Location. Location. Location. Where you decide to locate your personal training gym can make or break a new business. A site selection process is one of the most important considerations you will need to address. Site selection includes setting clear objectives and maintaining a diligent approach for finding the right location.
Without a site selection process, you might end up with this following scenario: imagine a potential client is looking for a new gym. They want something accessible and budget-friendly that caters specifically to their age group. They hear about your gym and think it’s the perfect match. They go online and read about your classes and staff and they’re sold almost immediately.
When they visit your physical location, though, they walk into a dingy, dark, hard-to-access little building that doesn’t say “gym” so much as it does “run-down.” Chances are, they pack up their enthusiasm and head to one of your competitors.
In this article by Alloy Founder and CEO,Rick Mayo, we’ll discuss the best site selection process to identify your ideal gym location, as well as a few important insights about gym design and gym traffic.
6 Site Selection Criteria For Locating A Gym
Whether you’re starting a personal training venture or a group fitness facility, these things are must-haves for the gym’s site location:
1. Natural Light and Plenty of Space
Nobody wants to work out in a dark, cramped, claustrophobic space. To save your members from feeling the pinch, look for a space that offers high ceilings, ample space, and plenty of natural light.
The building doesn’t have to be huge, as long as it’s big enough to comfortably accommodate your equipment and customers, and presents a welcoming and inviting facade. Remember to look at everything from a customer perspective to build the best business possible.
2. Open Floor Plan
When would-be members walk into your gym, they should be able to see virtually the entire space from the training floor.
There’s a reason open floor plans are important for gyms. First, they allow members to get the “lay of the land” from virtually any place in the facility. Secondly, they enable coaches to provide instruction to a client from across the room, in theory.
If the space doesn’t already have clean sight lines, evaluate whether you can take walls down or remove elements to create more visibility.
3. Plenty of Parking
The last thing you want is for your customers to have to battle for parking at your gym location. With that in mind, look for something with plenty of parking.
While the correct amount of parking for you will depend on foot traffic and the demographic of your clients, we recommend thinking about the best-case scenario regarding client capacity and planning your parking based on that number.
Even if you don’t start there, keeping your ideal level of daily traffic in mind will give you plenty of room to grow. After all, in a world with so many fitness alternatives available to customers, they won’t be willing to fight for parking at your gym location.
4. Availability of Signage
Not all commercial spaces are created equal, and it’s important to look for one that allows you to place signage in the places you want. This is especially important if your business is focused on generating lots of walk-in traffic. In that case, you’ll need to consider things like:
- How and where tenants can display their business names and logos in the commercial space
- Whether the building lists tenants in alphabetical order on a large sign
- Whether every tenant gets equal real estate visibility on the signs at the front of the building
- If there are opportunities to expand your signage visibility
While signage may not seem like a sexy or important consideration of your gym location, it will make a large difference to your long-term profitability.
5. Minimal local competition
Look for a location that presents minimal local competition. Even if you believe that your training and offerings are better than the competitors’, it’s still not a good idea to place yourself closer to the competition than you need to be.
The best gym location should also not be near businesses that compete with your message, like a fast food joint, bar, or liquor store. While it may be difficult to find a gym location that meets all these criteria, making sure you’re not too close to competition will do your business good – both in the short-term and the long-term.
6. The cost to lease the building
Cost is one of the first things most people think about when leasing a commercial building.
And for good reason – cost determines how much space you can get in your commercial setting. As a gym owner, it’s important to be mindful about keeping your overheads as low as possible.
Fortunately, monthly rent is one of the easiest places to do this. Here are a few ways to keep costs in check:
- Don’t settle for a huge floor space that you don’t need or won’t use. Keep shopping around for an appropriately-sized space that suits your needs.
- Negotiate your rent. If you believe you’ll bring value and foot traffic to a commercial location, don’t hesitate to negotiate your rent accordingly. The worst the property owner can say is no, and you may well save some money each month.
- Consider sharing space. In certain instances, it may be wise to share space with a business that complements your mission, like a juice shop. While this choice isn’t right for every gym, it can be a great way to save some serious money when it comes time to pay the rent each month.
Bonus Points: Modern Layout
With the rise of hip boutique fitness locations, you can bet that your customers don’t want to work out somewhere that feels dated or dingy. Look for a site location that provides a modern, clean layout. Not only will this provide you with more flexibility regarding gym layout and gym facility design down the road, but it will also make your space welcoming, attractive, and friendly right from the get-go.
Alloy Sets Gym Owners up for Success
Opening your own gym is an exciting opportunity, but the site selection can be hard work that comes with a great deal of uncertainty.
Fortunately, Alloy is here to help. Our franchise model sets gym owners up for success and provides all the site selection support you need to get your business off the ground quickly.
Article by Rick Mayo. Alloy Founder and CEO
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