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  1. #1
    usualsuspect's Avatar
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    Starting a Men's Only Fitness Center - Need Advice

    I'm ready to start my own men's only fitness center (circuit training)...target market is your Regular Joe. Alternative to your typical muscle-bound overcrowded box gym. Sports-themed (flat screens playing ESPN, sports decor, old cover of SI, nice sports art, posters of athletes and sports teams, etc). The long-term game plan is to manufacture the system and franchise.

    I've managed to raise about $60K for start-up and 8 months of ongoing expenses. This is a HUGE risk for me of course. I don't have much money put away so if it fails, I'll have a shitload of debt.

    So in order to downsize the risk and prove the concept will be a hit before I take the plunge, I would like to see how many advance memberships I could sell beforehand. Even if I could just get an idea how many people are interested and can make a promise to join (maybe by running a poll or something) that would be great too. What are some ideas I could try to test the market first? Any suggestions here would be greatly appreciated.

    Any business owners out there who can share their own experience and apply it to my situation?

    Again, thanks in advance for the help. The more suggestions the merrier.

  2. #2
    steve0's Avatar
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    only mens fitness??? no ladies ??? at all i duno if thats such a good idea will you let woman work there ??? if not you could get heat from the equal opp employer people

  3. #3
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    Men only? Honestly, I don't care how many flat screens, etc. you have. You're going to get gay guys only which might work. There are two gay gyms near me that do pretty well, but forget the ESPN. Play house music and make it trendy.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMYL_GR8
    Men only? Honestly, I don't care how many flat screens, etc. you have. You're going to get gay guys only which might work. There are two gay gyms near me that do pretty well, but forget the ESPN. Play house music and make it trendy.
    Yea and Will and Grace not ESPN!!

  5. #5
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    If you let the women join too, that will attract more men.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve0
    only mens fitness??? no ladies ??? at all i duno if thats such a good idea will you let woman work there ??? if not you could get heat from the equal opp employer people
    Well, its a Men's Fitness Center. Basically guy's version of Curves. Its not completely new. Cuts, is a men's 30 minute fitness center. They started in North NJ 2-3 yrs ago and now have around 200 stores. They do not have any locations in my state tho. I would be first.
    Last edited by usualsuspect; 11-21-2005 at 09:04 PM.

  7. #7
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    I hear ya man. Guys like you and me (muscle heads) like to work out around chicks, especially hot ones. But just think...there is a HUGe market for guys who are unfit - who don't get go to your oversized box gym cuz they are either intimated by the atmosphere or uncomfortable working out with guys and girls much younger and fitter. Personally I'd like working out around chicks...but older guys don't care. They just want a comfortable atmosphere and convenience. But yeah your prob right...gay dudes will naturally be attracted to a men's gym (as long as there $ is green I really don't care tho...)



    Quote Originally Posted by SMYL_GR8
    Men only? Honestly, I don't care how many flat screens, etc. you have. You're going to get gay guys only which might work. There are two gay gyms near me that do pretty well, but forget the ESPN. Play house music and make it trendy.

  8. #8
    IBdmfkr's Avatar
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    Risky. Better have some badass equipment and pink medicine balls.

  9. #9
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    lol. I was thinking pink medicine balls and free vaseline at the counter.

    But remember who I'm targeting. Unfit, fat, out-of-shape 30-60 yr olds. The more simple and painless the workout the better.


    Quote Originally Posted by IBdmfkr
    Risky. Better have some badass equipment and pink medicine balls.

  10. #10
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    Could deff work depending on location and advertisment. Personal training is where you will pull your money. Goodluck

    BD

  11. #11
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    still a huge risk suspect, i hang with alot of the older dudes at my gym some of em out age me by 20 years and there always googling at the girls the gym is a place were a lot of older guys 30-60 go to relieve stress get away from there wives, families and work, and they enjo looking at young tail while they do it

  12. #12
    SwoleCat is offline AR Hall of Fame
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    It'll be the male version of Curves.............

    SAUSAGES.

