6 Tips For Setting Up Your MMA Gym

Specialty gymnasiums can be an expensive undertaking for those who take the plunge and decide to open one up. Not only do you have to find the right building and equipment for a reasonable price, but you also have to compete with the other gyms in your area. If you’ve been thinking about setting up an MMA gym but are worried about attracting members and handling costs, here are a few ways you can make the process a little easier.

1. Buying Vs. Leasing

Before you get into the details about solar panels and wondering how does recycling save energy, it’s a good idea to start by knowing your options when it comes to buying equipment vs. leasing it. For your average gym, like an Anytime Fitness franchise, buying equipment might make sense. You have to have a ton of equipment and it’s going to get tons of use every single day.

But for an MMA gym, big weight machines or cardio equipment aren’t going to be the main focus. You’ll most likely be able to get away with leasing equipment instead of buying, which can save a ton on startup costs. For the average martial arts facility, a few treadmills and weight machines will be plenty to supplement the other offerings. Most of your members will be there for training and fighting, not working out. 

2. Smart Marketing


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With a specialized gym, it can be tough to know how to attract new customers. Most people are going to see the words “mixed martial arts” and get scared off. In reality, MMA has a little something to benefit everyone. It’s important to make sure that your marketing materials don’t alienate large portions of the population and emphasize the accessibility to young and old, men and women, experienced and inexperienced alike. Offering beginner-friendly classes is often a good way to attract new people.

3. Consider Incentives

Your average gym is going to charge a fixed rate, but as a specialty gym, you have the opportunity to offer special services for different payment plans. Things like nutritional advising, physical therapy, and massage are all successful ways to encourage a bigger investment from gym members. You can also incentivize greater participation by having competitions that are relative to each person’s progress. Member referral discounts are also a great way to provide members with expanded services and show them how much it benefits their health to be a member of your gym.

4. Curate Ambience

In fighting gyms, it can be difficult to curate a calming and focused environment. But if you have members getting scared off by excessive noise or messiness in the gym, that’s going to be reflected in your reviews. It’s important to have ground rules around things like time limits on machines and noise levels to keep the atmosphere pleasant for everyone. Of course, people are going to get carried away every once in a while, but having an expectation around behavior should make your gym an elevated space.

5. Listen to Feedback

One of the best things you can do for your gym is to regularly get feedback from members and apply it to operations. It can be as simple as having a comment box with paper and pens by the front door where anyone can jot down a thought or concern before heading out. Emailing surveys when memberships are canceled is a great way to see whether there’s a common issue causing people to leave the gym.

You can also create a culture of open communication by asking people how their experience has been, in person, on a regular basis, and having trainers and other employees do the same. No concern should be too small – if someone wants more hand sanitizer stations, that should be something you seriously consider. Opening a gym and having it turn out to be a success comes down to creating a culture where people can focus, work hard, and feel like they’re welcome every time they come in. 

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