Essentials when opening a gym

The essentials: Founder series part 3

Essentials to consider before opening a fitness studio

In this article we touch upon all the essentials that you need to consider when you have done all the basic work for founding a business and are ready to actually opening a gym. We provide you with useful information about hardware, software, staff and marketing.

In order to provide the best service and infrastructure in your studio, using a top-notch gym management software like Magicline is very important. Don’t have a gym management software yet and want to know more about it? Book a free consultation and learn about all the benefits!

Of course up to date equipment and hardware is a must, too. But the most important assets are motivated employees and instructors as well as an outstanding culture.

In addition, the communication with your members as well as marketing campaigns and your social media presence is of high importance.

Have you read part 1 of this blog post series? There we inform you about the basic decisions such as the business idea, the business plan and financing options.

Everything you need to know about legal forms, studio types, naming and the best location for a gym you can learn in our second article in this series.

Hardware in your studio

Image: Access control in gym
Access control in your gym


A must in every gym is the check- in. Below we have summarized the three most commonly used types of check-ins for you.

Option 1: Free check-in

The most affordable option is the personal check-in with an employee at the counter. Alternatively, a check-in at a free-standing terminal with self-service for the members is possible.

Option 2: Check-in with turnstiles

One or more turnstiles are equipped with a reader so that members can check themselves in. Thanks to a flexible railing system including an escape door, this solution can be individually adapted to your entrance area. Whether the turnstile should be equipped with a check-out option as well is completely up to you.

Option 3: Check-in with door control

Your members can check themselves in and out at your front door. This is especially useful for studios without staff.

Electronic Data Processing (EDP) system

There is a variety of options when it comes to simple IT systems for your office and the reception, cash drawers or receipt printers and server equipment. What exactly you need for your studio depends on how many different (technical) services you want to offer your members and your team.

Plan enough time for installation

Setting up a new studio especially with hardware and devices takes a while. That’s why it’s important to allow for adequate lead time in order to meet your schedule. You should plan with 6 – 10 weeks lead time for installation, consultation, scheduling and site- visits.

Finding the right studio staff

The latest and most modern hardware and equipment alone is not enough to guarantee a gym’s success. Motivated employees and instructors and trainers with convincing qualifications are the supporting pillar of a successful studio.

The requirements in the fitness industry have changed in the last few years to the effect that individual support and consultation on topics such as HIIT or back training, health and nutrition are more in demand than ever.

Your staff not only takes on the role of trainers, who develop individualized workout plans for your members. They much more also take on the role of coaches and motivators.

Education and training in the fitness sector

Recommended are employees with relevant professional experience, who have industry-specific educational records and certifications. This is the only way to guarantee professional service and effective training instructions.

Many associations and institutions offer trainings and further education programs that meet the changed requirements and demands in the fitness, wellness and health industry.

What studio staff do I need and what are the costs?

When opening a gym, you definitely need to include the expenses for certified fitness trainers in your budget.

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the average personal trainer salary in the US is $40,000 (in 2020), which is slightly above the median salary in the US.

Besides fitness instructors, you’ll need cleaning staff and personnel at the reception who take care of arrangements like trial or personal training sessions.

Other occupations that may be considered for studio staff:
To have a physical therapist, a certified physical education teacher, a health coach, or nutritionist and masseur on your team as well might be very useful in order to stand out from your competition.

Even if you hire personnel with professional experience, it is essential that they get internal training before the opening of the studio. Training topics could be, for example, the handling of the studio software or the creation of a training plan for a member.

Gym software to ease your daily tasks

In order to provide a good infrastructure in your studio, using a management software is just as important as equipment and hardware. With the holistic gym management software Magicline and the associated free app for members, studio owners are ideally positioned to get started right away!

Image: Save time and money with Magicline
A state- of- the- art studio software saves time and money

Magicline supports you as a studio owner in the management of administrative tasks, the digitalization of your studio as well as with the entire financial accounting.

That being said, Magicline saves you a a lot of time that can be used for more important things, first and foremost the support of your members! Besides that, Magicline supports you with the creation of training plans, lead and offer management and the communication with your members!

MySports: The free studio app for your members

Image: MySports member app
Free MySports member app

A good example of the great advantages of a holistic studio software like Magicline is the free member App taht comes with every Magicine license. The MySports app is the digital gateway to your studio and offers your members access to many services from anywhere.

In the MySports app classes can be booked, digital training plans and videos accessed and all administrative things managed by the members themselves.

With the help of the app’s integrated live utilization rate display, your members can also see at any time when the studio is expected to be particularly busy. This is especially important nowadays to ensure that the maximum studio capacity is not exceeded.

 The main advantages of MySports at a glance

  • Mobile access to the gym
  • Class schedule, appointment booking, video workout
  • Communication directly via push notification
  • Utilization display for each studio

Customers & Marketing

Every studio needs marketing and advertising to attract attention. It is of particular importance to define the content that makes the studio special and unique.

Here are three ideas that might make you to stand out from the competition:

  • Top value for money: a broad product offer, chic interior, many additional options such as sauna, classes, priced below the premium providers.
  • “Back to the roots”: Pure nostalgia, familiar atmosphere and a homage to the old times of Arnie without any frills.
  • Youthful: Modern, great digital offering, free wifi is a must and the screens run the latest TikTok and Instagram videos, rocking music and geared towards the youth.

Social media for fitness studios

Image: Social media for fitness studios
Social media for fitness studios

Today, it is inevitable for studio founders to use social media (for example, Facebook and Instagram), because through these channels, studios present their strengths and can point out new offers, equipment or classes.

This is where your community, largely made up of friends and regular gym-goers, develops. Members use social media channels to contact the studio, ask questions, book appointments or simply upload photo of themselves working out to motivate each other.

For studio operators social media posts from members are free advertising or serve as a way to receive feedback. How studio owners can create good content and generate reach on Instagram we will address in another blog article soon. Stay tuned!


Now it’s almost done! Your studio is equipped with the best software and hardware, you have found qualified staff and prepared your social media presence. Now there is (almost) nothing standing in the way of your opening. However, unexpected challenges can always arise.

In the fourth and last part of our series we will conduct an interview with a studio founder to learn how challenges can best be overcome and what is important to keep in mind as a founder.

Look forward to Henning Humbert from Tiegel Gym. He is currently in the middle of building his own gym.

Any questions?
Maike from Magicline will help you.

Want to know more about Magicline? I am looking forward to meeting you and answer all your questions! Maike

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