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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 03-24-2010, 08:48 PM   #1
Michael White
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Garage Gym

Hey all,
I am interested in opening up my own box but before I do I was wondering If anyone had any experience/ advice on running a box out of their garage. Eventually I would love to turn this into a full time job and have my own place. If any one has any experience running a gym out of their garage, and/or turning something run out of your garage/park into an affiliate with your own place, your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Big Mike
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:18 AM   #2
Alec Hanson
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Re: Garage Gym

Hit me up whenever you like. I ran CFCM from my garage for over 1 year before opening my box.

Alec@crossfitcostamesa.com
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:16 AM   #3
Mark Sun
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Re: Garage Gym

I have been training people out of my gym for 5 months. I built a following of 20+ people. Then I decided to turn this club into a business. It took me a month straight, with construction, cleaning, acquiring equipment, affiliation, insurance, etc. I am almost finished and about to start running the business. If you have any questions PM me.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:00 PM   #4
Kevin Scott
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Re: Garage Gym

I am also interested in starting a crossfit out of my garage. For those of you who are running out of a garage did you first get a business license and all that stuff or just put a good liability policy on and run it illegally to start. I have been looking into it and it looks like you aren't able to run a gym out of your garage in Goodyear, AZ. Any ideas?
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:06 PM   #5
Bill Houghton
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Re: Garage Gym

We are 3 months in the garage, just a hand full of clients. I have some interest from a few more wanting to do the on ramp class. Everything I have in the garage will be movable to a box when the numbers are right. Rubber mats, bumpers, etc... I hung a 24' long pull up bar from my ceiling that may not transfer to another location exactly as fit, but we can dismantle it and use the pipe. Be specific with your insurer about being covered in your garage. I was up front with mine. Made them put it in writing that I was covered in the garage (or anywhere else if we go to the park, etc...) If you have previous training experience (I didn't) you may start faster and be able to skip the garage. I am satisfied to build slow and get all systems in place; forms, waivers, lesson plans, handouts, logo, t-shirts, web page, accounting, bank account, etc...

Give a shout if I can help.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:26 PM   #6
Michael White
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Re: Garage Gym

I have some experience training( mostly friends and mostly not CrossFit) But since January I have been an intern at CrossFit Malibu and have been able to do some coaching of classes after getting my level 1 Cert. I think what I am asking , at least at first is; how did you get your first clients ( ads/word of mouth, friends and family) and how did you keep it growing. Also did you affiliate right away or did you wait until you had enough athletes to pay for that. The Idea about getting it in writing from the insurance is good I hadn't thought to have them specify the location(s) of where I might be training. Thanks for that
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:14 PM   #7
Bill Houghton
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Re: Garage Gym

My clients came from just talking to people about CrossFit and giving handouts. I have been working with these 4 people for 3 months. I have been printing up the CF Journal "Foundations" and giving it to people I meet this last week. Plus, we are discussing having a "bring a friend" day to try and introduce more people to CF. Some gyms have a free Saturday workout session (I assume on a regular basis) to bring more people into the fold. That seems like a good idea too. I saw a sign in a gun club one time: First time you visit you're a guest, second time a freind and the third time a memeber. Something like that might be a good idea to encourage folks to become members and not just continue to show up for free workouts. I am also throwing around the idea of some sort of more formal pamphlet. General info, some motivation, maybe a testamonial or two, times and contact info. Maybe even a coupon to get them to "act now" maybe offering $10 off beginner sessions with an expiration date on the offer.... I have been hesitant to grow because this is my first experience as a trainer but as time passes I am getting more comfortable with the idea of more people. I think I have graduated to the "I don't suck" level as a trainer.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:22 AM   #8
Michael White
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Re: Garage Gym

I like the Idea of circulating the CrossFit foundations/ what is fitness article article with some contact info I had not thought of that but it seems like a good Idea. I know there are some journal article's about this but what equipment do your have/ don't have but wish you did, any recommendations on what to get first, i already have barbells weights/ dumbbells, and the next two purchases I make will be for a pull-up bar(s) and matting.

