Whether it’s opening a yoga studio or rethinking your strength training gym space, your location can make a difference. And finding your ideal fitness studio space can take time, patience, and maybe a few retail estate brokers along the way.
Here are our top tips for finding lease terms and a good deal that works for your budget and a location that fits your fitness needs—plus a retail space that you can make your own.
What to look for when finding a studio or gym location
Demographics: The demographics of the area are an important factor to consider when choosing a location for your fitness studio. Look for areas with a population that is interested in fitness and wellness, as they will be more likely to become clients. Additionally, consider the age, income level, and interests of the local population, as these factors can impact the types of classes and services that will be most in demand.
Zoning: Make sure that the location you choose is zoned for commercial use and specifically allows for a fitness studio or gym. You may also need to obtain a special use permit or variance, depending on the local regulations. Be sure to research the zoning laws and requirements in the area before making a final decision.
Condition of the space: The condition of the space is also an important factor. Look for a space that is well-maintained and in good condition, with no major repairs needed. Consider the flooring, lighting—including natural light—and ventilation, as well as the availability of electrical outlets and other necessary infrastructure. If the space needs repairs or renovations, factor those costs into your budget.
Lease terms: Review the lease terms carefully to ensure that they are favorable for your business. Pay attention to the length of the lease, rent increases, and the landlord's responsibilities for repairs and maintenance. Make sure that you understand all fees and penalties associated with the lease and that they are reasonable. You may also want to negotiate for a lease renewal option and a first right of refusal for adjacent spaces should your business grow and need more room.
Surrounding businesses: Analyze the surrounding businesses in the area, as they can impact your foot traffic and potential clients. Look for complementary businesses, such as health food stores, supplement shops, or other fitness-related businesses. Also, consider businesses that could be potential competitors, as they may impact your ability to attract clients.
Safety: Safety is a critical factor to consider when choosing a fitness studio location. Look for a location that is well-lit and has security measures in place, such as cameras and alarms. Also, consider the safety of the surrounding area, particularly if clients will be coming to your studio early in the morning or late at night.
How to negotiate your fitness studio lease
Research the market: Before you start negotiating, research the local real estate market to get an idea of the going rates for fitness studio leases in your area, giving you a better, more informed sense of what you can expect to pay for rent, as well as what terms and conditions are standard for leases in your area.
Determine your budget: Calculate your budget based on your projected revenue and expenses, and figure out how much you can realistically afford to pay in rent and other costs, such as utilities and maintenance. It's important to have a clear idea of your budget before you start negotiating so that you can stay within your means.
Review the lease agreement: Carefully review the lease agreement and make note of any terms or clauses that you would like to negotiate or change. This might include things like the length of the lease, rent increases, and the landlord's responsibilities for repairs and maintenance. Pay attention to any fees or penalties that could affect your bottom line, and be sure to clarify any ambiguities in the lease agreement.
Meet with the landlord: Schedule a meeting with the landlord or leasing agent to discuss the lease agreement and negotiate the terms. Be prepared to explain why you would like certain changes and how they will benefit both you and the landlord. It's important to approach negotiations in a collaborative and respectful manner, as you will be working closely with the landlord throughout the term of the lease.
Consider hiring a real estate broker: If you're not comfortable negotiating on your own, consider hiring a broker to represent you. A broker can help you find a suitable location and negotiate a lease that works for your business. They can also provide valuable advice on market conditions and lease terms and help you navigate any legal or financial issues that may arise.
Be prepared to walk away: If the landlord is unwilling to budge on certain terms, be prepared to walk away from the deal. Don't agree to a lease that doesn't work for your business, even if you're eager to get started. Keep in mind that there are always other options available and that it's better to take your time and find the right location and lease agreement than to rush into something that isn't a good fit.
Negotiating a fitness studio lease can be a complex process, but by taking all of these factors into account when searching for a fitness studio lease location, you can find a space that meets your needs and helps your business succeed!