Planning Equipment and Floorspace

by | Dec 4, 2018

5 minute read
Make sure you’re getting the most out of your gym space by creating a plan for optimizing your floorspace and equipment.

As the health and wellness industry continues to grow, people are more into fitness than ever before. As more people are in search of ways to improve their health and fitness, more gyms (and studios) are beginning to emerge as well.

While this is all great for the industry, as a gym owner it’s important to stay ahead and plan for success. As you begin to create a plan for your gym, there are two key points to keep in mind: floorspace and equipment.

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Optimize Your Space

No matter what size your gym may be, how you utilize the space is how you not only draw in your customers, but how you keep them coming back. After all, no two gyms are created equal. This is where you can succeed or fall apart.

Whether you own a CrossFit gym or a Pilates studio, the first thing you should factor in is customer satisfaction. If you don’t have what an individual is looking for, chances are they will seek out another space. This means things like proper equipment, comfortable space, flow, etc. Obviously, the type of facility will dictate the expectations.

If you’re a CrossFit gym owner, you’ll need to factor in rigs, GHD machines, rowers, and plenty of open floorspace to hold classes and allow people to have enough room to lift. A yoga studio, on the other hand, will require much less equipment but much more open space.

Where Do You Start?

If you want to create a relaxing environment where people feel comfortable hanging out, a front desk area can be a very welcoming factor. New gyms can be intimidating enough as it is. Having someone (whether it’s a coach or part-time front desk person) sitting at a front desk to greet individuals walking in the door can ensure proper customer satisfaction and can make an intimidating experience much more enjoyable.

The next thing people typically look for is what kind of equipment you have. This will be a large factor in whether or not they want to invest their money and time in your facility.

Before designing a floor plan, it would be beneficial to have an idea of what kind of equipment you’ll have in your gym in order to plan accordingly. This will all depend on the type of gym and demographic. Designing a CrossFit gym or strength and conditioning facility will require a structured process as the equipment tends to be larger in size and quantity.

Prioritizing Equipment

While CrossFit gyms need plenty of open space, you typically find the two bigger categories (cardio equipment and rigs) along the outside of the gym, creating a more open-looking space.

When you’re first factoring in what equipment you’ll want to hold in your gym, you’re better off starting out with the basics first. If you’re a CrossFit gym, having equipment used often in popular WODs would be beneficial. While bigger equipment (including GHD machines, rowers, assault bikes, etc.) may take up more space, not having it available may steer some potential members away.

There are certain pieces of equipment that you may want to hold off on before you invest. Things like yokes, strongman log bars, farmers walk handles, sleds, etc. should be bought later on once you’ve decided if there’s a need for that type of equipment in your gym.

When determining how much equipment you’ll need, it will be helpful to have an idea of how many members you’ll have (or want) per class. This depends on a number of factors: level of individual attention you want to provide, square footage, etc. By doing this, you can set up a cap for the class, ensuring you have enough equipment for everyone in the class.

Where to Obtain Your Equipment

Think you can’t afford all the equipment when just starting out? There’s no need to buy brand new equipment as long as you can find safe, appealing equipment for this new chapter. Luckily, there are plenty of places you can find cheap equipment at a discounted rate.

There are a number of different resources out there for new gym owners looking to stock their gyms and studios at a discounted rate. Purchasing used or refurbished equipment is a great way to save major cash during this exciting time of transition.

Designing A Floor Plan

A visual aid is extremely important in planning out the floor space of your gym. While there are plenty of software programs out there that make designing a gym set up fairly easy, all you really need is a pen and paper with an idea of basic dimensions, set up, etc.

When it comes to planning out your floor plan to optimize your space, there are some things to keep in mind: 1) Safety precaution; 2) Profitability; 3) Aesthetics.

#1: Safety Considerations

Safety precautions are one of the most important factors in planning the design of a gym, if not the most important. For example, have you ever seen a gym with a full line of treadmills in front of their fire exits? Hopefully not. Fire and safety regulations are required for any successful business. Luckily, this starts the process of designing the floor plan.

#2: Gym Members Per Square Footage: Is Your Gym Profitable?

Once you’ve taken the safety precautions into consideration, the next step is determining an optimal floor layout that is most profitable. How profitable your floor plan is ultimately depends on the amount of people you can fit in your gym comfortably. A key metric in evaluating how well you use your gym is the by the number of square feet per member.

#3: Aesthetically Pleasing

First impressions are extremely important. This is especially true for a start up gym or studio. An individual scoping out a new gym will be drawn to a neat and organized space.

If you’re trying to be a more universal fitness space, it can be hard to stay out of any particular niche, depending on your set up. This is where aesthetics can play a huge role. With CrossFit being such a large brand, it’s hard to see a kettlebell and barbell together and not think “CrossFit.” While the appeal of a CrossFit gym might be what draws people in, it could also push some away.

Being a universal gym can be a great way to bring in new faces. So what do you do about this? Try to keep the look of a typical CrossFit gym to a minimum. There are many iconic pieces of equipment that are directly associated with CrossFit. One of these pieces of equipment (also one of the largest pieces of equipment) is a pull-up rig.

Bottom Line

Choosing the correct equipment and optimizing your floor plan requires careful thought, but no need to feel intimidated. The most important factors to keep in mind when starting this process include demographic, safety and profitability. If you can manage to make those a priority while keeping an appealing aesthetic, you’re on the right path.

Planning a new gym, yoga studio, or martial arts facility?
This article appears as part of our Definitive Gym Startup Guide as a resource for everyone who’s planning to start a new .
For more information and a ton more tips, tricks, hacks, and concepts make sure to read thru the whole guide.