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S&C UnderGround >> Opening a gym?


7/27/12 2:31 PM
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Yueborg
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ttt
7/30/12 8:40 AM
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pitchfork
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Relevant to my interests Phone Post
8/1/12 12:18 PM
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Ashilles
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Great advice so far Phone Post
8/2/12 11:58 AM
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ChangoBravo
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I have a friend that is trying this and struggling. I am going to pass along some of this info.



Chango
8/10/12 11:10 AM
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Yueborg
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ttt
8/10/12 9:56 PM
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torquemada
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I'll throw this in: two good friends each opened a gym in different small towns. One rented a simple space with a 24 hour access/key system. Free wights, some simple machines and basic cardio eqipment. Very minimally staffed.

The other built HIS dream gym; it was cool. He had tons of great equipment and really designed the place to be a high level training facility for fighters, athletes, etc. He did everything first class and followed his dream.

One guy gets a good second income; the other lost $80,000.

Take a guess.
8/11/12 3:54 AM
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pcuzz
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Dpnt borrow money to open a gym. If it falls on its face you dont want to be making payments on a failed business.
8/12/12 11:37 AM
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dave nagel
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i opened up my own facility 2 1/2 yrs ago and its gotten better every year. sure there are some down times but overall i've seen the business grow.
my setup may be different to others -

i set up next door to my coaches mma facility - i'm one of the senior bjj/muay thai coaches there.

i operate a strength and conditioning/end stage injury rehab facility only. this ensures that my mma coach and myself work well together - no conflict of interest.

my coaches mma facility has over 200+ students so i get a reasonable flow over effect from his school, training some of the pro fighters & students with
S & C/rehab/fitness etc and in return some of my clients or their kids have joined his school. i also have set up school kids mma for some of the local high schools and give my coach 10% for the use of his place and he does'nt have to do a thing.

my place is a personal training studio only. i have 4-5 trainers who work out of there and they pretty much cover my overheads/expenses etc.
all my clients are pretty much profit. i only run 2 olympic/powerlifting classes a week as well as a conditioning class, everything else is pretty much one on one.

location is key, also reputation, how you deliver your product and the use of local resources - chiros/physios etc goes a long way to ensuring the succss of your business.

i had a guy set up in competition pretty much next door and while it pissed me off at first i now see the guy as a bit of a joke who has made a dumb decision business wise in trying to go into competition with me when i have the support of the majority of local businesses/people as well as the above mentioned mma school of which i'm a solid part of. being a fat ass roid head i don't really see him as a threat anymore .

Competition is a big part of the game so get used to it. there are over 20+ pt studios/gyms within a 5km radius of where i operate so you have to have to be doing something right to stay ahead.

i agree with 8weeks out re getting the right people working for you.
i also agree with ring girl re advertising. word of mouth is your best thing ever and this has brought me in about 80 - 90% of the business.
also agree with wiggy re getting to big too soon. my overheads are fuck all so that helps bigtime and i also work a few 1/2 days a week in the city (sydney- Australia) at a large commercial gym. this works really well as i have a solid client base there - predominatley corporate execs with BIG $$ so that helps heaps.

also know what your target market is, this is extremely important. having a niche helps but i feel pretty fortunate as i can offer my clients a huge array of fitness avenues to go down from MMA based disciplines like bjj/wrestling/boxing/muay thai to olympic/powerlifting to injury rehab to an array of other s&c and cardio alternatives so i feel this really helps me stand out in the local community.

being humble and empathetic is huge in my opinion as there are so many muppets out there who think they're king shit when it comes to all things fitness and if you come across as respectfull and are seen as someone who is always trying to improve on thier 'craft' i think this looks good to all.


8/13/12 3:50 AM
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GARRA
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I've recently started a full time place. After my bjj classes expanded. We now offer muay Thai and s&c classes plus early morning and evening bjj. I'm going to be introducing judo once or twice a week too. Does anyone have any advice on the best way to May instructors. At present I pay the Thai instructors a set amount for each class and include the classes as part of the monthly membership fee. Thinking of doing the same with the judo but interested in thoughts on this? Phone Post
8/13/12 4:32 AM
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GARRA
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Pay instructors that should have been Phone Post
8/15/12 5:41 AM
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SmasherSnu
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I daydream all the time about opening a powerlifting gym. Im still young though. maybe one day.
8/16/12 5:39 AM
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KOArtist
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Phone Post
8/16/12 7:43 AM
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Superman84
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Leigh - nah, that's simply not accurate. i can tell you right now that with my over heads, if i had 60 members at my gym, i would be comfortable and not have to work (my gym is run as a hobby). here is the maths - my over heads are rent (£500), rates (£100), utilities (£30), business loan (£250), extras (round it all up to £1000). I charge £50 a month, so 20 students covers my costs. once my loan is paid off, it will only take 15 students

everything after that is profit. if i had another 40 students, I would have an extra £2k a month which would be my salary. i earn more as an engineer but that would suit me fine and i would have my days to myself

$375k is a shit load of cash if he can keep his overheads low, which isn't that hard, although i HUGELY doubt he'll have that many members for quite a long time

Hi Leigh,

I read your email with great interest. I am a long time lurker on this forum.
I am also based in the UK. I have quite a lot of property experience and found your break down of costs really useful. If you don't mind me asking what size (sqm) is the current property you are renting?

