The Key Requirements to Opening a Gym

The requirements to open a gym can be very different depending on state regulations or the autonomous community in which you're located. In this article, you'll find the legal requirements for this activity in general.
The Key Requirements to Opening a Gym

Last update: 18 April, 2020

It’s no secret that the fitness industry contributes huge amounts of money in the world economy. It’s also no wonder that many entrepreneurs find the idea of having their own gym very appealing. However, to ensure a profitable investment, it’s essential to know the opportunities and requirements for opening a gym.

In practice, these conditions may vary depending on the regulations and laws that are applicable in your country or city. And the opportunities in this segment may vary and change even more; it really depends on many factors. Some of them are the development state of the sector in a certain region and the socioeconomic reality of the population.

It would be impossible to summarize in a few lines the particularities of each country. Therefore, we decided to focus on the requirements of opening a gym in Spain.

Opening a gym: a brief overview of the fitness industry in Spain

Are there real investment possibilities in Spain? The answer is yes. However, it’ll be essential to pay attention to the change in the profile that’s being proposed for companies and businesses within the fitness segment.

Up until not many years ago, the sector highly focused on sports. We could see a certain fragmentation in the industries and businesses that produced and marketed equipment, materials, clothing and other sports goods. Basically, there were a couple of giants (such as Nike and Adidas) and many small entrepreneurs with a local impact.

As the population’s interest and awareness for the benefits of an active life increases, we expect the sector to evolve towards a more corporate model. The central idea is to promote the growth and maturation of local industries so that they become more competitive on an international level.

With more robust and influential companies, this sector would consolidate and gain solidity in Spain. This would generate an increasingly global market, which includes gyms and training centers. Large chains of these facilities have been gaining strength in countries with a strong fitness market.

A man thinking about ways to open his own gym while training

What are the requirements for opening a gym in Spain?

In the following paragraphs, we’ll summarize some tips so that you’re clear about the key aspects when investing in the opening of a new gym:

1. Specific conditions of each autonomous community for opening a gym

In Spain, each autonomous community has the power to create its own regulations regarding the requirements to open a gym in its territory. It’s also possible that councils have certain special conditions for their operation.

Therefore, the first thing we advise is to investigate the requirements and conditions for obtaining an operating license for a gym, especially in the towns with perceivable good growth opportunities.

It’s also important to note that this type of procedure may take some time to get approved. Therefore, it’s necessary to have very good planning and pay attention to the estimated delivery times of the documents you need to start operating.

2. Necessary documentation to obtain an operating license

In order for your gym to open its doors, you need to obtain an activity or operating license. In general, the entrepreneur must present the following documentation to request said license:

  • Construction license: it’s necessary to have a construction plan and a closed budget to start the process.
  • Economic guarantee: basically, you need to present proof of economic solvency to guarantee the maintenance of the business in the medium term.
  • Security measures: applicable to both fire and accident measures and the installation of a surveillance or security system. Someone will inspect these aspects every three months.
  • Environmental impact statement: even though this is something that usually only large industries must present, it’s advisable for all companies and businesses to start looking into it.
A happy gym member walking next to the elyptical machines

3. Prevention of occupational risks when opening a gym

It’ll also be essential to respect the legal rights of professionals who work at your gym. Therefore, having an occupational risk plan is another requirement for opening a gym in Spain; you can’t miss it in your plan. We recommend consulting the Occupational Risk Prevention Law for this.

To develop such a plan, you need to hire a technician in that specialty to evaluate the possible risks and implicit damages in your business. Then, you should request the elaboration of a budget to implement the necessary safety measures to prevent workers from exposing themselves to those dangers.

4. Register to function as a limited company

Even though it isn’t mandatory, many entrepreneurs choose to register their gyms as limited companies. To do this, we advise you to go to a Mercantile Registry to learn about the necessary documentation and start a formal request.

Besides the legal modalities of partnerships or companies, you can also be a professional gym owner as an autonomous individual. You can either do this as your own business or through a franchise.

Taking all of this information into account will orient you on the minimum requirements for opening a gym. Remember that these requirements can vary in each region, so take the time you need and plan everything in advance.

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