Fitness entrepreneurs are drawn to the CrossFit business model because the outward appearance of a typical CF gym or “box” is decidedly industrial-looking (i.e. cheap) and the antithesis of the fancy schmancy chrome and glass franchises (i.e. expensive) such as “LA Fitness” and other well-known brands. It looks like a great business opportunity and it is!
The affiliate fees are modest ($3,000) as is the training certification cost ($1,000) and there is no revenue sharing required. Of course, there are expenses for rent, insurance, utilities, legal and accounting, but when an entrepreneur sees these converted warehouses, packed with die hard fitness fanatics who are paying $150 per month he/she thinks: “Hey. I can make some money doing what I love to do - helping clients get fit – with a CrossFit gym!”
It’s true about the modest accommodations of a typical CF box. However, all of those CrossFitters who show up at 6 a.m. ready for the workout of the day (WOD), demand great trainers and commercial quality equipment, both of which require initial capital investment and in the case of equipment, ongoing replacement.
When starting up a CrossFit gym, nothing is more important than the investment in excellent trainers. Finding these professionals is a very challenging task and this subject will be treated in greater detail in an upcoming post. However, this post will deal with what equipment is needed to open the doors on a CrossFit gym.
Location, Location, Location
Choosing appropriate equipment for a gym is partially dictated by the location of the workout facility and the clientele an owner wants to work with. A box on the Upper East Side Manhattan might require more modern and brand name equipment than one found in the warehouse district of New Orleans or Dallas. Plus, a smaller town may have fewer competing CrossFit programs and can survive and even flourish with very basic equipment.
According to this planner, “CrossFit is an ever-changing field in fitness, meaning there will be times when every affiliate box will need to include new equipment to keep up with the latest workouts. For example, the Assault Bike is an up and coming affiliate gym trend that not every fitness equipment company has available. Choose companies that are aware of and are able to accommodate these trends.”
It further noted that many boxes follow what they call the “Rule of Three,” meaning that a class should be able to be broken into three groups. For example, a class of fifteen individuals can be broken into three separate groups, therefore you would only need enough equipment for five individuals for each WOD. If the decision is to hold larger group sessions, each member of the group will require the same piece of equipment. Needless to say, this can be very expensive for a startup venture.
Equipment Investment Costs
According to many websites on the subject, outfitting a new CrossFit box with commercial equipment can run from $5,000 to $100,000 dollars. The types of workouts that are planned, the number of people in each session, the training strategies contemplated, location of the gym and other factors will dictate how much investment in equipment is required.
Some equipment, such as used truck tires which are used in workouts geared toward building explosive lower and upper body strength are cheap and readily available at any tire store. While the state of the art commercial grade, “Big Grip Kettlebells” from Rally Fitness cost about $85 each. If the plan is to use these Big Grip Kettlebells in a group of 15, the investment will be $1,275 (and change) plus tax for this equipment.
Most gym owners benefit from researching “package” deals from equipment manufacturers. Each company offers a little different package, composed of different pieces of equipment. Rally Fitness has a competitively priced package it calls “The Captain.” This includes:
The price for this package is $2,399.00 and most gyms would want to purchase at least three and perhaps five of these packages in order to accommodate the “groups of three” noted above.
It is tempting for an owner of a startup box to save money by purchasing cheaper equipment from a big-box retailer. This is certainly an option but it is a bad option.
CrossFit athletes are much more serious about their workouts than any other, more casual, fitness enthusiasts. Because of their average income and professional standing they expect quality training and safe equipment. This is part of the reason they are not hesitant to pay upwards of $150 per month in fees.
Don’t skimp on the quality of the gym’s equipment just to save a few bucks in the beginning. Buy quality and build confidence in the staying power of the box.If you have questions about the type of equipment you need for your CrossFit gym, contact us and we will be happy to share ideas and financing options