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Opening a gymnastics gym gives you a way to build a business while teaching children and adults floor, beam and bar routines. Finding enough clients to keep your gym profitable is key. If you open a gym in a metropolitan area with at least 50,000 people within 20 minutes of your location, you can offer gymnastics programs only, says Gymnastics Zone, a company that provides clinics for gym owners. But if you’re opening your gym in a small community, you likely need to offer a variety of programs beyond gymnastics to attract more clients to your facility.
Licenses and Liability
In addition to securing your state business license, many cities require you to obtain an occupancy permit for your gym. For instance, in Florida, you need a permit if you plan to have more than 50 people in your gym at the same time. Also, consider how to handle liability issues that could arise from injuries to your students. Work with an attorney to set up your gym as a limited liability company or a corporation to avoid being held personally liable for accidents. If you plan to take your students to gymnastic competitions, you can also set up a non-profit organization known as a 501(c)(3) to allow more flexibility in helping your team raise funds to attend state, regional and national competitions. As a non-profit, all charitable donations are tax deductible for the donors, and you do not have to pay corporate taxes on donations. Contact your Secretary of State for the forms to start a non-profit.
Find Space and Equipment
Before you lease space to for your gym, determine what types of activities and programs you want to provide. Many gyms offer a variety of programs to meet various interests, such as recreational and competitive instruction as well as related activities that might range from cheerleading and martial arts classes to yoga instruction. Allow plenty of space for a spring floor, vaulting table and several sets of beams and bars if you plan to offer competitive gymnastics. Also, allow adequate space for in-ground pits to help protect your students from injury. Look for gyms that are going out of business to see if you can buy their equipment at a discount.
The fees you set for your lessons and activities are based on the length of the sessions, the class level and the program, according to a "Best Practices" report on the USA Gymnastics website. Recreational gymnastics classes, such as those for parents and toddlers, usually cost less than competitive classes. One option is to set up a monthly tuition fee that covers a certain number of classes per week. Many gyms charge each student an annual or membership fee to help cover basic costs, such as liability insurance. Charge an hourly rate for private lessons for one or two people. If you provide beam or floor choreography services, charge for the entire session, which typically takes several hours to create and walk a student through.
Look for coaches with gymnastics and competition experience for your girls' and boys' competitive programs. When it comes to finding coaches for kids, experience is not the most important factor for this age group. While a foundation in gymnastics is preferred, you also want someone who shows enthusiasm for motivating and helping children and can make the classes fun. Once you hire coaches, you can then train them to teach gymnastics to the little kids the way you want them to. Conduct thorough background checks on each coach since your staff will primarily work with children. Set up employee health screenings for tuberculosis and communicable diseases. Develop a training manual that explains how you want your gym’s training programs conducted and to encourage learning new gymnastic skills. Make sure each coach is certified in first aid and CPR.
Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.