Personal Training

Opening a CrossFit Gym: Cost Breakdown

CrossFit is a brand, not just an exercise style, and the costs are completely different from what you think - this is what you need to know.

Sam Karoll
July 23, 2022
TLDR;
CrossFit is a brand, not just an exercise style, and the costs are completely different from what you think - this is what you need to know.

CrossFit athletes are intense, and that’s the entire point of CrossFit: intensity.

They push past physical limits, constantly outdo themselves, and they need a space to do that in. That’s where you come in.

If you’re opening up a CrossFit gym, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into, what you can expect for a return, and when you can expect that return.

We’re going to discuss equipment, marketing, and how to find your demographic to market to.

Thankfully, CrossFit as a brand helps you with some of the building blocks towards success, so you won’t be completely alone in this. Let’s get started.

Industry Overview

CrossFit began in 2000, but it didn’t become insanely popular until about 2007. That’s a long time to be dedicated to something as demanding as CrossFit for seven years before it begins to actually take off. Why did people stick with it?

Because it was a trend that became routine. Many fitness trends come and go because the results don’t match, or they only affect a small number of people.

CrossFit came along, and it became such a success because people were trying it, and they were getting results more often than not. It doesn’t try to pull you in with some false promise or shortcut: you know it’s going to be hard work before you even start it.

The CrossFit industry focuses on three major points:

  • Personal Development: You start out CrossFit with a set series of goals, and the entire point of this exercise is to reach new heights, create new goals that span beyond what you thought was possible, and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle in the process. While there are specific fundamentals to CrossFit that athletes follow, each of them can help every athlete improve and develop.
  • Endurance Training: Endurance is subjective. Do you want a better lung capacity? Do you want more energy throughout the day? There are a lot of ways that you can improve that endurance, and it’s absolutely one of the reasons why CrossFit athletes, well, become CrossFit athletes in the first place. You need equipment and classes designed to help them improve their endurance, and (safely) push the limits.
  • Accountability: CrossFit isn’t for the faint of heart. Even so, we all have bad days, but CrossFit has a tight-knit and positive community, hell bent on making sure that they care for one another and help to reach each other’s goals. There’s almost no negative association with CrossFit because of the way that it’s designed and the way that athletes experience it. They stay accountable, which makes it great for customer retention.

CrossFit athletes are dedicated to improvements. They’re not your typical gym goers, and it’s important to understand that when you decide to begin a CrossFit gym.

You’re not just dealing with the common crowd with a gym membership; they’re in it for the long haul.

Industry Trends

CrossFit was definitely more popular in the media from 2007 to 2012, but that’s only because that was the time it began to blow up.

Today in 2022, it’s become a rock solid foundation of the fitness world, and there are more athletes than ever, regardless of how much it’s covered in the media.

But how do other trends affect CrossFit? That’s where we should focus. The main thing that everyone is focusing on right now is wellness, and that means leading a better life around the clock. They don’t want to trade time, they want to invest time, and CrossFit is perfect for that mentality.

CrossFit tends to adapt to industry trends instead of following them. We’re in an age where athletes are looking at exercise as medicine, we’re in an app-heavy world where they want to focus on their calories and other stats.

CrossFit can easily be incorporated into the health-conscious world we find ourselves in today, and will adapt to industry trends as time goes on.

Demographics

CrossFit has a few demographics that you should really know about before you decide to go all in and make a CrossFit affiliate gym. Some data credit goes to LiveStrong.

