From the days of Ali and Frazier to the popularity of the Rocky and Raging Bull films in the 1980s right through to modern show-stopping spectacles in the MGM Grand, boxing has fascinated and thrilled audiences around the world. The dream of every young boy or girl who straps on the gloves for the first time is to someday become a world-beater. But before all the glitz and glamour of a world heavyweight fight, the hard work begins and ends in the boxing gym.
And you may be the person who wants to set up a boxing gym to train a raft of future champions. Or, maybe you just want to help people get fit. If you are thinking of setting up a boxing gym, you will have a better chance of success if you have a genuine passion for, and experience in boxing. The reason for this is that your members, be they committed boxers or regular fitness enthusiasts, will want the most authentic experience possible.
At the moment there has never been a better time to set up a boxing gym. The US fitness industry valued at $27 billion, and drilling down further into that, boxing clubs have a market share of $1.2 billion. So there is a lot of opportunities in the market at the moment. However, with that, comes a lot of competition. Don’t let the sheer number of gyms put you off from starting your own. Sure, it can seem like a daunting task to compete with other clubs and the major gym chains. But the biggest players on the market only make up a fifth of the total revenue generated by gyms.
The rest is made up of small business owners like you. That’s why we’ve put together this guide for you. We’ll cover some important questions you should ask yourself before you even think about the practicalities of how to start a boxing club. Then we’ve put together ten actionable steps for how to start a gym business regardless of what niche you’ve decided on.
Skip ahead to:
- What to Think About Before Opening a Boxing Gym Business
- How to Start Your Own Boxing Gym in 10 Steps
What to Think About Before Opening a Boxing Gym Business
There are some important questions to consider before we even get into the nitty-gritty of how to start a boxing club. What defines a boxing gym business? What are your options? How much will it cost? Which rules should you be aware of? Let’s have a look at each of these questions first.
What Is a Boxing Gym Business?
A boxing gym business can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. You could open a fully-fledged gym complete with punching bags, exercise benches and mattresses, classes, showers, and changing rooms. Or you could organise a meetup in a local park where everyone practices boxing basic techniques, such as shadowboxing.
It doesn’t have to be one or the other. You could start small and then gradually expand your boxing club. For example, you could offer one-to-one personal training, or teach small groups, until you have enough clients to warrant renting your own space.
Who Should Open a Boxing Club?
Most business owners have a natural interest in their industry. The same applies to owners of a boxing club. You could, of course, hire experiences boxing coaches to handle the training side of things for you. But it will be more enjoyable if you already have a personal interest in boxing and fitness.
Naturally, there is more to running a gym business than simply being a fitness enthusiast. You should be prepared to work long hours, learn a lot about marketing and management, and be prepared to invest a lot of money and effort into it.
How Much Does It Cost to Open a Boxing Gym?
That depends on the business concept and size of your ambitions. Do you want to rent a large space, fill it up with boxing equipment, and employ staff to help your customers? Then prepare to shell out quite a lot. But the startup cost for a boxing trainer who only teaches basic exercises like cardio, shadowboxing, and skipping could be zero.
A run-of-the-mill gym will set you back $10,000-$50,000 to fill up with weights and machines. But that’s only the beginning. Then you have to cover maintenance, repairs, upgrades, rent, staff wages, training, utility bills, insurance, marketing, and legal costs.
Should You Join a Boxing Franchise?
Another option is to join an existing gym business franchise. There are several pros and cons to doing so. An obvious benefit is that you will have help with branding and marketing. Another upside is that the franchise will have existing agreements in place with equipment providers.
But it’s neither cheap nor easy to join a gym franchise. A franchise has an existing reputation to protect, and therefore quality standards to maintain. If your branch falls short of those standards, it will reflect badly on the entire chain. Expect strict requirements for how much to invest in your gym and how to run it.
What Are the Rules for Opening a Boxing Gym?
Martial arts like boxing means working with your body, and that means your clients can get injured. Since the injury can happen on your premises you risk being liable for any such incidents. Not only does the environment have to be safe, but you will also need the proper certifications to teach boxing classes.
