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 step 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:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- 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 very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
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.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
For most small businesses forming an LLC is a great option, but if you still want to weigh all your options check our our article, What Structure Should I Choose for My Business?
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?.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
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.
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
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
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
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.
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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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.
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.