how to start a profitable gym business in Kenya

Can a gym business be profitable despite the oversaturation of gyms?

How can you make 10M or more per month with a gym business?

What is a Gym Business and How Does it Work?

What is a gym? This is a facility where physical education (P.E) classes take place.

These classes involve lifting weights and other forms of exercise.

A gym has all the sports-related machines and equipment including weights, treadmills and dumbbells that will be used for these exercises.

In a gym business, a gym instructor works with the clients to help them attain their desired fitness goals.

This could be through enforcing regular workouts, coming up with a healthy diet for them, motivating and doing follow-ups.

Actively health pursuing people join gyms every day.

The number keeps growing daily because people are looking to achieve their own fitness goals in one way or the other.

If you are passionate about exercise and you can offer professional training to clients, you should start a gym business today.

This is a good business idea for anyone who wants to see people get fitter and healthier.

Have no idea how to start a successful gym business?

Is a Gym Business Profitable?

Starting a gym business today is one of the best decisions you can make today especially with the current rise.

Gym classes are in high demand now more than ever.

For this reason, we see multiple gym businesses mushrooming everywhere. It’s not only that.

Successful gym business owners boast of making very high profits from their gym business.

A gym business has multiple income streams and that makes it very profitable.

With the rising number of people adapting to a healthy lifestyle by hitting the gym, you will always have gym memberships and this will bring in revenue to your business.

I will talk about the multiple ways you can make a profit from a gym business later in the article.

How to Start a Successful and Profitable Gym Business in Kenya

You’ve made the decision to start your own successful gym business.

You can either choose to rent, buy or go the franchising route.

Regardless of what path you choose to start your gym business, there are some things that you need to put into consideration at all times when starting a gym business.

Here is the step by step guide you can use to start your successful gym business.

Conduct market research and analysis

Study your market.

Before you start a gym business, you have to know what it is that your customers are looking for. What challenges are they facing?

What do they need?

How is your gym business going to solve customers’ problems?

Who are your competitors?

What are they doing?

How are you going to have a competitive advantage over them once you start your business?

Market research and analysis helps you better understand what you are going to encounter in a gym business and you get prepared beforehand.

Find a good location

The location makes or breaks your business.

When you are starting a gym business and you are building your site from scratch, you have to get the best location to set up your business.

A great location will influence more customers to visit your business and vice versa.

You have to do some scout work before you settle for a given location.

Meet the legal requirements

Get all the legal paperwork done.

Check with your local authorities to know what kind of business permits and licenses you need to start your successful gym business.

You also have to check out the zoning laws to avoid paying heavy fines or having your business shut down once you start operations.

Buy your gym equipment

The neat thing you have to do now is to buy the right gym equipment for your gym business.

You can buy new gym equipment or already existing ones and start your successful gym business.

Make sure you buy what is most on-demand and that your customers need.

Hire the right people

Get the right people to help you run your successful gym business.

They do not have to be fitness trainers, although that would be a good plus.

Offer training to your employees, so that they may know what it is like to start and run a successful gym business. 

Market your gym business

After you have set up your gym business, you have to market yourself and promote your business so that you may have more clients walking into your business. This is also a good way to land your first clients.

Improve decor

People want to walk into a gym that has a great ambience.

You can improve the outlook of your gym business by using the best interior design techniques that are latest and on-trend.

Offer additional services and upsell.

You can install vending machines and sell water bottles and toiletries to your clients when they visit your gym business.

Train your staff

The worst thing that can happen to you in your business is when your clients start filing harassment complaints or when they feel that your employees are not well trained.

If you want a successful business, always train your employees. 

Market your business

Do not just stop at the clients that you already have visiting your business.

Keep on promoting yourself and your business so that you may have clients all year round.

Keep up with the trends

Be adaptable to change and keep up with the latest trends in gym equipment if you want to run a successful gym business.

Good customer service

You must always strive to ensure that your customers are satisfied and have the best customer experience when they visit your gym.

Customer satisfaction is a crucial determinant of business success.

How Do I Become a Gym Instructor?

If you are just starting out with a small gym business, you may want to be the sole gym instructor to your clients so that you do not have to incur costs for employees.

Have no experience in fitness? Worry not. Here is how you can be the first gym instructor for your gym business.

