Once you’ve made the decision to open up a new gym, it’s normal to become overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities and decisions that come with it.
Perhaps one of the biggest decisions you can make in those early days is choosing the right premises to house your gym. After all, if the location isn’t right then you run the risk of being unable to get members through the door.
Since it’s such a big decision and a lengthy process, we wanted to share our tips on finding the right premises for your new gym.
Figure out what you’re looking for.
The perfect facility looks different to everyone so think about your target audience’s psychographics and the things they would want from a gym (market research is very helpful here – conduct a survey to see what people really want rather than trying to guess).
Do they drive?
Do they rely on public transport to get around?
Do they tend to live in town or a neighbouring village?
With the rise of the convenience-driven consumer, your club needs to be easily accessible and as convenient as possible to get to.
Generally speaking, units in locations with heavy footfall – think high streets, town centres, popular commuting routes – make for great locations, but they can also be expensive. That means you’ll have to decide what’s important to you and what makes the most business sense: pay more for a prime location and deal with the high overheads, or compromise on location to reduce your costs?
It’s useful to write a list of everything you need from premises, everything you want from premises and then decide on what’s non-negotiable for you.
Start your search.
The first step is to put as many feelers out into your chosen area as possible. Speak to commercial letting agencies and surveyors to see if they have anything on their books. Keep your eye on local online discussion groups in case anything pops up. We also recommend getting in the car and going for a drive around your desired area to look for any units with a To-Let sign – a simple yet surprisingly effective tactic!
As exciting as it is to go property hunting, keep your list of non-negotiables in mind. It’s easy to get carried away at the prospect of finding a home for your business – but that doesn’t mean you have to settle on the first premises you view.
When you’ve found a potential space.
So you’ve found a unit that looks like it could be the one for you. Fantastic!
Now it’s time to ask lots of questions; starting with the basics. Will your equipment fit in here? Does it align with your list of non-negotiables? What’s the registered building usage? Are there any extra perks that come with the building?
Then move on to the legal stuff. We highly advise getting yourself a solicitor to help you out here, especially if this is new territory for you. Get crystal clear on the lease contract, who’s responsible for building maintenance, repairs, plumbing etc, determine if you want a non-compete clause if the unit could house multiple businesses – these are just some of the things we recommend clarifying at this stage, but your solicitor will be able to provide you more advice.
Most importantly at this point, don’t put all your eggs in one basket even if you think you’ve found the perfect place. Not everything goes to plan and circumstances can always change on both sides of the deal. Keep looking for other premises just in case something falls through with this one.
Finding the right premises can be the make or break for your future venture, so it’s important to choose wisely. Whilst you might have a long list of deal-breakers for your ideal unit, remember to be realistic and be prepared to compromise. Most of all, be patient. The right space will come along eventually.
ClubRight is the go-to gym management tool for fitness startups in the UK. We onboard hundreds of startups like yours and help them go from their presale phase to a thriving gym using our member management solution. To see how we can support your venture, speak to one of our experts on +44 (0)203 884 9777 or book a free online demo to see ClubRight in action.