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Thread: Opening my own gym..

  1. #1
    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    Opening my own gym..

    Well lets get some of the story that led to this idea first.



    I work in the amusement business with my unlce (he took over the business after the owner died). One day during lunch the 4 of us were sitting down eating and the one guy was telling me how nice his gym was. I agreed and said mine was a rip off but I had no other choice. He then suggested I start my own gym. Its not a particularly bad idea however their are several issues.

    I have no idea what types of responsibilites you would have, or any types of liscenses or insurance I would have to carry.

    I dont have the money (not even close) and would image something like this would cost atleast 30,000-40,000 to get up and running. So this fact alone makes it 8-10 years before this would happen.


    I would want to make it an equal oppourtunity gym. I would cater to everyone basically. But quality equpiment would be a must, I myself am so sick of working out with bent barbells and dumbells. The upkeep on the gym I currently go to is horrible, the same 4 barbells have been bent for going on 2 years now. His fix, he bought one single new 7ft oly bar bell.



    I'm pretty sure it would be fun, and I wouldnt have to pay to lift anymore

    But I just dont know about the responsibilites of it all. I mean of course they would have to sign waivers and all that jazz....

    Another thing that worries me... our gym has 24 hour acces which is nice. But I was thinking, someone could just go down in the middle of the night and rob the place and they would never know because its dark and the cameras cant see.

  2. #2
    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    I'd love to do the same thing... I am sure you could pick up some used equipment from a gym that goes out of business or something. Not everything would have to be new. Plus you could repaint much of the machines and racks etc... Barbells, sand blast them.

    Yeah, i'd love to do that. One way you could get around having much cash on you is to give a slight discount when using credit card or check. Since plastic is so common these days, you won't ever have a lot of cash in the drawers... Therefore, robbery would be fruitless for the most part.

  3. #3
    Wannabebig New Member HahnB's Avatar
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    Why will people want to come to your gym and not another? How are you going to advertise and attract customers? How much capital will you need to start, what about location? These are just a few questions you should answer before doing anything. Do you have any business backround? Could you come up with a professional business plan to present for a loan etc...
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    Hot as FCUK Shark's Avatar
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    EFT. That's how gym's succeed. Well, that and a host of other things but all businesses like gym's, tanning salons, (sales driven industies) operate on EFT.

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    Journalist galileo's Avatar
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    Eating ****ing Tacos?

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    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    I was lost their as well..... EFT????


    Well I know one reason they would come to my gym and not the one in town... several really.

    1) The barbells and Dumbells wouldnt have an arch in them

    2) When it rained the roof wouldnt leak, at which point I wouldnt duct tape the seams of the cracked roof to "fix" it.

    3) The building would be easily twice the size this one is, that way if more then 5 people are in there you wouldnt have to sit around waiting to do a lift your not even supposed to be doing that day.

    4) It would be worth whatever price I decide to charge. The gym I go to now is hardly worth the 32$ he charges each month... its barely worth 20$..

    Considering that less the 20 miles away theirs a gym that has a full sized indoor olympic sized swiming pool, three times the ammount of lifting equipment, twice the ammound of cardio equipment (not that I care), a sona, two full sized basketball courts, a tennis court, a wallball area and on and on. Its total membership fee is 26$ per month...

    But I know theirs atleast 50 active members of this gym I could take with me, and probably 200-300 "cardio bunnie types". Take 250*20 you get 5000$ a month. Take taxes out and your still looking at over 4000$ minus bills. The gym would pay for it self in less then 5 years and it would be a much better place to lift then my current place. 12 bucks a month less and nothing nearly like this ****hole.


    As far as advertising.. I would probably put an add in the paper and make the entire first month free. Let people discover the gym at their own pace for nothing. If they decide they like it then XX$ per month to stay. And when people make suggestions Ill actually listen to them and make an effort to fulfill those suggestions.

  7. #7
    Super Mastah Mod rookiebldr's Avatar
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    lease as much of the equipment as possible to keep the initial costs lower and then you work on cash flow. That means drumming in as many clients as possible who won't use and thus wreck your equipment.

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    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    I don't think wanting a better place to lift is a good reason to open your own gym.

