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8 Tips for Setting Up Your Dojo or Personal Training Studio

By clubworx | May 26, 2018

Gym equipment in a gym

So, you’re a personal trainer looking to take the plunge and set up a formal studio for your training. Congratulations! This is a big step in helping you help others improve their fitness and lifestyle.

Beyond the member management platforms, gym software and other financial considerations, the biggest challenge in setting up your own studio is finding the right space. Commercial property investments, be that to rent or to buy, are a major investment, and the location and design of the space will have a significant impact on the success of your personal training business.

So, what should you be looking for in a space for your fitness business? We have a step-by-step guide you can add to your business plan to help you with just that.

This section also answers popular questions asked such as: “How do I start a personal training business?”


1)  Proximity to transport

This one is absolutely critical. If your space is too difficult to reach via public transport, the only people who are going to come are those with cars, and that immediately cuts you off from a sizable number of potential customers. At the same time, you also want a place that is within close proximity to an adequate amount of car parking spaces for those who do want to drive. Your best bet in determining this is to make the trips yourself, both via public transport and car. If either transport route is overly time consuming or frustrating, then the chances are your customers would not want to make the trip either. This is an important aspect to consider even for your employees as travel to and from your studio should be easy to ensure that you are able to retain staff, especially if their wages do not include a travel allowance.

2)  Make sure it’s big enough

This section also answers popular questions asked such as: “How do personal trainers build clientele?”


When you sign a lease for a commercial property, it’s likely to be for a longer period of time than a residential lease. Furthermore, once you’ve established your studio, you’re not going to want to move it too often, because that will annoy customers. So, make sure you lease a space that will be big enough for your business a few years down the track, and not just now. A small space might seem cost effective to the business owner of a small start-up, but a small space also puts an immediate cap on just how big the business can grow. Invest in the larger space, then work hard to fill it as quickly as possible by using some social media marketing strategies to grow your client base.

3)  Consider the area

People aren’t going to come to your business if they don’t like the look and “atmosphere” of the area around it. So, when looking at a space for your fitness studio, cast an eye on the other businesses and residents in the area, and consider whether your ideal clients would be comfortable visiting here. If the answer is a “no,” then look for a space in a different area, more suitable for your target market. The safety and comfort of your clients is more vital than the few hundred dollars you might save on your rent.

4)  Consider the staff

A property might be perfect for a fitness studio, but completely lacks a recreational area. This won’t make the staff happy, and your staff are every bit as important to your business as the customers are. Ideally, you should have a proper staff kitchen room, where there can be a microwave, hot water, fridge and chairs. But at the very least a small room with a table that they can use to have a coffee in peace is essential. The needs of your employees are every bit as important as your customers’ and must be taken into consideration when choosing and designing a fitness facility.

5)  Privacy

It’s likely that you’re going to have some customers who would prefer to exercise without the world watching their every movement, so a ground floor studio that looks out to the main road through town is probably not the best location for a studio. At the same time you do want some visibility from the street, as it’s a powerful opportunity to promote the business. The perfect spot would be highly visible, yet maintain an air of privacy for your clients to feel comfortable. A simple solution is dark tinted glasses on your windows to reduce visibility from the outside in, thus maintaining the privacy of your clients but also ensuring your business gets the attention it deserves.

6)  Consider the infrastructure

While the studio won’t be a technology-driven business, at the very least you’re going to need quality Internet connectivity, and you might need power for screens and other bits of equipment. So be sure to check that the space can meet your power needs in a safe manner (i.e. no trip hazards like having power cords on the ground), and you can get a good quality Internet connection into the space. There are “dead zones” for the Internet, even in the heart of the city, so avoid those.

7) Make sure the price is right

This section also answers popular questions asked such as: “How much does it cost to open a fitness studio?”


It is essential that you do your research on the value of properties around the prospective space that you’re looking to lease, and it’s a good idea to ask some property experts for their advice as well. You’ll have greater capacity to negotiate with a commercial property than your typical rental property, too, so go in prepared to haggle and knock the price down to what you think the local area is actually worth.

8)  Find a mover that can help with arrangement

Finally, once you do have the perfect space, you’ll need to set it up for your business! There are organisations out there that can help businesses with either moving “home”, or setting up from scratch. Their quality, level of service, and price can vary wildly, so do take the time to investigate this in full. Make sure to invest in the right liability insurance to cover any damages that may occur while moving or setting up your fitness business so you don’t incur any further costs.


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