How to start a crossfit box

There are those who love CrossFit – and then there are those true devotees who want to start their own boxes. If the latter describes you, you’ll need to arm yourself with key information for building a successful CrossFit box. You’ll require a solid business plan and CrossFit affiliation (you’ll need to have passed their Level 1 Certificate Course before even applying). You’ll also require adequate financing and a prime brick and mortar location.

However, equally if not more important, you’ll also require the ideal CrossFit box gym equipment. Needless to say, the right CrossFit equipment is foundational and crucial to helping your clients get the most out of every WOD. Check out this comprehensive guide to the essential CrossFit box gym equipment to get your business started strong right out of the gate:

A full weight set

We recommend getting a barbell set with bumper plates so that they’ll cause less damage when dropped by overzealous CrossFitters. Don’t forget a weight tree for storing the plates and a rack for the bars.

To complement the set, you’ll also need:

  • Flat Benches
  • Incline Benches
  • Squat Rack
Dumbbells

Get a full set of dumbbells, too, along with a rack for easy storage and organization.

A full kettlebell set

As you know, kettlebells are as foundational as traditional weights to a CrossFit box. Don’t skimp on this purchase.

Quick release collars

These can enhance the safety of your gym and the CrossFit experience.

Pull up bar

This is a must, and make sure it’s strong enough to support even your largest, most built CrossFit clients.

A ring set

Rings are essential to a number of CrossFit exercises.

Glute hamstring developer (GHD)

This contraption is excellent for strengthening the lower back as well as glutes and hamstrings. If you turn around, your clients can use it to perform ab-ripping sit-ups as well.

Heavy ball

You’ll need a few of these around to help CrossFitters perform wall balls, a key component of many WODs. The 20 lb. size is a good middle of the road option for most CrossFitters.

Paralletts

These can help to enhance push-ups and other movements.

Jump ropes/Speed ropes

You can’t do double unders without ‘em.

Climbing rope

Hang a 20 foot rope somewhere in or around your box to offer a basic but strength-building challenge.

Row machine

This is an excellent way for CrossFitters to get both cardio and an upper body workout.

Ab mat

Make it easy for your CrossFitters to work their core and abs.

Plyo box

Many CrossFit WODs call for box jumps, so you’ll want to outfit your box with a 24” Plyo Box or something similar.

Beyond the workout equipment and location, you’ll also need rubber flooring and some decent lighting in the space. Floor to ceiling mirrors can help your CrossFitters to perfect their form (and see how cut they’re getting) You’ll also want to offer access to fresh water.

A locker room, reception desk and a personal training office can complete your space. One last thing: don’t skimp on gym management software. Wodify offers a cutting-edge, all-in-one solution for running your box successfully and helping your clients to get the most out of the CrossFit experience.

Of course, these are just the basics of CrossFit box gym equipment and general CrossFit equipment. You can enhance this list however you wish.

From there, a website, social media accounts and other marketing materials will help you get the word out about your box. Once you have a solid box in a great location outfitted with the ideal CrossFit equipment, it’s just a matter of promotion. Don’t skimp on signage and advertising that lets the world know your CrossFit box is ready for action.

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How to start a crossfit box

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How to start a crossfit box

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How to start a crossfit box

To Jason Khalipa, opening a Box is not a hobby. Instead, the founder of NorCal said it is a small business that must be handled with care.

He warned owning a Box, while fun and a dream job for many CrossFitters, comes with all of the issues — hiring staff, paying rent, etc. — of owning a small business. And according to Khalipa, any business must first begin with core values, which is the foundation of any new NorCal location.

After establishing those fundamental beliefs, Khalipa will then consider two factors: can he find real estate that is “too good to be true,” meaning the location or the lease is amazing for the set budget, and does another NorCal CrossFit location have a valuable staff member proven ready to operate a Box?

Juliet Starrett, the CEO of San Francisco CrossFit, stated when offering business advice to Affiliates, she is often surprised at how potential Box owners are unrealistic with their finances. That includes choosing a space within your budget and ensuring it is zoned correctly.

