If you have a passion for fitness and/or working out and want to open your own gym or fitness center, you’ll find many rewards. You get to do what you love, help others reach their fitness goals, and work with people who share the same interests in physical fitness. However, you should also be aware of the risks of this type of profession, including personal injury, general liabilities, financial, and general business risks. By educating yourself on the risks your fitness club may be exposed to, you can prepare for them and maintain your business.
One of the most significant risks of operating a gym or fitness club is personal injury. Your gym members will sign a contract upon entering the gym in regards to using equipment safely, but accidents can still occur. Be sure your gym is protected from claims. Aside from the legal aspect, injuries in your gym can cause a bad reputation, particularly if they are recurring. Always have up-to-date equipment and regular maintenance on the various machines.
There are also other safety risks you might be exposed to. The use of gym equipment can also cause illness or serious medical conditions to worsen. Someone with a heart condition might not reveal this information and after a rigorous workout, go into cardiac arrest. This and other medical conditions should be well cared for in your workout facility before emergency personnel arrives. If your employees are not trained in CPR and first aid or if you don’t have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on the premises, you are increasing the safety and wellness risks.
There are also a number of financial risks when owning and operating a fitness club. You’ll need to have a good amount of capital when you open your gym in order to hire employees, purchase high-end fitness equipment, and advertise your gym to local fitness seekers. You may also have legal claims down the line that affect your financial stability, including poor reputation from injury or bad reviews, down times during the year when memberships are low, and a variety of other things that affect your finances. Take these risks one at a time until you have done everything you can to protect your business’s financial assets.
Lawsuits and Fines
You are at risk for steep fines and civil litigations if you don’t follow proper protocol for operating a gym or fitness center. For one thing, you will need to follow ADA compliance rules. The ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act, requires you to have certain accommodations in your facility with individuals with disabilities. This includes adjusting counter heights, handicap stalls in the bathrooms, careful location of drinking fountains, and handicap accessibility to all of the facilities within the gym. You will also need to be sure your gym equipment follows the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines including up-to-date maintenance and proper location of the equipment.
Employees and Trainers
Your gym is at risk of lawsuits and financial struggle if your employees and trainers are not licensed and well trained. Your personal trainers should have their fitness trainer license according to your state’s guidelines, know CPR, and have personal training experience. All personnel of your gym should be well qualified, including the receptionist and check-in staff who may need to handle emergency situations, fitness class instructors, and daycare assistants who should know infant CPR and basic first aid.
Rules and Regulations
Another significant risk is that of liabilities, especially those that can be avoided. By posting your rules and regulations, such as the health condition of members, gym etiquette, proper equipment usage and procedure, workout attire, and workout ages, you will be able to protect your business against certain lawsuits.
Now that you are aware of the biggest risks when operating a gym or fitness club, you can work to prevent them. You should also get business insurance pertaining to your business, such as liability insurance, property insurance, and equipment breakdown insurance.