How to Start a CrossFit Gym

A CrossFit gym is a fitness complex which hosts CrossFit training and exercise. CrossFit, itself, is exercise which combines weightlifting, high-interval training, gymnastics, and bodyweight exercises. It utilizes different equipment, like pull-up bars, dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, rowing machines and resistance bands to help gym-goers build strength. A CrossFit gym promotes health, wellness and overall strength.

Learn how to start your own CrossFit Gym and whether it is the right fit for you.

Start a crossfit gym by following these 9 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your crossfit gym. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

STEP 1: Plan your Business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a crossfit gym?

Initial equipment will cost between $20,000 and $50,000. Meanwhile, starting insurance costs will be around $5,000. Fortunately, CrossFit startup costs—not including staff training—are relatively low. Expect to pay between $50,000 and $70,000. Training, meanwhile, can cost roughly $1,000 per employee if they have little training experience.

What are the ongoing expenses for a crossfit gym?

A CrossFit gym faces a number of costs. The basic buy-in requirements of a CrossFit location, per year, can exceed $3,000 per year. A CrossFit gym additionally needs to maintain an active Level One Certification, which costs $500 every five years. A CrossFit Inc. insurance plan is needed too, costing between $1,000 and $5,000.

Who is the target market?

A CrossFit gym’s business model focuses on fitness enthusiasts, health enthusiasts, active athletes, and nutrition-lovers. For this reason, much of its target market is aligned with the typical gym-goer crowd. Adolescents, young adults, and even middle-aged adults who love outdoor activities, exploration, nutrition, and sports education are great customers.

How does a crossfit gym make money?

A CrossFit gym makes money in gym-goer memberships. Normally, gym memberships are purchased for a flat fee. Then, they’re paid on a subscription-basis. Some CrossFit gyms sell drinks, food, snacks, and nutritional products. Others might sell CrossFit equipment, spare weights, and other sports-centric items.

How much can you charge customers?

The typical CrossFit gym membership costs about $150 per month. As the industry evolves, however, some gyms are reducing this price. Because CrossFit memberships are incredibly expensive compared to regular gym prices—which are about $20—new gyms are adopting cheaper pricing schemes to remain competitive and accessible.

How much profit can a crossfit gym make?

The average CrossFit gym makes about $40,000 in profit per year. This profit is based off of the average, 150-member gym. A highly successful CrossFit gym can make six figures, managing hundreds of accounts across multiple locations.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Be prepared for unexpected fees. Being involved with physical activity, CrossFit gyms often face legal fees pertaining to zoning issues, build-out costs and various business costs.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. If you don’t have a name in mind already, read our detailed guide on how to name a business or get some help brainstorming a name with our CrossFit Gym Business Name Generator.

Then, when registering a business name we recommend checking if the business name is available in your state, federally by doing a trademark search, searching the web, and making sure the name you choose is available as a web domain to secure it early so no one else can take it.

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After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account ( Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your crossfit gym is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

Check out the Top Business Formation Services from our friends at StartupSavant.

You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

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You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a CrossFit gym business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For information about local licenses and permits:

Certificate of Occupancy

Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a Crossfit gym business.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your CrossFit gym business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

Liability Waivers

To avoid liability and potential lawsuits, CrossFit gym business should have their clients sign waivers.

Information about and an example of such a liability waiver can be found here

STEP 7: Get Business Insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

Recommended: Learn what business insurance for your CrossFit Gym will cost.

Business Insurance for
CrossFit Gym

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

How to promote & market a crossfit gym

Promoting a CrossFit gym is easy, assuming its owner is well-connected in the fitness world. Promote your CrossFit location via local gyms, nutrition shops and health-food stores. Market your gym on social media, and take advantage of Instagram in particular. Anything sports-related thrives when visual social media promotes it. Offer discounted rates, free trial periods and benefits for new CrossFit members.

How to keep customers coming back

Many CrossFit gym-goers seek an alternative to the typical gym experience. For this reason, they’re primarily attracted to CrossFit for its dynamic culture, always-adapting culture and social scene. Attract customers through social networks, and create an environment conducive to positive change, fitness, and success.

To retain customers, make your programs unique. Additionally, make sure your gym’s coaches are well-versed in CrossFit. A gym’s success is directly related to its coaching potential. Gym-goers may sign up for the unique experiences CrossFit offers, but they’ll stay if they experience positive fitness results.

STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence

A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.

Start A CrossFit Gym In Your State

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Is this Business Right For You?

This business is perfect for anyone who has a passion for CrossFit training and would like to help others develop a similar passion. The best trainers and business owners are dedicated to becoming the fittest that they can be, and they are good at helping others train with the same intensity and dedication.

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Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at a crossfit gym?

CrossFit Gym owners work, roughly, 80 hours per week. About 30 hours of this time is dedicated to training. The other 50 hours is dedicated to “business time,” wherein the business owner focuses on maintenance, equipment sourcing, customer account management, and miscellaneous activities.

Where training is considered, a CrossFit owner needs to research new training opportunities, streamline training sessions, help clients with resistance training, assure gym-goer safety, and create quality programs.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful crossfit gym?

A CrossFit gym owner should excel in life’s basic fitness skills. Waking up early, staying up late, having a good diet, and being proactive about fitness is mandatory. An education in exercise science certainly helps, though it isn’t required.

A CrossFit gym owner should similarly be knowledgeable about sports health, sports-related injuries, training success, equipment management, gym maintenance and personal training regimens. Similar to a traditional gym, a CrossFit gym operates beneath a system of ongoing improvement. A CrossFit gym owner must also be a decent businessperson, handling financial, management, marketing and customer relations with a good mindset.

What is the growth potential for a crossfit gym?

A CrossFit gym can expand, but it’s likely to stay local. This isn’t necessarily bad, however, as a successful CrossFit Gym can still make a decent monthly revenue of $20,000 to $25,000. A solid CrossFit gym will maintain a modest salary for its workers, giving them ample resources to invest in new expansions. By partnering with a lot of affiliates, a CrossFit gym can network, expand, and become influential among CrossFit enthusiasts.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a crossfit gym?

Connect with an affiliate. In doing so, you’ll only spend between $20,000 and $50,000 on basic equipment. Common gym equipment, like rowers and metal training plates, can be purchased on Craigslist to save money. Be an intelligent business owner, and spare expenses when possible.

Focus on coaching, too. Successful CrossFit gyms thrive beneath atmospheres governed by intelligent, hard-working coaches. Become a CrossFit affiliate, of course, and maintain training yourself as a standard. The more you increase your knowledge base, the more value you’ll be able to offer your customers.

How and when to build a team

You should build a team immediately. While a CrossFit gym can be run by an independent owner, it’s more likely to succeed when being operated by three to five employees. Training, often, is a one-on-one experience. For this reason, a single employee must be dedicated to a single gym-goer at any one time.

CrossFit is very employee-intensive. Between training, marketing, management, financing, and promotion, a gym can find itself running low on human resources quickly.

Next Steps

Get more ideas with our Business Ideas Generator.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

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