    But, if you are really set on this do some research, set up a good business plan, find a location and equipment, present the prosal to a bank and you will be good to go.
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    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    Thats also true jorge, very very good point about just wanting a new place to lift as justification for opening a gym.

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    Wannabe Rick James Genacide's Avatar
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    I think the best thing you could do is get a part time job at a gym and see what goes on "behind the scenes". Starting your own buisness takes a lot of time. Make sure your ready to put in 16 hour days and have sleepless nights.
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    General of Froot Soldiers TwiloMike's Avatar
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    A solid business proposal can yield investors to back you up and allow you to open a gym sooner rather than later.
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    Hungry BCC's Avatar
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    30 to 40 grand to get up and running? Try a quarter mil minimum.

    You're talking about making 4 grand a month and running a gym? The lease on my old gym was 13k a month. There's a new guy that opened his own gym in that spot and he isn't going to be able to keep it open to save his life and he had half a million dollars invested.


    EFT = Electronic Fund Transfer. To run a successful gym you want EFT memberships, not annual. Therefore you offer no break for paying the annual dues up front. Many people forget to cancel their agreement (or around here are too lazy and don't care) after fulfilling their contract and continue to let the money draw from their accounts.
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    Genacide is right - work at a gym first.

    One of my university courses was based on small business. The entire course was based on developing a business plan. Our group decided to do a plan on opening a gym.

    Off the top of my head, our capital investment (all new mind you) came in around $150,000 for an 8,000 square foot facility, cash flows from operations didn't reach a positive until the third year (upfront financing isn't an operation activity), and the membership was based on a 6 month exponential increase that plateau after the first year and one half.

    All in all, the report came in at 60 pages, included a five year financial forecast, a dedicated marketing section, a dedicated human resource section (we ran it from 5am until 11pm, no 24 hours here), and we got 100% on the report.

    Basic startup costs included all capital investments edit: ($150,000) PLUS: including leasehold improvements, rental deposits, utility hookups, enough cash to pay all employees for one month regardless of revenues, and assembly charges (no way do I want to install 20+ various cardio equipment, machines, etc, etc.

    Between the four of us (a HR major, an auditor, a finance major, and one general management guy), it took us about 100 hours to put it together.

    If I was serious about investing my own cash and livelihood into this venture, I'd probably double or triple that time and do some INTENSIVE MARKETING research to support any basic assumptions about your target market.

    ...and....8 years is a long time. The market can change in six months, let alone 8 years.


    Good luck!
    Last edited by jkirkpatrick; 03-17-2006 at 09:33 AM.

  14. #14
    mrelwooddowd Patz's Avatar
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    Yes, EFT is king. I was telling someone the other day that gym's don't actually care if you show up. I said "have you noticed that you can only pay a yearly fee up front, or have it debited from your account under a yearly contract? It's steady cash flow because 95% of the members don't walk through the door moer than once a month."

    And I agree, that equipment is really high dollar. I ws thinking it was be 100k at the very minimum, just to outfit the free weights, racks, and hammer-strength type machines. Then, if you're gonna jump into the full spectrum of machines where the grandmas and fat ladies are lifting, you're looking at at least another 100k.

    The upside is, in some areas you can rent a large space for under 3000 a month. I would wager that if your local gym is a bad as you say, then you're not exactly in a high rent zone..so, you could rent cheap.

    I also agree that one needs business skills to start a business.

    Here's the idea of the century. Save hard, for the next year. When you've got a couple thousand dollars in the bank, go buy a rack w/lat pull and a couple olympic sets, a sturdy adjustable bench, and some 50+ dumbbells.
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    Getting un-streamlined Progress's Avatar
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    Xbox live burned me on EFT.

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    Wannabe Rick James Genacide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progress
    Xbox live burned me on EFT.
    You mean you burned yourself by not cancelling.
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    WBB Team Captain Coke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCC
    EFT = Electronic Fund Transfer. To run a successful gym you want EFT memberships, not annual. Therefore you offer no break for paying the annual dues up front. Many people forget to cancel their agreement (or around here are too lazy and don't care) after fulfilling their contract and continue to let the money draw from their accounts.
    I've seen people still get money drawn from their accounts months even after they've sent the written cancellation they were supposed to give.

