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How to Create a New Fitness Club: Planning & Preparation

Dru Hill
Dru Hill
Published on Sun, Mar 3, 2019
planning and preparation

Have you ever been working out at your local fitness club and thought you could do better? Maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own gym? or are just looking to shake things up a bit from your 9-5 desk job?

Whatever your reason, now is a great time to be getting in to the fitness industry. In many countries globally, market growth is increasing at a rapid rate as more consumers follow the 2010’s health-conscious trends. Setting up your club has never been easier either. Getting equipment is just a google search and the click of a button away. Even organising memberships, billing and other stressful administration are a thing of the past with GymMaster keeping those under control.

Now you’re free to organise important stuff such as establishing market positioning and how you’ll compete with pre-existing clubs. Since we love making your life easy, we’ve prepared this quick guide. Hopefully this helps you plan and prepare to enter the market with your new fitness club.

Choosing your Markets to Service

This is one of the most important steps any new gym owner will make when creating a fitness club. Establishing where you fit in comparison to your competiton and the markets you’re focusing on can be the difference between your business being a complete flop or a raging success.

The first step is to identify which markets you want to target with your club. This is highly dependent on the location of your gym and the trends within your area. For example if your club resides within an upper class neighbourhood, you’ll struggle getting members to join a “barebones” facility. Same goes for a classy, expensive boutique facility being built in a lower class area where no-one can afford it. Your first job is matching your club’s facilities, location and offerings with the area and needs of your target market.

Deciding on the right target market requires consideration of your vision for your new fitness club. Also, taking into account strengths or any experience you might have in the industry. Strengths are also a great source of competitive advantage. For example, with ten years' experience with group HIIT workouts, you’re advantaged over other clubs running those classes without this. For more info on establishing your clubs competitive advantage check out this article: Maintaining Fitness Club’s Competitive Advantage.


Now, you might be thinking “That’s great, but how much does running a gym cost?!” and the answer to that question is - well that depends on who you’re targeting and how you want to be positioned within that market.

Since we have established the market we’re targeting we should have an idea about the type of equipment, décor and other amenities which are needed to service this audience. This should give an indication as to how much we will be spending on both our start up costs and the ongoing maintenance of the club.

For example, some clubs with a barebones fitness facility targeting an audience with lower equipment requirements could get away with spending as little as $30,000 on new gym start up costs. In contrast, if you are a larger club offering a variety of equipment and amenities you might expect to pay in excess of ten times that amount. Ongoing costs also vary by the type of facility, your premises contracts and a number of other variables. A good way to plan this is with a brainstorm (try mindmeister), and break down all of your costs as small as possible.

Positioning & Pricing

To price your club, you want to first establish the position you want to take within your market.

The two broad components of positioning are price and quality and GENERALLY the two of these are inextricably linked. Price is your strongest indicator of quality to prospective members and it greatly determines how they perceive your brand.

Recent trends have shown that most clubs tend to get the best results from going to either end of the pricing spectrum - so try to avoid the middle ground. The reason for this is because in the 2010’s people tend to look for either a large, cheap 24/7 fitness club to work out at without breaking the bank OR a smaller, more comfortable club offering a higher quality of facilities, classes and customer service and don’t mind paying a bit more. In general, members enjoy a bit of novelty to their fitness clubs - whether it be from a low price deal on their membership, interesting décor, specialty equipment or the social status of attending a expensive, limited access club.

When choosing your price point think about what type of members you want, what quality  of service you’re offering and what your competitors are doing. Looking at your competitors, see how they are priced and how you might compare against them in terms of quality. For example, If they’re charging $7 a week and you’re offering better quality you might charge $9.

Now that you’ve taken planning and positioning of your club into consideration, it’s time to setup your business for success. The next step towards creating a new fitness club.