Health and fitness have become important components of the life of average Indians today. Morbid lifestyles, travelling, overload of fitness and health blogs have tremendously increased awareness among Indians. They are now hitting the gym with full enthusiasm. Here’s a detailed guide to help all those interested in setting up gym business in India, so they overcome initial hiccups and have business gains

Health is wealth and it is so in all cultures of the world. In today’s time, the world is obsessed with some form of exercise regimen or the other. Of course, not everyone can afford a personal trainer who would give customised care at home. So, the next best plan of action is to hit the gym.

All population in urban, tier-2 and tier-3 cities have taken to the concept of going to the gym in a big way and one can see the mushrooming of various gym centres across India. While some are chains which have branches across cities, others have one or two branches within one city.

Given this scenario, starting a gym business can turn out to be a profitable opportunity to those trained to be fitness instructors. Those with a viable gym business plan plunge into it and rake in profits after some initial hiccups.

In most cases, gyms are looked upon as places where one can get weight-loss solutions. And given the morbid lifestyles of people these days, it is looked upon as a necessity rather than an additional expense. So, setting up a gym business is not only financially rewarding, but it also offers a chance to transform the lives of people heading to the gym. But a gym is not just about weight-loss. Today, you have gyms which take care of your entire lifestyle cycle and help you lead a healthy and enriched life.

Sedentary lifestyles and long hours of sitting at offices is taking a toll on just about everyone and obesity has become an epidemic. This has led to people becoming more conscious of their growing waistline and fitness levels. Naturally, this has led to growing demand for gyms and fitness centres across the country. And this is an opportune time to start gym business. And if the gym provides quality services, there is bound to be no dearth of members. Hence, it is important to come up with a gym business plan for India. Astro strategist Hirav Shah feels that like all businesses, gym business also needs to stick to some basic guidelines and build upon it to thrive in the competitive sector.

Let’s check out why it’s a good option to start one’s own gym business

Clients ready to spend money for fitness

Fitness is a top priority for most people these days. Thanks to the media and social media, just about everyone is aware of the health benefits of working out in a gym and how it can help them to live a fit and active life. Also, thanks to film stars, gyms have attained a glam quotient and many young people and working professionals sweat it out in fancy gym gear. They don’t mind taking time out of their busy schedules and visit a gym and are more willing to spend money to find a solution that gives them promising results. Irrespective of how much they weigh on scales, people have become obsessed with weight loss and are willing to go that extra bit and splurge money for a premium gym membership.

It gives immense satisfaction

Like any business with a core objective, gym business is also started with the purpose of helping out people to solve their problems in a structured manner. Having a well-recognised gym in the neighbourhood will attract numerous people and this will facilitate the gym instructor to help clients improve their health and fitness levels.

Additional modes of revenue

Apart from getting membership fees, by owning a gym, you can also increase your revenue by selling weight loss products, branded gym products, apparel and also provide functional amenities such as a sauna and a juice bar or eatery that promotes balanced eating.

Achieve better work-life balance

If one owns a gym, it is not mandatory that the gym owner is present at all times at the gym. Hiring and grooming dedicated staff will make sure that the business runs smoothly. This will help one attain the much needed work-life balance and spend quality time with one’s family.

Have a fitness centre business plan

Before you start your gym business, make sure to do some prior research. This will help you develop your unique USP. Check out the competitors in the locality. Analyse their audience profiles, the type of equipment they have and details about staff. Once you have done this research, figure out what extra amenities you can provide to attract customers. Come up with a solid gym business plan based on the information gathered. Then, pick a strategic location based on your budget and hire qualified staff. Given the current scenario, opening a gym business is a lucrative business idea in India.

Reasons to pick a gym over others

On the face of it, the idea of joining a gym can sound simple. But when actually scouting the market, then one is inundated with options and all of them look similar on the face of it. While the end-game at most training facilities is the same, there are certain points which will draw members to a gym time and again.

1) Fun

Well, the primary factor in choosing a fitness facility should always be fun. Yes, you read that one right. The entire exercise regimen must be fun and the members must leave the gym with a smile. Surely, they are bound to be exhausted, but they must leave with a smile, feeling stronger, fitter and more awesome than they were before walking through the door. It’s also a great place to make gym pals, so you can work out together or indulge in some good gossip post workout sessions.

