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Soldier 11-28-2011 12:46 PM

Business idea
 
I have an idea Id like to toss by everybody. As some of you know Im going into the Army, so the next 5 years of my life are spoken for. Ive also got a baby on the way, with hopes that another will follow within the next few years. One good thing about the Army is that unless something unforeseen happens I will be employed for as long as Id like to stay, but at some point Id like to start some sort of business with my wife, when Im ready to leave the Army.

One idea weve talked about at length is starting a bar. Shes a former bartender, and I can cook up some pretty good food. Thats definitely still an option, but lately my wife has also taken an interest in fitness. Shell have time on her hands, so shes talking about going back to school for some sort of degree in nutrition. Im also interested in becoming a certified personal trainer at some point.

Ive come up with an idea that I think MIGHT work, but it will have to be in a large or underserved market. The idea is to start a very simple gym which would feature free weights almost exclusively. The gym would mostly be membership based, although we would also offer many types of coaching. Id like to appeal to both young people who are starting out, but also people who need help losing weight. We could offer special weight loss packages which would include access to the gym as well as both diet and training planning/coaching. Of course, we would also offer personal training as well as training plans.

I personally believe, and I know that many of you agree, that simple training programs are best. I also know how important weight training is when someone is trying to lose weight. Im hoping that through my own story of weight loss Ill be able to inspire others to follow my plans, and then through their results the word of mouth will spread. I figure that when I start out I can offer cheap weight loss or body transformation packages to a few people in return for being able to use their stories in my advertising.

I also think that if I keep things simple as far as equipment and space, I should be able to lower both startup and operational costs to the point where I can offer affordable services to local youth who either want to get healthy or need a place to train for sports. We could also keep memberships up by offering cheaper memberships than the globo gyms that have all the extra features that a lot of people dont care about.

To bring in youth we could even offer things like tutoring services certain days of the week along with speacial beginner classes where they can learn about form.

The equipment would include a number of power racks, possibly a monolift if there are powerlifters who want to train there, plenty of adjustable benches, dumbbells, a cable station and an area of Astroturf for prowler, rope, and sled work, as well as some bands and chains. Id like to have bumper plates for oly lifting as well, but that wouldnt be a priority.

Understand that this is a very tentative idea in the earliest of stages, because it will probably be at least 10 years before Im in a position to actually make this happen. What do you guys think of this as a business idea?

Off Road 11-28-2011 01:30 PM

I really like the tutoring part of it, but I'm a teacher :)

I'd want to start a gym that had three different rooms. The first room would be the beginner room. It would have nothing but power cages, flat benches, barbells, and tons of weight. You would have to reach a certain strength level before moving on to the next room.

The intermediate room would have everything that the beginner room had plus a little more. The benches would be adjustable, there would be dumbbells, a few basic machines like leg press, hypers, reverse hypers, etc. You would have to reach a certain strength level to move on to the next room.

The last room would have an assortment of different bars, mono-lifts, bands, chains, machines, etc. There would also be a large assortment of strongman equipment.

Of course outside there would be hills, sleds, and prowlers.

Soldier 11-28-2011 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Off Road (Post 192695)
I really like the tutoring part of it, but I'm a teacher :)

I'd want to start a gym that had three different rooms. The first room would be the beginner room. It would have nothing but power cages, flat benches, barbells, and tons of weight. You would have to reach a certain strength level before moving on to the next room.

The intermediate room would have everything that the beginner room had plus a little more. The benches would be adjustable, there would be dumbbells, a few basic machines like leg press, hypers, reverse hypers, etc. You would have to reach a certain strength level to move on to the next room.

The last room would have an assortment of different bars, mono-lifts, bands, chains, machines, etc. There would also be a large assortment of strongman equipment.

Of course outside there would be hills, sleds, and prowlers.


I'm completely with you on progressive use of more advanced methods. Start simple, then add a bit here and there to make things interesting and challenge the person into growing. I read about a gym where the guy didn't sell memberships. Rather, he sold his programming which was performed at his gym. That would be a huge part of what I want to do. I don't want to intimidate people with tons of machines and things they don't understand. Keep it simple, with just the things I KNOW work, and let them know exactly how to use them for their goals.

Maybe we could give our older kids (16+) a break on their fees if they come in and work with the younger kids on the weekend on both school stuff and training. The best way to learn is to TEACH, so if they get experience helping younger kids train it would help them progress even faster.

Fazc 11-28-2011 01:38 PM

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.

Off Road 11-28-2011 01:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soldier (Post 192696)
I read about a gym where the guy didn't sell memberships. Rather, he sold his programming which was performed at his gym.

Maybe we could give our older kids (16+) a break on their fees if they come in and work with the younger kids on the weekend on both school stuff and training.

I'm a fan of both those ideas.

Soldier 11-28-2011 02:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fazc (Post 192698)
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.

Fazc 11-28-2011 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soldier (Post 192717)
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.

Very true.

I'm very interested in seeing how this thread plays out and your thought processes. I'm just getting into property myself, specifically buy-to-let, so we're in a similar position.

Soldier 11-28-2011 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fazc (Post 192722)
Very true.

I'm very interested in seeing how this thread plays out and your thought processes. I'm just getting into property myself, specifically buy-to-let, so we're in a similar position.

I'm interested too. Nutrition would be a HUGE part of my plans. I love talking to people about nutrition and getting rid of all the misconceptions out there. When you talk to people like human beings it's fairly easy to dispell myths and rumors and get them headed on a better path.

The real secret to losing fat is combining the right training with the right nutrition. If I can crack that nut with just a few people, I KNOW that word of mouth could keep a business going. The weight loss market is HUGE.

I looked into similiar types of properties a few years back when I was interested in starting a music venue. I think a lot of these crossfit gyms have the right idea; simple equipment in a cheap out-of-the-way warehouse means low overhead. Combine that with word of mouth and you can make at least a little chunk of change.

Soldier 11-29-2011 01:57 PM

I wanted to bring this thread back to life, and also mention that in my research I've found a huge discrepency in what people are paying for gym memberships. Some people are forced to pay upwards of $75/month, which seems ludacris to me. I pay $110 a YEAR to go to a gym which has tons of equipment and almost everything I could ever need.

I also looked into local warehouses for lease. I found a couple units for lease in the 2k-3.5k sf range that were very affordable, as in less than $1500/month. It will be hard to find a place that's cheap but just nice enough and not in a area where people wouldn't feel comfortable, but it's possible.

I'm still very interested in everyone's thoughts on my ideas, if anyone has any more feedback.

Fazc 11-29-2011 02:15 PM

In london a lifter I used to know has set up what he calls BritishBarbell, it's an exclusive powerlifting gym catering to top level GBPF lifters. I believe he set it up after a trip to Ohio and Simmons' WestsideBarbell club.

He has a similar idea but I think it's registered as a charity. Take a look, quite a lot of info on the site: British Barbell


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