Opening a GYM

I just moved to a small town & there is no where to train. I am thinking of changing careers becuase of burn out in my current field. I have alot of experience in submission wrestling & Muay thai 10+ years. I am an average level fighter(A little above amateur) but I have been asked several times to consider teaching because I have that ability. So the question is what kind of work goes into opening a gym?
Insurance, start up money, monthly income needed to sustain. I make pretty good money currently so I am sure I would be taking a pay cut. Any help.

you will need ALOT of work for a legit place... and by legit, i mean something that will sustain itself.

your demographic? population of the people in your town? average income? can you offset the lower standard of living/price of living in this small town?

i put thousands into getting it started... took a little time to get to paying the bills, but it took more time to where it is profitable i'm sure ( i don't have the ownership anymore... i wanted to focus on my career, new family, and i am not a born teacher, i'd rather train)... so my partner at the time has it full time and it's doing phenomenally... we are in a good sized city though... not like an NYC, but more like a syracuse,ny sized city (FYI, we are not in syracuse, just an example)...

mind you, we got our own storefront off the rip so rent/lease was the biggest ding in the budget... that was acceptable to me because i had the money and wanted something professional and legit... the mat was also expensive (one piece 1000sq. ft. piece)...
insurance is nothing on the grand scale of

i suggest keeping the job, starting it up at a gym (work out a deal w/ thelocal gym to minimize rent), and once you're making enough money CONSISTENTLY for a while, then stop working.

Thanks. These are all good things to consider.
I am in such a small town that I have had at least 8 people ask me to open a gym at work to teach them. In a big city I am sure I am just like every other fighter, but here it is if I am on an other level. So I think I may consider the risk thinking that it could be fun. My partner in this is also a very good thai boxer who has spent years in Thailand training & fighting so that might be good for marketing. The Gym option sounds good also. I appreciate your advice.

Don't neglect a good children's program. A lot of schools make serious bank off of those. What used to be soccer moms are now BJJ moms, karate moms, etc and they will pay to keep their kids in a good setting.

I've heard from friends who are school owners that a billing service is a plus as well. It's less hassle than having to keep up with delqinquent billing and stuff yourself.

Renting space from a gym is DEFINITELY a good idea. It gives you a chance to test the waters. Also, the local YMCA or a boys/girls club (if you're near one) might can help you out.

Think budget and you will be fine. For example, used mats work just as well as brand new ones. Lots of schools are willing to part with some of their older equipment for low cost or sometimes just for taking it out of their way.


people are telling you to open up a gym, but you have to count alot of them out... many will quit, many will be asked to cut down or quit once some of their wives don't like the time spent away from home... many will just not want to pay the dues after a while, will 'forget' and then pay a week or two later, while you on the other hand owe rent or bills ON TIME... unless you have 50 people asking you to open up a gym, go for it...

alot of people scoff and don't like the contract deal, but get people to committ to electronic payment every month into your bank account automatically....

don't be afraid to charge a good amount... your time is money... remember that. time spent teaching coudl be used at a job making money, so think of it as a job and what is your time worth...

also, VERY important... get a good mentor... someone w/ a thriving school who knows the business end and can help you make the right decisions... someone you may know at your previous residence... you moved to this small town, right? you trained in your last town/city... assuming the school you were at was profitable/good business, then you should gather as much info as possible... GET A PLAN GOING... don't just 'open up a school'... plan everything to the dollar and cents and what not... kids programs are good too... you could maybe check out and see their kids' programs (dvd's for sale on how to do the kids programs i believe, not sure if i'm right)... that is a good step..

I think the most challenging part of doing this is keeping people training, once they see how hard the training actually is. A lot of people say that want to train and will train 1 or 2 months, but like everything only some people seem to have the drive to continue to train when things are tough. Good luck I know it will take a lot of work beyond what you expected but it can be very fun.

great posts.