How to open a gym in South Africa

How to open a gym in South Africa

Millions of people go to the gym every year trying to meet their fitness goals. This makes opening a gym a very lucrative business. This is a guide on how to open a gym in South Africa.


Gyms will never stop being in demand, they offer a lot of services that are just hard to replace and people deem these services essential. A lot of people are conscious about their health and fitness. This is why most gyms offer extra training services to their clients, services like personal training, massaging and supplement sales.

Get operating premises

Unfortunately, you need a big space to operate a gym, gyms aren’t the type of businesses that you can operate from home. You will need at least R300 000 to start a medium sized gym that is at least big enough to earn you tangible profits. It’s best to lease the premises, building it from scratch will cost you a lot of money and it will take longer before you break-even.

Buy the gym equipment

This will be your biggest cost, gym equipment is expensive, some people try to cut corners by buying second-hand equipment. It’s important to know that second-hand equipment is not very appealing and might be a turn-off to some people. If you choose to buy a second-hand equipment buy one that is not too worn or torn.

You don’t have to buy all the equipment at once, you can start by buying the most popular equipment like treadmills. Most people going to the gym expect to see treadmills and some weights, equipment is expensive and you can find yourself spending over a million Rands just buying equipment.

Register your business

You need to register your business; you can register it from as little as R175 through the CIPC. It’s often best to register it as a private company, you will also receive a business account when you register through FNB.

Hire the right people

You will need employees if you are opening a medium or large gym, these employees will assist in the day-to-day operations of the gym. It’s often best to hire people with experience when you are just starting out.

Work on a gym membership model

You should come up with a profitable gym membership model, this means that you should offer packages and extras. Different packages should have different benefits, you should try your best to make sure that people stay for at least one year. You can do this by offering discounts.

Market your gym

The next thing you have to do is market your gym. Your gym will market itself if it’s in an area that receives a lot of foot traffic. This can be a shopping complex or in town, gyms that are too isolated don’t get much attention. Some people won’t even know that the gym exists.

Most gyms use sales agents to promote their gym and pay them on a commission basis. This is a great way to market your gym because there will be people who are working tirelessly to promote it to other people in order to earn a commission. The best thing about this is that you can hire as many agents as possible, this will bring immediate attention to your gym.


This was a guide on how to start a gym in South Africa, do you have any thoughts or questions? Comment below.

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