  1. Decide if this is what you want. Do your research and check to see if becoming a gym instructor is what you want. It is important to cultivate interest first if you want to be dedicated to your work.
  1. Get certified. You can get some education on the human body, health and nutrition and become certified. You will build skills this way. This will also hold your business credibility.
  1. Train. Always practice. You have to adopt a healthy lifestyle and change bad unhealthy habits of you are going to influence your team and clients to follow your example. 

A Day in the Life of a Gym Owner

There are certain things that you will be doing on any typical day in your gym business.

The activities to do in your gym daily include and aren’t limited to:

  • Opening the gym on time, prepping and cleaning up for the day 
  • Cleaning your gym machines and equipment 
  • Maintaining and repairing gym equipment 
  • Training your clients and employees 
  • Managing the memberships and ensuring classes are paid for in full
  • Checking the register for any sales 

What Do I Need to Start a Gym Business

This is what you need to start a successful gym business. 

  • Gym machine and equipment e.g treadmills, bench presses, rowing machines, dumbbells, weight sets etc.
  • Business license and permits 
  • Physical space, if you are going to be operating your business onsite and not online.
  • Business insurance 

What are the Expenses for Starting a Gym Business?

If you want to start a successful gym business, you have to know the initial startup costs and the ongoing expenses that you will incur when you start a gym business.

You do not want to end up falling short in your budget.

  1. Cost of gym machine and equipment 
  1. Cost of gym site 
  1. Staffing costs
  1. Licensing fees
  1. Utility bills
  1. Insurance costs
  1. Marketing expenses

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Gym Business?

Starting a successful gym business doesn’t have to be an expensive venture.

Depending on your budget, you can start out small and later move to a large scale gym business.

Your startup costs get influenced by your decision to start a gym business by renting one from scratch.

How Do I Make Money With a Gym Business?

You make money with a gym business by packaging and selling your gym services and classes priced with a membership fee on a single, monthly or annual basis.

You can also make money by charging additional classes such as Yoga, dance classes, CrossFit, pilates etc. to your clients. 

How Much Should I Charge Gym Customers?

The amount of money you charge your customers will depend on the following factors. 

  • Competition. Look at what your competitors are charging and use that as the base for which upi are going to set your charges.
  • Location. Gyms located in high end places will definitely charge their clients more, than those set up in middle-class areas. 
  • Time. The longer the time an individual spends in your gym business, the more they are expected to pay.

We also have different payment options you can use to charge your customers.

  1. Single day 
  2. Monthly
  3. Annual
  4. Gym only memberships 
  5. Gym and fitness class memberships 
  6. Off peak memberships

The average amount of money you should charge your customers should be Ksh. 5,000 per month.

Always keep your pricing fair and make sure you can still earn profit from the charges you have decided on from your clients.

How Much Money Can I Make With a Gym Business?

If you have 10 people visiting your gym business and they each pay a membership fee of Ksh. 3,000 per month, you can easily earn Ksh. 30,000 or more with a gym business.

If you want to make more profit, you can sell items, offer other gym services and classes and accommodate peak times to make good cash.

On average, you can make Ksh. 500,000 in a year from gym business.

You have to make sure that you remain dedicated to your trade and always market your business to get more clients. 

Legal Requirements to Start a Gym Business 

Before you start your gym business, you have to make sure that you are in full compliance with the law so that you do not end up getting fines or having your business shut down. There are necessary permits and licenses that you need to start a successful gym business.

  • Occupancy permit 
  • Business license
  • Business insurance

Best Locations for a Gym Business

When you want to start a physical gym business, you have to understand what makes a location a great location.

Location will either make or break your business.

Where your gym business is located will influence your gym membership prices.

There are certain things you need to consider when you are setting up your successful gym business in a given location.

Here they are:

  1. Foot traffic. Start your gym business in places that have high foot traffic so that you will increase the chances of people walking by and seeing your gym business and have them visit later.
  1. Accessibility. Have your gym business in places that are accessible by the main roads, highways and motorways.
  1. Crime rate. Start your gym business in a place that is secure. You want to make sure that your clients do not get any attacks when they are coming to your gym. This is a big safety concern.
  1. Local laws. As you start your gym business in a given location, you have to know the zoning laws so that you do not risk having your business shut down or paying heavy fines. Check with the local authority to find out what these laws are.
  1. Competition. It is not a good idea to start a gym business in places where there is stiff competition from other successful gyms. Only do this if you have a distinguishing factor and you will be very competitive in the market and get more clients.
  1. Parking access. Your gym business location should have a parking access to allow your clients to park their cars when they come into your gym. This is very important and convenient to your clients.
  1. Business rates. Check the business rates in the area you are choosing to start your gym business and see if the tax rates and utilities are affordable.

