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How to Start a Gym Business With No Money – Complete Guide

The gym is a lucrative business nowadays. A lot many people want to start a gym from home or on a small scale but lack the investment needed to start and run it. In this article, we will guide you on how to start a gym business with no money or less investment in easy steps.

To be successful in the gym business, one needs to be dedicated, put in hard work, and have an attitude to provide the best service to customers.

Based on your budget, you have to choose the type of gym business you want to start. There are gym activities that require no money to start, some require little investment, and equipment-based gyms do need reasonable investment.

Here in this article, we will explore those gym businesses which require no money or low investment.

Best Way to Start a Gym Business with No Money

If you don’t have money to invest or want to play safe, the best way to start is by reviving an old gym business that has stopped running.

Try to find a property owner who rented his place to a gym owner and currently ceased to exist. You can offer him a 50:5o partnership in exchange for the property.

You can also approach any other property owner and offer him/her a similar proposal. The proposed partner will get a mutually agreed percentage of profit in exchange for renting out the place and providing a small investment for necessary equipment and interior costs.

If  you are serious about starting a gym business with a shoestring budget, find below the steps to follow:

Here are the 13 Steps to Start a Gym Business

1. Get Trained

When you start a gym business with no money, you won’t have the luxury of hiring fitness centers. It would be best if you were the first fitness trainer in your gym business. If you are not already a fitness trainer, you must get trained first.

Some of the training institutes you can check are the following:

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)

Locate a training institute or a fitness trainer and become a certified trainer. You can specialize as a yoga trainer, aerobic specialist, Zumba dance trainer, or any other type you are interested in.

2. Understand the Local Demand

Like any other business, it is a must to understand the trends and demands of the local people looking for fitness programs. Talk to local fitness centers and gym owners and gather information regarding their products and prices. A rightly planned market research will help you to explore the gaps and plan out better.

3. Create a Business Plan

Based on the information collected from your market research, start documenting your gym business plan. If you are planning to take funding from financial institutions, it is advised to consult a local attorney or a professional business writer. If you are starting with your own money, it is wiser to write your business plan.

Write in brief about your vision and vision, objectives, operating plan, financial plan, and marketing plan in your business plan document.

If you are planning to open a gym in the United States, it is advised to visit the SBA website before pitching funds to banks or other lending companies.

4. Register Your Gym Business

In the United States, this process is known as registering your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name.

A DBA is needed in the United States for Sole Proprietors, partnerships, existing corporations, or LLCs. Contact your county clerk’s office or your state government as per the location of your business.

It is advisable to have specific insurance for your fitness-related business. It will protect you and your business both from damages that can’t be predicted.

5. Procure Licenses and Permits

A gym or a fitness center demands normal state licenses for running a legally compliant business. Talk to the local appropriate authority and procure necessary licenses and permits.

Do not forget to buy liability insurance for your gym business. As customers will use fitness equipment, there is a chance of injuries to them. Liability insurance will protect you from those hazards.

6. Choose a Business Name

Choose a catchy and relatable name for your gym or fitness business. It is advisable to register your business name. You need to contact an appropriate local authority to register your business name. The registration process depends on the specific law of the particular country where you want to establish your fitness center. Check this guide to learn more about choosing a business name for your gym business.

7. Equipment and Set up of Gym or Fitness Center

Consult with interior personnel to craft the floor plan. Concentrate on inside decoration. Giving a smart trendy ambiance inside will help you to generate a good return for your business.

As far as equipment is concerned there are two choices. You can purchase or hire the equipment to start with. In purchasing the equipment, compare the rate and check testimonials of the company before giving the order.

Choose a proper point of sale(POS) software for easy financial transactions for customers.

8. Offer Personalized Services

If you are looking to start a gym business with no money, it is critical to decide the type of services to be provided to members. Broadly, gym services can be divided into two categories. One is the powerlifting gym and the other is a fitness exercise type.

If you have little money to invest, it is better not to opt for a powerlifting gym as it will require different types of equipment that cost.

One of the easiest and no-investment ways to start a gym business is by offering manual exercise training to students. Presently, various forms of fitness exercises are popular among people visiting fitness centers. You can start a gym providing yoga training, aerobics, dance classes, Zumba classes, etc. In addition, one can also work as a health coach as one of your gym business services.

9. Plan your Finances

Check your budget and make sufficient arrangements to keep your gym business alive for at least 12 months. It is seen, that it takes 6 to 12 months generally to get a steady flow of customers. Since you have a limited budget, your financial planning must be planned meticulously so that you can concentrate and contribute to your business more effectively.

10. Fix Location

If you have a place of your own, most of your hurdles are gone. You have a huge advantage in starting your gym business. If you don’t have and have little money to spend, find a place with small rent.

You can also look for available spaces that can be repurposed as a gym. It can be renting a community center, partnering with a local school or church, or even converting a garage or basement into a small fitness studio.

Furthermore, you can provide fitness services by providing training at the place of any of the customers. A lot many successful gyms and fitness trainers started by operating at the customer’s location. After money and members started pouring in, rent or own a place for your gym.

11. Negotiate Equipment Sponsorships

The biggest investment required to start a gym is in purchasing equipment. The best way to minimize that investment is to tie up with local fitness equipment suppliers and manufacturers and offer them brand exposure in exchange for equipment costs.

12. Provide Online Training Services

It is seen in the last few years that more and more people are interested in learning fitness exercises online from the comfort of their homes. You can create workout programs or offer virtual training sessions to prospective online students. It will not only eliminate the cost of leasing a physical location but also offer flexible workout options.

13. Use Low-Cost Marketing Ways to Find Customers

The most difficult part of starting a gym with low money is marketing fitness programs. The most cost-effective way is getting customers through word-of-mouth advertisements.

There are many low-cost or free marketing ways to promote your gym business. You can check this article to know more. Business tools like visiting cards, brochures, and exploring social platforms are some low-cost or free ways to promote your gym business. If you have some money to spend, think of creating a website that will make your gym business not only reachable to more customers but also create more confidence in potential customers.

Final Thoughts:

If you find yourself interested in starting a gym business, check out the Fitness Formula Guide Book by Brian Devlin. This highly rated book for sure will make your job much easier in planning your gym business in the right way.

Developing a successful gym business requires complete dedication and effective planning. If you are the one who can offer both, there is no way you can stop creating a profitable gym business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need certifications to start a gym business?

No, fitness certifications are not mandatory to start a gym business. However, it is highly recommended to have qualified trainers on your team. The trainers you work with must have the necessary certifications and qualifications to provide professional guidance and ensure client safety.

What legal considerations should I keep in mind?

The legal requirements to start a gym business vary from state to state. It is advisable to know more about the local regulations and licensing requirements for operating a gym business. In addition, procure the necessary permits and insurance coverage to protect your business and clients.

Can I start a gym business without any fitness equipment?

Yes, it is highly possible to start a gym business without owning extensive equipment. Several fitness programs like bodyweight exercises, Yoga, and aerobics can be done without using the equipment. You can also partner with fitness professionals who will bring their equipment to train students at your gym center.