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How to Get a Gym Loan

How to Get a Gym Loan

How do you find the best gym loan? Here’s what you need to know to get a gym loan, and even what to do if you are not approved for a gym loan. Opening a gym can be a challenging task, but with the right business plan and a loan, it can be a very rewarding experience.

So, um, what is a gym loan exactly? A gym loan is a type of business loan that is specifically designed for entrepreneurs who want to start or expand a gym or fitness business (note: a gym loan can be used for gym expansion, not just gym start-up costs). Learn about the steps you need to take to get a gym loan and the types of loans available to help you start or expand your gym.

And, of course, read through our gym owner guide, check out the world’s best gym management software, and then get a demo to see how we can help you grow and manage your gym better.

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Quick Tips: How to Get a Loan to Open a Gym

Opening a gym requires a significant investment, and one way to finance your business is by obtaining a loan. To get a loan to open a gym, you will need to present a comprehensive business plan that outlines the costs of starting a gym and the projected income and expenses. And most importantly, that you know how to open a gym. Basically, that you know what you are doing! Additionally, lenders will typically require financial documents such as personal financial statements, tax returns, and credit scores.

Learning how to get a loan for a gym might be hard, but you can do it with the right capital partner on your side. It’s important to shop around and compare different lenders to find the one that offers the best terms and rates for your business. Keep in mind that the interest rate and terms of a loan can greatly impact the overall cost of the loan and the success of your business.

Quick Tips: How to Get a Loan to Build a Gym

Building a gym also requires a significant investment and obtaining a loan can help you finance your business. To get a loan to build a gym, you will need to present a comprehensive business plan that outlines the costs of building a gym and the projected income and expenses. Additionally, lenders will typically require financial documents such as personal financial statements, tax returns, and credit scores.

It’s important to shop around and compare different lenders to find the one that offers the best terms and rates for your business. Keep in mind that the interest rate and terms of a loan can greatly impact the overall cost of the loan and the success of your gym. (Read more about gym profitability).

Okay, let’s get to it. Here’s how you can get a gym loan fast (hopefully).

Step 1: Create a Business Plan

The first step in securing a gym loan is to create a comprehensive gym business plan. A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s goals, strategies, and financial projections. It is an essential tool for getting a loan as it helps lenders understand your business’s potential for success.

When creating your business plan, make sure to include information on the following:

  • The Market and Industry: Describe the size of the fitness industry, the target market for your gym, and your competition.
  • Your Business Model: Explain how your gym will generate revenue, including membership fees, personal training, and other services.
  • Financial Projections: Include detailed financial projections, such as projected income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

Read More: How do I write a proposal for a gym?

Step 2: Determine the Type of Loan You Need

There are several types of gym loans available, each with their own terms and conditions. The most common types of gym loans include:

  • SBA Loans: The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several loan programs to help small businesses, including the 7(a) loan program, which can be used to finance the purchase of equipment, inventory, and other business expenses.
  • Gym Equipment Financing: This type of loan is used to purchase equipment, such as cardio machines, weightlifting equipment, and other gym equipment.
  • Commercial Mortgages: These loans are used to purchase or refinance commercial real estate, such as the building where your gym will be located.
  • Business Lines of Credit: This type of loan allows you to borrow up to a certain limit and pay interest only on the amount you borrow.

Step 3: Gather Gym Financial Documents

To apply for a gym loan, you will need to provide financial documents to the lender. These documents include:

  • Personal and Business Tax Returns: Lenders will want to see your personal and business tax returns to understand your financial situation.
  • Financial Statements: You will need to provide financial statements, such as balance sheets and income statements, to show the lender that your business is financially stable.
  • Business Licenses and Permits: You will need to provide proof that your business is legally registered and has all the necessary licenses and permits to operate.

Read More:

Step 4: Find a Fitness Business Lender

Once you have a business plan and financial documents, you can start looking for a lender. There are several ways to find a lender for a gym loan, including:

  • Banks and Credit Unions: Local banks and credit unions are a great place to start when looking for a gym loan.
  • Online Lenders: There are several online lenders that specialize in gym loans, such as SmartBiz and OnDeck.
  • SBA-Approved Lenders: The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a list of approved lenders that offer SBA-guaranteed loans.

Step 5: Apply for the Gym Loan

Once you have found a lender, you can apply for the gym loan. The application process for a gym loan is similar to that of any other business loan. You will need to fill out an application form and provide the lender with your business plan and financial documents.

Securing a gym loan can be a challenging task, but with a comprehensive business plan, the right type of loan, and the necessary financial documents, it is definitely possible. It’s important to remember that lenders are looking for businesses that have a high potential for success, so make sure to present your business in the best possible light.

