The low-cost of opening a boutique fitness studio is luring personal trainers and fitness fanatics. The small studios, which offer cycling, boxing, yoga and other types of classes, are popping up around the country. Customers like them because they get personal attention and a sense of community, which is hard to get from going to a big gym solo.
If you're thinking about opening a fitness studio, here's some things to keep in mind:
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Opening a studio can cost as little as $30,000, says health club consultant Bryan O'Rourke, but can soar to as much as $500,000. But be aware of certain unexpected costs. Kari Saitowitz, the owner of The Fhitting Room in New York, paid more than she expected on soundproofing the company's first location, which is on the first floor of a residential building.
To attract customers, try signing up for ClassPass or sell classes on a daily deal site. ClassPass is a subscription service that charges its members $79 or $99 a month, depending on the city, to go to as many fitness classes as they want. ClassPass then pays the fitness studio a discounted rate for each person that takes a class. Ritual San Francisco joined ClassPass, which helped attract new customers, says co-owner Brittany Blum. Ritual classes were also sold through deal site Gilt San Francisco for a discount.
To keep customers motivated, and coming back, instructors need to be entertaining and know how to give customers a workout. Fitness studios spend time training their instructors before getting in front of a class so that classes are consistent, high energy and give customers results.
There's increased competition in big cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Miami, which already have many established studios. In those cities, studios will not only compete for customers, but also for talented instructors.