How to Start a Crossfit Gym

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

As someone who has trained and currently worked with four Crossfit gym owners, I've observed some essential needs to get a sufficient gym started and a successful gym maintained. As with any new business, the first thing you should question and ponder is, "How will I get clients?" Or "What is going to allow me to build a steady business within my budget among competitors?"

Step 2

The easiest way to get your Crossfit business running efficiently from the start is to have clients willing to invest or commit to training at your gym prior to opening. Promote the new gym through word of mouth, make flyers, have a website pre-made (free blog site is the easiest and most affordable).

Step 3

Four other gyms in Columbus, Ohio have owners who originally started at my current affiliate. Although they now have their own clients and separate style and programming, they were able to use this affiliate as a launching point for meeting others involved in the business and gaining clients through community functions and competitions. Each of them had a beginning client set before opening. Even my affiliate, before it was Crossfit affiliated, had clients from baseball lessons that the owner also taught and through communicating with individuals through his summer baseball team and his other job at a local elementary school.

Step 4

It is possible to start without clients, but it isn't safe, even if you are in a heavy traffic area and have a giant neon sign. If people do not know what your business is, they most likely won't pursue it as readily.

Step 5

Along with gathering clients, one should also have a developed sense of the community and Crossfit.

Step 6

Though to start a gym, you need only a L1 trainer certification and to purchase an affiliate license, I highly recommend working as a trainer at another developed gym, shadowing others, or training even training individuals privately or in small groups to gain experience.

Step 7

It is one thing to know how to perform movements, but it is absolutely crucial to know how to instruct these movements properly and confidently to clients to prevent injury and gain a sense of respect from knowledge. Until you actually instruct 10-15 clients at a time, you do not fully understand how to present yourself and what things to look for to help the group understand the process.

Step 8

Again, part of the reason the gyms now owned by those who previously trained at my affiliate are successful is from first learning and coaching there. I am not saying they couldn't have done this without starting at my gym, but it surely sped up the process and developed quick confidence.

Step 9

After gathering some potential interest in clients, you should begin drafting a full plan. How much money do you want to make? How much is the lease per month? How much do you need to make a month in order to pay other coaches as well as also maintain your gym? Financial matters are always the toughest issues surrounding a business, and though great coaching will produce a quality gym, the owner must have a little business sense so he or she does not run themselves out of their budget.

Step 10

Once you find your ideal area and or building (many gyms aren't in high traffic areas and do incredibly well--plus it is beneficial to have outdoor space to workout for large classes and outdoor atmosphere--inner city or heavily populated areas limit this space-you can make it work), it would make sense to set aside payments.

Step 11

First, shop around for awhile, negotiate rent (it can always be lowered), sell yourself and the product.

Step 12

Discuss zoning and adequate parking, and make sure neighboring businesses (if any) can deal with having a gym with loud music and the possibility of people running and throwing weight everywhere outside. Having friendly neighbors lessens stress and could offer potential clients.

Step 13

After gathering an idea of your possibilities in location and buildings, start working out what numbers would best fit your business. It is unrealistic to set a yearly goal of income on your new gym. You just aren't going to be 100% sure of the outcome and will drive yourself crazy trying to meet demands rather than coaching.

Step 14

Instead, set aside enough money for the first three or four months rent, insurance costs, office supplies (if you really need them), equipment, LLC agreement, etc... and it's always essential to keep an extra misc. fund for unknown occurring issues like bathroom repairs and other issues.

Step 15

Once you have this final total, calculate how many clients and at what amount per month they will need to pay to sufficiently pay the bills and leave a profit.

Step 16

If all of your expenses come to about $4,000/month, you will need about 40 members at a $100 per month membership to cover yourself. At this rate, you will need to quickly increase your client base to gain a profit or come up with other plans such as the first month is $150, then after drops to $100, just to gain some extra cash to put back into the gym and give you an income.

