How Much It Should Cost To Open A Wellness Center

Maybe you have worked in the wellness or fitness industry for a while now, and you are considering taking a bold leap and building your own wellness center. The global health and wellness industry is expected to reach over 4-billion dollars by 2027, so you have an eager market!  I’m going to tell you some of the most important expenses to expect for this venture.

It should cost around $1,500,000-$2,000,000 to open a wellness center. Factors that will most affect the cost are property size and location, amenities offered, staff size, equipment costs, insurance premiums, legal fees and computer networking and software.

There are many kinds of wellness centers out there that offer all sorts of different services, from physician-staffed clinics offering anti-aging treatments, to campus gyms to holistic spaces offering alternative therapies, and everything in between. 

For this article, I will be focusing on wellness centers offering services that emphasize fitness and weight management. 

Building your Wellness Center

Purchasing the Land, $10,000-$100,000

How Much it Should Cost to Open a Wellness Center

The first step to determining your cost is deciding where you want to build. As you already know, location is critical to your success, and a great location will cost you! According to business cost site, CostHack, the cost of land for your wellness center will be, on average, anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000.

Constructing the Building (including build-out), $1,500,000

The next step is deciding the size of your wellness center.  The size is going to be a huge factor in your cost, so think about how many people will potentially use your service and what sort of amenities you want to offer. Most of your cost will be constructing the building. According to fitness club industry site, Club Industry, building from the ground up will cost $100-$200 per square foot, or about $1,000,000-$2,000,000 for a 10,000 square foot building, including the build out.

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Decide Which Amenities Are Most Important

The amenities you offer wellness center members will affect the price of your building.  The type of services your wellness center provides its members will determine your feature amenities—so, a fitness-focused wellness center will need exercise rooms, counseling rooms, group meeting rooms, offices, a reception area, employee breakroom and possibly a pool and/or running track.  Here are some ballpark costs of common member amenities. 

Fitness Rooms, $10,000-$25,000

Think about the kinds of services your community would like your wellness center to provide. 

You’re probably already planning on offering a large gym-type room, with treadmills, ellipticals and weight training systems for general use, but some of your clientele may prefer to have private personal training instead of, or in addition to, accessing the gym room. Other members will come for the group exercise classes, like cycling, yoga, or dance—those classes should probably have one dedicated room. Consider how many fitness rooms you will need to meet the expectations of your clientele. 

Large fitness rooms will cost about $25,000. Smaller fitness rooms will run $10,000-$15,000.

Running Track, $15,000-$20,000

Some members will be aspiring runners, but they may prefer a cushiony track to running on sidewalks, which is much harder on joints and muscles. Many people prefer running on either outdoor running tracks or indoor treadmills just because they feel safer off the streets. Adding a running track will cost $15,000-$20,000.

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Swimming Pool, $60,000-$200,000

A swimming pool is a great asset to your business and an enticing amenity to offer your clientele.

Not everyone who wants to increase their fitness can participate in high-impact aerobic exercise due to joint issues or overall fitness level. A pool affords your wellness center the opportunity to offer low-impact water aerobics classes for your members!  Also, some people aren’t comfortable at public pools, so offering a private pool for members will make your wellness center even more appealing.

If you’re thinking of adding a pool to your facility, it will cost $60,000-$200,000 depending on the size and features. 

Gym Equipment $10,000-$50,000

As with nearly every aspect of starting this type of business, there is a large price range associated with buying gym equipment.  The equipment for a personal training studio will cost about $7,000-$10,000, according to small business accounting software platform, Sage. This includes one treadmill and weight training equipment like power racks and dumbbell racks, plus mirrors, mats, speakers, etc. 

For your large gym room, expect to pay around $50,000. You will have all the equipment of a personal training studio, but more of it, plus several stair steppers, cycles, treadmills, and elliptical machines.

Legal Costs, $9,000

Fees and Expertise

How Much it Should Cost to Open a Wellness Center

The expertise required to navigate acquiring the proper legal documents will cost around $200 per hour, in addition to the cost of obtaining the documents themselves, according to Sage. “Fees vary depending on which legal documents you’ll need– Certificate of Incorporation, Business License, Business Plan, Non-disclosure Agreement, Memorandum of Understanding, Employment Agreement, Operating Agreement, etc.”

