How to Start a Gym

Written by Dave Lavinsky

How to Start a Gym Business



How to Start a Gym

If you’re looking to start a gym, you’ve come to the right place since we’re going to show you exactly how to do it.

We’ll start with key gym industry fundamentals like how big the market is, what the key segments are, and how revenues and profits are generated.

Then we’ll discuss keys to not only starting a gym, but succeeding in it!

And don’t forget to look at our gym business plan template if you need a plan to start or grow your gym.

How Big is the Gym Industry?

The Gym industry is made up of nearly 95,000 businesses. Industry revenue has grown at an average annual rate of 2.5%, hitting $30.3 billion last year.


What are the Key Segments of the Gym Industry?

The main revenue source for the industry is membership fees. The other sources of revenue include:

  • Personal training services
  • Guest admission sales
  • Athletic instruction – excluding personal training services
  • Meals and beverages, merchandise, and spa services


What External Factors Affect the Gym Industry?

A number of factors affect the performance of the Gym Industry. These drivers include:

  • Participation in sports: The rise in health-consciousness across the US has spurred increased participation in all kinds of sports. When sports participation increases, the demand for gym membership also increases.
  • Time spent on leisure and sports: As unemployment levels continue to decline, Americans have less time to spend on leisure activities, including sports.
  • Per capita disposable income: On the other hand, declining unemployment means that Americans are better able to afford gym memberships.
  • Number of adults aged 20 to 64: Most gym-goers are between the ages of 20 and 64, and when this demographic grows, the pool of prospective clients gets deeper.


What are the Key Customer Segments in the Gym Industry?

The key customer segments in the Gym Industry those aged 34 and younger. Consumers aged 35 to 54 are the second largest segment, followed by those aged 55 and older.

What are the Keys to Starting a Gym Business?

1. Decide what kind of gym you want to run
If you want to open a gym with few fitness options, it’s usually best to stick with a center that will meet a variety of workout needs. But if there are lots of gyms in your city already, consider catering to a specific market.

2. Select a location
Most people will go to a gym within 5 miles of their home or work. Keep this in mind when you’re looking for a place to build, buy, or rent. For example, if you are opening a CrossFit gym, you’ll want to be in a downtown area, or in a neighborhood with lots of young professionals.

3. Plan the layout
Think about the atmosphere you want to set, and how you want the traffic to flow. Also, depending on your geographic location, you will want to think about weather patterns and how they will affect your gym. If you live in a wet or snowy region, you may want to put the locker room close to the front door to minimize the salt and mud that will get tracked in.

4. Consider services
Potential clients will be interested to know what “extras” you offer. Will you have personal trainers? Fitness classes? Weight loss groups? Find out what other gyms in the area are offering, and try to offer something no one else has.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

If you’d like to quickly and easily complete your business plan, download Growthink’s Ultimate Gym Business Plan Template and complete your plan and financial model in hours.

What are the Typical Startup Costs for a New Gym?

Starting a new gym costs around $150,000 to $200,000.

Startup costs will include:

  • Rent and rental deposit
  • Gym equipment
  • Office equipment
  • Legal and professional fees
  • Marketing

Ongoing costs will include:

  • Rent/mortgage
  • Gym equipment – repairs and replacement
  • Marketing
  • Wages/commissions
  • Laundry service
  • Cleaning supplies


Helpful Videos

Marketing Strategies – How do I promote my gym?

5 Keys to Fitness Center Marketing

17 Habits Of Successful Fitness Entrepreneurs


Additional resources for How to Start a Gym Business

For additional information on the gym market, consider these industry resources:


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