Setting up a crossfit box seems easy right? You google the “How to affiliate”, come up with a good name, find a place, register and here we go – you have a brand new gym.
If only getting a box would be that easy.
Before taking on a new adventure of opening your own crossfit box, think things through; you are not only setting up a new training facility, you are actually building a business.
Being a proud owner and a head coach at the hottest new training place in town sounds great on Facebook, but that won’t necessarily bring the income you need to keep the business going. You also have to be a smart, patient entrepreneur with a long-term plan (and also plans B, C and D) on how to develop and successfully set up a crossfit box.
Start with knowing business is not built in one day. It takes time, smart and thought-through decisions and a lot of patience. Also, empathy for people’s needs comes very in handy.
- 1 Step#1.- Start with yourself and your own branding
- 2 Step#2.- How to choose the best place to set up a crossfit box?
- 3 Step#3.- The necessary requirements to set up a crossfit box
- 4 Step#4.- Permissions and licences for an affiliation with CrossFit
- 5 Step#5.- The training equipment: do I really need everything?
- 6 Step#6.- The staff and the qualifications to coach crossfit
- 7 Step#7.- How to differentiate your box and stand apart from your competition
- 8 Step#8.- The community matters most
The hype is over. People don’t stand in front of the door anymore excitedly waiting to sign in for their first crossfit class. No, nowadays they first do a research, for example ask their colleagues for recommendations, check the reviews, read the comments on social media sites and at last demand a free intro class to get the first feel of the box.
So how do we begin with setting up a crossfit box?
SEE ALSO: Can Crossfit change your life in 2 months?
Step#1.- Start with yourself and your own branding
Your advertising kicks off with your personal profile on any of the social networks you are using (Facebook, Instagram LinkedIn, etc.). What you are posting and sharing on the newsfeed tells a lot about your personality and also the attitude you will later establish towards your clients.
To cut the long talk, don’t let your online behaviour ruin your business. Share articles, videos and thoughts related to your profession – a box owner and a coach – and keep your opinions open.
Before taking on any further decision, work on your web reputation.
Once you will begin setting up a box, friends of your friends will be prepared to check out your new venture.
I train and program for a longer more productive life. My goal is when I have grandkids, I want to be kicking it with them. I want to be skiing, jumping on the trampoline and keeping up, not a burden. The programming I create for Competitors Training, and affiliates that do strength biased programming (lift before metcon), have a different set of goals, a different approach, and different set of risks. ⠀ // #immersion #affiliateexcellence #cfne #builtbybergeron
Step#2.- How to choose the best place to set up a crossfit box?
First, visit www.affiliate.crossfit.com to do a research on your area. How many boxes have already been set up in the town or even in your neighbourhood? How successful are they? What are their main disadvantages?
Same as with computer apps, the location should be user friendly.
Choose an area which needs a gym whether this is outside in the suburbs of the city or directly in the centre. To get the business running you have to find a community which has a need (for a crossfit box).
Once you cut down to a few chosen locations asses how accessible are they. Is there a public transport which reaches your location? The nearest station should not be more than 5-10 (walking) minutes away.
If you are planning to set up a crossfit box in a community which mostly uses cars as the main transportation make sure your box has a free and big enough parking space.
In any case, take time to think about the location. It is not easy to move once your box is up and running.
Step#3.- The necessary requirements to set up a crossfit box
To set up a box, you first need a space which allows you to do so.
Most of the owners will probably rent a warehouse or even a building. Some will find investors which will buy the construction. Both decisions make sense as long as you clear out the agreement and build a trustworthy relationship.
Hire an engineer to first examine the place construction-wise (how efficient is the space or the building in terms of energy saving, usefulness, how much renovation is needed, etc). Afterwards pay a lawyer to read through the contract you are about to sign with the building owner.
As with the location, the box itself needs to be comfortable to use. That said people want a separate wardrobe for women and men, with lockers or shelves to put their bags on, and clean toilets/shower facilities to wash the sweat off after training.
Most of the Europeans also prefer a place which is warm (especially in the winter). Is the building well isolated? Having an area where the members can sit down and talk after a class is a plus.
The feeling of not having enough space to practice crossfit safely can cause an upset within your clients. Make sure your group is not too big or your space is structured in a way everyone feels comfortable to train without worrying of getting injured.
