How Much Does It Cost To Open a Gym in 2020?

By Bernhard Mehl
August 12, 2020

Health and wellness is a fast-growing industry around the world. With more of a focus on taking care of our physical health, it makes sense that you might want to start your own health and fitness facility. But, how much does it cost to open a gym?

Of course, it’s impossible to give an exact number when it comes to costs. Every gym will have different priorities and will be based in different areas. However, in this article, we will provide some rough figures based on recently available information to give you an overview of some of the costs to consider.

Overview 

If you start to think about the costs involved in starting a gym, it’s helpful to break it down into basic elements. By doing this upfront, you can be more strategic about your business and make sure that you are able to cater to the right target market.

For example, one of the first things to consider is where your gym will be based. This will have an impact on the property costs of the building. After that, it’s time to consider what will go inside the gym. This will include what kind of equipment and facilities you will need.

Once you’ve covered the basics, you can then move on to the various once-off and ongoing payments that will need to be made. 

8 Factors That Influence The Cost To Open A Gym

1. Property Costs

As we mentioned above, the physical location of your proposed gym will have a considerable influence on the cost to open a gym and how much it will be to buy or rent your property.

According to recent figures published by Sage, you could pay anything between $50,000 and $1 million in total. This depends on the type of gym you want to open, 

With this price variability in mind, it’s helpful to truly take the time to think about who you want to cater for. It will help to guide your choice of location. Whether you choose to rent or buy is up to you, but both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

2. Equipment

You could choose to start a basic gym without needing many accessories, for example, a dance or yoga studio. No matter what type of gym you want to open, you always need to think about equipment. 

Once again, depending on your financial situation, you could choose to buy or rent. This is important to consider as a new business, as old and damaged equipment is probably not going to attract many customers. 

For that reason, invest in the best equipment you can afford. To provide an overall gym opening cost, you could be looking at anything between $10 000 for a personal studio to $50 000 for a commercial gym. 

To help clarify your gym equipment cost, the first step would be to establish exactly what kind of activities will be on offer. This will help to guide you as to whether physical equipment is a priority, or whether you’d rather start out by investing in mirrors and lighting for studios.

If you’d like to take it further, the installation costs for saunas, steam baths, and even swimming pools are critical to consider at this point. 

3. Staff

Monthly salaries are very important to consider when opening a gym. Your staff payroll will be a prominent monthly cost of running a gym. 

Making sure your staff are well trained and certified can also be an additional expense, depending on what qualifications are needed, or how much you choose to invest in educating your staff.

Once you’ve hired staff, purchasing uniforms and other merchandise for them and your clients to wear is another expense to think about. 

While your chosen gym environment might be more informal, it is always a good idea to create some kind of consistent brand identity. You can do this through the use of standardized staff uniforms and accessories. 

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4. Hardware and Software

As with any kind of business today, a prominent cost to open a gym is setting up the right hardware and software. This is important not only for your staff but also to coordinate client transactions and activities. 

For this, you can pay in the region of $550 to $2,300 annually, as well as about double that for set up and installation costs.

Depending on what software and hardware you might need, it is possible to find targeted solutions that especially cater to gyms. Once again, it’s important to establish your priorities and think about what your client base needs.

This is because some comprehensive software packages can be convenient, but also costly. So, it’s important to figure out exactly what you require and how you would like to potentially scale your IT infrastructure upfront. 

5. Insurance and Legal Fees

When starting any kind of business, you need to ensure that you are taking calculated risks and covering your bases when it comes to insurance. It is important to follow all the necessary legal procedures as well.

This includes paying any relevant business registration fees and overall insurance costs. For general liability insurance, workman’s compensation, and a surety bond as basic cover, you can expect to pay about $12,000 on premiums as a start. Note that these are subject to different business requirements. 

For legal fees, you could pay around $200 an hour for processing lease agreements, finalizing a sale, and negotiating other business contract terms. Of course, it is likely that you might need to engage with a lawyer throughout the running of your business. So, it is a good idea to set aside some resources to cater for this as an ongoing maintenance cost. 

6. Advertising and Marketing

While setting up the physical side of your business and making sure that all your administrative bases are covered, investing in your advertising and marketing efforts is also important. This is an often-forgotten aspect when considering the cost to option a gym. But, it is very important to factor your digital marketing needs into your budget. 

This can include everything from your website to hiring people to run your social media pages. While you can rely on internal resources to do some degree of marketing, like word of mouth, it is advisable to set aside a marketing and advertising budget. This is especially important when you are still in the early stages of building your business and a client base. 

To get back to basics, the cost to open a gym can also include your signage. This can be as elaborate or as minimal as you wish. So, you could pay as little as $20 for this. However, for a sizable gym, you are probably looking at a lot more. 

In addition to physical advertising, setting up a phone and internet line is another monthly expense to add to the list. This also includes setting up free WiFi for clients as you can gain a lot of referrals through people posting photos on social media while at your fitness facility. 

As an extra add-on, free WiFi can also make all the difference to someone’s workout. With access to their own playlists and other online media, providing this service is not only valuable for marketing but could also have a positive impact on the satisfaction of your client base. 

7. Maintenance Costs

The cost to open a gym requires many different ongoing maintenance expenses. These include everything from utilities and servicing equipment to cleaning and other routine maintenance. 

In fact, large scale facilities can pay from about $63,000 to $68,000 just for electricity alone, as lights, music, and hot water are important to have in a gym! Heat and air conditioning is also another factor to consider. You may need to pay varying costs to maintain a pleasant, ambient temperature inside your facility. 

Depending on the size of your property, these costs might differ. However, it’s safe to assume that there will be a range of monthly running costs that you need to anticipate upfront. This can include everything from miscellaneous gym supplies, like towels and chairs, to cleaning supplies. 

Extra costs, like credit card processing fees and taxes, should also be incorporated into your overall budget. They are an essential part of keeping your business afloat. 

8. Security

Being able to grant access to the right people at the right time is an important consideration when putting together an estimate of the cost to open a gym or fitness facility.

For many large scale gyms, this can include facilities for clients to tap and gain access to using their smartphones. Alternatively, access cards can be granted to members and staff to ensure that only approved personnel can access certain areas. 

Linking to the point about installing hardware and software above, creating a comprehensive access control system is essential when opening a gym. This is because, depending on the type of facility you’re opening, you may also want to create a sense of exclusivity for your members. 

If that’s not a priority, guaranteeing the safety and security of your staff and clients with access control is essential nonetheless. 

In addition to this, installing a system that is easy to use and manage is paramount. This is especially important as your client and staff base grows and there are more people entering and exiting your premises every day. 

Final Thoughts

As we have mentioned, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the expenses you will incur when opening a gym or fitness facility. However, by working through the list above, you should have a better idea of what costs you need to plan for. These are also relevant when considering the cost to open a gym franchise. 

At Kisi, we prioritize secure and easy to manage access control that will form an integral part of any new gym business venture. For more information on how our access control system works, and how it can integrate with existing hardware, get in touch with us to schedule a demo.

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.