So, what do you do if you get declined for a gym loan? Well, don’t give up hope just yet…

Other Ways to Get Money to Open a Gym

Business loans are a traditional way to finance a gym, but they are not the only option. Other creative ways to get money for a gym besides business loans for a gym include seeking funding from angel investors, crowdfunding, and business incubators. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to consider which one is the best fit for your fitness business.

  • Angel Investors: Angel investors are wealthy individuals who invest their own money in start-ups and small businesses. They can provide a significant amount of funding and can also offer valuable advice and mentorship.
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is a way to raise money for a business by soliciting small contributions from a large number of people. Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow businesses to create a campaign and collect funds from a wide range of investors.
  • Business Incubators: Business incubators provide resources and support to start-ups and small businesses. They may offer funding, office space, and mentorship to help businesses grow and succeed.

Other Creative Ways to Get Money for a Gym

  • Pre-Sales! – Get out there and pre-sell gym memberships, packages, and personal training sessions. Train people in a different facility or do a boot camp in a park, but if you want to make it happen, you can do it!
  • Friends & Family Funding – Asking your friends and family for money. Yep, sometimes it’s hard to do. Awkward. Maybe even humbling. But often, well, it works.
  • Online Training – Who says you need a brick and mortar gym to be a successful fitness business owner these days anyway? Get started with online fitness challenges, sell workout plans online, do fitness livestreaming, or sell online fitness group memberships.

Ways to Finance Gym Equipment

Clothes Hangar Treadmill
Just make sure you purchase gym equipment that will be used by members…

Learning how to get a loan for gym equipment is important. Here are some things you should know about gym equipment loans, and specifically, types of gym equipment loans you should be familiar with.

  • Gym Equipment Financing: Equipment financing is a loan that is specifically used to purchase equipment. It can be a good option for gyms because the equipment itself can be used as collateral for the loan.
  • Gym Equipment Leasing: Leasing equipment is another option that allows gyms to use equipment without having to purchase it outright. Leasing can be a more affordable option, but gyms will not own the equipment.
  • Personal Funds: Many gym owners use their own personal funds to purchase gym equipment. This can be a good option for gyms that have the necessary capital to make the purchase outright.

Read More: Should I lease or buy gym equipment?

List of Types of Gym Financing Lenders and Banks

  • Traditional Banks: Traditional banks offer a variety of loans for businesses, including small business loans, SBA loans, and equipment financing.
  • Gym Equipment Financing Companies: Equipment financing companies specialize in providing loans for equipment purchases.
  • Online Lenders: Online lenders such as Kabbage, OnDeck, and LendingClub offer small business loans and other types of financing.
  • Alternative Lenders: Alternative lenders such as merchant cash advance providers and peer-to-peer

What to Watch Out for with Fitness Business Loans

When applying for a loan to open a gym, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and pitfalls. Some things to watch out for include high-interest rates, long repayment terms, and strict repayment schedules. Additionally, be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of the loan, as well as any fees and penalties that may be associated with the loan. It’s also important to have realistic projections and a solid business plan in place to ensure that you can repay the loan.

When applying for a fitness business loan, make sure to shop around and compare different lenders to find the one that offers the best terms and rates for your business. Keep in mind that the interest rate and terms of a loan can greatly impact the overall cost of the loan and the success of your business.

Starting or expanding a gym can be a rewarding experience, but it also requires a significant investment. A gym loan can help you finance your business, but it’s important to take the time to create a comprehensive business plan, determine the right type of loan, gather financial documents and find the right lender. With the right preparation and a solid plan, you can secure a gym loan and take the first step towards realizing your dream of owning a successful gym.


You now know enough to be dangerous when it comes to finding a gym loan. Be sure to work with a professional advisor, banker, attorney, accountant, or other financial expert to provide personalized guidance for your particular situation and needs. Here are some other common questions about gym loans.

How Much Does it Cost to Finance Gym Equipment?

The cost of financing gym equipment will depend on the type of financing and the lender. Equipment financing typically has a lower interest rate than a small business loan, but the terms and rates can vary greatly among different lenders. Additionally, leasing equipment may be more affordable than purchasing it outright, but gyms will not own the equipment. It’s important to compare different options and understand the total cost of the financing over time.

How Much Capital Do You Need to Start a Gym?

The amount of capital needed to start a gym will vary depending on the size and type of gym, as well as the location and equipment. However, it’s estimated that the cost of starting a gym can range from $10,000 to $500,000 or more. A good business plan will help you to understand the costs and projected income for your gym, which can help you to determine the amount of capital you need to start.

