Greenlight Personal Training

Personal Trainer to Gym Owner: How Do I Secure Funding?

The obvious reality of opening a gym or personal training studio is that it requires money.  How much money will depend on a whole host of factors. Typically there will require a combination of personal savings, friends/family money, and some type of financing mechanism.

Financing your gym can come through forms of debt like small business loans from banks, alternative lenders, outside investors, small business grants, credit cards, or a line of credit.  Finding the right financing for your gym will depend on: How much money you require, How much money you qualify for, and how fast you need it.

The first place to start as a personal trainer, when seeking financing for your gym, will be your own personal savings, and friends/family.  Once you determine how much you’ll be able to contribute you’ll understand how much capital you will need to acquire from lenders.

To help you determine which source of funding is best for you, here is an overview of the four most common funding options for gyms:


Bank loans for gyms are more common after a few years of operations that include strong financial success. However banks do provide a few different options to pick from depending on what you qualify for based on personal credit, assets, or a potential guarantor. Many new gyms will easily qualify for a small business credit card, and/or operating line of credit, but it can come with higher interest rates and not enough capital to buy equipment or complete the build out.


Third party lenders can be a great option to secure funding for a new gym, especially if you have lower credit, or no asset collateral.  Like banks, third party lenders offer a multitude of lending options but generally come with a higher cost to borrow, some even as high as 100%.  Often times, fitness franchises will connect potential franchisee’s to certified lenders who will already have completed due diligence on the business concept, which will accelerate the approval process.

In the gym industry many equipment suppliers will offer leasing or financing options for equipment which can be a great option to decrease required upfront capital and increase initial cash flow.


Small business grants offer an opportunity to access capital to help open your gym without the burden of interest or even paying it back!

Grants are typically available through different government branches, non-profits, and associations.  Grants act as a great alternative for a new small business that might find it challenging to qualify for traditional loans.

The challenge to small business grants is often the availability of them (it’s free, everyone wants it!), and the time and effort required to search and identify applicable grants.


Seeking out investors to your new gym can be another option for funding.  However investors will be looking for some guarantees of a good return on their cash.  Most commonly investors will take a percentage of ownership in the business, and structure the deal to repay their money first before the company starts taking profit distributions.

Often times personal trainers are able to leverage wealthy clients to come in as investors in their gyms.  The existing trust and relationship creates a solid foundation for a working partnership.

As you can see there are multiple ways to secure funding to open your gym.  Each option has its own positives and negatives.  Be sure to complete you’re own due diligence to ensure viability in the funding vehicle.

If you’re unsure that gym ownership is the best path for you to take as a personal trainer check out our previous article Starting a Fitness Business – What’s the Best Path to Take?

For more information about Greenlight Personal Training Franchises or guidance on transitioning from a personal trainer to a gym owner, contact us