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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 01-03-2010, 08:12 PM   #1
Heath Babb
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Opening a box and have some questions???

My partner and I are in the process of opening a box and have a ton of questions for you affiliates out there. Any of these questions you could answer would be a huge help. As with so many, CF has changed our lives and we want to inject it into our community. Our best to all. Rock On!!
I'm not sure if the best way is to just copy and paste and hit enter after each question or not?

Affiliate Questions
What was the worst decision made?
What was the best decision made?
Where did you get your equipment? What would you have done differently?
Is there a piece of equipment you wish you had?
Is there a piece of equipment that is not used enough to have purchased?
What is the square footage? What would you like it to be?
What is the best way to get people in the door? And keep them?
Do you use membership contracts? Why or why not?
Where did you get your insurance?
What advice do you have for beginning trainers? Beginning owners?
What does CrossFit HQ do that you do not like?
What does CrossFit HQ do that you like?
Was their an unknown pool of prospective CrossFitters than you have come across since you opened your doors?
What demographic makes up most of your clientele?
Do you have a business partner? Any advice on business partnerships?
Do you and partner have a partnership agreement?
What do you feel separates successful CrossFit boxes from unsuccessful ones?
Can you name the top strength of CrossFit?
Do you feel it lacks anywhere? Where?
Can you name the top strength of your CrossFit box?
What are your hours and how did you determine them?
Is running a box what you thought it would be?
How do you keep track of client's payments?

There are many more if you're up for it!!
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:37 PM   #2
Damon Stewart
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Re: Opening a box and have some questions???

[quote=Heath Babb;718696]My partner and I are in the process of opening a box and have a ton of questions for you affiliates out there. Any of these questions you could answer would be a huge help. As with so many, CF has changed our lives and we want to inject it into our community. Our best to all. Rock On!!
I'm not sure if the best way is to just copy and paste and hit enter after each question or not?

Affiliate Questions
What was the worst decision made? To partner with an MMA gym. Since resolved.

What was the best decision made? To decide that our focus would be excellence and define exactly what that meant. Having a clear vision.

Where did you get your equipment? Againfaster.com & Roguefitness.

What would you have done differently? Not bought a lifting platform..it's easier to make them.

Is there a piece of equipment you wish you had? At this point that would be sleds. However, we're waaaay better equipped than most Affiliates.

Is there a piece of equipment that is not used enough to have purchased? Nope.


What is the square footage? 4200 sq feet of which 1200 sq is office. I feel like 6000 would be ideal.

What is the best way to get people in the door? And keep them? Nothing beats delivering excellence. That means no 3-2-1- go coaching. Instead know exactly what you're going to do with your hour. We typically go a general warmup, then skill session, periodized strength training, Crossfit WOD, then cool-down.

Do you use membership contracts? Why or why not? We require a 3 month commitment up front. After that it's our job to deliver excellence to keep the athletes.

Where did you get your insurance? A local guy. He's helped around 30 Affiliates now and is one of my athletes.

What advice do you have for beginning trainers? Beginning owners? Visit as many other Affiliates as possible, especially the great ones. People are paying for your coaching, not for you to write a WOD on the whiteboard and start a timer. Coach them.

What does CrossFit HQ do that you do not like? I would like Greg Glassman to pat me on the back after every workout and tell me "Nice job Damon, I'm proud of you." Instead for a small yearly fee I'm free to do virtually whatever I want within the boundaries of the Affilate agreement.

What does CrossFit HQ do that you like? Publish the journal for $25/year, provide a crapload of great certs, put on the Games, etc.

Was their an unknown pool of prospective CrossFitters than you have come across since you opened your doors? Yes, virtually all of my non-military athletes had never heard of Crossfit prior to us introducing them to it.


What demographic makes up most of your clientele? Military, housewives, entrepreneurs, professionals.

Do you have a business partner? No. Any advice on business partnerships? Avoid them.

Do you and partner have a partnership agreement?

What do you feel separates successful CrossFit boxes from unsuccessful ones? I'm writing a Crossfit Journal article on this.

Fingers tired...maybe I'll answer more later.
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:22 AM   #3
Steve Loeding
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Re: Opening a box and have some questions???

why was it a mistake to partner with an MMA training center ? I've done that now and am wondering if it was a wise choice. The guy and gal who run it really like CrossFit and have been pretty helpful. But honestly it feels like I'm just borrowing space for a couple hours a day, instead of having my own space to do as I please.... What went wrong with your experience.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:49 PM   #4
Damon Stewart
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Re: Opening a box and have some questions???

There were a couple things: First and foremost is in my experience the demographics weren't synergistic. MMA practitioners tend to be 18-24 yo males who love to talk and act tough. Crossfitters (at least mine) tend to be 30+, military, professionals, or housewives. When we ended that partnership we tripled our revenue in 3 months.

Second of all there was a big difference in the cultures we were trying to build. The demo's above expect vastly different levels of excellence and things like dirty bathrooms, F-bombs being every other word, and death metal didn't work for the culture we're building.

I'm sure there may be some with positive experiences but we weren't one of them.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:43 AM   #5
Brian Strump
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Re: Opening a box and have some questions???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heath Babb View Post
My partner and I are in the process of opening a box and have a ton of questions for you affiliates out there. Any of these questions you could answer would be a huge help. As with so many, CF has changed our lives and we want to inject it into our community. Our best to all. Rock On!!
I'm not sure if the best way is to just copy and paste and hit enter after each question or not?

