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5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Gym

two men shaking hands over a gym deal..

5 things to do before buying a gym 

Appearances can be deceiving. As an aspiring gym owner, it’s your responsibility to do your homework before making a purchase so that you can make smart decisions and avoid problems.

1. Do your due diligence

Due diligence is when you carefully investigate a business opportunity to understand if it’s a good choice and to identify any possible risks.

Understanding the gym’s financial health is top priority. Analyze its revenue, expenses, and profits over the past few years to understand its bottom line. Don’t only look at glowing financial statements or take the current owner’s word at face value. Dive deep and see if there are any details that don’t add up.

Next, inspect the condition of the equipment, facilities, and overall infrastructure. Are any immediate repairs or upgrades needed? You’ll also want to consider any existing leases, contracts or agreements in place so that you’re aware of their terms and obligations. No one likes a surprise rent increase!

Lastly, seek assistance from professionals like accountants, lawyers, and fitness industry experts who can help you examine legal documents, spot potential risks, and confirm if the investment makes financial sense.

2. Find what you’re passionate about

There are many rewards to running a fitness club that you’re passionate about. When you already have knowledge and experience—in activities like kickboxing, barre, or HIIT—it’s that much easier to understand and connect with your members. When you understand their needs, pain points, and goals, you’ll be better equipped to provide them with the best experience.

Choosing a business that matches your interests and experience will also help you avoid lost time and failed attempts. When you don’t know anything about a facility, it will require that much more time and energy to achieve success. Over time, this can become an expensive problem. 

So when you’re thinking about buying a gym or gym franchise, look at the services and programs already on offer to see if they overlap with your passions. Reflect on what the gym is known for and see if this is something you genuinely feel excited about.

3. Look at the numbers

Gyms are highly profitable, but you need to consider the costs as well.

Your buying power will determine the size, type, and location of the gym you can afford. Weigh the financing options available for gym owners, including personal savings, bank loans, partnership, and investors. Once you have a clear sense of what you can afford, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and focus on best fits.

Don’t forget to look at the gym’s operating expenses and maintenance costs. Gym equipment is one of the main overheads you need to consider when buying a gym. If the current equipment needs to be upgraded or replaced, consider whether buying used equipment or leasing new equipment makes most sense. Regardless of the option you choose, you’ll want to make sure you are getting good value for your money. 

4. Conduct a membership audit 

Before buying a gym or fitness center, you’ll want to make sure that its membership base is strong and stable. Conducting a membership audit provides valuable insights into the gym’s current member base, including its demographics, size, and retention. This information will help you make informed decisions about marketing strategies and growth potential.

To learn about a gym’s membership, speak with them directly. Ask current members about their experience, including what they like and dislike. Another great way to investigate a gym’s reputation is to read reviews online. Try to identify trends in the feedback and opportunities to improve the member experience.

The Customer
Engagement Playbook
for Your Fitness

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Need fresh ideas to grow your membership without burning out? Membership Sales by Ryan Moore is a great place to start. It provides strategies to get more members with less effort and practical tools to increase your time freedom within the business. It’s all about working smarter, not harder. 

5. Brainstorm your marketing plan 

When you buy a gym, you inherit its marketing and sales strategies. Seek to understand the strategies the gym already has success with so that you can build on these efforts. For instance, if the gym already has an engaged following on Instagram, you’ll want to continue to focus on this channel.

Assessing the gym’s current marketing strategies will help you identify new opportunities for growth. If your members spend time at local businesses in the area, there’s potential to build strategic relationships with these vendors. Review all marketing channels and collateral one by one to understand what’s working and what’s not. 

Your website is your most important marketing tool. Look at the analytics over the past 3-6 months to understand trends in traffic and browsing. If the current website is out of date and hard to use, you can mark it as high-priority for improvement. A responsive, user-friendly website will enhance the member experience and convert more leads into customers.

Should I buy an existing gym or start from scratch? 

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to buy an existing gym or start from scratch. When you buy a gym, you take on its successes and its problems. This is why it is so important to complete due diligence before making a purchase. 

Starting a gym from scratch also has its advantages and disadvantages. If you’re a personal trainer, for instance, building your own gym can enhance your brand and offer more creative freedom than if you were a trainer at someone else’s gym. You can also spread out some of the startup costs – e.g. renting a small studio instead of taking on an entire commercial lease.

Starting from ground zero also has its challenges. You need to build everything—from your systems and processes, to your membership base and marketing channels—from the ground up. The learning curve can be steep.

Evaluate the pros and cons of buying a gym

You need to weigh the good against the bad when buying a gym. The advantages include having an established customer base, existing facilities, and the potential for profit. The potential downsides include upfront costs, intense competition, and having to manage and maintain the gym yourself. 

That’s why it is so important to do careful research and consider all these factors before making a decision. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the choice that aligns best with your vision, circumstances, and goals.

In summary

By completing due diligence, aligning your business with your passions, crunching your numbers, evaluating your member base, and strategizing your marketing, you’ll be able to confidently make an informed decision about buying a gym. Don’t lean on experts when needed. If you do these things, we promise you’ll feel even better when you get the keys to your new gym! 

While gyms can be highly profitable, starting and running one isn’t without its challenges. Glofox makes your life easier by streamlining operations, enhancing the member experience, and maximizing revenue—all in one central, easy to use place. 

We take the guesswork out of managing and marketing a profitable gym so that you can get more out of your business and your life. Ready to get started? Book a free demo today!

The Customer
Engagement Playbook
for Your Fitness

Customer engagement is the way in which a brand
connects with its customers on a deeper level than a
simple business and consumer relationship.
Discover more

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"I think Glofox speaks to lots of different fitness businesses. I looked at a few options, but the Glofox positioning was more flexible. Without it the business wouldn't be scaleable”
Mehdi Elaichouni
Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

Trusted by studios, and global gym chains.

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