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Inspiration & Know-How to Start a Fitness Business on a Budget

Your required budget for opening a business will depend on what type of fitness business it is. Gyms require more initial outlay than a personal trainer. However, each fitness business can follow the same general guidelines and steps to becoming successful.

Initial costsHow to Start a Fitness Business on a Budget

Insurance, registration fees and sometimes franchise fees, will be needed no matter what. You must save and plan for these expenses, ensuring you have a positive cash flow. To ensure your small budget can cope with these upfront costs you should plan what you hope to achieve and have a very clear idea of all expenses.

Get an accountant

Having an accountant is critical. Before you start, an accountant will inform you if your plan can be achieved with the finances you currently have. It may be wise to save money and wait a little longer.

You need to sit down with an accountant and create a financial plan for your first year in operation. This includes projected income, understanding of taxes and total expenditures involved. An accountant can guide you with tax structures for employees & about independent contractor taxes. A financial plan will help you stay on track, most importantly, stay within your budget.


Before choosing a location, research is critical. Demographics, competition, population and other factors should be considered before coming to a conclusion. You can even visit gyms or studios in person to compare. Check what local competitors are charging and see how your business will match up. Make sure the area suits a fitness business. Too many similar businesses around and you may have to choose a different location.
Doing research, both online or in person is cheap and effective. For personal trainers or boot camps you might not need a permanent location. You can focus more budget into equipment. Self-storage sites like Spacer are perfect for finding storage for equipment when you don’t have a physical location.

If you need a commercial property, try to find retail stores that have recently become available. If a previous business or tenant had to leave due to rent prices, there is a good chance the landlord will drop their price. You will have increased bargaining power if the landlord is desperate to get you to sign a lease.


Equipment is critical for any fitness business. When your budget is limited, you need to start small. And then over time, as your business will grow, you should invest in more equipment. Due to having a low budget, you need choose what is vital to the progression of your business when it first starts. Choose essential or frequently used equipment, this helps gain a platform to build on.

You don’t have to purchase expensive high end equipment right away. Mats, boxing gloves, skipping ropes and other smaller training equipment is low cost. For personal trainers or induvial who run boot camps, this type of equipment is perfect. You can quickly make back the initial expense, then start making profit.

If you need larger equipment for a gym or studio, you should look for discounts in various stores.

Moreover, some gyms may be looking to upgrade and need to sell perfectly functioning equipment, try to find quality second hand deals. Having said this, first impressions do matter, strongly consider new equipment.

Building clients

The best way to build attention and a client base on a budget is social media. Social media has millions of users. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even snapchat, are good places to start. Setting up a business pages or account is easy and free. If you do want to pay for social media advertising you can focus on specific age, locations and interests.

Building a website can also be an inexpensive operation. You can create a simple website with WordPress or a similar site for free. You can then purchase a cheap domain name and webhosting plan.Starting a fitness business on a shoestring budget is never easy, but following the above tips will certainly help you in achieving your dream.
Do you know someone who runs a gym, connect them to us and we would love to cover their story and feature them on our eMagazine. If you are regular at working out, share the link to your gym in comments below and we shall get in touch with them.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 21st September 2017.

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