Walla’s Checklist for Opening a Gym or Fitness Studio

Opening a gym or fitness studio can be a rewarding venture—enabling you to create a community and environment of well-being. But before you consider taking the next step as a fitness business owner, it’s important to clearly understand what’s involved before starting and establishing steps for a successful business

Here are six key factors that you will want to prioritize when opening a gym or fitness studio: 

Business Plan: Your business plan should include a detailed analysis of the market and competition in your area, your target demographic, and what services you plan to offer. You'll also need to create financial projections that include startup costs, ongoing expenses, and potential revenue streams. This plan will serve as a roadmap for your business, and you can use it to guide your decision-making and measure your progress over time.

Location: The location of your gym can make a big difference in your success. Consider factors such as accessibility, visibility, and local demographics. You may also want to choose a location where there is a need for your services—and who else has your offerings in the area. Once you've found a space that meets your criteria, you'll need to negotiate a lease and make any necessary renovations or upgrades.

Equipment: Your gym equipment will be one of your biggest expenses, so it's crucial to invest in high-quality machines that are both safe and durable. Depending on your focus, you may need to purchase equipment for strength training, cardio, yoga, or other fitness activities. You'll also need to consider the layout of your gym and how you'll arrange the equipment to maximize space and flow.

Staff: Your staff will be the face of your gym and the first touchpoint for your prospects and clients, so it's essential to hire trainers, instructors, and other professionals who are experienced, knowledgeable, and personable. In addition to trainers, you may need to hire receptionists, cleaning staff, and maintenance workers. You'll also need to consider their training and certification requirements and their compensation and benefits.

Licensing and permits: Opening a gym or fitness studio will require you to obtain various licenses and permits, which can vary depending on your location and services. Some common permits include a business license, health permit, and building permit, plus possibly complying with zoning laws and obtaining liability insurance.

Marketing strategy: Once you've opened your gym or fitness studio, you'll need to attract and retain clients through effective marketing, including advertising on social media, local publications, and fitness-related websites. You can also offer promotions or referral programs to incentivize new clients to try your gym or studio. Building relationships with your clients and creating a positive community atmosphere can also help to build a loyal client base.

Now that you have the foundation for opening a gym or fitness studio, here’s our checklist to help you plan the next steps! 

Choose a business structure: Your business structure will determine how your company is taxed, your personal liability for the business's debts, and the paperwork required to get started. Some common business structures include sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation. Consider consulting with a lawyer or accountant to determine the best structure for your business.

Register your business: You'll need to register your business with your state government and obtain any necessary licenses and permits. Depending on your location and the type of business you're starting, you may need to obtain a business license, zoning permit, health permit, or other licenses or permits.

Secure financing: Determine how you'll finance your business, whether it's through personal savings, loans, or investors. Create a budget, forecast your cash flow, and develop a funding strategy, including short-term and long-term financing options.

Set up accounting and bookkeeping systems: Establish a system for tracking expenses, managing payroll, and handling taxes. You may need to hire an accountant or bookkeeper to help you set up your financial systems and ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations.

Find a studio management software: Do competitive research and commit to software that simplifies your daily operations, is easy for your staff and clients, and aligns with your business values. A modern platform like Walla has intuitive tools that enable your studio to measure performance and optimize selling opportunities while giving your community the best browsing, booking, and buying experience—continually increasing revenue and retention. 

Develop a brand identity: Create a logo and brand identity that represents your business and appeals to your target market. This may involve working with a graphic designer, developing a brand voice and messaging, and creating a marketing plan to build brand awareness and attract customers.

Opening a gym or fitness studio can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By carefully considering the factors above and developing a solid plan, you can create a successful business that helps people achieve their fitness goals.