    Wish you well if you decide to move on with the gym. The guy who was buying our gym only had to pay $120,000 so some say it was a steal. I'm sure you can negotiate the building and what not. The franchises seem shaky but have built in members.

    There is so much I can say regarding this matter as I was thinking about it myself years ago, but my market is cornered. Where exactly will a facility be in place??

    Having your own business is a very dynamic process, great that you are even thinking about the possibilities.
    Last edited by Coke; 03-17-2006 at 10:35 AM.

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    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    I personally think opening a gym is a great way to throw your money away.
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  19. #19
    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    Damned.... No way I can put up a quater mill lmao. Thats a ton of cash.

    Just wanted some responses, because while I could think of every plus I need alittle help with the cons lol.

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    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    You're putting the cart before the horse.

    What exactly are you trying to achieve? A nice place to train? Part time income? Full time Income?

    A nice place to train can be achieved with less than 5k. If you actually did spend the full 5k, I would venture to say it would be pretty kick ass.

    If you want to turn this into part time profit, charge people a small fee to train with your kick ass setup. It won't replace your day job for awhile, but the potential is there.
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    Senior Member Canadian Crippler's Avatar
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    The gym I joined has it made. It's run by a bunch of gino's and they are absolutely loaded now.

    It has a regular workout floor with lots of benches, tons of machines, and DBs up to 110. It has a soundproof room with a power rack and a bunch of bars and bumper plates. This is because they run a school for athletes. They have 4 rooms for cycling, pilates and all the jazz. They've got a basketball court and big swimming pool. They have a rock climbing wall too. On top of this, they have a hair and nail salon too. Oh, and 2 NHL size ice rinks.

    As you can see, this gym appeals perfectly to upper-middle class families. All the pilates crap + hail and nairs for the housemoms, they've got the hockey stuff and regular workout stuff for dads, and they have bball, hockey rinks, workout room for the teens.

    And what's the catch? They built this place dead centre between thousands upon thousands of upper-middle class families.

    So my point is, think about where your gym is and the market around you.
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  22. #22
    Getting un-streamlined Progress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genacide
    You mean you burned yourself by not cancelling.
    True dat.

  23. #23
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    Ive also thought of one day setting up a gym, its a big task but if your determined anythings possible. Oh and if you go to a site like craigslist you can often find free exercise equipment like treadmills. So equipment isnt really a biggie unless your trying to build a elite and exclusive gym.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Canadian Crippler's Avatar
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    Equipment isn't a biggie? Muhahahahhaa.
    "I added some db curls with the pink weights for a bit of a burn." - Rookiebldr

    "im assuming the holy (big) 3 are: curls, bench, legs?" - Saggas

    "had a huge ass burn on my triceps while I was doing those kickbacks, so they'll likely be staying with my exercise program." - Zearoth

    "most of my burned calories coming from something called Basal. Wtf does a leaf have to do with any of it?" - Votorx

    "We have a lot of people like that on our campus, all hippies and things, that go around preaching against corporations, jocks, preps, accountants, and anyone else that feels the need to shower more than occasionally." - Shankerr

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  25. #25
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    WBBIRL we have had some really extensive discussions in the past on this, if you want to dig around a bit you'll probably find some good info. I think we've had a few posts from people who've tried, and others who've analysed the finances a bit further.

    My comment would be that unless you are going to open this gym in your basement, 30-40k is a pipe dream.

    You need to lease the space, and then you have to get a construction crew to build most of the stuff. The constuction costs alone would probably be well over $100k. That is unless you plan to takeover a gym, which is going to cost a lot more.

    Think you have to build changerooms, which means you have to have proper plumbing, you need to buy lockers for everyone. Heck, just the flooring for a gym probably will run you $10k+ depending on the size of it, and we haven't even started at equipment costs, weights, staff, and all this while your gym is not operational, so unless you can get an instant membership base to appear, you would have to float all this debt for some time.

    If you can find an area that is in real need though, and can put together a very good business model with some of your own cash up front to show how serious you are, perhaps you can get a business loan from a bank.
    Last edited by ElPietro; 03-19-2006 at 11:09 AM.
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