Do you have a wall where members can do handstand push up and wall balls? Do you have an additional space where people can warm up or cool down after a class? Can you find extra space which will be your office?
Step#4.- Permissions and licences for an affiliation with CrossFit
If your decision has been finalized, you have to take all the necessary steps to become a CrossFit affiliate: application, location, insurance, payment and license agreement. You also need to hold a CrossFit level 1 certificate.
For more information visit www.affiliate.crossfit.com/how-to-affiliate.
Besides CrossFit Inc. requirements, do a research on the demands and laws your country/state has: business registration, insurance, health licenses, safety precautions, benefits, etc.
Step#5.- The training equipment: do I really need everything?
Once CrossFit Inc. confirms and approves your affiliation, you can start with the actual set up – designing the space and building a gym.
Most of the people will start with cleaning, colouring and designing the interior. While doing all this, explore the market regarding the training equipment.
Going cheap or expensive? Starting big or small?
Most owners have their personal preferences or friends who know someone that knows someone who can give a few percentages off the original price.
Before making a deal ask at least 7 coaches which brand and why? What are the pros and cons of the training equipment providers and its products? Think about the delivery costs and the long-term goals.
This goes for all the equipment from the barbells to rubber floor. You don’t want a product which will get damaged in four months but you also don’t need a certain company just because it is a well-known brand.
If your budget is tight, start with a few Olympic weightlifting barbells (men’s, women’s and one or two for kids/beginners). Add a few kettlebells (8-20 kilograms are most commonly used among non-competitive people). Build a rig which is usable: has stable racks for barbells and a good grip for pull ups. Also don’t forget to build in a few wooden lifting platforms and high quality jump ropes.
Start small and as your client base grows, add more equipment.
Step#6.- The staff and the qualifications to coach crossfit
Same as with any relationship, you need a while to get to know a person well, coaches included. The biggest problem in the industry are the trainers leaving and setting up their own boxes. Is it you to blame? Maybe.
Listen and learn, but also set the rules and restrictions. Not everyone is qualified to be coach. Besides CrossFit certificates, they also need to be humans with a good attitude towards all kinds of clients. Let them know, if needed, they can always turn to you.
Professionalism is a great attribute which actually starts with you as the owner or let’s say a leader. Look for a chemistry and people wanting to learn. But same as for the coaches, it’s also up to you to showcase a great attitude and set up a community everyone wants to be a part of.
Step#7.- How to differentiate your box and stand apart from your competition
Even if you are first and lonely, others will follow and in no time you will have to face the market and its competitiveness. If your box is the only one in town, you are lucky. If not, you have to let the people know why yours is better.
As a box owner your target group is local. Which means branding the box and marketing need to be focused on your friends, friends of your friends and so on.
Besides your social media profile, the first and the best advertisement, will be a word of mouth.
In a world where we wake up and go to sleep with the internet, having a website is quite logical. Make sure it is minimalistic and simple. Same goes for the name and the logo (visual identity). Design something people can identify with.
Add a gym management software to schedule classes and the members, but make sure it actually works and is easy to use. A mobile version/app is a must. If possible use a workout tracker so people can log in and follow their daily training achievements.
When it comes to reputation, make it sound like a crossfit box appropriate for everyone. Too many gyms send out a narrowed massage of being designed for fit athletes only. Your best clientele is in all other groups but that.
Step#8.- The community matters most
As a crossfit box owner you are responsible for your members, your coaches and the rest of the stuff, the reputation and the box itself. You are a leader and that brings a whole lot of obligations.
Being a box owner does not mean hanging out with your boys or girls, doing selfies and hardcore sessions. It means running a serious business. That includes a professional attitude towards yourself, your team and the clients.
Most of the members will look up to you as a role model, which means your well-being and health matters. If they like what they experience, they give back and create a community which will serve as your box’s best asset.
That said if you are injured all the time, how will you make sure your coaches and clients won’t be?
Having all the possible certificates, a ripped body, a fancy box and a great Facebook profile does not make you a good crossfit box owner. Having a happy clientele does.
As Greg Glassman says, knowledge can be taught, but caring takes more a lot more. He also has a unique way to evaluate a box: “[Clean] bathroom is a symbol of how much you care and how much pride you take in your business.”