Starting a CrossFit gym (a.k.a. CrossFit Box) is an exciting venture that gives you the opportunity to bring a unique and specialized fitness community together. The CrossFit community embraces a lifestyle that is revolutionizing the workout world through building strength and breaking boundaries. Kettlebells, rope climbing, rowing, gymnastics ring swinging and endless burpees are all part of this high-intensity, energetic workout community. 

When you begin the process of starting your CrossFit gym, you need to complete a specific application and approval process to officially become a CrossFit affiliate. Once you are an approved affiliate, you are then able to promote your business as a CrossFit branded entity, legally use the CrossFit name, logo and promotional materials. 

10 Steps to Open a CrossFit Gym:

1. Become a CrossFit trainer and gain your certification

The very first step in starting a CrossFit Gym is to become a certified Crossfit Trainer. CrossFit requires an applicant to be at least a Level 1 Certificate holder before applying for the affiliation. You can sign up for a weekend workshop that costs $1,000, and CrossFit runs training across two full days (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) focusing on safely performing workout techniques using the CrossFit methodology. You then have to pass a test, and once passed, your Trainer certificate will be mailed out within four to six weeks. 

As you are becoming a certified CrossFit trainer, you are also encouraged to become active in the CrossFit community, read the CrossFit journal and make connections with other CrossFit affiliates and gym owners.

2. Get your CrossFit gym insured

With all the heavy fitness equipment and high-intensity workouts at a Crossfit gym, injuries happen — it’s extremely important to obtain insurance for your CrossFit gym to protect your business, staff and members. You will actually need proof of insurance before you can even apply to become an affiliate and in order to get approved by CrossFit. When you open your own CrossFit box, you can find the business insurance that makes the most sense for you as long as they align with the CrossFit requirements; however, CrossFit recommends using CrossFit Risk Retention Group.

3. Pay your CrossFit affiliate dues 

Once your application has been approved, you need to pay your CrossFit affiliation dues. As of Jan 1, 2011, the affiliation cost for gyms in the United States is $3,000 annually. Once you make your payment you can e-sign your annual affiliate agreement and set up your business name and website.

4. Set up your business name, EIN and business bank account

When you start a CrossFit gym you will need to set up your CrossFit box as a legal entity and also get an employer identification number (EIN) for tax purposes. Once you have registered your business with the state, you can then set up your business bank account and get a business credit card. 

5. Find your box gym location for your CrossFit lease

When you are searching for a location you should consider demographics, competition, and of course the cost of renting the space. Since CrossFit workouts require a lot of space and heavy equipment, ceiling height and flooring should be considered. For example, many CrossFit gyms are in warehouses with parking lots. You can use the CrossFit Affiliate Map to make sure the market isn’t overly saturated with other CrossFit gyms. 

6. Set up your CrossFit website and add to the CrossFit affiliate list and map

Your website should have “CrossFit” in the domain so potential customers know what type of specialty gym you are running and you will pop up in online search results. Once your webpage is set up, you can then list your gym on the CrossFit Affiliate Map which will help bring traffic to your website and gym.

7. Write your business plan

As you start your CrossFit gym, you should put together a realistic yet strategic business plan including your start-up costs, operational costs, membership programs and pricing, marketing channels as well as employee hiring plans. What type of specialty classes and coaching will you offer? Will you offer a mix of personal training and group classes? How many classes can you offer each week? Maybe you can also consider incorporating other programs to boost revenue such as nutrition coaching. 

Consider how working with a fitness marketplace like ClassPass could boost your exposure, widen your audience and increase your incremental revenue.

8. Purchase or lease equipment 

When you start a CrossFit gym you need to invest in the CrossFit workout equipment. You can see the different types of equipment required and pricing at Rogue Fitness, a CrossFit equipment vendor. You can also purchase used equipment as long as the equipment is safe and in good condition. Sometimes leasing gym equipment is also an affordable option to consider. Start thinking through the upkeep and cleaning of your equipment to keep everything in great shape.

9. Hire your staff and CrossFit trainers

As you build out your gym and begin to sign up members, you will get a better understanding of how many trainers and coaches you will need to accommodate demand. You can also consider hiring employees to help with administrative and other operational tasks that keep you from working hands-on with your members. 

10. Market your Crossfit box

As you start a CrossFit gym you should spend time marketing your new fitness business to increase traffic online and offline. However, make sure you align your advertising budget in your business plan and use channels that have a strong ROI. Talking with other CrossFit gym owners and understanding what has brought them more traffic and members could be a great starting point. 

Starting and growing a CrossFit gym is an investment and will require dedication, but at the same time, you will be helping your community feel healthier and stronger which is extremely rewarding. You will also have access to a huge network for start-up advice, support and encouragement.

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