Brad Byrne

Starting a fitness business: A step-by-step guide

Fitness has become a booming industry in recent years, with more and more people realising the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. The stats back this up with the US fitness industry being worth $33.25bn and the UK at $1.9bn.  As a result, there has been an increased demand for fitness services, including gyms, personal trainers, and online fitness coaches. If you have a passion for fitness and want to help others achieve their fitness goals, starting a fitness business can be a fulfilling and profitable venture.

In this step-by-step guide, we will discuss everything you need to know to start your own fitness business, including how to start an online fitness coaching business and how to start a gym.

Step 1: Determine your niche

The first step in starting a fitness business is to determine your niche. There are several areas of fitness that you can specialise in, such as weightlifting, Yoga, Pilates, Martial Arts etc... . It's important to choose a niche that you are passionate about and have experience in. This will help you stand out from the competition and attract clients who are interested in your particular area of expertise.

Step 2: Conduct market research

Once you have determined your niche, the next step is to conduct market research. This involves identifying your target market, understanding their needs and preference, and evaluating the competition in your area. You can use online tools like Google Trends and social media to research the demand for your services and gather feedback from potential clients.

Step 3: Develop a business plan

A business plan is essential for any new business, including a fitness business. It will help you map out your goals, strategies, and financial projections. Your business plan should include the following:

-> Executive Summary: A brief overview of your business, including your mission statement and goals.

-> Market Analysis: A detailed analysis of your target market, including demographics, psychographics, and behaviour patterns.

-> Marketing and Sales Strategy: A plan for how you will attract and retain clients, including pricing, promotions, and advertising. This can then be leveraged later to help with things like obtaining reviews. 

-> Service Offering: A description of your services and pricing structure.

-> Financial Projections: A forecast of your revenue, expenses, and profit margins.

Step 4: Secure financing

Starting a fitness business can require a significant amount of capital, depending on the type of business you are starting the number can range from€10,000 to €50,000 to get up and running. If you are starting a gym, for example, you will need to purchase or lease equipment, rent or purchase a space, and hire staff. If you are starting an online fitness coaching business, you may need to invest in website development and marketing. You can secure financing through a business loan, crowdfunding, government grants or personal savings.

Step 5: Register your business

Once you have secured financing, the next step is to register your business. You will need to choose a business name and register your business with your state/county. You may also need to obtain a business license and any necessary permits for your specific type of business. Another necessity is to ensure that your business is properly insured. This will protect you and your business from any legal action should someone get hurt while on your premises. The type of insurance can vary depending on a number of factors best to check this with others in the industry and insurers. 

Step 6: Choose a location

If you are starting a gym or fitness studio, choosing the right location is crucial. You will want to choose a location that is easily accessible to your target market and has ample parking. You should also consider the size of the space and the amenities you will offer. If you are starting an online fitness coaching business, you can work from anywhere, but you will need to ensure you have a reliable internet connection and a quiet workspace.

Step 7: Purchase equipment and supplies

If you are starting a gym or fitness studio, you will need to purchase or lease equipment and supplies. This can include cardio machines, weightlifting equipment, Yoga mats, and more. You should also purchase cleaning supplies and ensure you have a system in place to keep your equipment and space clean and sanitized. These can be purchased new or online second-hand depending on your needs and finances. 

Step 8: Hire staff

If you are starting a gym or fitness studio, you may need to hire staff to help you run the business. This can include personal trainers, receptionists, and cleaning staff. When hiring staff, it's important to look for individuals who are passionate about fitness, have relevant experience, and are committed to providing excellent customer service.

Step 9: Develop a marketing strategy

Marketing is essential for any new business, including a fitness business. You will need to develop a marketing strategy that will help you attract and retain clients. This can include social media advertising, email marketing, and referral programs. You can also partner with other businesses in your community to offer joint promotions and events.

Step 10: Utilise a fitness management software

A fitness management software can help you streamline your business operations and improve client satisfaction. It can help you manage client bookings, payments, and communication, as well as track client progress and schedule appointments. By utilising a fitness management software, you can save time and improve the overall client experience, which can lead to increased retention and referrals.


Starting a fitness business can be a rewarding and profitable venture, but it requires careful planning and execution. With hard work and dedication, you can build a thriving fitness business and help others achieve their fitness goals. This list is a great place to get started but there are other factors to consider such as branding, pricing etc… so other research should be completed. Check out some common problems gym owners face to help you anticipate and cut out potential pitfalls in the future!