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There are many successful gyms in New Zealand, and the fitness industry is fulfilling and vibrant, albeit increasingly competitive. Before opening your own gym, there are several details to think through and plan. Dedicating some time to prepare for your gym in advance will make your business more likely to become a success. This article sets out three considerations before opening a gym in New Zealand, including:

  • thinking about your gym’s membership terms and conditions; 
  • sizing up your local competition and structuring your offerings accordingly; and 
  • planning your gym’s brand and  intellectual property protection.

Your Gym’s Membership Terms and Conditions

As a gym, your members will drive the success or failure of your business. There are many different considerations when planning your gym’s membership structure. Firstly, research your local competition and their offerings to their members. This should inform your preparation for how you will structure your gym’s membership offerings. 

In any case, the basic structure of your membership offerings should cater to different kinds of clients. Elements to consider include:

  • how flexible you want each membership to be;
  • what services or access each membership will include; and
  • how long the membership will last. 

Of course, you should also think about the price point of your membership offerings.

Additionally, the details in the terms and conditions are just as important as the actual memberships your gym will offer. This document is incredibly important as it will govern the legal relationship you have with members into the future. Likewise, your gym’s terms and conditions are the starting point for resolving any issues and queries that will likely be inevitable as your gym grows. Generally, your terms should include:

  • how memberships work at your gym;
  • what happens if a member does not pay their membership fees;
  • how cancellations work;
  • what happens if a member gets hurt or injured; and 
  • how you will resolve disputes between members and the gym. 

It is a good idea to get legal advice when drafting your terms and conditions. Do not just rely on templates you can freely download from the internet. Cutting corners may save time and money now. However, a poor terms and conditions document that does not account for your unique business can bring difficulties down the line. 

Sizing Up the Competition

When planning your gym and business, you should pay close attention to what your local competition looks like. Questions to research include:

Is the local area saturated with gyms? If so, are those gyms targeting a premium or low-cost market? 

Are there boutique studios, for instance, offering pilates or yoga classes? Or is there a lack in one of these areas? 

What are the membership structures offered by the competition, and how do they square up compared to your business’ proposed membership fees?

Your location is going to be a significant determinant of your gym’s success. This matters in terms of being proximate (or not) to other gyms. Locations also matters concerning being close to public transport, shops, restaurants and cafes, and other desirable locations. Ultimately, you want your gym to be accessible to as many people as possible and in a convenient location. The goal is for prospective clients to be able to incorporate your gym into their schedules easily. 

Your Gym’s Brand

There are many gyms in New Zealand. Therefore, you will want to ensure that your gym is standing out from the crowd. Having a distinctive brand is an essential way of doing this. Of course, your brand is more than just your name, although having a good name is always important. 

Additionally, think about other aspects of your brand, including your logo and materials. Likewise, considering how you will market your gym online or through any paid marketing is essential. Always contemplate how prospective clients are likely to hear about you. It can be a good idea to seek intellectual property protection for your brand, such as a trade mark on a name, to safeguard your brand once your gym starts developing a good reputation. 

Key Takeaways

There are multiple things to take into account when opening a gym in New Zealand. Most importantly, think about how you will be structuring your memberships and your legal relationship with clients. Naturally, your terms and conditions should govern this relationship. In addition, you should think through how your offerings compare to your competition. Likewise, what you will do to resolve any issues or disputes that arise with memberships. Finally, it is also helpful to think about the design of your gym’s brand in advance and whether you need to start protecting your gym’s intellectual property. 

For more information about opening a gym in New Zealand, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should gyms include in terms and conditions?

There are a range of details for gyms to include in their terms and conditions. At a minimum, terms and conditions should provide guidelines for how memberships, fee payments, injuries and disputes will all work at the gym.

What is the best way to structure memberships for a gym?

There is no single way to plan your membership offerings as a gym. Instead, think about your gym’s positioning in the market, particularly in terms of your competition. Further, consider what makes sense for your prospective client base.

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