Owning a gym – the first year of business

4 Points to Know for Your First Year of Owning a Gym

So, you’ve done your homework and developed a relationship with a New Gym Specialist so that you can turn your dream of owning a gym into a profitable reality.  You have secured your building space, allocated your budget and your New Gym Specialist has provided you with a Custom Gym Equipment Package that is specifically tailored to meet your type of gym and your budget.  Soon you will be an official new gym owner, handling the daily affairs of owning a successful new gym enterprise.  Whether you are a coed gym, a personal training studio, a crossfit gym, a sports performance training center, a MMA gym or another type of gym, you are now ready to enter the business world as a new gym owner.  What should you expect in your first year?

new gym owner signs up a new member

Like most business ventures, the first year is a critical time in many ways.  It establishes you as a viable business in your community and brings you and your business into the public eye.  The first year is also the time to make sure that you are setting things up properly for future success of the business.

A new gym has its own special set of circumstances that set it apart from other types of businesses.  By knowing these 3 Points and how to work with them, you can have a successful first year and a successful and profitable gym for years to come.


Daily fitness workouts have become a way of life for many people, making owning a gym a great business opportunity.  For a general coed gym, your New Gym Specialist will have already gotten you a Complete Gym Equipment Package to suit a broad spectrum of training styles and

different types of people who will use your gym.  Cardio machines (such as treadmills, elliptical, bikes), selectorized circuit training machines, free weight equipment and plate loaded equipment will all be there for a full compliment of equipment in your new gym.

During your first year, you will need to focus your attention on being an entrepreneur as opposed to your personal training preferences.  For example, if you are heavily into bodybuilding, you may prefer to have a gym filled with olympic benches, preacher curl, lat machines and other types of free weight equipment.  However, your general membership may have other training goals, (weight loss, rehabilitation, speed training, etc.).  To satisfy your members and attract new ones, you will need to have equipment suited for their goals, like selectorized machines, treadmills and spin bikes.

For your new gym enterprise, view yourself first as a business owner and secondly as a member.  This mindset will help maintain your new gym as a business and not as a hobby, and is one that you should continue with throughout your years in business.

If you are a personal trainer, you can train people at your gym yourself, but you always need to keep an eye on the overall business enterprise as well.

Summary – Your first year will help to develop you as an entrepreneur as long as you keep focused on being a business owner first.   



The gym business requires up front expenditure with purchasing your gym equipment, doing your room build out and marketing to bring the public in.  Your first year of owning a gym will reflect the money that you needed to allocate towards starting out successfully.

Done properly and with the counsel of your New Gym Specialist, you should have a certain amount of people who will sign up as members right from the start.  Unlike other businesses, with a new gym, your first year gives you a member base right from the outset that you can grow from.

As a front loaded business, you should expect far less cash outlay in subsequent years.  Add to this the fact that with each subsequent year your existing membership base should be more than the previous year, and you will spend less and accrue more profit per year.

Summary – Your first year will reflect the amount of money that you needed to spend to get your business up and running initially.  



A successful gym membership business centers around its members.  During your first year, expect to do some marketing and/or promotions to drive new members to your club.  Some of this can be free, but an initial push in various ways during your first year in business will keep your gym on the forefront when people think of finding a place to train.

Your New Gym Specialist will be able to offer you advice and help in certain ways of marketing and promoting your new gym.

Summary – You may spend more time and money on marketing in your first year than in subsequent years because you are building from a smaller base of members.



As with most businesses, owning a gym has peak periods and lull periods.  During your first year, you should expect to see these come into play.  Generally, the first quarter of the year is the most productive time for gaining new members.  This starts with New Year’s Resolutions to get in better shape and continues through the drudgery of cold winter days and months when outdoor recreational activities are at a standstill.

You will most likely experience a small dip in membership growth during the middle of the second quarter and into the first part of the third quarter.  This is due to the increase in outdoor activities during the summer.  Although there may be a dip during this time, it is a great time for a new gym owner to offer specials to bring people into their gym.  Remember that people don’t necessarily give up fitness during the summer months – they just may not get into the gym quite as frequently.  The slower period will give you time to prepare for the coming fall / winter membership rush.

Summary – Expect to learn the heavy use and lighter use times during your first year.  This will allow you to schedule promotions to hit before the seasonal lull time may occur.


Owning and operating a gym can be a financially and personally rewarding business.  Like with most businesses, the first year is the toughest but, with the help of your New Gym Specialist, you will be prepared for what it takes to make your new gym a successful enterprise.


Written by Bill at BAMPSCO International Inc. / GymStarters.com