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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 10-10-2006, 06:23 PM   #1
Mike ODonnell
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Ok...this isn't the first time it has happened to me, but I just got word today that the facility I work out of is not renewing the lease and they are closing at the end of the month...aka 2 weeks...wooohoooo. (actually the last gym that closed on me packed up overnight and left a note on the door for me to find the next morning...so I guess this is an improvement)

My business has transitioned from mainly one on one training to now mostly smaller training groups like bootcamps of 10 people. I just put an ad in the paper and am getting good response...but now don't have a facility!

I've been in the business a long time and know that a commercial gym is not the ideal environment for me to work a bootcamp style business out of. I need some ideas on where else I could be doing them. I'm talking to some people about possibly getting a garage style gym in industrial space...but that won't happen in 2 weeks.

I've also thought about trying to find open basketball gyms at youth centers...large churches with recreation halls...somewhere that is indoors (so I am not weather dependent...plus my camps are first thing AM and PM...so darkness is an issue)

Any other ideas or suggestions from people who have gone through this would greatly be appreciated....I cant afford to shut down for too long so I need to do something quick even if temporary.
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:20 PM   #2
Douglas Chapman
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Mike,

I got your message and thought I would respond here.

Atlanta is a much better market for in the park training. The cooler months should be good and buy you some time to find a location that suits you.

It is important for any trainer to have complete information and a workable database to keep in contact with your clients.

The closing of your facility give you an opportunity to leverage the existing and displaced clientele. Try and get a client list of the clients and let them know you will be offering classes in a park or somewhere. It gives you an opportunity to bridge the time between now and when you find a home.

This really give you an opportunity to re assess and redefine your business. It has happened to me twice and each time it has been a real benefit. Imagine a clean slate where you can correct the mistakes you previously made?

Doug
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Old 10-11-2006, 05:11 AM   #3
Mike ODonnell
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Thanks for your feedback Doug. Yes it is alot nicer outside down here than I imagine in the north during the fall/winter months. I've tried parks before in the past, only problem is 1) Finding one that is lighted for early AM or later PM (as it will get dark earlier), 2) Even though we have some great parks around where I am, they are all owned by the county who has a "not to be used by a for profit business" rule that I have run into in the past. That and they are not "officially" open until like 8am when the cops open up the gates and close at dark.

I was looking at some indoor locations but the places I have been too want too much $ to rent out....so may just have an indoor facility as a backup on bad weather days.

I'll keep searching and finding more alternatives to look into. I agree with the opportunity to reevaluate the business structure...I look at it all as learning experience and keep telling myself it's all a bit easier from here....
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Old 10-11-2006, 05:32 AM   #4
Douglas Chapman
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Mike:

Think like this: Street lights. Circle up under a light in the parking lot. The local parks here are never locked. The all you really need is a place that has money bars.

Some of my most fun classes have been in near dark conditions. Work out in their parking lot and use benches (All parks have benchs) as the equipment. If you really think about it, what do you really need?

You will have no overhead and access to a lot of disgruntaled members who are tired of globo gym.

The key is to keep your people informed. Why not send an email to your existing clients and explain your situation and ask them for help. I think you will find a very supportive group of people who will be glad to help you get off the ground.

Doug
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Old 10-11-2006, 05:53 AM   #5
Tom Taylor
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Mike,

I am going thru something similar here in Connecticut, trying to find outdoor space now, and affordable indoor space before the snow falls.
Creativity is the key even if conditions are not ideal be consistant and show your existing clients you are working for them to provide regular workouts.
Martial Arts schools and Gymnastics centers usually sit empty all day, approach them about using the space during down time. Even if it's temporary until you find a space it will allow you to be consistant.
Doug makes a great point take advantage of all the soon to be displaced clientele you have an opportunity to increase your business and be a hero.
Reach out to everyone, in just about every crowd there is a Welder, Landlord, Lawyer etc. willing to help.
This is an opportunity if you make it one.

Good Luck,
Tom
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Old 10-11-2006, 07:44 AM   #6
Bill Russell
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Try contacting Masonic lodges in your area. Most have large cafeterias used for social events and gatherings, and they sit empty all but 6-8 hours a month.

We contacted a lodge in our town several years ago when we lost the use of our original location. We used a huge room in their basement. They let us use a closet for our equipment and mats, and they even had shower facilities.

The rent was very reasonable. Most buildings are bought and paid for. We would have stayed there forever except our 'fearless leader' took our tuition and stiffed the landlord!

You most likely will need to find a lodge member since lodges don't answers phones or staff the places. Start by asking some of the older folks you know, you'll be surprised how many masons there are.
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:59 AM   #7
Amber Burke
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What about a storage building? I know they come if different sizes- you would be able to use the parking lot for warm-up and running and you would be able to set up your equipment inside.... i know this sounds silly, but just an idea? :-)
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Old 10-11-2006, 12:06 PM   #8
Sam Lepore
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Hey Mike--

I would get outside. I particpate in a Crossfit style camp 4 mornings every week here in Philly....Outside.

He brings Kettlebells, Tires for tire sprints, dumbbells for push presses and thrusters, Slamballs. It is Awesome!!
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Old 10-11-2006, 12:59 PM   #9
Jared Buffie
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Mike,

Check your email. I have an awesome idea for you.
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:03 PM   #10
Yael Grauer
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Call churches, synagogues, community centers, rec centers, etc. see if you can use the building when it's free. I know people that have even traded reduced/free classes for members in exchange for rent.
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