Grays Fitness: Are you considering opening a gym?
Starting a gym is no easy task.
John Gray has been running his business “Gray’s Fitness” for 23 years. Amongst owning and running this business, he has owned four of his own gyms, as well as co-owning and advising for many independent and major gym chains in Australia.
After location, lease pricing, management, OHAS, research; including demographic, behavioural and area profiling, general finance and staffing, you’re left quite overwhelmed. Maybe you’ve got some of these things sorted. Maybe none. Either way, this general overview will help break down this daunting first challenge and get you on the right path.
Ps: This isn’t a comprehensive analytical breakdown of how to start a gym, just some things you can think and (probably) procrastinate too.
Research: Demographic and Financial.
Research, research, research. It’s obvious, but it needs to be reiterated. Allow yourself a lot of time to really gain an understanding of your situation.
Here’s a waterfall checklist of some demographic points of interest that you can research and start to work on:
Demographic research: Who is in the area? What trends occupy these areas?
So, What category of Facility should I open?
Young demographic? -Bodybuilding type focus? Sport and Functional training classes?
Middle age?– Boxing or Spin Bike Classes? Pilates and Yoga?
That being said, if you are not sure of your local demographic, there are ways to find out through online censuses of your particular area, or through simple observation research.
Financial What is my financial situation? How should I fund the facility? Franchise or independent?
There are two options that are available here. If you want full control over your business, including location, profits and finance, equipment, classes and types (if applicable) then independent is the way to go. Of course, independent comes with it’s unique bundle of problems. If you want more of a structure and brand identity, consider a franchise. Sure, you are restricted in many areas, but it’s the slightly more structured way of doing things.
Amongst the research and getting some principle things thrown around your head in regards to research, here’s a couple of principles as advised by John to consider when actually operating the gym.
Cleanliness & Quality:
It always pays to be more detailed. A clean, well kept environment is always going to be more satisfying to the customer than a unkept, untidy environment. Obvious right? As obvious as it is, it still goes unnoticed by many gyms that John has and continues to advise.
Don’t be that gym.
Service and Friendliness:
They say the window to a business if through the receptionist. If there’s two things that need to reiterated in this article, its research and service. A great and welcoming service is always going to give your customers a good and lasting impression.
That being said, if the service is not going the way you want it, don’t blame your employees, train them. This important and interesting insight is something that John stresses in both his experience owning gyms and noticing when consulting for many independent and chain gyms.
Sometimes it feels as though the actual essence and make up of a gym comes last, that being the equipment.
Oh, it’s about time for the shameless plug. After everything mentioned, there remains one thing. That one thing is equipment. Equipment is pretty important, I mean its kind of what gyms are about…..right?
Well here at Gray’s we sell commercial gym equipment. What a coincidence you say?
Yes.. from exercise bikes, used treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical cross trainers, stair climbers and rowing machines, it’s all here. You can buy it as as traded, refurbished or new, with our prices proudly being up to 75% lower than the RRP. We are based in Altona North in Melbourne but ship everywhere in Australia and internationally. Alright, that’s enough of that. Check out our stuff, yada yada.