If I remember you are based in Ashford? So 20 students would cover your costs then you mentioned it would only take another 15 students. Is this due to the size of the property? So to take on another 40 students you would need to move?

I have a well paid job in the property industry but have always been interested in opening a training facility of some description.

I suppose the thing is to really try and avoid competing head on with the major gym chains in the UK.

The Crossfit style or Defranco type training centres complete with tyres, kettlebells, ropes and bands are quite different from typical gyms which perhaps differentiates you from the competition. Although chains like GymBox are catching on.

I find martial arts school offering multiple types of classes is interesting. I'm not sure MMA is a big enough draw. You probably need more female friendly classes. But to be profitable do you need to teach all the classes yourself?

It just seems very hit and miss sometimes. I have a friend in the South West that runs a gym that is struggling terribly. But the customer service is poor and it is rarely cleaned which keeps people away. I am sure success is based around customer service. I have another friend who runs a full time aikido school in Nottingham which makes multiple six figures a year.

I think that is mostly based around the multiple kid memberships he has.

I would plan to open something in London which has high rents. I am good at structuring lease options with the right to buy etc.

So Leigh, my question is, based on Ashford rent levels, to pull out £6k a month would you need 180 members? What could of facility size would you need?

thanks



8/16/12 7:44 AM
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Superman84
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Edited: 08/16/12 7:45 AM
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error
8/16/12 8:11 AM
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Leigh
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I'm not based in Ashford any more, I'm based in Chippenham near Bath. My gym is 1200 sqft, not sure what that is in sqm, about 110? Chippenham is a pretty small town, about half the size of Ashford if not smaller.

I will try to answer your questions as best I can. My rent is pretty cheap, about £500 a month. I have a couple of utility bills and rates to pay on top but all in all, I can cover my costs with about 15 students, so its easy enough. I have a low level of customer service because I don't that much - I coach for fun and we have a core group of guys that have a laugh and train hard. I was busier in the past when I made more of an effort but I earn well as an engineer. so I can't be bothered.

Women's classes have not been successful for a few reasons:
* Small client base in a small town
* Women prefer kickboxing to grappling
* No female coach

Yes I teach classes myself. Paying a salary to anyone else seems insane for a small gym.

I think getting 180 students outside of a decent sized city is unrealistic, at least for MMA. Maybe if it was karate or TKD and you ran a load of kids programs etc. If you want a truly successful martial arts gym, I think you need to open in a big city but get a good deal on rent in a unit somewhere, run a load of different classes and teach them yourself. So like 3 classes a week for:

*kids
*women
*bjj beginners
*mma beginners
*mma fitness
*etc

Its just a ball ache I can't be bothered with. Hope that helps
8/16/12 9:26 AM
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Superman84
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Hi Leigh,

Thanks for the reply. I agree with everything you have written. Best of luck with the school.
8/16/12 9:26 AM
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Superman84
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Hi Leigh,

Thanks for the reply. I agree with everything you have written. Best of luck with the school.
8/16/12 9:35 AM
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Leigh
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No problem

What I forgot to add is, if I was to do this to make money, I would have two further plans:

1) have a garage/small gym and run private sessions out of it all day. Groups of 6 or less

2) a cheap way to get a bigger place is to rent a bit of field and stick your own unit on it. Can be a hassle but rent would be literally 10 times cheaper
8/17/12 4:23 PM
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MrQ
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In for knowledge Phone Post
8/23/12 9:59 PM
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virux11b
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Leigh - i opened my own martial arts gym within the last year and its running well, but nothing with weights etc. i can give you a bit of advice on what i did but not sure how relevent it will be
Is it cool if I pm you later? I have so many questions! Phone Post
8/24/12 2:26 AM
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Leigh
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Sure, I think you need to friend request me first. Phone Post
8/26/12 6:17 AM
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Yueborg
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bump
8/27/12 9:43 AM
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El_Varaco
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In

Great info! Phone Post
8/29/12 10:08 AM
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LiftStrong
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ttt lots of good info here.
10/2/12 6:33 AM
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Yueborg
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ttt

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