Call it lifestyle or a thing for the growing middle class in Uganda, lately the must-do-to-do on the list of corporates is visiting a gym or fitness centre.
This is because people have learnt that their lives depend on keeping fit or feeding well. So, this is either done early in the morning, during lunch break, after work or over the weekend.
Many visit or sign-up for memberships in gyms/fitness centres to keep fit or in shape and healthy while others do it to build their bodies. Today, we are going to take you through starting a gym/fitness centre.
Mr Newton Buteraba, the chief executive officer House of Wealth, a local firm that offers business advisory services and motivational speaking in an interview with Prosper Magazine said: “This is a profitable business if one follows certain business ethics. Within 3-5-years you will be able to break-even.”
Just like other investments, for one to start this kind of business, experts think planning is very vital.
Mr Buteraba says when writing your business plan, look at the financial prospect of the business, identify the equipment you are going to use and whether they be imported or sourced locally. Then, look at how much you are going to spend on rent and the instructors.
“Equipped with this, it will allow you to ascertain whether you will be able to break even,” he says.
So then, how much capital does one need to start?
Those within this business say, it is a capital-intensive business. But again one can start small, reinvest the proceeds and then grow big.
In an ideal setting, a fully-fledged standard gym, which is spacious, with good interior decoration, a trained and specialised instructor, fully equipped with all the machines such as lat pull-down, leg abduction, leg curl, leg extension, leg press, pec deck, preacher bench and a pull up bar would cost about Shs50m to Shs130m to start.
Yet if you want your gym to have other extra activities such as handling services of weight management, which is rated as a medium category, this will cost you Shs364m to start.
For the gigantic category which has all the above equipment and services with an aerobic aquarium (swimming pool) designed well to serve the purpose, then here you will part with Shs950m.
Experts say you can as well start small with a fitness centre for aerobics. This would require you to have a fully well done interior designed working place with good washrooms, carpets, music system. This will cost you about Shs5m.
“The nature of these facilities will attract customers, especially if they are fully-fledged as one stop centres,” Mr Buteraba adds.
He says because this is a capital-intensive business, in order to spread the risk as far as financials are concern, it would be advisable to look for partners
Many times because people want to minimise expenditure, they end up employing instructors whom you would call self-made with no training, which may affect business negatively.
“A trained instructor must know how to handle, for instance, in the case of an expectant mother requiring fitness services,” Mr Joseph Kiwanuka, a wellness centre expert says.
The gym business requires one to first of all have passion.
Innovation is very vital. Introduce new innovative programmes on the list of services you offer to your clients such as acrobatics, gymnastics or even aqua-aerobics, which activities will bring you more clients.
If you don’t have a high foot-location the gym will not make you money. So be very cautious about the location.
A place with good parking space will attract customers.
Avoid giving free services when you are starting. This will attract many people to your facility. But when the offer ends and you start charging everyone will disappear and it will be difficult for you to manage.
Consider leasing and purchasing options when estimating the cost of fitness equipment. Write a business plan and get gym financing.
Insuring your business is very important when starting.
To be able to handle this, hire the right lawyer to help you draft an operating agreement with your partners and landlord if the premises are rented.
Experts say that usually instructors have a following whenever they go.
“If an instructor, for example, brings on board 40 people it will be better to gives him/her a management contract which stipulates how much they will be earning monthly rather than giving them shares into the business,” Mr Buteraba shares.
Simple steps to manage a gym and fitness business
Introduce new innovative programmes on the list of services you offer to your clients
A place with good parking space will attract customers
Avoid giving free services when you are starting. This will attract many people to your facility.
Consider leasing and purchasing options when estimating the cost of fitness equipment.