QUESTION on How to Start a Gym For Kids
How do you start a gym for kids? I am thinking of starting a business offering kids programs on tumbling, cheer, etc. I’d like to know as much as possible about how to start this type of business and how to do it with $0.00 or very little out of pocket start up money.
– Gina (Sacramento, CA)
ANSWER by Isabel Isidro
This is a business that you cannot do with very little dollars or zero-cost. A gym – especially for kids – would need all the safety devices and equipments.
You need to invest in materials and equipment designed to help protect young ones and make sure that they are not hurt. Even the barebones fitness programs offered to toddlers by county recreation areas have padded mats and other safety devices. Gymboree, on the other hand, has foam slides, boats, and other fun stuff for the kids. The last thing you want is a lawsuit from angry parents whose kids were hurt in your gym class.
I suggest you first research your market and find out what they offer. The web has made it very easy to check on your competitors. A number of websites offer listings of franchises offering fitness programs for kids. While franchising may not be one of the options you are thinking, check the listing of your would-be competitors – check what activities they offer, go to their websites and see how they are offering gym activities, etc.
Your startup costs will include the venue, equipment, and possibly personnel to help assist you in running your programs.
Then develop your own plan based on three things:
- what is not currently offered in the market that you think you can do;
- what is currently offered but you can do better; and
- what can you realistically do based on your resources (the more limited your resources, the more limited your initial plan).
If you want to start this business with little or no capital, your only option is to raise funds from investors. It is what you call “OPM” or other people’s money. But you need to make a strong case why they will invest in your business — e.g. novelty of your concept.
If you will do the business from home, be careful not to run afoul of zoning laws (read: your neighbors should not complain). Customers will be coming and going into your house so you need to think where the cars of your 20 or 50 students will park at the same time! However, I think this is a business suitable for a warehouse-type of facility, or even a strip mall.
The more you know about what you are getting into, the more informed your decisions will be and you will have a greater chance at success.
Recommended Books on Starting a Gym For Kids
- Kids Indoor Playground Start Up Sample Business Plan!
- Making Money in the Fitness Business
- How to Start a Gym Business: Essential Start Up Tips to Boost Your Gym Business Success
- Gym Biz: Starting and Running Your Own Gym for Profit
Article originally published March 2006. Updated on January 19, 2012