But before even looking for locations, both Khalipa and Starrett suggest gaining coaching experience and, of course, receiving at least your Level 1. While it can cost upwards of $1,000 for that certificate and others like it, such education is necessary. But, Kelly Starrett, the co-Affiliate of San Francisco CrossFit and Founder of MobilityWOD, stated members can tell a difference between good coaching and good administering. So, when a Box’s doors open, Kelly explained it should not be that Affiliate’s first time coaching a class.

How to start a crossfit box

Ben Bergeron, the Affiliate of CrossFit New England, said Coaches and Affiliates should focus on pursuing excellence, both in coaching and in business. “Pursuing excellence is every time they think about their business, their thought should be, ‘How can I make this better for the customer, not for me?’” explained Bergeron. And for him, that includes the little details — like the website, your brand’s logo, sales, having toilet paper in the bathroom, etc.

Bergeron’s details also include the importance of clear zoning and a detailed lease, as well as making sure contracts with your employees are clear. He explained contracts don’t need to be loaded with legal jargon, but they must instead clearly state expectations and roles.

When opening San Francisco CrossFit, the Starrett’s did not quit their full-time jobs. They admitted that part will be tough for budding Affiliates who are excited about quitting their current jobs to pursue their passions. But, keeping that full-time job will financially help your Box in the long run, they said.

In terms of trends, Juliet noticed two when it comes to opening a Box today:

Model One: Partners in business who receive investments to open a “shiny” CrossFit gym. They open their Box filled with brand-new equipment and all of the latest technology.

Model Two: A sole entrepreneur who needs time to acquire top-notch fitness equipment for the Box.

Juliet recommended following Model Two. “Overhead is a killer and it’s going to take a long time with a relatively small CrossFit gym to make up a $100,000 investment,” she said. “So I think starting small and growing slowly is still a good model in the CrossFit gym world.”

Overall, Kelly said the best product you can offer is your coaching staff, which is one thing he is proud of at San Francisco CrossFit. “Any athlete can walk into nearly any sport and we have someone who can coach them at that appropriate level … I mean, it’s crazy, the sophistication that happens at our gym,” he said.

But, the Starrett’s admitted having a good, loyal staff is expensive. And Khalipa agreed. “We have really good retention rates with our employees because we give them opportunities in the company. Otherwise we would force their hand [and they] would have to leave,” he said. As a rule of thumb, there are two full-time and two assistant Coaches at each NorCal location.

At the time San Francisco CrossFit opened, there was no one in the market that the Starretts could talk about the business with, said Juliet. But today, there are dozens of CrossFit Boxes and business resources Juliet would recommend looking at before opening a Box. She suggested taking advantage of the saturated market, but never losing sight of your own mission.

How to start a crossfit box

“There’s so many resources available. You can even, on your own, make a really pretty, cool-looking website without even hiring anyone. But I think making everything look shiny and nice and forgetting that your product is your coaching …. that’s a big mistake,” said Juliet.

Ultimately, Khalipa said it boils down to what Glassman always teaches: care. Khalipa recommended caring for each member that walks into your Box, as well as caring for the space they’re working out in and paying attention to the coaching you are providing.

Finally, Juliet said it’s key to maintain an at-home gym. “We have a joke with all of our gym owner friends, which there are a lot of them,” said Juliet. “And we’re always patting each other on the back saying, ‘Great, you want to stop working out yourself? Open your own gym.’ Because at our gym, when we’re at our gym, we’re at work.”

7 Steps to a Start-Up by Adam Sturm, Co-Owner of CrossFit Outbreak

Step 1: Secure the capital. Do you have enough money to open a gym? Set a budget and a timeline of goals.

Step 2: Do you feel comfortable coaching? Or do you have someone who could coach?

Step 3: Do you feel that there’s a market for a CrossFit gym where you want to open? Is the market saturated? Are there 20 CrossFits in your town of 50,000 people? Maybe it’s not a good idea to open up there.

Step 4: Secure a location. Negotiate a lease.

