A Detailed Essentials Checklist for Starting a Gym

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Starting a Gym

If you are passionate about fitness and have always wanted to open your own gym, you might be holding back because the process seems so daunting. While starting a gym can certainly be complex, it is certainly doable if you put in the right amount of time and effort, and take the right steps. From financing to selecting equipment to marketing, this gym essentials checklist covers everything you need to know to successfully establish and run a gym!

Checklist for Starting a Gym

Is Starting a Gym a Good Idea?

You might have been postponing the idea of opening your own gym because of uncertainty. However, you should know that the fitness club industry is worth billions of dollars. Gyms are one of the fastest-growing businesses, with millions of members around the world! With more awareness surrounding health and the importance of being physically fit, people are now willing to spend more on quality gyms, making them lucrative business models. With the right facilities and outreach, there is no reason your gym business cannot be successful.

Follow these essential steps to open a gym that has all its bases covered!

  • Licensing and Financing

In certain parts of the world, you need a permit to be able to open a gym. In Australia, however, while you certainly need to register your business, you may not need a gym license. The Fair Work Act exempts new business owners from this process. While registration with Fitness Australia is recommended, it is not a legal requirement. However, it is recommended that you check the state laws that apply specifically to your area to confirm this. If you would like to open a large-scale gym and believe that obtaining a license would be best, seek legal consultancy to help with your documents, certificates, and insurance.

The average cost of starting a gym depends entirely on the scale as well as the facilities provided. It also depends on other factors. For example, are you planning to rent an area or do you already own a space where you can start your gym? A detailed list of everything you need will help you budget and decide whether you can self-finance your new business or if you need a commercial loan.

  • Equipment

This is perhaps the most important element of opening a gym. The better the quality and the variety of your equipment, the higher the potential clientele. The amount you spend on equipment will depend on how large your gym is. For a small to medium studio gym, you can find appropriate equipment suggestions and pricing at Nirvana Fitness

For any gym, however, there are a few must-haves. Here is an exhaustive checklist of all the equipment you will need at the beginning.

  • Dumbbells

These are needed for hundreds of different exercises and are an absolute must. In fact, many of your customers might come in just to use the dumbbells and not any other equipment. Fortunately, dumbbells will not be the biggest of your expenses. Ideally, your dumbbells should range from 1kg to 50kg at least. A cost-effective idea is to purchase adjustable dumbbells, so your customers can add or remove weight as they please.

  • Kettlebells

These are similar to dumbbells but come in the shape of a sphere, and are used for aerobic exercises and some types of lifting. You can buy these in bulk to reduce costs.

  • Treadmills

Many people sign up for gyms exclusively to use treadmills. Most gyms have at least 3 treadmills, while larger ones even have up to 30. Find treadmills that can support various weights and offer state-of-the-art facilities like burnt calorie count and heart rate. 

  • Stationery Bikes

Indoor bicycles are another common cardio equipment and absolutely essential to have in your gym. You may purchase different types of bicycles – recumbent bikes, upright bikes, and indoor cycling bikes – to target different areas of the body.

  • Bars and Frames

Depending on the architecture of your space, you can install pull-up bars or frames/racks. The latter option is certainly more professional-looking. You can also go for Dipping Bars as an alternative.

  • Bench Press

One of the most used equipment in the gym and an absolute must-have for lifters. These are highly in demand and every gym needs at least one bench press. An upgraded version is the inclined bench press, which provides elevation and targets different muscles. 

  • Leg Extension

These focus on lower body strength and are commonly found in gyms. One leg extension machine should be suitable for your new gym.

  • Pull-Down Machine

These machines include handlebars and ropes/wires that target the back. Gym users often want these for strengthening back muscles. Since these are easy to use, they are in high demand.

  • Pulley

A pulley machine is an expensive piece of equipment. Depending on your budget, you may want to delay purchasing this. While it is extremely useful and provides the option to carry out several different exercises, it can cost around $3,000. You can skip this one at the beginning, but should have it in your goals down the road.

Find all of these commercial gym supplies and more at Nirvana Fitness.

Other than all of this workout equipment, you should also acquire additional items to not only fill up your gym but add potential activities for your users. These include:

  • Training benches
  • Yoga mats
  • Exercise balls
  • Stability discs
  • Jump ropes
  • Resistance bands
  • Cardio steps

Among essential non-workout items you will need are:

  • Water station
  • Music system
  • Towels


HR and Marketing


Once you acquire all the essential equipment you need to start your very own gym, it is now the time to start building your staff. Depending on the size of your gym and your budget, you will need to hire at least one experienced personal trainer. You will also need maintenance staff and perhaps a receptionist, depending on your business model.

Once you are all set to start, spread the word to your target market! Building an online presence is perhaps the most effective way to do this. Build social media pages and promote photos and videos of your facility. Also create a Google Maps listing to make it easy for nearby people to find you. You can also run special opening offers. These can be marketed through your social media pages, or even with good old-fashioned flyers that can be provided to nearby offices and residential communities. It is also advisable to make your services accessible by providing consistent customer support and easy registering options.

With investment and effort put into the right areas, your new gym will be up and bustling with customers in no time!

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