Originally Posted by Fazc
I can't speak as much for America but I know the economic situation in the UK is quite grim. I think in the future any business venture would have to take into account the sure bets. I know several privately owned gyms in the area who have closed down in the last decade as more and more large company gyms open up and inevitably the young fickle clientelle who will bring in the majority of your custom gravitate towards them rather than privately owned ones.
I have thought about opening a gym and like you I have thought about it for the clientelle that you mentioned, but you have to remember that 'we' as in people who post on sensible forums and use sensible routines are in the minority. We are pretty much a fringe group, the market there seems too unstable for a business.
I think in the future, especially thinking long-term as the economic situation in the west worsens the sure bets will ultimately be the only ones worth looking at... land and metal.
You're 100% correct when you talk about being on the fringe. I've thought about that a lot, and I believe the answer is to appeal to a number of different groups of people. The hardcore, prowler til you puke, Dave Tate rules crowd? Yeah, I'd want a place they'd like, but no way can that crowd support an entire establishment. If, on the other hand, I can also get people who need help losing weight, then that's a pretty huge crowd! Add in the high school kids who's parents can only afford my rates, along with the kids who want to come there because they know I can make them stronger, THEN add in the hardcore lifters, then throw up some rings and bring in the cross-fitters and it might just work.
Even that, however, wouldn't make it work if it isn't in the right market. I'd have to find the right place and somehow ride the line of being a jack of a couple different trades to pull it off.
That being said, I believe there are a number of different groups of people who are underserved by most gyms. The women who want to go to Curve's need guidance and an atmosphere which is both supportive and not intimidating. The younger people need access to simple equipment and just enough guidance to use it correctly at an affordable price. I believe it's faulty thinking to assume that you have to specialize in only one of these groups to serve them better than a commercial gym.
In the end, if I can't find a market that I believe will work for this idea, I'll move on to the next idea. I try not to get too emotionally involved with these ideas, because you never know what might work in a given location.