Do You Need a Downpayment for a Gym Loan?

The requirements for a gym loan will vary depending on the lender and type of loan. Some traditional bank loans may require a down payment, while other types of financing may not. Additionally, some lenders may require collateral such as equipment or real estate to secure the loan. It’s important to understand the requirements of the loan and ensure that you can meet them before applying.

What About Seller Financing for a Gym Loan?

Seller financing is when the seller of a business provides some or all of the financing for the purchase. This can be a good option for gyms that are already established and have a strong customer base. However, it’s important to thoroughly review the terms and conditions of the seller financing and understand the risks and benefits of this type of loan.

Are There Government Grants for Opening a Gym?

There are a variety of government grants available to small businesses, including gym start-ups. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of grants and loan programs, including the 7(a) loan program and the Community Advantage loan program. Additionally, state and local governments may offer grants for small businesses in certain industries. It’s important to research the available grants and understand the requirements and qualifications for each one.

Read More: Grants for Gyms

Are There Small Business Grants for Gyms?

In addition to government grants, there are a variety of private foundations and organizations that offer small business grants for gyms. These grants can provide funding for equipment, expansion, and other business costs. Examples of organizations that offer small business grants include the National Gym Association, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, and the National Fitness Trade Organization.

Read More: Grants for Gyms

What types of loans are available for gym owners and fitness businesses?

There are several types of loans available for gym owners and fitness businesses, including:

  1. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans: These government-backed loans offer favorable terms and lower interest rates for qualified small businesses, including gyms and fitness centers.
  2. Traditional bank loans: These loans can be used for a variety of purposes, such as buying equipment or expanding your facility. However, they may require a higher credit score and collateral.
  3. Equipment financing: This type of loan is specifically designed for purchasing gym equipment and usually comes with lower interest rates and flexible repayment terms.
  4. Business lines of credit: These revolving credit lines can be used for various business expenses, such as inventory or payroll, and may offer more flexibility than traditional loans.
  5. Merchant cash advances: These short-term financing options provide cash in exchange for a portion of your future credit card sales, which can be useful for businesses with fluctuating revenues.

How do I determine the amount of money I need for my gym loan?

To determine the amount of money you need for your gym loan, consider the following factors:

  1. Equipment costs: Calculate the cost of purchasing, leasing, or upgrading gym equipment, such as treadmills, weights, and fitness machines.
  2. Facility expenses: Include costs for leasing or purchasing a commercial space, as well as any necessary renovations or improvements.
  3. Operating costs: Estimate your monthly expenses, such as utilities, staff salaries, and insurance premiums, to ensure you have enough working capital.
  4. Marketing and advertising: Allocate funds for promoting your gym, including online and offline marketing efforts.
  5. Contingency fund: Set aside a buffer for unexpected expenses or fluctuations in revenue, especially during the initial stages of your business.

By adding up these costs, you can determine the total amount you need to borrow.

What is the typical interest rate and repayment period for a gym loan?

Interest rates for gym loans can vary depending on the lender, your creditworthiness, and the type of loan. For example, SBA loans typically offer lower interest rates, ranging from 5% to 10%. Traditional bank loans may have slightly higher rates, between 6% and 15%, while equipment financing and business lines of credit can fall anywhere between 8% and 30%. Merchant cash advances tend to have the highest rates, sometimes exceeding 40%.

Repayment periods also vary, with SBA loans offering terms up to 25 years for real estate purchases and 10 years for equipment financing. Traditional bank loans typically have repayment terms between 3 and 10 years, while equipment financing terms may range from 2 to 7 years. Business lines of credit and merchant cash advances usually have shorter repayment periods, often between 6 months and 2 years.

How can I increase my chances of getting approved for a gym loan?

To increase your chances of getting approved for a gym loan, consider the following tips:

  1. Develop a solid business plan: Lenders want to see a well-prepared business plan that outlines your goals, target market, and financial projections.
  2. Improve your credit score: A higher personal and business credit score can increase your chances of loan approval and secure better terms.
  3. Offer collateral: Providing collateral, such as real estate or equipment, can reassure lenders that their investment is secure.
  4. Demonstrate cash flow: Show lenders that your gym generates consistent revenue and can afford to repay the loan.
  5. Seek professional help: Consult with a financial advisor, accountant, or your gym bookkeeper to help you prepare the necessary documentation and strengthen your loan application.

What documents and financial statements do I need to prepare when applying for a gym loan?

