Looking for the Right Building for Your New Gym?
Whether you are looking to rent or own your building, there are a lot of questions that you will want to have answered in order for you to know that you have the right location for your new gym. Here is a list of questions for you for when you look to building a gym in the right building.
There are 3 General Categories of questions for you to get answers on. These are:
- Questions Regarding the Building Itself
- Questions Regarding the Lease Agreement
- Questions Regarding Municipal Laws
Questions Regarding the Building Itself
- What buildout / renovations are required for you to turn this into your gym?
This question is mostly one that you will be able to determine the answer to yourself when you go through the room, but the agent or owner of the building will be able to show you what walls are non-structural, what things can’t be moved, etc..
- What are the estimated utility bills?
If there was a previous tenant or if this room is attached to other businesses in the same plaza, you can find out what their average utility bills were and use that as a basis for calculating what yours may be. A gym will have a different utility usage than a different type of business, but any information that you can get on this can be helpful for your overall budgeting.
- What is the ceiling height and room dimensions?
For a gym, when you get less than an 8 foot ceiling height, it can become problematic for certain pieces of equipment and training methods. High ceilings are generally preferable in a gym environment.
- What is the electrical capacity?
110 volt is the standard in the US, but some buildings are set up with 220 volt electrical capacity. Most gyms in the US use 110 volt and most treadmills are 110 volt. NOTE: Your treadmills will each need a dedicated circuit, so you will want to see where the electrical outlets are in case you’ll want to add a few in during your build out.
- What is the condition of the floor?
This is also something that will be obvious to you unless there is a carpet or other flooring that’s covering up the sub floor. You just want to make sure that the floor is structurally sound and, if concrete, pretty smooth in the event that you want to ut rubber flooring down as your gym floor.
- How much parking is available specifically for your members?
You want to make sure that you will have ample parking available for peak training periods. If you are sharing a general parking lot with other businesses, ask if there is a specified amount of parking spots available to you or f it’s a first come first served basis for parking? You may have a ton of members coming in throughout the day and you want to avoid any hassles with the owner.
- Who are the other tenants?
If there are other tenants, check and see what their businesses are. You may be able to tie in with them and increase your membership by offering incentives to people who frequent the other businesses.
- What is the traffic flow?
Ask the owner / agent about the daily traffic that goes past this location. If there are other businesses there, ask about their volume. Take a look at the parking lot when you are there and see how filled it is and how much drive by traffic you notice while you are there. NOTE: Not all gyms require a highly visible location. Some gyms work better in a somewhat more remote location where clients will seek them out and drive further in order to get specialized training that is only offered there.
Questions Regarding the Lease Agreement
- Are there any hidden fees associated with the general lease?
Security deposits are common with lease agreements, but you will want to find out if there are other things that you will be expected to pay for such as any regular building maintenance, snow or debris removal or other parking lot maintenance, or a general yearly maintenance fee to cover these things.
- What is the term of the lease agreement?
Standard commercial lease agreements are usually 3 or 5 years. Find out what length of time you will be signing for.
- Do you have the right of first refusal should you choose to renew your lease that the end of the term?
You want to make sure that you can renew your lease if your gym is doing great and you want to stay in that location. Ask if, when the lease term is expired, you get the first chance to renew the lease before anyone else can take that spot. You will want to get this in writing if you move forward with taking this building.
- Will you be the only fitness facility that will be allowed in this building?
If there will be other tenants, you do NOT want them to be in competition with you. An offshoot health business, (like a nutrition store, a medical facility or a diet center), can be a benefit, but any business who is in direct competition with your gym should not be allowed to be in the same building or plaza. This is another one to get in writing.
- Are there any restrictions to the hours of operation?
You will need to know this in the event that you want to open for extended hours.
- Who is responsible for upkeep and damages?
This is in regards to the building and property. The owner / landlord should have a list of what they will be responsible for and what you would be responsible for. You don’t want any gray area in this regard.
- Are you paying only for your utility usage or do you pay a percentage of what the entire building uses?
Some businesses have a common pool for their utilities. Ideally, you want to pay only for the utilities that you use. This way, you have control over how much you pay in utilities.
Questions Regarding Municipal Laws
- Is this Zoned for a gym?
Make sure that the local zoning department has, or will, approve this location for your usage. Their biggest concern is usually with having the proper amount of parking.
- Are there any restrictions to having a gym in this location?
Similarly, check with the local municipality just to make sure that they allow a gym there. This shouldn’t be an issue, but it’s something that you want to cross off your list at the outset.
Having answers to all of these above questions will give you much needed information about any particular building for your new gym so that you can find the best available location and turn your dream of owning a gym into a reality.
And Remember — With a gym, you don’t need to find a perfect building – just a building that you can see your vision in and convert into what you need.
Written by Bill at BAMPSCO International Inc. / Gymstarters