In part 1, we described the first three steps to opening your CrossFit gym. In truth, the first three steps are the biggest hurdles. Now, you’ve gotten to part 2, where you’ll get to have a bit more fun and use your creative side.
Step 4- Order equipment
We ended part 1 by imploring you to avoid huge, unnecessary costs that incur when building out a space and we continue with that theme when it comes to ordering equipment. You’ll be amazed at how many unique workouts you can create with very little equipment. Getting creative by doing so is esssential to the health of your business.
Many affiliate owners report that they are in the black (meaning making profit) because they earn enough to make their rent each month, put a tiny bit into the gym’s bank account, and take home some money on which to live. This is NOT what it means to be in the black if you still have credit card debit, investors to pay back (which we don’t recommend), or other debts to pay off. In other words, even if you are paying your rent, and able to pay yourself some money, if you do not have enough in the bank to pay off all debts from your build out or to pay off the equipment purchases on your credit card, you are still in the red.*
Therefore, just as we suggested earlier, avoid making any unnecessary purchases when selecting equipment. That GHD that looks so fancy and just screams CrossFit- Skip it. The reverse hyper you want to really develop some powerful hamstrings- Skip it. That airdyne bike that makes your heart race like you’ve ran a marathon after just one minute’s use- Skip it.
None of the equipment mentioned above is useful in a class and you are in the business of coaching group classes. Unless you can afford to by eight GHDs, which you can’t because you are a new business and even the most established gyms tend to only have one or two, you should skip it all together. First of all, these types of equipment are better utilized by advanced athletes which will not be the type of people who are walking through your door. Secondly, and more importantly, you can not build a class around a GHD.
You can build a class around: kettlebells, wallballs, ab mats, jump ropes, rings, barbells, some plates, and a rig.
Its simple, but you don’t need much more than that. The variations of workouts created from just those pieces of equipment are endless. You don’t even need to purchase rowers until you can find a great deal (We were able to buy 4 for the price of 3 when we purchased them after The Beast of the East competition used them).
So, put aside your ego in terms of wanting to have the biggest and the best, figure out what you truly need, and make smart business decisions!
Step 5- Build a Website
Although we just suggested being as cost effective as possible when it comes to purchasing equipment, we don’t advise the same mindset when building a website. In today’s modern era, having a website that is professional looking and easy to navigate is of utmost importance.
To begin you must purchase a domain name (www.yourcrossfitgym.com) on a hosting site such as Go Daddy or Blue Host. All you need at this point is the domain name which will cost you about $10-12 for the year. The hosting site will offer you all sorts of add-ons but unless you are familiar with web development, you probably won’t know what each is for. For now, stick to purchasing just the domain name.
For the next step, you should hire a web developer who can create your website through a WordPress account. While it is possible to create the website on your own by purchasing a WordPress Theme (website lay out), without a great knowledge of how to use WordPress, you’ll find yourself bogged down with trying to figure out the nuances of the program. If you feel compelled to try to create your own website, try to remember that web development is an entire industry in today’s world for a reason. You could spend countless hours googling how to use WordPress, or you could free up your time to focus on your industry: health and fitness. It’s much better to hire help and get back to doing what you do best.
To find a web developer, we began by looking at the websites of different CrossFit boxes around the United States. This was helpful for two reasons: 1. It allowed us to find a web developer to create our website and 2. It gave us a greater understanding of what to include in a CrossFit gym’s website. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you just have to make it your own.
We called or e-mailed the CrossFit boxes who had sites we liked to find out who created their website. In some instances, we found that the site had the logo of the developer on the bottom of the page.
At first we wanted to emulate CrossFit Invictus’s website but when we spoke to that developer, we found out that the site would cost us about $5,000. To us, this fee was tremendous as we had not yet generated any income. The site was beautiful, but the benefits did not outweigh the cost.
Instead, we found a web developer who had created another gym’s page who was willing to do ours for $1,000 in a month’s time. We were able to negotiate payments for $250 over four months which was helpful when so many big fees were required up front (insurance, affiliation, rent, ect.)**
We have received so much feedback from clients regarding our website. Often, it’s the reason why they choose our box over another. Don’t undervalue the importance of a clean, professional site!
Step 6- Create a Schedule
Creating a schedule is easy, but make sure you don’t schedule too many classes. Remember the rule: Less is more. If you over-schedule classes, you may end up with only a handful of members in each class and you’ll be exhausted. It’s much harder to scale back than is is to add classes later. Think of it this way: A member might be estatic to find out that you’ve added a five pm class to the schedule because it’s more convenient for them. On the flip side, a member is going to be annoyed that you’ve cancelled the class that fits their schedule perfectly.
Set your hours and people will find a way to fit the gym into their routine. We suggest starting with a 6 am class for the people who must train before work, a 9:30 for stay-at-home parents whose children are at school, a 4:30 pm class for teachers and students, a 6 pm class for people who work a traditional 9-5, and a 7 pm class for those who deal with a longer commute.
That’s it. Five classes a day is plenty and until your classes are maxed out, there is no need to add more. You’ll need plenty of time to clean the box, train yourself (no one wants an out of shape CrossFit coach!), answer e-mails, put out web content to attract new clients, etc.
Stay tuned for Part 3!
*You may choose to carry some debt on a credit card if there is no interest in the first year in order to have more liquid money in case of unexpected expenses. That is alright so long as you account for that debt and deduct it from your total revenue before determining if your business is in the black or in the red. This is important so that you are better able to make decisions regarding future purchases or pay outs to yourself.
**Take note of how we negotiated with the web developer. Many business owners understand what it’s like to start a business so they are often willing to make accommodations such as having a payment plan for other businesses that are just getting started. Be sure to tell them that it would really help to have such a plan rather than shelling out all the money upfront. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need!