For the next chapter in our Set Up Series, we caught up with Rob Newman, owner of boutique PT studio Project_R, based in Southampton.
Rob takes us through the key considerations of setting up your own commercial gym or PT studio!
Project_R is a dedicated personal training site and the driving force behind owning a facility like this has always been a fantastic client experience. At 1700sqft our studio is quite an intimate space, very private and with a cap at 3 clients per hour feels it far removed from a commercial gym space. Creating a premium brand centred around a physical site has allowed us to build an excellent community experience where clients know each other, build friendships and share an experience we're proud of.
Financing the studio came first. We had to outline where the budget was going to go; this studio was an empty shell when we agreed on the lease terms and a large part of the expenditure went to preparing the room. With influences from the hotel industry more than the fitness industry; Project_R has great client facilities and a feel to the studio that means every client feels at home.
Our size meant space management dictated our buying choice. My own interests are influenced by the best boxes and I had a personal interest in weight lifting. This meant premium equipment, quality & durability were all paramount.
Our equipment choices were focused on maximising space while keeping functionality high, while I also wanted a sense of consistency that fitted with our brand and Again Faster was an obvious choice from the start. They provided a hugely helpful buying process where I was supported throughout - communication was excellent.</>p
Timing was key for the launch as we were building the room around us and Again Faster were able to deliver an entire studio fit-out when we needed it and it felt like a smooth operation! We already had an established client base pre-launch and having a finished studio to give to those clients was very important.
When the studio was launched we prioritised equipment that allowed 2 personal trainers to work in the room together. This meant 2 of almost everything. Competition rigs, barbells (we have 5 now), ski and row ergs, a selection of kettlebells & slam balls, storage and a few 100kg of virgin rubber bumper plates.
We needed enough equipment to allow our core focuses to be clear from the beginning; quality exercise and effective client training. We treated ourselves to an Assault Air Bike so that clients had a real treat when we opened.
We have a huge amount of open space for a small studio; around our showcase performance track we have installed Again Faster Combativo 30mm flooring. Although it was exciting to fill the room with the best equipment, an important value we looked for in our facility was teaching space. This flooring was an excellent way to tie the room together and create a practical working environment. We separated our main area with a 'technical work' space by adding Again Faster 43mm high impact flooring so that our barbells are protected and our rigs can be used to their fullest potential.
Project_R does not have a membership footfall and the wear and tear on the room is easily managed. The studio is appointment only and we are able to maintain the equipment to an excellent standard. We maintain our ergometers regularly and Again Faster have articles that we've actually used recently to make sure the equipment is looked after. Inspecting the chain links on the rowers, removing dust from the fans, maintaining the floor colour and cleanliness, and keeping our barbells spinning well is all done by us regularly.
March 16th brings us to our first year in business and we are adding more equipment to the room. This month we've purchased a full selection of Again Faster rubber hex dumbbells to add a layer of versatility to our training. These just feel solid, durable and satisfying to use, plus they look great with our colours! We've added the final black Team 2.0 barbell to our gun rack and a 2nd adjustable bench; very soon we'll need more bumper plates too. We are about to expand our team and we need to make sure the experience we offer doesn't change.
Again Faster have made the startup of Project_R an enjoyable experience and as a facility owner, it always feels like retail therapy.