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Scott Poston, M.S.

Founder & President

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Grand Opening a Private Club Fitness Center (Checklist)

A checklist for operators

Private clubs are entering the fitness market in droves. It is the way of the future. Members expect it, and the next generation of members demands it. Private clubs are known for their customer service, communities, and overall quality, but herein lies the risk. When it comes to fitness, clubs are quite green. Yet, members still expect the same level of overall quality.

This checklist is dedicated to clubs who don’t have a fitness center yet, but have started moving dirt. For those of you who have fitness centers already, the list can still be helpful especially if you are looking for a fresh perspective on operations.

The checklist is for operators, not builders, though conversations with builders and designers will be very important. It is critical that an operator is included in the early discussions so that the operations can be factored into the build out.

The below checklist is the product of our experience grand opening private club fitness centers—though we reserve the right to get smarter. The list lacks finer details, but if you have never grand opened a fitness center then you will appreciate the framework this provides.

Note: We refer to pre-opening as the time before grand-opening. Six to nine months is what we generally recommend for the project.

The list

  • Introduce private club fitness best practices for review/approval:



Staff turn-over

Program diversity

Fail-friendly culture

Marketing needs

Department integration

  • Strategic plan for pre-opening, grand opening, and first full year of operations

  • KPIs

  • Deliver rough financial projections and pro formas

  • Determine what the GM/board need/want of the fitness center/operation/services

  • Survey the membership to determine interests

  • Conduct a market analysis of private clubs nationally, commercial boutique nationally, and the local fitness market

  • Architectural wants/needs:

Electrical for cardio

Cable tv needs for cardio

Internet/data for cardio

Location of water fountains

Lighting needs

Location of electrical outlets in relation to fitness equipment, wireless speakers

Audio needs, zones, music subscription service, control devices

Window shades (retractable)

Support beams in ceiling (for TRXs, aerial yoga)

Hot yoga needs (as needed)

Separate temperature controls in all exercise spaces

Soffits or mill work that may interfere with equipment placement

Sound proofing needs

Closet/shelves for fitness equipment storage

An empty wall reserved for storage of towels and small member items