Here is how you can start a fitness business In Kenya- BY SARAH BURNS @ispeakforbusiness

Many Kenyans are focusing more on physical fitness. Studies show us that to stay healthy we should exercise and keep fit. Gyms are needed to provide a safe and comfortable place for people to work out. It’s a convenience for people who work long hours and don’t have much extra time.

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Starting a gym business in Kenya can be extremely successful. It will do  especially well in middle and upper income areas. This group will have people looking for more specialized classes as well . Low income areas also have a market for a gym business and are certainly not to be overlooked.


Choosing the perfect location for your gym business is extremely important. You want to be certain that you  are positioned  toward your target market. It must be a space that’s easily  accessible to people who want to exercise, use equipment and  take classes.

You will require a large space. The ideal location would be upstairs in a tall building, away from the distraction of the streets below. Upper floors also tend to be less expensive to rent than ground floor. It may also cut costs  to rent space within a residential area. This could be convenient for your clients as well.

A good space that is big enough to set up your gym business will set you back Ksh10,000 – Sh30,000 in a middle or high income residential area.



You will require some basic equipment to start with. It’s a good idea to visit  well established gyms to find out the type of equipment they use. This can form part of your market research and competitor analysis before you set up your gym business. You can then offer better or newer equipment.

You will need to have a a treadmill. This is one of the most basic pieces of  equipment that nearly all clients will expect to use.  These are used by those wishing to get fit by running or walking. A selection of treadmills are available in large markets. Prices range from Sh100,000 – Sh300,000.


A good gym should also have an elliptical trainer, a static exercise bike, weight benches and dumb bells. For those clients who wish to build up or tone their muscles in order to look good, you should have a significant number of weights that they can use.

With another Sh100,000- Sh150,000, you will get all this equipment in large supermarkets. Once you know the types of exercise your clients prefer you can add more selectively.

A beginner’s Guide To Gym Equipment And Workout Accessories


  You will need qualified people to help you run your  business, such as trainers and nutritionists and instructors.

These individuals you must be able to trust  to advise and train properly. Many people go to a gym with specific objectives. While some may want to lose  weight, others may want to keep fit or gain muscle. Plent of people are being given instructions by their doctors to reach certain fitness goals as well. Your staff should be able to deal with such diverse objectives.

Ensure you hire qualified, hard working and caring employees. it’s important to have a friendly receptionist as this is the first person people see when they arrive.



You will require a business permit/license from the county government to set up your business. If you will play music, you will require an MCSK permit as well. Depending on the size and noise level expected, you may need NEMA clearance also.



Many gyms have different fees depending on the time of day. They have low peak charges and high peak charges. Low peak is the time when there are very few people frequenting the gym,  the hours from 8am until about 3 pm. During these hours fees are at their lowest to attract more clients. Peak hours  between 5am and 7am and then  from 4pm till closing time brings people in before work. Weekends and public holidays can also be quite busy.


Depending on your location, offerings and size, you can charge sh200-Sh500 per day or Sh5,000 to Sh10,000 per month. You may also enroll members and give a discount when they pay for 1 year. Membership should entitle a client to privileges such as free reserved parking, free refreshments, free access all day, dedicated professional and nutritional advice or any other extras. This will  encourage more people to become members and pay for a longer duration.

Health and safety

Health and safety is an important part of running any business and involves a number of concerns depending on what services you provide. Upkeep of the gym and the machinery/equipment is important, as poorly-maintained equipment can fail and cause injury. People can also slip on floors so you’ll need to install carpet or non-slip mats.


Ensure safety measures and rules are observed to make your gym a safe place for everyone. Hygiene should also be observed to avoid illness. provide clients  clean towels during and after workouts.

Equipment should also be cleaned before and after every use. It is necessary to have change rooms with shower, and hot water. These must be kept clean and tidy.


Good customer service and extras such as music, refreshments and a comfortable environment will keep clients coming back. People will remember you for being you, enjoy and have fun with your business.

Budget: Sh500,000

Sarah Burns


Originally posted 2015-07-07 16:47:32.

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