Step 17

Having fun yet? It can be a little overwhelming, especially in the beginning, but with time, things get easier (as any crossfitter knows) to manage. If you just hate the financial aspect all together, then hire a close friend or someone you trust to handle the financial matters (never hurts to have a partner or more help as long as you understand each other).

Step 18

Once you have an idea of these things, you may decide you need a loan. Shop around to several banks (again do research--its worth your time), don't take the first offer. Make sure you are getting everything you can and something you'll be able to negotiate an efficient payment plan.

Step 19

Also, an LLC agreement would be the easiest entity to attain. I do not know much more regarding how to do this, but it would be through the courts (some paperwork and a fee, but worth it in case someone sued your company--you won't lose everything unlike in a partnership.

Step 20

Finally, you are ready to market, promote, etc. This is the exciting part and time to pour your heart into showing people who you are and what your goals are. Use a blogging site to help others contact you for quick questions and so others can get an understanding of the program and details of the workouts each day (will help people schedule times around their lives).

Step 21

Have a way to make online payments. Paypal is cheap and easy, but unreliable. Zen Planner seems to work much more efficiently.

Step 22

If you plan on having several coaches, have biographies so clients know who their dealing with.

Step 23

Also use a website or software to show class times for the trainers so you can schedule who's instructing what and when efficiently.

Step 24

Have a grand opening bash! Invite clients to the gym or to your home to develop a sense of community and to show them your more than just some instructor.

Step 25

Remember, this is YOUR gym and the beauty of owning your own business is it is up to you to create what you envision and make it a reality. Happy CrossFitting!

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

-Prepare and plan, this is a business and possible dream, not a last minute road trip! -Become a business student, or student of business, learn, research, and learn again -Never stop learning about fitness--new methods develop everyday -Be innovative--there are several crossfit gyms--how is yours different--why is yours the must?!

Stuff You'll Need

Suggested Further Reading

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Funny or interesting story about this topic...

Since 2008, Crossfit gyms have exponentially been popping up around Columbus and its suburbs. People are seeing the Crossfit Games on ESPN and are curious about the hype that is still growing in this odd, but motivation fitness community. Along with its heightened popularity, there have been a greater amount of people willing to invest and jump on the fitness revolution and start their own gym. The great thing about Crossfit is that it does not take a large amount of space to create what crossfitters call a, "box," or gym. You simply need an area for movement--some use garages, others set up in parks, and one of the most popular Crossfit gyms in the nation in San Francisco uses just a lot with some tents in case of rain. Although it seems simple, just buy some equipment, find a place to lease, and get certified, it is still a business, and without a goal or model, you gym will "drop the weight," as quickly as your Fran time.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I have now been involved with Crossfit on a daily basis for about 4 years. I heard through some guys on my summer baseball team about a gym in a local suburb that used unorthodox training modalities at high intensities. As someone who has always been interested in fitness and has sickly enjoyed training for anything, I jumped on the free opportunity given to try out a class. I had been getting board with my regular "go to the gym and lift core muscle groups and run" routine, and though I usually tried mixing in different forms of training, I was bored. It was a small industrial center tucked away on a small road off route 62, and as soon as I walked in, I was hooked. The small garage-like atmosphere quickly excited me because I believed training in a large, corporate gym was just too clean for a place where people are sweating and pushing their bodies to the max. The small, open training area with essential pieces of free equipment was exactly what I was looking for. No more machines, spas, televisions, etc... Just a pure, gritty, space to achieve better physical and mental health. It wasn't yet a Crossfit certified gym, and it was during a time when the sport of Crossfit was just on the rise, but the teachings were very similar. High intensity movements, mixed with gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing, biking, and any functional movement of the human body. After the first few times I went, I was hooked. Four years later, this gym is a well established Crossfit certified gym, and has produced several Crossift athletes including one world champion in just its few years of existence. I've listed some tips on a plan for opening your first crossfit gym. Though I do not own a gym, I have been apart of a crossfit community for years and have seen the ups and downs of the business.

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