    ~SC~

  13. #13
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    Yep, thats the idea. James Dean style. Remember I'm not choosing a new gym here fellas lol its strictly business.



    Quote Originally Posted by SwoleCat
    It'll be the male version of Curves.............

    SAUSAGES.

    ~SC~

  14. #14
    Keyser Sozey is offline Anabolic Member
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    LMFAO @ "Sausages"

  15. #15
    usualsuspect's Avatar
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    lol and not very different from AR. I'd say this is a heavily male-dominated board where we spend a lot of time. Wouldn't you?



    Quote Originally Posted by SwoleCat
    It'll be the male version of Curves.............

    SAUSAGES.

    ~SC~

  16. #16
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    alright, good idea but,

    maybe the out of shape fat guys might go, but i hate going to the gym and not having any scenery! i swear it gives you 10 extra reps!!!!! but the whole idea is not bad seeing as how there is a curves for out of shape women. I just couldnt see a bunch of sweaty guys together with no women. that sh*t is gonna get stinky!!!!

  17. #17
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    yeah, but you dont see anyone here, you dont sweat next to anyone here, you dont shower with anyone on here (unless you do i dont know) and you cant smell the stinky old man next to you. very different worlds.

  18. #18
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    might work but i dunno. the reason why chicks go to curves is so pervs dont stare at them. guys dont care. any guy who doesnt like eye candy at the gym is probably gay.

    I've never felt uncomfortable at the gym so I cant put myself in the situation of the market you're targeting.

    at least get some t & a on the walls if its a guy's only gym

  19. #19
    usualsuspect's Avatar
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    No showers. No mirrors. Assembly line workout system. You don't stop moving from one machine to the next, so you don't have stand there and bulllshit with the guy next to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by legobricks
    yeah, but you dont see anyone here, you dont sweat next to anyone here, you dont shower with anyone on here (unless you do i dont know) and you cant smell the stinky old man next to you. very different worlds.

  20. #20
    IBdmfkr's Avatar
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    It's nice to glance and see a good looking woman but really if you go to the gym for the woman you probably shouldn't be there to begin with.
    BD

  21. #21
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    Yeah I agree not wise to cut down on potentially members by making it all male. Who cares if they are females as long as they pay with US Dollars.

  22. #22
    usualsuspect's Avatar
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    No showers. No mirrors. Assembly line workout system. You don't stop moving from one machine to the next, so you don't have stand there and bulllshit with the guy next to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by legobricks
    yeah, but you dont see anyone here, you dont sweat next to anyone here, you dont shower with anyone on here (unless you do i dont know) and you cant smell the stinky old man next to you. very different worlds.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by usualsuspect
    No showers. No mirrors. Assembly line workout system. You don't stop moving from one machine to the next, so you don't have stand there and bulllshit with the guy next to you.
    yeah the city I'm in started one of those a couple years ago. never heard anything about it since. I honestly dont know if was sucessful or not.

  24. #24
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    Niche marketing. Businesses do it everyday. Instead of catering to everyone (like a Walmart) which very few companies can do successfully, its wiser to segment a particular market and specialize, specialize, specialize.



    Quote Originally Posted by Giantz11
    Yeah I agree not wise to cut down on potentially members by making it all male. Who cares if they are females as long as they pay with US Dollars.

  25. #25
    bigron62 is offline Junior Member
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    just open a gay gym .. the same guys are going to join anyway.... SAUSAGES IM IN TEARS THIS IS ****ING FUNNY SHIT .SAUSAGES..HAHAHAHAHAHA

  26. #26
    IBdmfkr's Avatar
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    Sad thing is, it'd probably make a killing

  27. #27
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    good luck but i wouldnt join w/o some scenery!

  28. #28
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    Personally I think it would work well...

    The 30-60 overweight male crowd is probably intimidated by the typical gym we hang out in, I know I was when I was fat. A male version of Curves would definetly have it's clientele.

    As for it turning into a gay hang-out, I don't think that would happen. Though catering to the gay male market is very lucrative, my personal opinion is that they probably prefer hanging out in the gyms with the "in shape" attractive muscular guys... not the fat outta-shape slobs. Of course I'm not gay so thats just my uninformed guess.

