisements, and it is even more important as you open your own place.

The thing with advertising and marketing is it is an everyday job. Whether social networking, emailing, writing, papers, public events, starting a fitness blog, or even videos. This facet of your company never ends so get used to it and be great at it. If you have the capital and are willing to spend additional money, spending on a gym marketing agency would greatly help you amidst all of the other tasks to be done.

Weekly time spent 6-8 hours

Secretary — you’re the owner of a business aka you are a big timer, but guess what, you’ll also be your own secretary. You are going to be spending hours taking calls, composing emails, scheduling meetings/sessions, and caring for paperwork.

Weekly time spent 4-6 hours

Overall you’re considering 16-23 extra, non-training hours per week you’ll be spending working on some other aspect of your business that is not coaching/training related.

4. Hours — When functioning as an assistant at a bigger health club, you never truly realize the crazy hours that go into a business, but you will quickly learn how difficult the hours can be.

You already know that personal trainers typically work when others aren’t, and that means you are taking a look at early to mid-morning (5am-10am), then you might have the middle of the days available before staying in the afternoon and into the night (4pm-9pm), and do not forget about weekends.

There are a few difficult issues for this, one being early mornings and late evenings on most days. Working late into the night just to be followed by waking up until the crack of dawn might put you back down quickly.

And of course, frequent weekend work can add an extra 8-10 hours of work on the weekends when most people get to enjoy downtime or social time.

In case you have a family or busy social life, this could take a beating when you start your own exercise facility. Moral of the story, be ready to devote a lot of hours, particularly at the beginning phases, working your tail off in the facility.

5. Network — here is a top secret for you — reach out to others who have gone through the process! Most are eager to provide you guidance and advice in this process. Plus they may provide you a few great “in the trenches” experience to help you prevent or create the best possible decisions. Having a fitness business consultant to help guide you through the process will be very beneficial for your newly formed business.