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.
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Learn how to start your own CrossFit Gym and whether it is the right fit for you.
Start a crossfit gym by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your CrossFit Gym
- Form your CrossFit Gym into a Legal Entity
- Register your CrossFit Gym for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your CrossFit Gym
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your CrossFit Gym
- Get CrossFit Gym Insurance
- Define your CrossFit Gym Brand
- Create your CrossFit Gym Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
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.
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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:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
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 important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our CrossFit Gym Name Generator
If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your crossfit gym is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
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!
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?.
Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
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
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our best net 30 vendors, guide and start building business credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
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.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
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:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
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.
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.
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.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
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.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.
Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a CrossFit Gym in your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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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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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.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
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:
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.
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