Gym Design | Find the Best Building For Your Gym
When you’re shopping for a gym space, there are many things to take into consideration. Here are the top 10 things to consider when you’re looking for a space.
1. Type of Facility
This is one of the first things you’ll want to take into account and it will depend upon what type of facility you’re planning to provide. What amenities do you want to include? Are you planning on offering group fitness classes? Do you need to plan for a turf area, a massage room, big locker rooms with saunas and steam rooms? If you want lots of amenities, you’re going to need a lot of space. If your budget will only allow you to have a limited amount of square footage, you will need to prioritize what needs to come first, and plan for future expansions.
2. Dimensions of the space
When you understand what type of facility you want to offer, then it’s time to understand the amount of square feet you will need to start looking for. Try not to limit yourself to a specific number, but rather find a space that can accommodate your needs. For example, you may be looking for 5000 sq ft however, you find a building that’s 4500 sq ft but fits your needs in terms of shape and location.
3. First Generation buildouts vs Second or Third
A first generation buildout might be your dream, but keep in mind that this will be the most expensive option if you’re not careful. Second and third generation buildings might offer existing infrastructure you can improve upon. Walls can be demoed; existing plumbing can be utilized. Don’t pass on a building because you didn’t get to build it from the ground up.
The amount of parking spaces is not the only consideration when it comes to this variable. Look at the area around the building. Is it in a shopping center that has a popular restaurant that will compete for parking when you’re at your peak hours? Does it only have street parking? What other businesses are around it? Are they of the same caliber that you’re trying to build your business? Not all of these items are deal breakers, but you need to have a plan if something is going to cause difficulties accessing your gym.
Get a good understanding of the demographic information within a 10-20 mile radius of your building. Know your area and understand what type of facility they are looking to train in. You can use public record to understand the people in your community to help make better decisions on your vision. Bringing the community a facility they want and need is important to your success.
6. Traffic Flow
Ease of entrance and egress makes a huge difference in how often people will want to use your facility. If there are any limitations that make getting into and out of your parking lot or building difficult, it will have a negative impact on your business. High traffic centers, might offer good traffic flow, and these busy centers will offer a lot of local brand awareness because of the amount of people already going there.
7. Geographic Constraints
Your potential building might be close in proximity to a large population, but if there’s a body of water, a bridge, railroads and industrial facilities nearby, this could cause issues. Be aware of the geography and understand how that can impact your members.
8. Lease Negotiation
It should go without saying, but read your terms carefully. Many times, you can negotiate the terms of your lease. If there’s a neighboring space that will come in handy down the line for expansion, ask for the right of first refusal on that space. If you don’t see any Common Area Maintenance included, ask for it. Do all of this BEFORE you sign the lease because once your signature is on that paper, the building owner doesn’t have to do anything that’s not on the contract.
Or, “Common Area Maintenance.” A lot of building leases will include some of your expensive maintenance services, like sealing parking lots, HVAC, center improvements, and exterior lighting/security. Do your research on what is included in your lease’s CAM clause and if something is not included, be sure to budget for these items or repairs if needed.
10. Be Patient, but Decisive
Finally, you’re going to have a list of boxes that need to be checked. Prioritize what’s important to start the business, but don’t lose sight of what can be done in the future. You need to be able to make educated decisions quickly to avoid missing an opportunity, however, understanding your circumstances are just as important as well. Also, being able to plan accordingly when finding a facility is important. Understanding the timelines of various buildings will help you make the best decision on your new space.
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