Step 5: Have a vision for the build out. It’s a competitive market. The garage gym days are still OK, but what’s going to make you different from your competitor? Why should somebody choose you? Are you opening a gym for you and your buddies to hang out at, or is it a place that will be put to use serving the community?

Step 6: Order your equipment and build out your gym. Do you have someone you trust to build it out? What is it going to cost?

Step 7: Market your Box, but refer to your budget to determine your advertising limit.

How to start a crossfit box

There is an infinite amount of information available to make you a better CrossFit coach. But what I have found to be the most challenging part of being a box owner wasn’t the coaching side of things, it was the business side of the equation. There wasn’t much out there in the way of business advice for a box owner. After years of making my own mistakes, I will share a few pieces of advice that I believe to be extremely important when opening a box. These all have to do with profitability and the systems that will help make you successful. We all open boxes to help people change their lives and to teach them how amazing CrossFit is. However, in order to do that long term, being a good coach isn’t enough, you need to be financially successful so the business can thrive and your box can evolve.

1. Find the right location
One of the most important factors that will lead to your success is controlling your fixed costs. One of the biggest fixed costs is your rent. Many people that are opening boxes are excited and anxious to get the doors open. They let their excitement speed up the decision of where to open and may not take the necessary time to maximize their location and/or rent.

Your box will be a destination so there is some truth that location isn’t as important as it would be for other businesses, but it also doesn’t hurt to have some visibility as you’re trying to establish your community.

2. Think long term
Find a location that will allow you to grow. Look for a spot that has adjacent space available for the possibility of expansion. Ask your landlord for “First Right Of Refusal” on the space. This means that the landlord will have to inform you of any potential tenant that is interested in the adjacent space and you will have the first option to rent that space. If you’re ready to expand, great, if not, no worries. All you want is the flexibility to grow if the timing is right.

Make sure you plan long term so that WHEN you are successful, you won’t have to move to a new location because you didn’t put renewals in your original lease. It’s always a good idea to ask for (3 year) or (5 year) renewal terms in your original lease. Most landlords will want you to stay but the last thing you need is to not have that option and then have to move locations.

3. Run Day 1 like you are 4 years in
You can get away with running things differently in the beginning because you have such a small membership. However, don’t fall into this trap. Develop your systems early and run it as if you have 100 members.

Don’t establish bad habits early on because they will be very difficult to change down the road. Establish your new member protocols early. Just because it is easy to use a pen and paper or your homemade excel spreadsheets to track 15 clients, it will make things much more difficult when you have 100 clients and can no longer scribble membership notes on a sticky note. Find a membership software that you’re comfortable with and start using it on day 1. Ensure you use a system that can do everything for you, such as running payments, setting up memberships, WOD tracking, and social integration. At Vitality, we have used both ZenPlanner and WODIFY and have been extremely happy with both services. There are others out there such as MindBody Online and though I have heard good things about that system, I don’t have any experience with it.

4. Be Ready For The Business Side
As a small business owner, be prepared to be a jack-of-all-trades. You will be the janitor, the electrician, the CPA, the marketing team, and a number of other duties that you weren’t planning on tackling. Teaching people to air squat is only a small piece of the puzzle. If this is something you want to do long term, you need to make this a profitable business and in order to do that, you will spend a large amount of your time doing financial reports, sending out emails, and setting up memberships. Along with this, you will be unclogging toilets, changing lights, mopping rubber, cleaning up weights, fixing equipment, answering the phones, paying taxes (lots of taxes) and anything else that you can think of, or not think of…

But don’t worry, in a while you will be able to afford to hire people that will take care of these duties but in the beginning, save the money and do it yourself. Trust me, after a few hours of staring at a computer screen answering emails, even cleaning the bathroom will be a welcomed break.

5. Don’t Undervalue Your Services
If you set your prices too low at the start, it will make it much more difficult for you to raise them down the road. I always liked the idea of having 100 members paying $200/month instead of 200 members paying $100/month. It’s simple math, the lower prices you have, the more clients you will need to get through the doors to cover expenses and be profitable. The more members you have, the more it will cost to maintain your equipment along with maintenance of your space.

Another trap to avoid is giving people “special” deals. It doesn’t matter if its your friend, 3rd cousin, neighbor…avoid this pitfall. The last thing you want to end up doing is putting yourself in a position where one person finds out he/she is paying something different for the same service as someone else. Everyone wants a deal and everyone has a “special” situation that they think deserves a lower rate. Make it easy on yourself, set your prices and stick to them.

How to start a crossfit box

There is an infinite amount of information available to make you a better CrossFit coach. But what I have found to be the most challenging part of being a box owner wasn’t the coaching side of things, it was the business side of the equation. There wasn’t much out there in the way of business advice for a box owner. After years of making my own mistakes, I will share a few pieces of advice that I believe to be extremely important when opening a box. These all have to do with profitability and the systems that will help make you successful. We all open boxes to help people change their lives and to teach them how amazing CrossFit is. However, in order to do that long term, being a good coach isn’t enough, you need to be financially successful so the business can thrive and your box can evolve.

1. Find the right location
One of the most important factors that will lead to your success is controlling your fixed costs. One of the biggest fixed costs is your rent. Many people that are opening boxes are excited and anxious to get the doors open. They let their excitement speed up the decision of where to open and may not take the necessary time to maximize their location and/or rent.

Your box will be a destination so there is some truth that location isn’t as important as it would be for other businesses, but it also doesn’t hurt to have some visibility as you’re trying to establish your community.

2. Think long term
Find a location that will allow you to grow. Look for a spot that has adjacent space available for the possibility of expansion. Ask your landlord for “First Right Of Refusal” on the space. This means that the landlord will have to inform you of any potential tenant that is interested in the adjacent space and you will have the first option to rent that space. If you’re ready to expand, great, if not, no worries. All you want is the flexibility to grow if the timing is right.

Make sure you plan long term so that WHEN you are successful, you won’t have to move to a new location because you didn’t put renewals in your original lease. It’s always a good idea to ask for (3 year) or (5 year) renewal terms in your original lease. Most landlords will want you to stay but the last thing you need is to not have that option and then have to move locations.

3. Run Day 1 like you are 4 years in
You can get away with running things differently in the beginning because you have such a small membership. However, don’t fall into this trap. Develop your systems early and run it as if you have 100 members.

Don’t establish bad habits early on because they will be very difficult to change down the road. Establish your new member protocols early. Just because it is easy to use a pen and paper or your homemade excel spreadsheets to track 15 clients, it will make things much more difficult when you have 100 clients and can no longer scribble membership notes on a sticky note. Find a membership software that you’re comfortable with and start using it on day 1. Ensure you use a system that can do everything for you, such as running payments, setting up memberships, WOD tracking, and social integration. At Vitality, we have used both ZenPlanner and WODIFY and have been extremely happy with both services. There are others out there such as MindBody Online and though I have heard good things about that system, I don’t have any experience with it.

4. Be Ready For The Business Side
As a small business owner, be prepared to be a jack-of-all-trades. You will be the janitor, the electrician, the CPA, the marketing team, and a number of other duties that you weren’t planning on tackling. Teaching people to air squat is only a small piece of the puzzle. If this is something you want to do long term, you need to make this a profitable business and in order to do that, you will spend a large amount of your time doing financial reports, sending out emails, and setting up memberships. Along with this, you will be unclogging toilets, changing lights, mopping rubber, cleaning up weights, fixing equipment, answering the phones, paying taxes (lots of taxes) and anything else that you can think of, or not think of…

But don’t worry, in a while you will be able to afford to hire people that will take care of these duties but in the beginning, save the money and do it yourself. Trust me, after a few hours of staring at a computer screen answering emails, even cleaning the bathroom will be a welcomed break.

5. Don’t Undervalue Your Services
If you set your prices too low at the start, it will make it much more difficult for you to raise them down the road. I always liked the idea of having 100 members paying $200/month instead of 200 members paying $100/month. It’s simple math, the lower prices you have, the more clients you will need to get through the doors to cover expenses and be profitable. The more members you have, the more it will cost to maintain your equipment along with maintenance of your space.

Another trap to avoid is giving people “special” deals. It doesn’t matter if its your friend, 3rd cousin, neighbor…avoid this pitfall. The last thing you want to end up doing is putting yourself in a position where one person finds out he/she is paying something different for the same service as someone else. Everyone wants a deal and everyone has a “special” situation that they think deserves a lower rate. Make it easy on yourself, set your prices and stick to them.

How to start a crossfit box

By now you have seen them on TV, you’ve shopped next to them at the grocery store, and you may even be living with one. These people love WOD’s, eat Paleo, and workout in a box. These individuals range from soccer moms to students to professional athletes. Who are these people? Well, I’m talking about CrossFitter’s.

CrossFit is defined as “constantly varied, functional movements at high intensity.” It is used by police academies, military special operations units, and elite athletes worldwide. It involves running, rowing, weightlifting, gymnastics, and specializes in not specializing. CrossFit wants to prepare you for anything and everything. That may mean lifting your child, picking up groceries, or running from a barking dog. While high-level officials and athletes use this workout to condition themselves, CrossFit is a sport that anyone can do because every workout has universal scalability to ones level and abilities. That means during one class, the new Mom can be working out next to the top-tier athlete. Load (how much weight) and intensity (reps) are changed, but the programs are not.

With the sounds of weights slamming and music blasting through the speakers, it’s easy to be intimidated from the outside, but once you join a CrossFit, you will find some of the nicest, most genuine people you have ever met. It’s easy to mistake these people as zealots or cultish, but CrossFit is not just a sport, it’s a community. Much like the sports we played in childhood, this newfound sport geared mostly towards adults creates the same camaraderie we looked forward to in our after-school days. As adults, most are limited to socializing during work hours or happy hour. Social gatherings are limited to eating and drinking. While I am definitely still a fan of the former, I have become a very big fan of CrossFit. CrossFit gives adults a way to socialize in a positive environment where they learn new things together and bond in the mutual suffering of workouts. and enjoy it!

There are things to know and crucial steps to take when going from the couch to CrossFit. CrossFit gyms are called boxes. Everyday there is a programmed “WOD,” or workout of the day. When you join a box, you will most likely and should be taken through an “on-ramp” program, which is an educational course that lasts around 6 weeks and prepares you for general CrossFit classes. Coaches will teach you how to perform every exercise correctly, how to mobilize yourself, and how to prepare your body for what lies ahead. On-ramp is the foundation for CrossFit. Remember, CrossFit is a very intense program and it is not advised that you go from being sedentary to completing CrossFit workouts at 100 percent intensity.

But before you start drinking the CrossFit Kool-aid, there a few things you need to know.

1. To Box or Not to Box: Figure out whether you would like to CrossFit on your own or in a box. Many people follow the Crossfit.com website, which programs WOD’s for individuals to complete on their own. If you are very self-motivated, have athletic experience, and have access to equipment, this is a good place to start. If you are motivated by people and/or are new to this type of training, I would recommend joining a local CrossFit gym so that you have the eyes and ears of trained professionals.

2. Define your goals: Figure out what your personal goals are. Why do you want to join CrossFit? Did you just move to a new city and want to make friends? Are you looking to lose weight? Are you a former athlete looking to start training again? Figure out your personal goals before embarking on your journey.

3. Get started: Any type of conditioning you can do before starting your CrossFit journey is good. I personally was an Olympic lifter and track athlete so I did those types of workouts because that’s what I was familiar with. My fiancé played soccer and did P90X prior to doing CrossFit. If you like to dance, dance. If you like to walk, walk. Just get moving! All of these movements are assisting in building a foundation for the awesome athletic endeavor you are about to embark on.

4. Do your research! CrossFit is gaining mass popularity and because of that, boxes are popping up everywhere. While this is great for the fitness community and the CrossFit brand, I advise you to do your research when picking a box. Check out a few websites in your area and compare reputations, prices, and credibility.

5. Try before you buy: When shopping for a CrossFit box, I recommend that you try one before you buy. CrossFit can be a hefty investment so try asking for a free class. Another option is to drop-in and watch a class so that you can see how that particular box is managed and how the coaches communicate. CrossFit gyms are individually owned and managed, so they are all different. Traveling around the world to different boxes, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Make sure you are happy with your box and the community you are about to join.

Joining the CrossFit community is not just a journey to a better body, but you will find yourself on the path to a clearer mindset, greater motivation, and hundreds of thousands of new friends around the world that share your same passion.

For more by Collette DeBenedetto, click here.

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The legal foundations needed for starting a CrossFit Box are not significantly different from starting another kind of fitness business – however, there are some distinctive aspects that arise so read on for some things to think about as you establish the legal foundations for your CrossFit ® gym.

  1. Choose an entity type

A CrossFit ® Box can operate on the business model of the licensees’ choice, which means you need to explore what entity type will work best for you, and the business you are seeking to build. For assistance in that decision-making process, check out our DIY LLC course. Some of the options for setting up a CrossFit ® Gym include: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Corporation. They each have their own set of positives and negatives to consider and it is essential that you not only make an informed decision about the business entity you choose to form, but that you understand why that option is the best entity choice for your business.

  1. Obtain EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is available from the IRS. This number will be required to open bank accounts and apply for registration with most States. Even if you are a single member LLC or Sole Proprietorship and can use a Social Security Number (SSN) to complete legal and financial actions on behalf of your business, you may want to consider obtaining an EIN to protect your personal information.

  1. Register with Secretary of State & for State Sales Tax

To form (or register) a business in your US state, you will need to file (or have an attorney file for you) with the Secretary of State or equivalent body who deals with the registration and formation of corporations. As part of this registration you will likely find the information you will later need for registration for state sales tax (if applicable) and any state-based licensing or permitting required in your state.

  1. Seek Insurance

While CrossFit ® requires Affiliates to show proof of Insurance as part of their licensing application, you may need more insurance than they require, or a different type in addition depending on the risk profile of your business. You may also wish to explore professional liability insurance that will cover activities and instruction provided in your capacity as a fitness professional, and General Liability insurance that covers damage to the fabric of a building you lease.

  1. Take CrossFit Training

An essential step of opening a CrossFit Box is to undertake CrossFit ® Training. You could have a business partner who is going to be focusing on training undertake the CrossFit ® trainer certification, but you will need to make sure that your business has completed training that meets the CrossFit ® Affiliate eligibility requirements. CrossFit ® requires Affiliate applicants to hold at least Level 1 CrossFit ® certificate before applying to be an affiliate.

  1. Apply to become a CrossFit Affiliate

To use the CrossFit ® name as part of your business, and to be licensed as a CrossFit ® affiliate you need to have undertaken their proprietary training and have entered into their affiliate agreement which explains the rights and responsibilities of licensees. You cannot use the name CrossFit ® or use their logo as part of your business without obtaining the appropriate license – It could be very costly indeed if you infringement the intellectual property rights of CrossFit ® as it is in their best interests to protect their mark from illegitimate use or use that would mean that it starts to become a generic term.

  1. Buy domain name

One of the ways CrossFit ® HQ shares information about its Affiliates is through linking to their websites. So, as part of establishing your legal foundations, you are going to want to choose a domain name that is compliant with your licensing agreement. Along the same vein, as you think about what name to choose for your box you are going to want to consider names or taglines already in existence that are protected by a trademark. As you develop your website, you should consider some of the key disclaimers, waivers, and policies you need to include on your website to limit your risk of liability. For more information: we have written about the key steps to marketing your CrossFit ® box legally.

  1. Protect Intellectual Property

In addition to using intellectual property assets owned by CrossFit ® under the terms of your licensing agreement, you should also consider if your business (the CrossFit gym you are building) has intellectual property assets – this could include a logo, or a name – for which you could file a trademark. If you have questions about what aspects of your business might benefit from intellectual property protection, speak with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property in relation to the fitness industry.

  1. Local Business Licenses and Permits

The Requirements for local (city or county) business licenses and permits vary greatly. You will need to research (either online, in person, or at the local library or small business center) what is required for your specific circumstances. An attorney can also walk you through this process and get you squared away and operating legally!

  1. Contracts & Waivers

What Now?

It takes time to properly establish the legal foundations for a CrossFit ® box. Rushing these steps can lead to more cost and greater risk further along your business journey. Consider prevention to be a key tool in your toolkit and money well spent to ensure that the legal foundations of your CrossFit ® gym are secure and legal.

One of the first steps on the way towards opening a gym is to find a suitable space. What kind of basic requirements does a CrossFit gym have for its space? What are your specific needs, when thinking about your future gym? When you know what kind of services you are going to offer at your gym, and to how many members you are going to serve, defining your needs is easier.

Surface

Think, how much space you need to meet the requirements of your estimated member amount. When defining the number of athletes per class, don’t compromise the quality of coaching and safety by having your classes overcrowded. In most cases, twenty athletes is still manageable, more than that becomes difficult for one coach to handle.

In our last post, we discussed limiting the number of class participants by using a booking system; that’s something to consider. A large space, a higher number of coaches and well-organized classes are must if you have several hundreds of members and don’t want a booking system.

The space needs to be large enough so that people can perform different WODs and weightlifting safely. To reserve about 10 square meters for each athlete is a good guideline to start with.

“Get a big enough space right away. There are several examples from colleagues in Finland and abroad, where the space have gotten too small already after 4-6 months from opening.”Mikko Aaltonen, Reebok CrossFit 33100

Indeed, what comes to a gym space, it’s not necessarily wise to start small. But overestimate your needs either, as you don’t want to pay the operating costs of a huge space when using just a quarter of it – not too long at least. Like Juha Puonti from Rogue Fitness Europe states, the challenge is to find a space where you can grow, but also move out from when necessary.

Building

In addition to the surface, there are many other things you need to take into account, including neighbors.

“The space should be suitable for CrossFit. It has to withstand the dropping of barbells and heavy weights, throwing wall balls and people leaning on the walls practicing handstands. Also, the noise caused by dropping weights, box jumps and large groups of people can cause conflicts with possible neighbors. The perfect space is a building designed for heavy duty industrial use.“Juha Metsämuuronen, CrossFit Lappeenranta

The space’s ceiling has to be high enough for climbing ropes, and there must be room enough for a rig. On top of that, you need functioning bathrooms and locker rooms. If you have to build them yourself, assure that the remaining floor space is large enough. Building walls, bathrooms, and toilets from scratch is costly and time-consuming – how big is your budget and how much renovating are you willing to do?

Your needs can also grow corresponding the nature of your community. For instance, having a bunch of moms with small children as clients can create a new set of requirements.

Location

Before you start looking for the perfect space, you need to think about location. How you approach this phase depends on your starting point. You probably have chosen a city where to set the gym, but how well do you know it?

Do some research, even find out about the demographics of different areas. Do people in your city prefer cars or public transportation? At least in a bigger city, your gym is better to be close to bus stops, subway or train, but also a parking place with enough space is necessary. The location is one of the crucial factors when people choose their home gym. Know the competition in the area, think about other gyms’ locations.

In general, there are two options.

A central location usually has a higher rent but gives you an advantage with more traffic, better visibility and good connections. In turn, a more remote location usually enables you to have a larger property with a lower rent, letting you with a chance to lower the membership prices, which makes customer acquisition easier, or the possibility of renovating the space according to all your wishes. Naturally, industrial buildings are often are located further away from city centers.

As Rogue’s Juha Puonti points out, finding a space is not easy; on the contrary, it’s slowing down the spread of the sport in many European cities. According to him, the outskirts of cities are still best places to search for a space.

Negotiating

When you have found a few good alternatives, begin negotiations. Find out what are the renting options and calculate utility costs. Those include electricity, water, cleaning and heating/cooling costs. Carefully choose the moving date, as you will want to open as soon as possible from it. Before signing the rent agreement, show it to a lawyer.