We are in the process of opening right now, shooting for mid February, so I won't be able to answer all your questions, but will do my best. Our space will consist of a 1600sqft chiropractic/rehab office with a massage therapist in the front office space, and 1600sqft CrossFit space in the warehouse in the back.

Affiliate Questions
What was the worst decision made?
What was the best decision made?
Where did you get your equipment? What would you have done differently? Muscle Driver, Craigslist, and made our own pull-up and dip stations.
Is there a piece of equipment you wish you had?
Is there a piece of equipment that is not used enough to have purchased? I have heard other affiliates say that they wouldn't buy slam balls. You hardly use them in WOD's and can use the med balls instead of having both. I didn't buy them, and bought more kettlebells instead.
What is the square footage? What would you like it to be? 1600. In my opinion, run efficiently is a good amount of space to start with. Of course we'd like more, but from the start your goal should be to keep overhead low.
What is the best way to get people in the door? And keep them? Deliver exellence, show them you are more than just a "personal trainer". Discuss nutrition, "diet", sleep habits, etc. To get them in the door, if your athletes are happy, they will be your free marketing. I would also recommend doing some outside marketing to the public. If you want specifics, PM me.
Do you use membership contracts? Why or why not? We are going to use contracts. They can buy they can pay for 1,3,6 or 12 month membership and will receive a % discount as they increase the time they are buying for. We will also offer 10 visit punch card for $150.
Where did you get your insurance? Same as above, not cheapest; but in this society, not something I'd be willing to skimp on.
What advice do you have for beginning trainers? Beginning owners? If you've never trained before. Go to great affiliates and see how it's done. I would try to hire one to train some classes and learn from them. As for owners...read books, and follow the steps of successful business owners.
What does CrossFit HQ do that you do not like?
What does CrossFit HQ do that you like?
Was their an unknown pool of prospective CrossFitters than you have come across since you opened your doors? Virtually anyone you come in contact with is going to be in your "unknown" pool. Most of the public doesn't know about CrossFit. DO NOT pre-determine who will join your affiliate!
What demographic makes up most of your clientele?
Do you have a business partner? Any advice on business partnerships? Avoid business partners. More often than not, they fail. One to many egos.
Do you and partner have a partnership agreement? Contact a lawyer, and get one. Seriously re-consider the above answer to your question.
What do you feel separates successful CrossFit boxes from unsuccessful ones? It depends how you define success.
Can you name the top strength of CrossFit? Can be scaled for any ability, or lack their of.
Do you feel it lacks anywhere? Where? It's strength is it's weakness. No specific. Many people won't care, but some will. Which brings us back to it's top strength, in my opinion.
Can you name the top strength of your CrossFit box?
What are your hours and how did you determine them? We are going to start with hour classes 7-10, 4-7. If enough people ask about 6am, or lunch time class then we will add those times.
Is running a box what you thought it would be?
How do you keep track of client's payments? Quicken. I would definitely recommend doing contracts. I have heard too many affiliates say they wish they had started that way.


There are many more if you're up for it!!
Good Luck!
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:43 PM   #6
Kris Murphy
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Re: Opening a box and have some questions???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damon Stewart View Post

Second of all there was a big difference in the cultures we were trying to build. The demo's above expect vastly different levels of excellence and things like dirty bathrooms, F-bombs being every other word, and death metal didn't work for the culture we're building.

I'm sure there may be some with positive experiences but we weren't one of them.
I think that's going to be the issue with trying to build a CrossFit business hand in hand with an MMA business. If your sole focus is CrossFit, your bread and butter clients are not going to be the young, crazy athlete types. They may love CrossFit, but rarely have the money for it. So adding CrossFit classes to an MMA facility is a good idea from a perspective of increased fitness for the MMA fighters, but trying to build a CrossFit Affiliate out of MMA fighters may be near impossible.

FWIW, this is just my limited judgment speaking.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:49 PM   #7
Jakub Marciniec
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Re: Opening a box and have some questions???

Were in the process of attaching a crossfit affiliate to our Krav Maga gym and this partnership seems to be working brilliantly so far.

A lot of the students at the KM gym are in the same demographic as a pure CF gym, they come to learn to defend themselves not smack the silly out of each other in a ring.

So just bare that in mind, that different places do have different cultures and that just because something has to do with 'fighting' it shouldn’t be ruled out.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:51 PM   #8
Kris Murphy
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Re: Opening a box and have some questions???

Good point Jakub. I know several CrossFitters who are also in to Krav and have established income.
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:43 PM   #9
Brian Strump
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Re: Opening a box and have some questions???

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Originally Posted by Kris Murphy View Post
Good point Jakub. I know several CrossFitters who are also in to Krav and have established income.
I could be wrong, but I believe Damon's point is strictly business. It's not that it can't be done, but if you are starting an affiliate and your main demographic you are looking for is 18-25 year old men; it will be difficult. Sure, your "firebreathers" may fall in that age group, but not the people that typically open their wallets for training. The largest group is the 29-54 year old females, they have money, and spend the most discretionary income on trying to look better, healthier. His point was that this group will most likely not feel very comfortable in a room full of fighters.

It can work, it's just a matter of deciding which demographic you want making up the majority of your members.
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:07 PM   #10
Heath Babb
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Re: Opening a box and have some questions???

Thanks for all your input guys and everyone please keep it coming.
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