Keep the thoughts coming every one i could use all the help I can get.
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Old 03-26-2010, 06:02 AM   #9
Bill Houghton
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Re: Garage Gym

PVC for teaching the lifts. White boards (melamine) $18 per 4 x 8 sheet. Abmats for sit-ups and back extensions (contact the company for bulk pricing). Jump ropes are inexpensive to have a few. Rubber bands for scaling of pull ups. Plyo boxes seem to be next on the list. We redesigned the square ones someone posted last year. We have 4", 6" 12" and a top that has rubber on it, and is 2" If you play around with these dimensions, you can hit every two inch height with different combinations. (We can use the top alone = 2" Then with a 4 + top = 6" 6" + top = 8" Two 4" + top = 10" 6" + 4" + top = 12" etc...). The design posted last year the heights were always off so we worked up this system to keep the heights exact (anal). Anyway, they are used for warm ups, scaling dips and push-ups, under the pull-bars, doing steps and jumps, etc.... Very useful. I also went to a local awning/boat cover place and had sand bags made up. Again, being fussy (anal) I wanted them all the same size even though the weights varied. I accomplished that by varying the amount of wood pellets, gravel and foam peanuts (you can get a giant bag of these from a shipping co for a buck or two) in each one. I went with a different color for each weight. We made up four each of 20 lb, 30, 40, 50 and 60 lbs. Again very useful. I think I have about $26 in each bag total. After that it starts getting more expensive (although plyo boxes can get pricy too) because you often need multiples like rowers $800 and up, good quality squat stands, med balls, etc.... My take on this is go with good stuff right from the get go. If you start in your garage, overhead can be kept low. Then, when you start growing and need to move into a rented space, you have nice looking, good quality equipment to move with you rather than rag tag looking stuff.

You can see the plyo boxes on our web site.

Well that is my 869 cents worth.
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Last edited by Bill Houghton; 03-26-2010 at 06:05 AM.. Reason: Add one more item to post
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:29 AM   #10
Miguel De La Fuente
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Re: Garage Gym

This my Garage gym story.

I have been a personal trainer for 10 years, since 2003 and in the military before that, also 10 years. I was an instructor in a Special Ops school, had some experience in training people. I was also going to school for Exercise Science. My dream was to open a regular Globo like gym. In 2006 I started Boot Camps, first at the Gym I was working atin Brownsville, Texas. I just made it like morning PT in the military. It started slow, after several months it just grew, the aerobics room was to small. Luckily for me in the back of the gym we had some nice grassy area and a 8 mile beautiful trail the city had just built.

Months later, I had over 35 people per class. And I was asked to offer more classes by members. So I did. I then asked my supervisor for a raise since I was only getting like $10 an hr, and I was bringing a lot of people to gym. He declined. So I talked to the members, and told them I was thinking of starting on my own. I left, and half came with me. Numbers were up and down, for several months

I then did a fundraiser, rode my bike 400 miles to raise funds for a family who need money. That got me publicity, on TV and newspapers, which I didn't expect. I got called from people all over the Valley and an owner from a pro basketball team to donate to my cause and he asked me to be the S&C coach for the team.

I opened boot camps in McAllen, Texas, by now I was finishing my BS in Exercise Science and doing my Internship at a Physical Therapy clinic (where I met my now wife..lol). For about 5 months I traveled 100 miles every day several times a day at times, for school, training the BB team, internship, and boot camps in two cities. It was kicking my Arse with money and it was exhausting.

I trained the BB team, ran my boot camps, members rose to 50 at times. Finished school, then started my MS in Kinesiology, did in home personal training in my spare time. I then started working at the college as the supervisor for the Wellness Center. Through my boot camps and with the help of my members, I continue to help out the community, got involved donating time, presentations on health, my life experiences with drugs, poverty, prison, death, etc.. things I thought our youth could use here in this region.

I later heard of CF, at first thought it was just another Bull Sh$% program like P90X. I tried it. I thought I was in shape, I was training 3 hours a day, did triathlons, could run a 5 k in 19 minutes and squat over 500 lbs. Nothing could kick my ***...I was the toughest SOB you can think of, Special ops, Ranger, 3 combat tours, what can be so hard about a short 15 minute WOD I saw on the CF Website. Well it smoked me, it kicked my arse like nothing ever had. Maybe Just Ranger School and Combat, but man... I was in heaven I found my new drug.

Did CrossFit for months alone, trying to get in CF shape. I introduced CF to friends and to my Boot Camps.

I talked to a friend of mine and borrow some money to go get certified, Talked to my wife and told her this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. This is the gym I want. a CF gym. I want my own box.

