How to Open an OPEX Gym
Being a gym owner is anything but easy.
It sounds easy.
…Which is probably why so many fitness enthusiasts, who usually have no business background, no sales background, and who never received any kind of business mentorship, open small gyms.
But time and time again, the story goes like this: Five years into the gym game, the gym owner is overworked and burnt out and is barely able to make a profit. Not only that, he can’t seem to retain his clients or his coaches because neither party is getting what they need: The client needs a professional coach and an individualized fitness program and the coach needs job fulfillment and a professional wage.
Often, there’s a lack of quality mentorship, education and quality business coaching to help these gym owners turn things around (hence why so many gyms close as fast as they open)….
This is the impetus behind becoming an OPEX licensed gym: To provide a framework, systems, education and mentorship to help the gym owner, the coach, and the client all be successful under the same roof.
And the proof is in the pudding. Since launching our OPEX gym licensing program in 2016, we have been helping gym owners do just this: run profitable gyms, where they properly service clients, who stick around because they value the health and fitness they’re getting, and develop and retain professional career coaches. In fact, there are now more than 60 OPEX locations in six different countries.
Today, we’re going to take you through the step-by-step process of becoming an OPEX licensed gym.
Step 1: Complete the OPEX Coach Certificate Program (CCP)
During this course, you will learn about program design, nutrition, the business of coaching and how to assess and consult clients effectively. Read more here.
Step 2: Digital Accelerator Course (4 weeks)
Any CCP coach can buy the digital accelerator course, which is a comprehensive digital course, workbook and operations manual for running an OPEX Gym.
OPEX COO Carl Hardwick explained that in this course, you also learn how to become an OPEX Gym if, for example, you’re transitioning from being a group exercise facility into an OPEX Gym, if you’re transitioning from being a personal training studio to an OPEX Gym, or if you’re opening up a brand new facility.
Step 3: Launch Process (10 weeks)
Once you have completed Step 1 and Step 2, and you show proof of insurance and a Letter of Intent (LOI), you’re eligible for the launch process.
This begins with 10 weeks of calls with a small group of others going through the licensing process and with OPEX CEO Jim Crowell. During these calls, you will receive support in various areas—such as the small details of setting up your business, creating marketing strategies, developing operational procedures, coach development etc.
Hardwick explained that there are weekly deliverables during these 10 weeks that cover everything from brand marketing and brand awareness, to identifying your target market, to how to design programs efficiently—basically the process helps you develop “a blueprint for exactly what your business will look like,” Hardwick said.
Step 4: One-on-One Support (Ongoing)
After the 10 weeks are complete, you are given a mentor to provide one-on-one support, who will guide you through to your grand opening. Mentors do one-on-one monthly video calls with you, where they can get very personalized based on your individual needs.
OPEX North Shore owner Shayan Vaghayenegar transitioned from being a personal trainer into an OPEX Gym owner in 2018. He said the support he has received from his mentor Hardwick has been invaluable to him.
“Any little questions I have—even things like what hours should I be open—Carl knows the answer, and he’s so good at getting back to me right away,” he said. This has gone a long way in improving the confidence he has as a new business owner, in reducing stress, and in legitimately providing him with mentorship that is helping his business succeed right off the bat.
Step 5: Gym Mentorship Program (Ongoing)
Once you’re up and running, you can participate in continued weekly coach development calls, including life coaching pieces that OPEX Founder James Fitzgerald runs, quarterly marketing campaigns, global brand marketing support and ongoing financial support.
Further, you continue to do monthly business calls, as well as weekly educational case studies (two per week), where we go through specific case studies and challenges gym owners are seeing.
“You also have full access to the membership site and our knowledge series and Ask me anything on a weekly basis (a place where CCP coaches can ask any questions they want answered),” Hardwick said.
“We also have a yearly OPEX Gyms Mastermind, which is a great opportunity for everyone to get together (in person). We always have a full line-up of speakers, and we talk about anything that’s currently relevant, from on-floor experience to google marketing to Instagram marketing,” he added.
Whether you are striving to run an OPEX-licensed gym, or you want to become a CCP coach and work in an OPEX licensed gym or run your own small business, the ongoing mentorship you will receive through being part of the OPEX community is invaluable to helping you succeed in becoming a professional coach or business owner.
CCP coach and gym owner Henry Torano in Puerto Rico attests to this: Being part of the OPEX community has been immeasurable for his client experience, he said.
“I think the number one thing that separates BigDawgs is how much we meet. I’m on three different calls a week with other BigDawg coaches and OPEX-licensed gym owners. We’ll do brainstorming calls and case study calls. It’s always forcing me to be better,” he said.
He added: “And I’m continuously reading and listening to podcasts and reading studies and learning from other coaches. I think the biggest thing I get from OPEX is that I will never stop being a student.”
Get an introduction to the same business principles taught to OPEX Coaches in our free Professional Coaching Blueprint.