    As for selling pre-memberships, thats risky. A lot of people have been burned in gym scams and overnight closings, so you'd have a lot of work convincing folks that everything is legit. Having been burned myself, I know I would not dish out dollar one until I checked out the gym.

    Just my 2¢

    Red

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by usualsuspect
    Niche marketing. Businesses do it everyday. Instead of catering to everyone (like a Walmart) which very few companies can do successfully, its wiser to segment a particular market and specialize, specialize, specialize.

    I hear what you're saying, now that I think about it, I htink it could work. but expect some legal battles for sure, that might cost you a pretty penny. You'd have female rights activists knocking down your door.

  30. #30
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    I can understand the "Women only" gym because they always feel like the guys stare at them but why would there need to be a "Mens only" gym. I think it may turn up a bunch of homos and guys with high estrogen levels that are emotional like women.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lavinco
    I can understand the "Women only" gym because they always feel like the guys stare at them but why would there need to be a "Mens only" gym. I think it may turn up a bunch of homos and guys with high estrogen levels that are emotional like women.

    There is actually a court ruling saying that it is legal to have a womens only gym. Hoever guys only might be a tough sell, but its possible, you'd just have to get ready to fight the court battle.

  32. #32
    SwoleCat is offline AR Hall of Fame
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    Quote Originally Posted by usualsuspect
    lol and not very different from AR. I'd say this is a heavily male-dominated board where we spend a lot of time. Wouldn't you?
    Yeah, w/the ability to click on any other open window and be taken away.

    In a gym, you don't have that ability and you don't have people looking at you either.

    Apples/Oranges here man, I don't see how that's a valid comparison at all.

    ~SC~

  33. #33
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    What about the men with spouses who want to go to the gym? Most gyms offer couples discounts. This will also be a reason for some people not to sign up with your gym.

    You are limiting your potential customers and I am not sure what your target market is exactly other than a Men’s only club. You have to have an exact idea of what type of men you want in your gym. Example; 40% Divorced, 15% High School Students, 20% College Students, and 25% Gay.

    IMO I don't think that targeting just men will benefit you much. If I were you I would maybe consider separating my gym so that there are two sides. One for women and one for men but keep it all under one roof.

    If you plan to franchise it in the future then you have to be one step above the rest and do something like add a restaurant in it that serves hot healthy delicious meals that can be included if the member upgrades their membership or something.

    Another thing that will benefit you is location, location, location! Put your gym as close to a college that you can get. This will also create a more justified purpose for a women’s portion of your gym.

    I don't own a gym but did start to write a plan for one a few years back. I do own other businesses and have many friends that own a business.
    One of the biggest mistakes I have seen business owners do is forget how the customer thinks. It's like they got hit right in the damn head and suffer from amnesia. like this one guy that I knew. He opened a store and started selling cheap soda and took out Pepsi and Coke. I was like "What are you doing? Have you ever drank that shit yourself?" He told me it was cheaper to buy. Who cares! If you sell less because no one want it then you will never make up for it. He put the name brand products back in the store and spent more on them but made like 10 X's more profit.

    Did you write out a full business plan?

    If you fail to plan then you might as well plan to fail.

  34. #34
    usualsuspect's Avatar
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    Again, it is a convenient alternative to your typical, muscle-bound gym. I'd personally prefer co-ed gyms myself, but like Red said....it would appeal to guys who are out-of-shape and afraid to workout with fitness buffs flexing in the mirror. Also, you mention target market. The ideal customer is a guy (professional or not), between ages of 30-60. Sure its not for everyone, but then again neither are Mini Coopers, Apple computers, Abercrombie, the Hummer, the Atkins Diet, In-N-Out Burger, Dyson vaccuum's...I could go on and on. The whole idea is taking something as far to the edge as possible. Might be radical thinking. But just think how many boring products/services exist that are not worth telling others about?



    Quote Originally Posted by Lavinco
    What about the men with spouses who want to go to the gym? Most gyms offer couples discounts. This will also be a reason for some people not to sign up with your gym.