  • Popular Age Range for CrossFit Athletes: This is mostly in the 25-34 age range with about 40% of all CrossFit athletes in this category. Not so surprisingly, ages 35 to 44 come in next with 20% of the demographic, with a decreasing number as the ages go on. However, Those aged 18 to 25 hold 18% of the demographic, and have a completely different marketing tactic that you should appeal to than your 25-34 audience.
  • North American Dominance: There are over 5,500 CrossFit gyms in North America alone, with South America coming in at just over 1,600, and Europe hovering around the same number. The trend began in California, so 5,000+ gyms are in the US, and just under 600 in Canada.
  • CrossFit Claims a 15,000+ Gym Reach: Because you can become a CrossFit affiliate, plenty of gym owners have taken this initiative and made their gyms into CrossFit affiliate gyms. This has led to an impressive growth to over 15,000 gyms globally, and that number is growing.
  • 10 Million Global Athletes: Speaking of global numbers, there are over 10,000,000 individuals who train CrossFit regularly throughout the world. These numbers can be equally divided similarly to the percentage of gyms located in different countries. That’s a potential client pool of millions.
  • 60//40 Split: CrossFit appeals to a demographic of 60% women and 40% men. You’ll mostly be marketing to women in the United States, whereas other countries appeal to a male audience equally as much as a female audience.

Why is all of this important? Because if you’re opening a CrossFit gym, you need to know who you’re servicing, where they’re located, and what your competition is.

So now you know who you’re marketing to, but how are you going to plan it all out and finance it? Let’s talk about that.

Cost Breakdown

Now it’s time to break down the cost associated with starting a CrossFit gym.

We’re going to cover affiliate fees, certification, insurance, and everything in between that you have to have in place before you can open up the doors for your clientele.

Equipment

The equipment in your CrossFit gym has to service the wants and needs of your athletes. If the machines don’t complement the classes, they need to stand on their own.

You will have a large portion of your gym members who aren’t there for classes and strictly want gym access.

  • Weights: Dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells are a must for a CrossFit gym. Wholesale prices for weights can seriously help here, but if we’re going off of MSRP, you’re going to pay around $500-$700 for a full rack of dumbbells (10 lb pairs up to 50 lb pairs, 9 weight ranges in total). Barbells and weight plates are around $400-$600 for a full olympic set and up to 300 lbs of weights. Kettlebells are thankfully cheap and can be found for around $25 up to $70 depending on weight and quality. You don’t need as many of these as other weights.
  • Weight Lifting Benches: Where are they going to use all those weights? On these benches! Weightlifting benches can have included leg workout machines, and can be used as a sit-up station if the seat is adjustable. A good bench will run you around $150 to $200, but you can get simple benches for around $70. These don’t have to be an expensive purchase.
  • Squat Cages: In case you haven’t noticed, deadlifts and squats are basically two of the best strength-training exercises directly associated with CrossFit. Having a squat cage is a major bonus to any CrossFit gym. These can be pretty expensive though. A quick search on major purchasing websites shows you can find a squat cage/squat rack for about $250. But your gym needs to raise the bar just a little bit, so you’ll want to opt for $600 to $850 squat cages. They come with more features, better ergonomics, and it’s not likely that your clients have these at home. You want to incorporate an experience they can’t get in their living room.
  • Dips Stations: These work with the calisthenics incorporation of CrossFit, and are a great way to test your physical strength in your arms and your core. These can include pull-up bars as well, and be very versatile for athletes. They also don’t take up a ton of space since they’re mostly vertical, so you won’t have to worry about room in the gym. Dips stations can be free-standing, or be mounted to the wall or with floor anchors. They’re in the $170 to $220 range for good ones.
  • Spin Bikes: You can use whichever type of exercise bike you wish, but spin bikes are beloved in the CrossFit community because of their intensity level. You can also use air bikes because of how they scale with the input of the user; those are excellent for building up a sweat and really working out with intensity. Exercise bikes help your athletes keep up their cardio and improve their endurance on days where there aren’t any classes, so you definitely want to give them these as an option. Air bikes can run you about $500 for high-quality ones, while spin bikes are around $350 to $450 for decent quality.
  • Rowing Machines: Full-body exercise has never been so engaging before. Rowing machines engage so many muscles at the same time, so your athletes can get in a crazy workout without having to dedicate too much time in the gym. If they’re trying to work up a sweat and put in their time before they go to work for the afternoon, rowing machines are a safe bet. Depending on which type of rowe you get (hydraulic, magnetic flywheel, or a water rower), you’re looking at $300 up to $2,100 (for water rowers). If you can opt for it, get some water rowers since they’re an experience many athletes won’t have in their own home.

