How Much Does it Cost to Start a Gym?

By Nicolas Fisher

Published 8 August 2022

Before starting your new fitness business, the first question on your mind should, rightfully, be: “How much does it cost to start a gym?”

Keep in mind that not all gyms are created equal and that depending on a wide variety of factors starting your gym could cost anywhere from $50,000 to $1,000,000 to get off the ground.

Luckily we’ve put together a handy breakdown of how much it costs to open a gym for the various types and sizes that you may be interested in pursuing.

How much does it cost to start a gym: one-time expenses

Even though the initial costs of opening a gym can be pricey, many of these costs are one-time expenses and won’t necessarily need to be paid regularly. However, planning ahead and doing your research will help you answer accurately for your particular plan: how much does it cost to start a gym?

Location

If you’re looking to buy a physical location to open your gym, the cost can differ greatly depending on the current commercial real estate market and the state or city you’re located in. Make sure that the space you choose has enough room to comfortably fit the amount of equipment you and the members you plan to host.

Keep in mind plans and if you want to include rooms for classes, locker rooms, saunas, hot tubs, etc. If you’re looking to buy, this can easily cost over $500,000.

Make sure that before buying, do your comparative research on your market. Sites like LoopNet or CREXi provide great insights and allow you to find deals you may not have yet considered and allow you to compare pricing.

Alternatively, you may want to look into leasing space instead of buying.

Equipment

Depending on the type of equipment you’re looking for, this can range from $10,000 for a personal studio to $50,000 for a fully-equipped commercial gym. Compare wholesale gym retailers and keep in mind that wholesale gym suppliers often give discounts for package deals when starting a gym.

Want to know more? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Wholesale Fitness Equipment Suppliers

Certificates

If your staff is certified, this can act as a selling point for your gym as the certification process ensures that your members will be receiving knowledgeable well-informed information when being coached.

Certifications can range from $500 to $800 for each trainer. You can avoid these costs when hiring by listing any of the following certifications as part of the requirements for all applicants:

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Permits

Each state, city, and county has different requirements for the licenses or permits you need. As a staple, look into acquiring a business license and the necessary health and safety permits as well.

Legal fees

Negotiating your lease, closing a property sale, and obtaining the right licenses and permits for your business is a tough task and may require professional help. You can expect to pay $200 per hour or more for services like this. Price varies based on what legal documents you’ll need according to the location of your gym.

These can include but are not limited to:

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non-disclosure Agreement
  • Memorandum of Understanding
  • Employment Agreement
  • Operating Agreement

After all, is said and done, this usually costs around $9,000 to get everything in order.

Getting Insured

Insurance is a legal must-have for any fitness business. You’ll need General liability, workers’ compensation, and surety bonds as the minimal requirements. You should expect to pay around $12,000 in premiums starting but rates can vary depending on many factors.

Building and Remodeling

Whether this is necessary largely depends on what space you buy or rent. You may have to make some modifications if your building is not currently up to code. Remember remodeling costs can add up quickly and take this into account whenever buying or leasing.

Point-Of-Sale System

No gym is complete without a proper POS (point-of-sale) system – Virtuagym offers an integrated plug-and-play webshop and POS-system as part of our Growth Package. Without it, your members will not be able to pay via card. Depending on your provider and the hardware you choose, this can range from $500 to $2500 per year and usually double that as a first-time fee.

Signs

How much you put into your signage is largely up to your tastes. Some signs can go for as low as $50 while others, like neon, can go for much more.

Uniforms

This cost is up to you. Although as a rule of thumb you generally want uniforms for your staff that differentiate them from your members to avoid confusion. Make sure uniforms are appropriate for working out, etc., and include your gym’s logo.

Merch

This is a great tool you can use to upsell to your existing customers. As a bonus when customers wear your merchandise outside the gym this acts as a free advertisement for you.

Advertisement

If your gym is not in a heavily trafficked area, word of mouth may not be enough to get prospects through your doors. A proper marketing campaign usually runs about $5,000, but is well worth the business it can bring you when executed properly.

Are you interested in learning to basics of marketing for your gym business? Check out our blog on 7 Tips For Social Media Strategies In 2022

Website

Every business needs a website, and if you don’t, you’ll be missing out on an opportunity to reach an audience far larger than traditional advertising methods. It also provides a way for prospective clients to get to know your business and find you online.

Ongoing costs – How Much Does it Cost to Start a Gym?

Now that we’ve gone through the one-time fees that come along with setting up your gym. Let’s take a look at the recurring costs you’ll be paying monthly or annually.

Monthly mortgage or lease payments

Every business needs to pay monthly mortgage or lease payments if you plan on using a physical location. This cost can vary depending on your location and the current market conditions be sure to look into and compare rates when looking for the location of your gym

Monthly Insurance

Premiums begin at $12,000 in the start and need to be paid every year. So make sure you consider this in your monthly budget as you don’t want this fee to catch you off guard

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Gym and Get the Right Compliance Permits?

These are sometimes subject to renewal fees so be sure to check with your locality to find out.

Equipment lease

If you lease equipment instead of buying, you’ll need to work this into your budget as typically the average monthly cost can range from $4,000 to $8,000.

Utilities

Air conditioning, showers, lighting, and other amenities can add up at the end of the day. For example, larger-scale gyms can pay an average of $63,500 to $70,000 per year for their utilities.

Repairs and maintenance

People are not generally known for being gentle with gym equipment, and this has its costs. Equipment repairs and maintenance can cost around 25,000 per year.

Sanitation

With all the sweating and foot traffic that goes on in a gym daily, cleaning and proper sanitation are a must. If you’re a small business you can look to pay around $150 per month whereas larger gyms are known to spend anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000 every year.

AC maintenance

Heating and cooling are the most basic gym necessities unless your cryotherapy or hot yoga studio clients rarely enjoy sweating profusely or freezing. Upkeeping your AC system will cost around $500 per year.

Wi-Fi

Depending on your internet service provider this can vary, that being said, the average monthly internet service goes for around $75 per month.

Salaries

This is largely dependent on the level of experience and skill you choose to hire for your business and the cost of living in your area. Be sure to work out any possible complications before you begin the hiring process.

Card Processing Fees

Transaction rates should never be higher than 3.25% so make sure you look around before picking your service provider. Be sure to consider compliance fees as they typically start at around $5 per month.

Legal Fees

This expense goes up and down and depends on your business model and unique situation. That being said, accounting or legal fees can go for about $200 per hour.

Miscellaneous

Even if you plan down to the last penny, it’s always good to have some extra collateral to accommodate for any unexpected issues or expenses that may arise.

In closing – how much does it cost to start a gym?

It’s important to keep in mind that this list is made as a guide to help you in planning out your financing.

It would be almost impossible to give you a 100% accurate quote that represents all gyms, or address what you have specifically in mind for your gym.

Instead, use this to plan and point you in the right direction where to look into your unique situation.

Nicolas Fisher

Nick is a Marketing Specialist with a keen eye for market introspection and relevant insights. Adept in relating to people, he often seeks ways in which we can use human relations to bring our businesses and clients closer together to create lasting bonds.

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