Got certified, convinced my boss to let me buy 3k in equipment. Then I started doing CF classes for free to our members. In agreement to let me borrow some of the equipment for my Boot Camps.

My goal was to start by December 2010. One day I posted I was certified in CF, in The Rio Grande Valley. Some guy emailed me, he had been doing CF at the local gym, but wasn't sure he was doing anything right and the local gym didn't like him to do CF. So we met, we talked, he came to my CF classes. 2 weeks later, he (Dennis) was so happy with the way it was going. We met for lunch and he gave me a check to start at my garage. I was able to get the affiliation, some equipment, and insurance.

Before starting, Him and I went to visit some affiliates in Laredo, Texas and everyone was so cool. Gave us tips, and info on how to start and what to do.

I went to Houston and visited several there during the holidays, when I came back Dennis had bought even more equipment. We started at my Garage 3rd of January. All the people that had been doing Boot Camps with me came to my garage and liked it. Every Saturday, in January, we gave a 4 hours the On- Ramp. Charged $80 for unlimited classes.

To make the long story short. With in two weeks, I was at 50 plus members, we had 4 classes in the am and 4 classes in the pm. People really liked the variety of times. At 530 am, perfect for some before work, at 830am perfect for mothers after dropping off kids. 5pm good for just right out of work, even 6pm and 7 and 8p, for those that work late.

1st problem, equipment, which is a good problem to have. Had the basic stuff. 2nd problem, one neighbor in particular was calling the city and complaining.

I had My wife, bro in-law, and Dennis. They just volunteered. Everyone enjoyed CF. Week 3 we were at 60 or so, my wife ended up finding a place near by, that was for rent. We looked into it, were a little scared about taking the risk, and the rent being so high cause it is in one of the main streets of all the metro area. It is huge area. So we knew rent was going to be crazy, so we just asked to meet owner. To our surprise owner was cool, area was 4000 sq ft, at very, very cheap price. We were excited but couldn't believe it, we were still scared about getting a big place, we weren't sure if we were going to fill it up. Were our members going to follow us or not? We took the chance, moved, started had several more weekends to On- Ramp at $80, we got another 20 or so members. We were able to cover all expenses and buy a little more equipment. Dennis bought some more equipment. Of course he doesn't pay membership, and he doesn't want anything, but just CF. He is now coach and Oly cert, will go to Level 1 next month with my bro in law.

In February, we set a goal to reach 100 by summer so I could quit my now pain in the butt job at the college.

By Mid February, we had reach 90 plus. I was forced to quit my job. But it came out to be good, we got to 100 the following week. Fees in Feb went up, but people still paid them. They see their friends getting in great shape and talking real good about CF and they want to come.

So it is now almost end of March, we are 120 members, and I have signed a contract with a Div 1 pro Soccer team so they can come and train at our facility. So that puts us at 140 plus members. We are currently finishing another on-ramp, which now we do it a whole month, twice a week. And we have 10 people waiting for the next month already paid and ready to go.

We are actually having our Grand Opening tomorrow March 27th, I am doing an adventure race and donating money to two non profit organizations I often work with. Then having my current members here so they talk to new people that come in. We are the first CF in the area, I have not advertise at all, just word of mouth. One of my members is real good friends with the mayor who wants to come and check it out, as well as the consulate of Mexico, since a big number of my members are Mexican nationals.

I still stay in touch with other folks from other affiliates, they still give me advice, share WODs, and now I am planning some sports clinics in summer and kids fitness camps. I am working on doing a CrossFit Challenge in June before the games, several of my members love CF so much that they want to get cert and help us out during summer. I am also hopping to finish my Masters this summer and do my thesis on CF training.

So all came so fast, is moving faster then we expected. It is almost scary. But one thing that helps me and I advice to everyone is that you do it from the heart and people will see that and will follow you to where you go.

Even though I have being helping others a lot the last couple of years, CF has allowed me to go even bigger and give something even better to people. Our goal is to reach 200 by summer and get into a 10,000 sqft facility by December 2010. Luckily my landlord owns the 20k building next to me as well, and tenants move out in Dec.

So all those of you who have started at your garage, all I can say is think BIG, take the risk, believe in your product, and be honest with people and they will be loyal to you, they will bring their friends and families and you can have your own box sooner than you think.

Anyone ever needs any advice or help just PM me or go to my Website.

www.ranger-crossfit.com

Good luck everyone, CrossFit is awesome.

Rangers Lead the Way!!
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