Starting A Fitness Business – What’s the best path to take?

You want to start a fitness business – whats the right path for you?

Turning a passion for fitness into a career can be a very rewarding endeavour. But not all fitness or micro-gyms are created equal. For the sake of this post, I’m only going to look at coach led businesses and facilities using the following three comparison categories for the different models: Start-up Challenges, Financial Commitment, and Growth Opportunity.  


Start-up Challenges: Very low – online fitness programs have a very low barrier to entry. There are many platforms available for coaches to deliver their service such as true coach, Trainerize, and train heroic , among others. The biggest challenge in the start-up phase is building an audience, sourcing leads, and selling your service. While the online marketplace is endless, it makes it that much harder to get noticed.

Financial Commitment: Between $5,000-$30,000. Start-up costs are extremely low without the costs that are typically required for a brick and mortar gym.

Growth Opportunity: The online market place is massive which creates opportunity, however scaling an online coaching business does come with challenges. At a certain point, you run out of time to give to clients. This will force you one of four ways. Increase prices, hire additional coaches, create a group coaching model, and/or create lower level options such as courses and webinars.

Group Fitness

Start-up Challenges: High – for the sake of this article, group fitness is defined as classes holding 12+ people. Developing a brand, developing a following, finding a space, picking a model, hiring employees, the list goes on. For group fitness to be successful, it requires volume of clients. To get to that point, it may take years, without sacrificing margins. 

Financial Commitment: Between $50,000-$300,000. Start-up costs will vary depending on the type of group fitness, equipment needs, real estate value, and build out.

Growth Opportunity: Growth for group fitness gyms is challenging. Most group fitness gyms will see a steady flow of new clients each month due to a low barrier to entry and relatively low cost. Growth is typically stalled due to high turnover. If your model can minimize churn, the margins for group fitness can be very high. 

Personal Training Studio

Start-up Challenges: mid-high – PT studios can function very successfully at a small number of clients in an owner-operator model. The biggest challenge in the start-up phase is lead acquisition and sales. Competing with big box gym personal training sales and marketing create a challenge to finding new clients.

Financial commitment: $50,000-$150,000 start-up costs are relatively low for a brick and mortar gym. Studios can operate in a small footprint and require a minimal amount of equipment. Employee costs will not factor in until a certain volume of clients is achieved.

Growth Opportunity: Successful growth for traditional PT studios will depend on the entrepreneur. In an owner-operator model, 12-15 clients on an avg of 3x per week can create a sustainable 6 figure income with 35-45 floor hours per week. However scaling past that point becomes challenging without adding staff or increasing prices. 


Start-up Challenges: Low – Mid. While financial requirements might be high depending on the brand, in general the biggest challenge in franchise start-up is training and learning the system. Franchise companies want their franchises to operate according to their operational guidelines to create consistency as a brand.  Learning, understanding, and complying with these guidelines can make the start-up learning curve steep. 

Financial Commitment: $75,000-$500,000. Comparatively, franchise start-up costs will be high. This is the price paid for adopting a proven system, with training, support, and guidance every step of the way.

Growth Opportunity: franchises provide a pathway to accelerated growth. A lot of the mistakes made in early gym ownership were already realized by the franchise company and are now avoided by new franchise owners. Franchises will also provide a strong brand name that will significantly improve marketing efforts and awareness 

Greenlight Personal Training is an emerging and unique franchise model built to change the lives of clients, and provide an end to end system for gym owners and fitness professionals to have a fulfilling and lucrative career.

For more information, or to book a discovery call visit our franchise page, or message us here.