If you are planning on opening a health club, gym, or fitness studio, location is going to be vital for your new business. This is because people primarily choose health clubs that are nearest to their homes or those locations that are the most convenient and accommodates their daily routines. Additionally, you will need to consider whether you will be buying or renting the commercial space. If you are opening a health club for the first time, here are some factors to consider on choosing a place that will set up your fitness business for success.
Which Part of the City to Locate Your Gym?
The following are some criteria that I believe contribute to a successful health club location.
Aim at residential areas when you search for a place to set up a new gym.
– Research your area including what is there now and what the future may bring to the surrounding area! Be sure to choose an area where no other, or very few fitness facilities of the same type are present. For example, if you have a specialty studio such as Bikram Yoga or an MMA gym, then make sure there are no other yoga studios or kickboxing types of studios within the vicinity. The same is true for the typical health club. If you have a choice, it is better to be near specialty fitness studios than be near other general health clubs. When you are a start-up, there will be many barriers to entering a competitive market. It is better to set up your gym in an area where similar fitness facilities are a scarcity.
– Typically, in every city or town, there is a shopping center where consumers go to for a one-stop-shop. If you are in a smaller town, try to situate yourself in a place that is known for this. If you are in a larger city, there are probably a lot of one-stop-shopping mall areas. If that is the case, then the best bet is to choose the one that has a grocery store as an anchor. I will explain why later in this post.
Find a Location to Accommodate the Work Day
– If you cannot get into a residential neighborhood, you can still make industrial location or downtown work to your advantage. The best location is to find a space near mass amount of office buildings or the court house. With these settings you still have to research and make sure that you are the nearest and the most accessible fitness facility in the area. Also you will need to make sure your facilities accommodate the working member. This means that class schedules have to accommodate early hours before work and lunch time workouts. Additionally your facilities will have to have plenty of showers, large lockers to accommodate hanging suits, and perhaps even a smoothie bar which includes healthy snack for those members that choose to forgo their lunch time for a workout.
What outside Factors Affect Your Gym’s Prosperity?
It is always better to be cautious and understand that your physical environment plays a large role in how you prosper. Quite a few potential customers will require the gym to be in a commercial center near their residence. This is due to multiple reasons. One simple reason is again for the convenience. People nowadays are on very tight schedules and look for ways to get multiple things done efficiently. If they can get gas, go to the gym for a 20 minute workout and get milk all in the same commercial center and be home within 45 minutes, the greater the retention factor is for your business because it fits into other essential elements of their lives. However, if your member has to travel to a single store location to workout, where there is nothing nearby to do additional essential errands; the less convenient it is for them to fit the gym into their daily routine. Thus, the retention factor wavers solely on a person’s commitment to themselves to be fit without having additional supporting factors. Again, this goes back to why I suggest securing a space in a commercial center anchored by a grocery store…
Is It Better to Buy or Lease?
With most start ups, money is scarce and there is really no choice in the matter to lease or buy a commercial space. Typically, most people, including myself, have to lease their commercial space. However, if you live in a part of the country where commercial space is relatively cheap and you have the financial means to do so, BUY! Why? Once that commercial space is secured and owned by you, it will be easier to see profit sooner because one of the largest expenses in operating a health club outside of staff salary is the lease.
The plan is for your health club to be around for many years. The revenue clubs get from their members is variable depending on the number of members. Members will come and go and as with any businesses, gyms have their seasons of plenty but also deal with slow seasons. For this reason, renting out a location makes the situation more complex and requires strict budgeting and advanced planning in order to keep the business afloat.
Being a start up makes things difficult, because the revenue must keep the gym running even when no new members are coming through the doors. Leasing, even once you are established, can also have complications because things are still uncertain once your lease is over. You will then have to consider renewal at a different cost or moving to a different location. However, if you own the space, you are in control!
Do you have any advise?
This article is written from my perspective of a gym owner located in Las Vegas, NV. If you live in a different part of the country and have experienced other factors that make locations successful, please contribute your personal knowledge in the comment section.