• Calla Norman

How to Start a Gym on a Budget


the team at steel house cycle in Pittsburgh

As we’ve already established in another blog post, it can cost between $65,000 to $100,000 to start your gym business. However, you probably don’t have that kind of cash lying around. If you’re still in the planning phase of your gym, you can still get started building your business and building your credit on a budget - here are a few tips.


Rent space in another gym to train - or go online!


While you’re still building your business, and your client list, it might be a good idea to spend a few months at least working in another’s gym. This way, you can start saving money to open your own place, and you can get an idea of what you want your gym to be like when it eventually opens (or what you don’t want it to be like).


You could also DIY your gym business by starting online, whether you want to do prerecorded sessions or Zooms with your clients. Or, get creative with where you work out! Is there a nice public park with a view nearby? That could be a great location for a group class!


Purchase equipment ahead of time


Instead of purchasing all the equipment you’ll need for your gym at once, try racking up as much as you can during this planning stage. That way, you won’t need to drop a load of cash all at once to fill up your gym’s space with equipment! One way gym owners and trainers do this is by dedicating a bit of the proceeds from individual training sessions into their “equipment fund.”


Launch a website and social media


If you aren’t already online, now is the time to do it. Having a website is often clients’ (and investors’) first impression of your business - so make it count. It’s also important in building credit for your business, as it gives a sense of legitimacy.


Also, if you start your online presence now, and build up your social media, if you choose to fund your gym using crowdfunding you’ll be all the better off.


An easy-to-use website platform like Squarespace usually costs about $12 a month to maintain, and the benefits of having an “open door” to the world online is definitely worth it.


If you need some tips for building up your social media, check out this blog post.


Start building your growth plan


Even though you’re bootstrapping it right now, doesn’t mean that’s always the case. If you’re looking to grow your fitness empire, having a plan on how you’re going to grow and fund it is vital. Are you looking for a bank? Investors? Have you considered crowdfunding to grow your gym?


Each of these different funding solutions are going to have a different cost of capital - and you also need to weigh the intangible benefits as well. For example, loan crowdfunding campaigns on Honeycomb are much more affordable than credit card debt or merchant cash advances, plus they give you an added marketing boost and connections to investors in your community. This is part of why businesses that crowdfund with Honeycomb see on average a 60% increase in yearly revenue.


Gyms such as Triangle Foundry and Steel House Cycle in Pittsburgh have found great success in running crowdfunding campaigns to finance the buildout of their brick and mortar gyms.


Breaking a sweat doesn’t have to break the bank


You can start your gym business today if you start small and smart. Then, when you’re ready to grow, consider crowdfunding a small business loan from your greatest resource - your already-stellar client list! To learn more about Honeycomb campaigns, fill out the form below: