So you’ve decided you are ready to expand.
Now to tackle the next big thing – finding a gym location! If you are just breaking down a wall and expanding in your current space then you are all set for this, but if you are looking to open up an entirely new location read on for some advice on how to choose the best spot!
How far should you start up your new place from your current place? This depends on your current territory size and what adequate real estate is available (because let’s be honest, finding a place that will allow dropping weights and blaring music isn’t just anywhere). It’s a good idea to keep your locations as close as seems smart for convenience sake – but that is a lot easier to make sure you have plenty of clientele if you are in a densely populated area. If you are suburban you very well might need to venture 5-10 or more miles out to make sure you attract enough new members.
While not a deal breaker, it’s a great perk to offer your members. Free, easy and available parking can help to fill your classes during the day times, when parking can be excruciating to find.
Drive by traffic
You will want your new location to advertise itself. That means people can see your signs and your business as the walk, ride or drive by. Ideally they would be able to easily walk in to see what goes on as well – which means basements or locations in the back corner of a rarely used business park aren’t ideal. You can still make it work, but its going to mean a lot more footwork on your part to get the members in the door.
What is your ideal rent per square foot? What is your max? Make sure to have your numbers in your head as you search – and make sure you set your max in stone. It is easy to find the perfect place and tell yourself you can swing the rent – but the reality is, you are putting a huge investment up on the line and you don’t want to lose not only your second location, but also your current location because you overstretch yourself.
You will likely program WODs with running, so is there a safe place for your members to run? Will it be lit during the early morning and late night classes? What about a space to flip tires? Pull sleds? Have social activities in the nicer months? Think about the sorts of WODs you want to program and decide if the outside of your location is conducive.
Many cities have very strict zoning requirements, and you don’t want to get stuck with a location that you have to spend months and money convincing the city that you are the right business for that location (or worse – to find out you won’t be able to open there at all). Check, double check and triple check before you sign a lease.
Are the businesses surrounding your ideal location complementary or competing? If you find the perfect spot inside an area with massage services, health services and sports equipment then you are looking pretty good, but if you notice there is another CrossFit affiliate already within 500 feet of you or 10 gyms next to you, you might want to rethink your location.