Certification

To be certified by CrossFit, you have to have a fully functioning website that CrossFit can approve. If it’s not up to their standards, it could put a wrench in the gears for you getting that CrossFit affiliation and trademark usage.

Don’t worry, though; they’re pleasant and will simply guide you through what you need to do. It’s not harsh. Website hosting is cheap ($300 per year depending on what services you want).

Certification includes insurance up to $1,000,000 for incidentals, and in some particular cases, up to $2,000,000. That’s not cheap, of course, so you have to shop around. You’ll be looking for E&O insurance, which can net you around $70 per month depending on where you go.

To cover the exact ranges that CrossFit requires, it may cost more. This is definitely relative to your geographical location and if you’re in a major metropolitan city.

Expect to pay anywhere from $840 to $1,900 per year for insurance. The bigger the gym and the more classes you offer, the more complicated your insurance could get.

Affiliation

To be affiliated with CrossFit, you have to pay for your affiliation. That’s $3,000 per year to use the CrossFit trademark and name.

That’s pretty straightforward, but you should definitely read all of the information in the affiliation contract so you know exactly how it works.

Customer Service

Customer service isn’t the same as having trainers. Your customer service staff is at the front desk. They handle new signups, answer client questions, answer the phone and sometimes online chats, and basically represent the front of your business.

You don’t need a ton of customer service staff, but the ones that you do hire should be paid well. Word of mouth is powerful, and if you have bad customer service representatives that make a client feel off, they could quit their membership.

Furthermore, they could tell everyone they know (and everyone has different sized social circles) what they know. You’re a local business; you need all the good faith you can get from your clients.

Don’t cheap out. Ask your customer service reps what they want to be paid, lay out the expectations, and be kind to them. It will reflect extremely positively on your entire business. Minimum wage isn’t going to cut it if you want good service.

Gym Software

To cut down on the costs of those customer service reps we just talked about, you need quality software.

Gym software isn’t just a way to accept payments: you can create staff profiles, member profiles, let your athletes check in through the app, upgrade their membership (in-app as well), schedule appointments, and so much more.

You guessed it—all with PushPress. Our pricing can be found here and includes a free option for small studios, as well as a reasonable monthly cost and service to create your own branded app.

It is integrated with Facebook marketing, Google analytics, and so much more. Good gym software cuts down on labor costs, reduces your time spent doing remedial tasks, and automates access to your gym for better client retention.

Cost of CrossFit Coaches

According to ZipRecruiter, an average CrossFit coach makes around $26K to $48K per year. Salary.com lists it as $43K to $60K per year, and GlassDoor lists the average at $67K per year.

So how do you decide what to pay your CrossFit coaches? Depending on the size of your gym and what you’re able to reasonably charge for your local demographic, you should never pay the bottom end of the scale for your CrossFit coaches. Tacking on classes is a way to bump up your revenue.

CrossFit coaches are often satisfied with $40K per year for full-time work at 40 hours per week on a salary basis. It’s scheduled, often works around their other job or family life, and allows the level of freedom that employees want.

Additional Costs

You have the equipment, affiliation, instructors, software, and customer service, and you’re ready to go.

You want to account for additional costs for janitorial supplies (clean machines make happy clients), machine maintenance and rentals to replace damaged machines, additional lighting (for the IG crowd), and anything else that can take your gym up a notch.

Every space is different, but it’s up to you to make it stand out from the gym down the block.

Managing With PushPress

Opening a CrossFit gym is difficult, especially when you factor in how many classes they have over traditional fitness gyms. You can manage it, but to make the process ridiculously faster (and completely headache-free), let us step in to help.

Managing your gym shouldn’t be where your precious management hours go: you should be focused on the important aspects of marketing and customer acquisition.

Let PushPress make management easier, save you time, and be so simple that you can offset some of the tasks to your staff to help you focus on what’s important every single day.

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Sam Karoll

Sam is our Community Manager for PushPress. He also owns and operates Xplore Nutrition, a personalized nutrition coaching service designed "for your lifestyle and goals by a Coach who's always available."

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