The best places to start your gym business are in estates in urban centres.

What Skills Do I Need to Start a Gym Business?

There are some skills and qualities that you need to have to start a successful gym business.

Great gym instructors and successful gym business owners usually have these traits and skills.

  1. Communication skills. You have to have excellent oral and written communication. As you work with clients, you have to be able to build rapport and understand what their fitness goals are.
  1. Interpersonal skills. As a gym instructor, you need to learn how to connect with your clients and establish good relationships with them. This will encourage customer trust and loyalty. 
  1. Leadership. As a gym instructor, you must be a leader and guide your clients on the best fitness route they need to take to achieve their fitness goals.
  1. Marketing skills. You need to have good marketing strategies that will put you and your business out there if you want to expand your customer base. 
  1. Customer service. Practice excellent customer service and make sure your clients are satisfied after a gym session in your business. You will build customer loyalty this way.
  1. Patience. You need to have great patience because sometimes you may be dealing with difficult customers who either want immediate results, cancel their memberships without notice or even blame you if they don’t reach their goals.
  1. Adaptability. Be able to adapt to change and embrace the latest trends and technology that is being used in the gym business. 

Who are Gym Clients and How Do I Attract Them?

Your target audience is people who are looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle and achieve their own fitness goals.

Getting clients for a gym business is quite simple.

You do not have to look too far.

Here is how you will land your first clients for your gym business.

Use good signage/billboard posts

When you start a gym business, you can have good signage with bold and attractive wording to let people know what your business is all about.

It is easier for them to remember and later visit your business.

Ask for referrals

Have a referral program, whereby if a client is satisfied with your gym services, they can recommend someone else to visit your gym business.

Use social media

Use the connections you have built online to talk about your gym business and showcase client progress.

Go to Facebook or Instagram and have your business details set up so that people will contact you.

Create a website

Go online and showcase your fitness projects.

Take time to optimise your website for SEO and also build content by writing a blog about your gym business.

Your website will create a first impression on your customers and this will determine if they seek your services or not.

Your website should have good content for your fitness projects and you should optimise it so that it appears on top of the lists when someone searches for it on Google. 

Word of mouth

Start doing quality fitness work for people and build your brand through that.

It is easier to get more clients this way.

When people can acknowledge how great your gym services are, they will most definitely tell people who you are and how they can get in touch with you for your services.

Ask for referrals and testimonials to get more clients. 

Be the expert gym instructor everyone knows about and within no time, people will start visiting your gym business.

Make your gym business available on sites such as Google so that people can come online and search for your services easily.

Create a business profile, showcase your fitness projects and ask for client reviews if you want to make it to these directories


Connect with industry experts participate in local and community gym events and meet new people. You will get more clients and leads in this way.

Advantages of Starting a Gym Business

These are some of the benefits of starting a successful gym business. 

  1. Building meaningful lifelong relationships. When you connect with your clients in your business through training, you get to build meaningful long term relationships with your clients.
  1. Healthy people. You save a life or two from any impending diseases with your gym business.
  1. High profit margins. A gym business has very high profit margins in the long run.
  1. High growth potential. You can have a successful gym business and grow it into a gym franchise. You can expand your gym business and scale to greater heights.
  1. High demand. The number of people who are looking to be fitter and healthier is growing everyday. This shows that you will have clients who want to visit your business. You only need to find customers and keep them.

Disadvantages of Starting a Gym Business 

These are the problems and challenges that you will face when you start a successful gym business. 

  1. Equipment breakdown. Your gym equipment may break down and accidents may happen there. You have to always make sure that your equipment and clients are well monitored, repaired and maintained. 
  1. Gym equipment is expensive. Getting new gym equipment and this may need very large startup costs especially if you are starting from scratch.
  1. Burnout. Daily physical activity. Sometimes you may feel tired to go into your gym and train your clients in a particular exercise. Be prepared for burnout.
  1. Unpredictable pay. Depending on how you charge your clients, you may not have a definitive pay at the end of the month. Sometimes you will make more and other times less.

Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Gym Business

The most common mistakes that gym business owners make and how you can avoid them.

Choosing the wrong location

Starting a gym business in a place that is hidden, unsafe and has no parking access is a one-way ticket to business failure and closure. Be very intentional when you choose a place to start your business.

Failure to hire the best trainers

You do not have to hire muscle junkies to be your best trainers. Hire people who are ready to practice patience with clients, because some clients may be too demanding or hard on themselves.

Not making the best use of your gym space

Do not have an extra space in your gym sitting idly when you can add extra equipment that people can use. Assign every place an activity. Just don’t make your gym too crowded.

Having no business plan

Create a business plan so that you may know what goals you want to achieve and how.

You do not want to keep waking up for the rest of your life just to go to the gym and train people.

Starting off with used gym equipment

This may sound counterproductive, but it is a good way to save on capital. Just make sure that the used gym equipment is in good condition.

Clients will walk out of your gym if they realise that your gym equipment isn’t new.

How to Make Your Gym Inclusive and More Successful

With the many gyms that are springing up everywhere, you have to know how you are going to differentiate yourself from the competition that is already available.

Embracing diversity in your gym business will not only expand your customer base but will also help you achieve success fast.

  1. Support people with disabilities. Let your business accommodate people who have disabilities and have trained personally who are going to take care of them. You can also include building structures like ramps, elevators and disabled bathroom stalls to cater to them.
  1. Support diversity. Your business should be inclusive of people from all walks of life. This is regardless of race, gender, tribe. If gender X happens to frequent your gym and finds out that the main gender in your gym is Y, they will stop visiting your gym all together. Have your marketing strategies target a diverse market.
  1. Support body positivity. Body positivity is still a very sensitive topic in today’s world. You should definitely encourage people of all types of body shapes and sizes to visit your gym. The goal is to get fitter and healthier.
  1. Create communication channels for clients to air complaints. Have communication channels through which all your clients can reach you and make their complaints known to you. 
  1. Train your employees. You have to educate and train your employees in how they are going to deal with people who are from all walks of life. This is a good way to spread awareness about the stigma and have good measures that are going to curb them.

Unique Business Ideas to Make Your Gym Profitable

When you are starting a gym business, put a lot of emphasis on gym design if you want to have a creative, attractive and cool ambience for your clients whether they are children or adults.

There are some unique gym designs that you can incorporate into your business for an excellent customer experience. 

You can use these ideas if you want to create an overall good workout space for your clients.

  • Gym with a view
  • A massage parlor 
  • Use large mirrors
  • Have a basement gym
  • Have children activities like rock climbing 
  • Good flooring 
  • Gym painting 

FAQs on How to Start a Successful Gym Business in Kenya

1. Why do gyms fail?

No retention strategy

Not developing more than one income

No network

No marketing

Poor quality equipment

Hiring non-trained trainers

Choosing an improper location

2. How much money do you need to start a small gym?

Depends on how stocked you want the small gym to be.

Also, the amount you spend on a small gym depends on how much money you have.

3. How profitable is owning a gym?

You can make 200k/month in the first six months and up to 2m/more a month after the first year.

4. What skills are required to be a gym owner?


Ability to communicate well



Team player

Financial aware


5. How many customers should a successful have?

100 customers.

6. How can I be successful in fitness?



Offer night services

Sell the right products

What are the gym/fitness trends?

Get certified

7. What age group uses the gym the most?

18 -44

8. Is the gym industry growing?


Resources Related to Starting a Gym Business in Kenya

How to Start a Yoga Studio Business in Kenya

Most Profitable Fitness Business in Kenya

How to Start an Online Nutrition Coaching Business in Kenya

A lot of people are moving to the gym in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.

As much as people can do their workouts at home, we still need gyms to access the equipment that cannot fit in our homes.

The fitness industry has a large market share and you can make a lot of money by starting a successful gym business.

This article has answered all your questions about how you can start a successful gym business.

Be ready to show up, encourage yourself and be there for your clients if you want to start a successful gym business.

Gyms are a popular business in Kenya doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start one?

If you are a gym owner reading this, kindly share your experiences with other would-be gym owners in Kenya.




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