Insurance, $12,000

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Various Premiums 

Expect your various insurance premiums to total around $12,000. Your wellness center will need excellent coverage due to the nature of services provided. Small business accounting platform Sage writes, “You’ll need general liability, workers’ compensation and a surety bond as a bare minimum… though rates will vary based on different factors.”

Computer Network and POS system, $1,200-$5,000

You will need to network all the computers in your wellness center, and you will also need a point-of-sale system, and wellness center management software to help you run your business. The startup cost will be around $1,200-$5,000, and $550-$2,500 annually.

Utilities, $3,000-$5,000

Features like electric exercise equipment, locker room dryers, facility laundry, pools, and just keeping your wellness center cool will really drive up your utility bill, so it’s important to mention the cost of utilities. Plan to pay around $3,000-$5,000 a month for electricity. Your cost will vary depending on your climate, whether you have on-site laundry for your center’s textiles, whether you have a pool, and how many hours your facility is open per day.

Staff Members $90,000 (plus support staff) 

You’ll want to open your wellness center with a full staff to ensure that your clientele is happy! You’ll need to hire direct employees for most positions, such as administrator,

director, and the rest of your general support staff.

Independent Contractors

You’ll need ancillary professional staff who aren’t under direct employ of the wellness center, such as nutrition counselors, registered dieticians, health coaches, personal trainers, and maybe even group counselors.  Bring them on as independent contractors who coordinate their schedules with the members via the program director and host them in your facility while they provide these essential services to your clientele.

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Wellness Administrator, $40,000-$60,000 

The wellness center administrator will be responsible for the most important decisions such as planning center activities, coordinating departments, enforcing safety protocols, and making sure everything else is going according to plan.

Program Director, $30,000-$40,000

The program director’s job is to tailor the center’s programs to suit the clientele’s needs and create schedules to run the various programs. Their ability to pull it all off are integral to the success of your wellness center.

Support Staff, $10,000-$40,000

Support staff such as custodial personnel, trained lifeguards, general facility employees who keep things running smoothly, maintenance workers and receptionists will cost about $10,000-$40,000 per staff member, depending on how many hours they work and the location of your wellness center.

Other costs

I’ll do a quick rundown of costs you may incur that aren’t profiled here. 

For staff uniforms, budget $125 per person. 

Wellness center WIFI for your members will cost around $1,000 per year, depending on your location. 

Wellness center linens, such as towels will cost around $1,000. 

Don’t forget to budget for furniture (member seating, breakroom furniture and office furniture).  The style and quality of furniture options range from basic doctor’s office-type chairs on up to boutique spa level seating, so the cost will vary depending on your selection. 

Cleaning supplies, hand soap, toilet paper and paper towels will cost around $400 per month.

Marketing will cost anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000. You’ll need a graphic designer to create your wellness center logo, and you will need to pay to have brochures, business cards and other paper items printed. You will also need a professional, information-rich website to appeal to potential clientele. Use both print and online advertising.

Sage strongly suggests budgeting an additional $1,000 per month for incidental expenses—costs you didn’t plan for.

There will be expenses listed here that don’t apply to your situation, and expenses you will have that weren’t accounted for here. This should give you a general ideal of the cost of opening a wellness spa from the ground up. In all, opening a wellness center is a costly undertaking, but with market forecasters predicting this industry to keep on growing, done right, it should pay off! 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Insurance Do You Need For Your Accounting and Payroll Business?

How much will it cost to build a fitness-focused wellness center in an existing rental space?

The cost to build your wellness center in an existing rental space ranges from $30 to $80 and up per square foot, with higher-end finishes starting at about $60 and up per square foot.

How do I keep my building contractor from going way over the original estimate?

Have a very detailed set of building plans. According to Club Industry, attempting to get estimates without a set of building plans is causing budget trouble, with the finished build costing 10%-40% over the original estimate.

To learn more on how to plan your own wellness center business click here!

Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.