How Much Does It Cost to Build a Gym?

How much does it REALLY cost to build a gym, and are you considering every factor? We'll break it down for you and explain how GymDash can help cut costs.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

How Much Does it REALLY Cost to Build a Gym?


You have big dreams and some starting capital in hand. You are finally ready to open your own gym or health club facility. You think you know how much it costs to build a gym, but you’re starting to second-guess yourself.

As you begin touring spaces, you can’t help but notice all the small changes you’ll need to make. Have you considered flooring and turf? Couches and lockers? Is there enough space to satisfy insurance companies?

Costs vary a lot depending on the type of gym, the location, and your priorities as a gym owner. We’ve created this guide to share all the costs associated with building a successful gym. Keep reading to learn our tips for getting clients in the door to offset the expenses.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Gym Facility?

When building a new gym, your very first consideration should be the facility itself. Do you plan to own your own building or lease it? As a rule, it costs more upfront to purchase a building. As you gain revenue from clients and EFTs, that amount may pay for itself over time.

Property costs can vary a lot based on your market and location. You will most likely pay for the space by the square foot. A strip mall space in a less swanky community might cost you as little as $10 per square foot. The same space in a major metropolitan city might cost as much as $40 per square foot.

Be aware that your leasing agent or lender may ask you to pay a deposit upfront.

How Much Space Do I Need to Build a Gym?


A very small boutique gym might only need 1,000 square feet. The average independently owned gym is about 4,000 square feet. A large chain gym can be up to 30,000 square feet or more!

You will need about 10 square feet per member in the space. If you plan to offer free weights, however, you may need more room.

What About Permits and Licenses?


When determining how much it costs to build a commercial gym, you must also factor in licenses and permits. At a minimum, you need a business license and local health and safety permits. 

Expect to pay a lawyer to help with the permitting and licensing process. You will likely need to add lawyer fees to your list of ongoing expenses, too.

Finally, when determining how much to build a gym, you might also factor in certification costs. You’ll need them for the personal trainers on your staff if they don’t have them already. 

How Much Are Equipment Expenses?

Again, when choosing equipment for your gym, you will have the option to lease or buy. 

Leasing has many benefits. It’s easier to update and swap out leased fitness equipment. You are also less likely to be responsible for maintenance. That’s a huge ongoing operating cost to consider! 

Newer, well-maintained equipment adds value to your gym and helps it stand out among competitors. 

The cost of leasing equipment depends on the size of your facility. You can anticipate a monthly fee in the range of $2,000 to $5,000. If you decide to buy, budget at least $25 per square foot. 

What Do We Consider “Equipment?”

The figures above specifically refer to fitness and workout equipment, including weights, machines, and gear. You will likely have a lot of other startup expenses that don’t fall neatly into that category.

Prepare to budget for the following, depending on the size and type of gym you open:

  1. Seating and tables, including chairs, benches, or couches
  2. Towels Mirrors or specialized flooring for studio spaces (for example, for pilates)
  3. Lockers and showers
  4. Interior decor 
  5. Front desk, and sales room build out

Overall, expect decor and remodeling to be a considerable startup expense. Speak to your landlord about how much of the necessary remodeling they may be willing to cover. 

Remember that negotiations are a huge part of the process. It can significantly decrease how much your gym costs to build. 

Don’t Forget Marketing

Consider initial marketing expenses as part of your startup costs. Consider branded signage, a high-quality website, employee uniforms, social media marketing, and print marketing costs. 

Power Your Gym With GymDash

The amount it costs to build a gym depends on many factors. Those range from the size of the building to your staffing needs. Regardless, you’ll need to fill the space with paying clients and EFTs to justify the expense. 

Getting bodies through the door is about more than pricing and signage, however. You need to leverage your data to make actionable changes that actually improve your business.

Grow your gym with GymDash, our fitness studio management software. We offer personalized coaching specific to your club or facility based on real data from your clients. You’ll gain access to written training, video training, courses, and more. Best of all, GymDash is free, so you won’t be tacking on an additional expense to bring in more revenue. 

Learn more about GymDash and start making money from your gym.



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