When applying for a gym loan, you may be required to provide

the following documents and financial statements:

  1. Business plan: A comprehensive plan that details your gym’s mission, target market, marketing strategy, and financial projections.
  2. Personal and business credit reports: Lenders will want to review both your personal and business credit history to assess your creditworthiness.
  3. Financial statements: You’ll need to provide profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for at least the past two years (if applicable).
  4. Tax returns: Lenders typically request both personal and business tax returns for the past two to three years.
  5. Business licenses and permits: Provide copies of any necessary licenses, permits, or certifications required to operate your gym.
  6. Ownership and legal documents: Include any articles of incorporation, partnership agreements, or franchise agreements that pertain to your gym.
  7. Collateral documentation: If you’re offering collateral, provide proof of ownership and an appraisal or valuation.

It’s important to have these documents organized and readily available to streamline the application process and demonstrate your professionalism to potential lenders.

Are there any specific lenders that specialize in gym loans or fitness industry financing?

While many traditional banks and lending institutions offer loans to small businesses, including gyms and fitness centers, there are also specialized lenders that focus on the fitness industry. These lenders may have a deeper understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within the industry and may be more willing to provide financing. Some examples include:

  1. Live Oak Bank: Offers SBA loans specifically tailored for fitness businesses, including gym owners and personal trainers.
  2. Ascentium Capital: Provides equipment financing and leasing options for fitness centers.
  3. Balboa Capital: Offers equipment leasing, working capital loans, and franchise financing for fitness businesses.

When seeking financing, it’s a good idea to explore both general and specialized lenders to find the best terms and options for your gym.

How long does the gym loan application process typically take, and when can I expect to receive the funds?

The gym loan application process can vary greatly depending on the type of loan and the lender. For example, SBA loans are known for their thorough application process and may take several weeks or even months to be approved and disbursed. Traditional bank loans can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months, while equipment financing and business lines of credit may have a faster turnaround, often within a few days to a few weeks.

To expedite the process, ensure that all required documents and financial statements are prepared and organized before submitting your application. Additionally, maintaining open communication with the lender and promptly responding to any requests for additional information can help speed up the process.

What factors do lenders consider when evaluating the creditworthiness of a gym business?

When evaluating the creditworthiness of a gym business, lenders typically consider the following factors:

  1. Credit score: Both personal and business credit scores play a significant role in determining loan eligibility and terms.
  2. Business history: Lenders may favor established businesses with a track record of success and profitability.
  3. Cash flow: Demonstrating consistent and positive cash flow indicates that your gym can afford to repay the loan.
  4. Collateral: Providing collateral, such as equipment or real estate, can reduce the lender’s risk and increase your chances of approval.
  5. Debt-to-equity ratio: A lower debt-to-equity ratio indicates that your business has a healthy balance between debt and equity financing.
  6. Business plan: A well-prepared business plan can help lenders understand your gym’s potential for growth and profitability.

Can I use a gym loan to finance equipment purchases, renovations, or working capital needs?

Yes, gym loans can be used to finance a variety of business needs, including equipment purchases, renovations, and working capital. Equipment financing, in particular, is specifically designed to

help gym owners purchase or lease fitness equipment, such as treadmills, weights, and workout machines. Renovations and expansions, such as adding new workout spaces or upgrading locker rooms, can also be funded through gym loans.

Working capital loans can help cover day-to-day expenses, such as payroll, utilities, and inventory. These loans are particularly useful for managing cash flow during slow periods or when unexpected expenses arise. In general, gym loans can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your fitness business and can be used to support various aspects of its operations and growth.

Are there any alternative financing options for gym owners if a traditional loan is not an option?

If a traditional gym loan is not an option, there are several alternative financing options available for gym owners, including:

  1. Crowdfunding: Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to raise funds for your gym through contributions from the public. This method can help you generate interest in your business while also providing capital.
  2. Peer-to-peer lending: Online platforms like LendingClub and Prosper connect borrowers with individual investors willing to provide loans. These platforms may offer more flexibility than traditional banks.
  3. Business credit cards: Although not ideal for long-term financing, business credit cards can provide short-term working capital and may come with rewards or cashback programs.
  4. Angel investors and venture capital: Seeking investment from angel investors or venture capital firms can provide significant funding in exchange for equity in your gym business. This option may be more suitable for businesses with high growth potential.
  5. Grants: While not as common in the fitness industry, there may be government or private grants available for small businesses, particularly those promoting health and wellness initiatives.

Exploring these alternative financing options can help you secure the necessary funds to launch, expand, or maintain your gym business.

The Gym Owner’s Ally

Finding a gym loan isn’t easy, but we believe in the initiative and persistence of gym owners, because we see it in action every day. Having the right gym software is an important tool to accomplish your gym growth goals.

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