How Much Does It Cost to Open a Gym?

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Gym?

Opening a gym can be a fun way to make a living and help other people lead a happy and healthy lifestyle. Before diving into this fitness venture, however, it’s fair to wonder: How much does it cost to open a gym?

Although the costs of opening a gym will vary greatly depending on a multitude of factors, on average, you can get your gym started with anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.

Keep reading to learn more about gym startup costs so you can plan accordingly.

8 Gym Startup Costs: A Comprehensive Breakdown

In May of 2019, the IHRSA Global Report discovered that the global fitness industry generated $94 billion in revenue. They also found that health clubs are expected to reach 230 million members by the year 2030.[1] That means there is plenty of room to make a profit in the fitness space.

As the saying goes, however, to make money you have to spend money. We’ve rounded up a thorough list of the top startup costs you can expect to incur as a new gym owner to help you plan your big launch. 

1. Gym Equipment

The cost of obtaining the proper gym equipment will vary greatly based on your gym’s specific needs. How big a gym is, what type of customers you’re looking to attract, and how much space is devoted to equipment-based workouts will all help determine how much and what types of equipment you need to buy. 

Building a dance or yoga studio in-house, for example, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. You may need to purchase flooring, mats, mirrors, lighting, and sound equipment just to cover the basics of a studio setup.

Here are a few estimates of what gym equipment may cost:

  • Elliptical machine: $1,000 to $3,000
  • Free weights: $500 to $2,000
  • Stairmaster: $2,000 to $4,000
  • Bench press: $200 to $500

Equipment-based workouts can be pricey too, especially if you buy new equipment, which many customers will hope to find at a brand-new gym. That being said, buying used workout equipment is an option that can save money. 

Renting equipment may appeal to new gym owners who want to test the waters of running a gym before committing to purchasing all of their own equipment. Renting or leasing equipment on average costs about $3,900 to $8,000.

2. Real Estate

One of your largest costs as a gym owner will be the gym space itself. Paying for a gym space is likely to be one of your biggest recurring expenses. This cost will vary greatly depending on where you choose to open your gym. Opening a gym in Manhattan will be much more expensive than doing so in a less pricey city like Boise, for example. 

That said, when choosing a gym location, you’ll want to consider how much foot traffic you’ll get, how visible your gym is from the street, if your core customers live in the area and can access your gym easily, if you need to offer parking and how much, and more. 

Although it’s very difficult to give an exact estimate of what it would cost to rent gym space, a commercial real estate agent can help you gain an idea of what it would cost to rent a space appropriate for a gym. They can also give you an idea of what it would cost to buy the space you want to house your gym in. 

If you’re looking to build a gym, you can expect building costs to range anywhere from $155 to $210 per square foot. This estimate is based on a 10,000-square-foot space with rubber flooring, wiring for electronics and audio, and locker room spaces with showers.[2]

3. Staff

You can’t run a gym without friendly, helpful, and well-trained staff. Your staff is likely to be another large expense associated with running your gym. When hiring staff, salary is, of course, a big factor. 

How much staff is paid will vary based on the minimum wage and cost of living in your area, as well as your staff’s experience levels and their responsibilities. For instance, a front desk attendant will earn less than a certified personal trainer. 

Hiring employees that are already certified with accreditations for personal training can save you money upfront. But, you can also cover the costs of employee certifications, which range from $500 to $800 if you’re hiring less-experienced employees. 

Consider hiring staff with certifications from the following professional associations: 

  • 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)

Depending on the types of employees you hire, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $150 an hour. Other costs associated with staff can include benefits such as health care and retirement benefits, sick pay, and uniforms.

4. Gym Maintenance and Updates

As you can imagine, gyms experience a lot of daily wear and tear. Having a clean gym with modern and functional equipment is key. Setting aside money for the ongoing maintenance of your gym, as well as emergency expenses such as equipment breaking, will help you avoid stress down the road or having to make quality compromises. 

These costs are hard to predict (aside from regular cleaning fees if you choose to use an outside service), so start saving for emergencies as soon as you possibly can. Repairing gym equipment can cost as much as $25,000 each year, so this is an expense worth planning for. If you’re looking into your startup funding options, a line of credit is a great resource to keep in your back pocket for future maintenance costs that may come up unexpectedly. 

5. Insurance, Licenses, and Permits

Like any business, a gym must have the proper insurance, licenses, and permits to run both safely and legally. The cost of registering your business and obtaining licenses will vary based on your location and business needs. 

For insurance, prices will vary based on the value of your gym. A small gym with only one desk clerk and less than $100,000 worth of gym equipment may have to pay up to $6,000 a year for insurance. 

Insurance can help protect you, as a gym owner, from lawsuits from injured customers or can help replace broken equipment. For those who have hired staff, consider taking out general liability and workers compensation insurance at the bare minimum, which can cost about a few thousand dollars in premiums to start. 

6. Cleaning Supplies and Utilities

Gyms require a lot of cleaning supplies to run properly. Larger gyms can spend anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000 annually on cleaning supplies alone. Smaller gyms can expect to spend closer to $150 per month for their cleaning supplies. 

Utilities will also set you back a pretty penny. Gyms utilize a lot of electricity, especially if you run a 24/7 operation. Large gyms typically spend around $64,000 to $69,000 annually on electricity alone. Phone and internet services can cost about $75 per month, both of which are necessary business expenses. 

That said, you can also think about it this way—according to Iota Communications, the average cost of utilities (electric, gas, water, internet, and phone bills) for commercial buildings is $2.10 per square foot.[3]

So, although your gym might incur greater utility costs than the average commercial building, you can use this formula ($2.10 x your square footage) to estimate how much they’re likely to cost you.

7. Gym Management Software

Managing a gym is hard work—and that work can be made a lot simpler by implementing the right software. Gym management software can help you stay on top of check-ins, administrative tasks, renewing memberships, billing, and other management-related tasks. 

There are tons of options for gym management software on the market, so shop around for your needs. This software is often available for purchase through monthly subscriptions and can cost anywhere from $20 to $150+ per month.

8. Advertising and Marketing

When you need to get the word out about your amazing gym, you may find you need a marketing budget. Advertisements on local media platforms, social media ads, and even building a business website all cost money. 

Hiring a professional to build a website (not a necessity, but a time-saver) can cost at least $300. The costs of more old-school methods of advertising such as printing flyers and creating signage can add up too. For example, printing about 2,000 flyers will cost around $100. 

To let your community know that you’re ready to open your doors, an initial marketing push may cost around $5,000. However, you can get creative and market your new gym on a budget if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the costs of opening a gym will range based on a number of factors. On average, though, you might be able to at least get your gym started with anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.

That said, as you can see from the expenses outlined above, those costs can rise quickly depending on the size of your operation and your ambition.

Nevertheless, now that you know what gym startup costs to expect, creating a business plan and opening your own gym will be much easier. The last thing you want is to be hit with unexpected expenses, so getting all of your financial ducks in a row will make the process much more enjoyable.

Article Sources:

  1. IHRSA.org. “2019 Fitness Industry Trends Shed Light on 2020 & Beyond.”
  2. CXRE.co. “Understanding the Costs of Commercial Building Construction and Build-Outs.”
  3. IotaCommunications.com. “What Is the Average Utility Cost Per Square Foot of Commercial Property?

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a small business owner and freelance writer and editor based in Southern California. She has written on everything from finance to travel for publications including LendingTree, SoFi, MagnifyMoney, LearnVest, Northwestern Mutual, and Apartment Therapy, among others.

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