Which laws you need to comply with depends on where you are. Read up on local rules and regulations for running a boxing club to make sure you meet all the requirements. The qualifications you need to be a boxing coach will also depend on what kind of exercise you want to teach.
How to Start Your Own Boxing Gym in 10 Steps
Starting a successful business can be a long and complicated process. We’ve done most of the legwork for you here, so you know exactly how to start a boxing business from scratch. Here below we’ve lined up ten actionable steps for you to follow when you’re ready to launch your boxing gym business.
1. Research the Market
Knowledge is power, so market research should always be your first step to starting a boxing business. Identify the opportunities and challenges for similar businesses in your local area. Find out who your target audience is and what will make them join your specific club or class.
Next step: Look at boxing club statistics to get a general overview of the market.
2. Find a Niche
Once you understand the market and know who your target audience is you can decide on a niche for your boxing gym business. Will you open a general boxing club that caters to everyone, or will you specialize in something like kickboxing? Keep the needs of your customers in mind.
Next step: Use this in-depth guide on how to find a boxing gym niche to help you find your own.
3. Research your Competition
Once you know what niche you’ll focus on, it’s time to research your competitors. Who else is catering to the same audience as you? What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? Are you taking on a major gym chain or other small boxing clubs like oyour own?
Next step: Look at Porter’s Five Forces to understand how your competition works.
4. Determine your USP
You should have a rough idea of your USP (unique selling point) once you’ve researched the market, competition and target audience. Are you better or cheaper than others? More conveniently located? Do you have certain equipment or classes that no one else is offering?
Next step: Use these tips for creating a USP to help you craft your own.
5. Get Accreditation
One of the items on your opening a gym checklist should be to get the proper accreditation. Which certificates and licenses you need will depend on your martial arts or boxing niche. Bear in mind that any staff you employ to work with your customers will need training and accreditation as well.
Next step: Find out which boxing coach accreditations you need and where to get them.
6. Write a Business Plan
Boil down all your gym business ideas into a solid business plan. The work will be much easier now that you understand the market, the competition, the target audience, and your USP. Any investors in your new gym business will want to see a detailed business plan before they invest.
7. Find a Location
It’s time to scout for a suitable location. The suitability will depend on the nature of your boxing gym business, so refer back to your niche. Are you offering outdoor boxing sessions? Then you need a park or forest. Are you opening a boxing club? Then you’ll need a commercial building.
Next step: Check out these ten factors to consider when looking for a boxing club location.
8. Get Funding
You’ll need a good chunk of money unless you’re starting a bare-bones boxing gym business with no indoor space, equipment, or additional staff. The cost of opening a boxing club can be steep, so explore all options, such as taking a startup loan, finding a business partner, or teaming up with a corporate sponsor.
Next step: Read about the pros and cons of each funding option to find the best solution.
9. Buy Equipment and Hire Staff
Once you have some money in the bank you can finally buy the boxing equipment and hire the coaches or staff you need. Make sure you research the best equipment brands and consider enlisting a recruitment agency to help you vet candidates for your gym staff.
10. Market your Boxing Gym Business
With everything in place, it’s finally time to start advertising yourself. As with funding, the possibilities are endless. You could hand out flyers with introductory offers on the street, or run a major online marketing campaign. Consider hiring a marketing agency to help you out.
Next step: Read up on boxing club marketing strategies and decide on your plan of action.
You should now have a pretty good idea of how to start a boxing gym business. As you can see, it’s not a walk in the park but you can definitely use a walk in the park as a good starting point.
Just to recap, here’s what we’ve learned:
- It’s good to have a natural interest in boxing
- Prepare yourself for long work hours
- A boxing club requires a big investment
- There are many legal requirements to read up on
- Research your market, competition, and target audience
- Find a niche and determine your USP
- Write a detailed business plan to secure funding
Still not sure about whether or not you should start a boxing club? Read about Why the Fitness Industry is Growing if you want more insights into the global market.
Finally, you can take your existing boxing gym business to the next level with a sales funnel. Check out Why You Need a Gym Sales Funnel to learn how you can set one up.