So, you’re 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 financial considerations, the biggest challenge in setting up a space to use for a 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 your long-term commercial success.
So, what should you be looking for in a space for your studio?
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 space that is within close proximity to an adequate level of car parking 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 won’t want to make the trip either.
2) Make sure it’s big enough
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, but a small space also puts an immediate cap on just how big your business can grow. Invest in the larger space, then work hard to fill it as quickly as possible.
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 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.
4) Consider the staff
A property might be perfect for a 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 customer 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.
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.
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
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.