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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 11-16-2012, 09:37 PM   #1
Aaron Korth
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Question for box owners...

Did anyone open a box or know of someone who did that went into it with the mindset of "Build it and they will come?" Meaning, you opened your box with no existing members, no expansion or anything, just started from scratch?

Just curious if there are any success stories?
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:18 AM   #2
Steve Loeding
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Re: Question for box owners...

I did - opened in a tiny corner of a martial arts studio with 4 people training for free. Three years later I'm still in the same place, now 1000 sq ft and 80 members. Started with one small squat stand, metal weights, one pull up rack.

Now I have a new Rogue pull up rig, 3 rogue squat stands, lots of metal and rubber plates, 20 bars, etc. I bought stuff as I needed it, never went into debt.

made lots of mistakes along the way but now have a very close community and 5 coaches.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:20 AM   #3
Brendan McNamar
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Re: Question for box owners...

Started out of house after moving 25 miles away from where I knew people. I knew my first member prior to CrossFit everything else built from scratch.

Was part time for a year then full time.

I too made just about every mistake in the book except I always took good care of my members and I never let the bank account balance hit zero.

These days I would be real careful about building full gym with no members. Unless you know of a large market, middle to high income you could go through a lot of cash.

Some guys I know built a big gym a mile from mine. I hope we both do well but if it doesn't workout I have a big edge on them in fixed cost. I can survive with less members and lower prices if necessary. I'm not sure we have enough people for both gyms to do great.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:30 PM   #4
Brian Strump
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Re: Question for box owners...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Korth View Post
Did anyone open a box or know of someone who did that went into it with the mindset of "Build it and they will come?" Meaning, you opened your box with no existing members, no expansion or anything, just started from scratch?

Just curious if there are any success stories?
There will be exceptions to every rule. If people were honest, they would probably be 10x more that will admit that's how they started, and now are either close, debt up to their eyeballs, or both.

It takes alot more than a willingness to work hard, and a love of CrossFit to make it work. Most people do not understand what it takes to run a business until it's too late.

My 2c.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:47 PM   #5
Aaron Korth
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Re: Question for box owners...

Thanks for your 2 cents guys... much appreciated!!
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:32 AM   #6
Joey Dussel
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Re: Question for box owners...

I started with just teaching my four friends at an MMA school, got offered a position running S&C classes for the MMA gym, then opened my own affiliate across town. Now we have 40 members. From 4 KBs, iron weights, and doing pull ups on a squat rack we had to weigh down with the weights to keep from tippping; to a 24' rig, tons of kbs and bumper plates, etc.

Focus on doing a really good job and they will come...but they will come slowly.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:01 PM   #7
Aaron Korth
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Re: Question for box owners...

Congrats Joey!! Hope your success continues....
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:22 PM   #8
Dan Dirkx
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Re: Question for box owners...

I actually fell into becoming a CrossFit affiliate owner. I had been an avid CrossFitter for 6 years, when I volunteered my time showing some youth wrestlers and football players basic movements to become better athletes. I did this because I believed if I had CrossFit when I was younger my athletic path may have been different. These movements were basic that anybody could teach. However the kids benefited greatly from this and parents started saying they wanted their kids to continue working with me after the season. Thus I had a buddy who owned a small, local, gym and he gave me space to continue working with these kids. I had a few boxes (for box jumps, a couple kettlebells and olympic bar at the start)Clients at the gym, and word of mouth spread, and I now have become a CF L1 and CF L1 Kettlebell Instructor as well as an affiliate owner. I now have a client base of 65 plus and I have steady streams of on ramp people coming thru the ranks every week!
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:29 AM   #9
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Question for box owners...

Basically started from scratch (no members) this February, 1400 sq ft warehouse, doing it solo after splitting from my bootcamp biz partner a city over (long story). Had changed careers just prior to that (from engineering), so everything was still new. Went for it anyway with a family loan and a maxed CC, am still in debt for at least another year, still holding my breath to turn the corner financially/growth-wise. At 20-25 members now, we will basically survive the new year and hopefully thrive beyond then, but any life surprises (injury/illness, big unforeseen expense) could bury me easily. Exciting times!

As others have said, your love of CF and desire to succeed will not alone sustain you. Besides being a great coach and leader, if you don't have a background in sales/service (I didn't), there are a lot of people skills to learn, skills that you can make some terrible decisions without, especially doing it alone. You better like working with and helping people. All kinds of people. People often nothing like yourself or your friends, save the common interest to improve themselves.

The last year has been the most stressful of my life. No joke, I feel like it's actually been 3+ years in only 9 months. I don't know how to quit, but I do wish things would settle down a bit sooner. I know I can only go solo for so long before something gives, but I need to either be able to afford help from outside or take the time to continue painstakingly developing it internally, neither of which seems to be happening soon enough.

It helps knowing there is a community of people in similar situations, taking similar risks. It helps being able to read about everyone else's stories, successes and failures, lessons learned etc. It helps practicing CrossFit, pushing yourself to your limits and bouncing back from defeat. It can be very fulfilling, but also challenging in ways I never expected. There are no rest days, holidays, or vacation days. The whole experience has been one long day and still going.

Even if you're in it for the right reasons, it will be a wild ride, but you can endure almost anything if you set your mind to it. Good luck.
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Last edited by Mauricio Leal : 11-24-2012 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:28 AM   #10
John R. Harris
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Re: Question for box owners...

Great post.
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