    You are limiting your potential customers and I am not sure what your target market is exactly other than a Men’s only club. You have to have an exact idea of what type of men you want in your gym. Example; 40% Divorced, 15% High School Students, 20% College Students, and 25% Gay.

    IMO I don't think that targeting just men will benefit you much. If I were you I would maybe consider separating my gym so that there are two sides. One for women and one for men but keep it all under one roof.

    If you plan to franchise it in the future then you have to be one step above the rest and do something like add a restaurant in it that serves hot healthy delicious meals that can be included if the member upgrades their membership or something.

    Another thing that will benefit you is location, location, location! Put your gym as close to a college that you can get. This will also create a more justified purpose for a women’s portion of your gym.

    I don't own a gym but did start to write a plan for one a few years back. I do own other businesses and have many friends that own a business.
    One of the biggest mistakes I have seen business owners do is forget how the customer thinks. It's like they got hit right in the damn head and suffer from amnesia. like this one guy that I knew. He opened a store and started selling cheap soda and took out Pepsi and Coke. I was like "What are you doing? Have you ever drank that shit yourself?" He told me it was cheaper to buy. Who cares! If you sell less because no one want it then you will never make up for it. He put the name brand products back in the store and spent more on them but made like 10 X's more profit.

    Did you write out a full business plan?

    If you fail to plan then you might as well plan to fail.

  35. #35
    1819's Avatar
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    most of the serious athletes i know are really into the workout. flat screens and posters and sports drinks and nice lights, etc, etc, are not what the guys are lookin for. im the same way. i want old school. no chicks, no hip hop blastin too loud, no air conditioning blasting so ya cant sweat. more or less what guys would have in their own home if they had the space. thats just my two cents. best of luck with your venture.

  36. #36
    Lavinco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usualsuspect
    Again, it is a convenient alternative to your typical, muscle-bound gym. I'd personally prefer co-ed gyms myself, but like Red said....it would appeal to guys who are out-of-shape and afraid to workout with fitness buffs flexing in the mirror. Also, you mention target market. The ideal customer is a guy (professional or not), between ages of 30-60. Sure its not for everyone, but then again neither are Mini Coopers, Apple computers, Abercrombie, the Hummer, the Atkins Diet, In-N-Out Burger, Dyson vaccuum's...I could go on and on. The whole idea is taking something as far to the edge as possible. Might be radical thinking. But just think how many boring products/services exist that are not worth telling others about?
    What? Not for everyone? I thought everyone had an In-N-Out Burger?

    Anyways, It sounds like you have it well thought out.
    I hope it works for you and good luck!

  37. #37
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    Dammit, its not for everyone how many times do I have to say it...

    J/K bro (lol). Thanks for your perspective.

    Take care,
    US


    Quote Originally Posted by Lavinco
    What? Not for everyone? I thought everyone had an In-N-Out Burger?

    Anyways, It sounds like you have it well thought out.
    I hope it works for you and good luck!

  38. #38
    SwoleCat is offline AR Hall of Fame
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    You should make it a 24 gym!

    "24 Hour Sausage Fest"

    You'll rake in thousands! (of weiners, )

    Seriously though, I like people who think "business" oriented, so good luck w/this if you do venture and do it.

    ~SC~

  39. #39
    symmetry101 is offline Associate Member
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    Usualsuspect, actually it is a very good idea and you are already familiar with cuts so you know how well they are doing. The guys you are going after wouldn't got to "normal gyms" due to being too intimidated by guys like us. I actually thought about opening one up a couple years ago and learned cuts fintess had just started. What you would need to do is do a direct mailing to your ideal prospect. I am in direct marketing business and handle the marketing in terms of demographics and things like that for all kinds of businesses. You would obtain a mailing list of all men with in a specific age range and even an income bracket also. Then you would need to mail out post cards through a print shop in advance of your opening offering special rates and stuff like that. Also if there is a curves in your area it would be good to do some cross marketing witht them. If you have any questions or need help witht he marketing just pm me. Aslo, what state are you doing this in and is it by city?

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