2) Customised programming

It’s up to you to make sure that your trainer prepares every session keeping your personal goals in place. The instructor will have to listen to you and then come up with a mix and match of exercises to meet your goals, timeline, movements. And when they see the need, they also refer to other specialists in nutrition, acupuncture, physical therapy or chiropractic practices. At the end of the day, it is the client that is of top priority.

3) Assessment

It is a nice idea for a professional gym to have FMS, TPI screens, ROM testing and strength training. Whatever they use, they should be measurable numbers that make you more accountable. It does not matter what assessment tool trainers use, as long as they use it consistently.

4) A sense of support and interaction

Once you enrol yourself at a gym, it is natural that you hang out with each other or end up being gym partners. You could also be taking your kids to school or go grocery shopping or complain about the same exercises. Apart from mutual hatred for all things lunge-related, the fitness centres help members participate in community events. For example, your fitness centre could clog up your Facebook page about an upcoming 5K run, which is a great fitness centre business plan to highlight the trainer’s clientele and their hard work.

5) Clean environs

Though we have mentioned it last on the list, cleanliness is of top priority in a fitness centre. Right from bathrooms to the changing rooms to the actual gym area, cleanliness is next to godliness. The towels have to be clean, the place swept and hygienic and must have clean towels to project the right image. As a matter of fact, the dirtiest thing in a gym must be a client’s shirt.

Now that we have seen why choose a gym, let’s figure out how to go about starting a gym in India

a) Narrow down on an area or locality: Always keep in mind public accessibility. If you are opening a gym business in or near residential colonies and commercial areas, there is likely to be more footfalls.
b) Have a solid gym business plan: Unless you are putting money from your pocket or borrowing from family funds, it’s indispensable to have a business plan in place. As per research, one needs anything between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh to set up gym business in India. Banks or investors will want to see a sound business plan before they part with their monies. So be prepared.
c) Get all licenses: Not just gym business, but all businesses need to follow certain protocols and abide by governing laws. It has to be compulsorily registered officially. One has to have building permits, tax procedures and initial investment-related licenses in place. Also, if you are adding an indoor pool, water aerobics, spa, steam, sauna, locker rooms, all of them have to be permitted legally. A well-balanced business insurance is also a sensible idea. It is also vital to fulfil your GST regulation to avoid indirect taxation.
d) Hire certified trainers: Good certified trainers will not only add to your image and bring credibility to your gym, they will do loads of help by bringing word of mouth publicity. A trainer could cost anywhere between Rs 15000 to Rs 1 lakh based on his qualification and expertise.
e) Invest in right equipment: One has to think of members’ safety, modern technologies and timely maintenance before investing in equipment. Good and branded equipment could cost anywhere between Rs 3,00,000 to Rs 40 lakh. Extra spaces need extra props, consider all of it during initial planning.
f) Put your monies into interiors: A well-designed and vibrant gym is a huge draw for clientele. This is a long-term investment and it’s better you get this right. Research styles, designs, matching equipment, good-quality speakers and other equipment, to have the maximum traction during initial days.
g) Come up with member-friendly incentives: A gym is more than a place of workout these days. Most gyms offer weight loss programmes and other facilities like physiotherapy. They have various activities such as pilates, yoga, circuit training, aerobics, zumba, resistance training, etc. The more up-to-date the facilities, the more the engaged crowd.
h) Promotion & marketing: It’s a good idea to provide various promotional activities, events, discounts, customised goodies and reasonably priced packages for satisfied clientele.
i) Opt for franchise: This is a good step in case you are not confident of running a gym from scratch. Lookout for a good franchise, so that all legalities and location are taken care of. It’s also wise to opt for a mediocre or decently performing gym chain to learn the tactics of running a gym. This will help avoiding big losses in future.
j) Staff and overall maintenance: Apart from good trainers or trainers, a good gym will need a receptionist, cleaning personnel, sales rep, housekeeping, special trainers and doctors depending on the services being provided. Maintenance and staff payments could vary between Rs 40,000 to Rs 1 lakh. It’s better to make a proper plan right from the time of inception.