What You Should Know About Starting a Fitness Business

How to Start a Fitness Business 

You’ve been inspired to start your own fitness business- but where exactly do you start? Create a logo? Hire staff? Rent equipment? The journey of every business owner is unique, but creating an action plan from the beginning can save you a lot of headaches later. Below is a list of items you will likely need to complete before your fitness business can get off the ground.

  • Research the industry
  • Decide what type of fitness business you would like to start
  • Create your business plan
  • Decide where you will operate your fitness business
  • Decide if you need to hire employees
  • Obtain permits and insurance
  • Come up with a marketing plan

Often when starting any new business, it is a good idea to consult with a qualified attorney to discuss various options and considerations for forming your new business.

First Step: Research

There are many reasons why the first step for starting a new business should be research. Take a look at what fitness businesses already exist in your community. What do they offer? Who is their audience? Doing research ahead of time can help identify your competition and may help you find gaps in the market. You can conduct surveys to see what people are looking for in a fitness business.

Deciding What Kind of Fitness Business to Start 

The world of fitness businesses is ever evolving. Two modern trends are virtual fitness options and outdoor fitness. Below is a non-exhaustive list of fitness and gym business ideas:

  • Specialty Gyms – Yoga, dance, and boxing are all examples of these, although the list is growing
  • Virtual Fitness Classes – Reach people in the comfort of their own home
  • Personal Trainer – Create plans to  help your clients reach their fitness goals
  • Outdoor fitness – This can include hosting classes outside, hiking, or group kayaking or canoeing
  • Mobile Fitness – Bring the gym to your clients wherever they are

Deciding what type of fitness business to start is ultimately up to you.

Creating a Business Plan for a Fitness Business 

After you decide what type of fitness business to start, you should create a business plan. This gets the ball rolling on the planning process, and can potentially help you secure funding for a business. So, where do you start with a business plan? A quick online search will turn up many templates, but here are the key points you will likely need to hit:


  • Your Executive Summary (Purpose, Problem The Business Solves, Financial Summary)
  • The Services Your Business Provides
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Organization & Management
  • Financial Projections
  • Appendix (Additional Documentation)

Choosing a Location for Your Fitness Business 

If you are hosting fitness classes, you will need a space big enough to accommodate your class size. Before you buy or lease space, think about your ideal demographic. For example, if you are hosting a senior strengthening class, a space on the third floor of a building without an elevator is not going to be ideal. Walk the space, and look for any visual obstructions that may block the view of the instructor. Be sure to also reach out to your local zoning board to see if there are any ordinances on the type of business you would like to start.

If plan on hosting virtual classes, you should still find space, even if it is a dedicated space in your home. Think about what you want your background to look like, if there will be enough space to demonstrate, and where you will store your filming equipment.

Deciding If You Need Employees 

Deciding when- and how much- to grow your team as an entrepreneur is always a tricky question. While you may not need more fitness instructors, you might find that you want someone to check your clients in or help with scheduling. Ultimately, whether or not you need employees for your business is a personal decision that only you can make. However, if you do hire employees, be sure to speak to a qualified insurance agent to discuss workers’ compensation insurance. Depending on where you live, workers’ compensation insurance may be legally required if you have any employees.

Insurance for Your Fitness Business 

If a client were to ask how often they should work out, you would probably follow up with a pile of follow up questions. The same is true for deciding how much and what type of insurance your business needs. Every fitness business model presents different challenges. For fitness instructors, general liability and professional liability are two common coverages. Professional liability insurance can help protect you if a client believes that a mistake you made in connection with providing professional services caused them harm and decides to sue you. This could include a claim that your negligent exercise instruction caused them to suffer an injury. If you frequently offer professional advice to clients, you should consider professional liability insurance. You can read more about other types of insurance you should consider for your fitness business here.

Marketing Your Fitness Business 

You’ve put in the hard work to build a business model that you love- now you need to tell the world that you exist. Before you implement a marketing strategy, go back to thinking about your ideal customer. Now ask yourself, where do they spend their time? It can be exciting to jump on the latest trend, like a new social media app, but if your client isn’t there, is it really worth your time? Here is a non-exhaustive list of business strategies to consider for your fitness business.

  • Utilize social media
  • Claim (or create) a business listing on search engines
  • If you have a physical storefront located in a busy area, make use of exterior signage
  • Consider creating a blog on your website
  • Explore opportunities at community events


This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Cross Insurance shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained in this article. The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, insurance, accounting or other professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article are that of its author and do not necessarily represent the views of Cross Financial Corp. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Cross Insurance”) or Cross Insurance’s management or shareholders.

Request A Quote for Your Business Today

Related Resources