Starting Your First Boutique Fitness Studio


Boutique fitness has become more popular in recent years. There is an increasing demand for boutique gyms as more people understand the unique experiences and community that only boutique gyms can offer. Based on an article by SCMP in 2017, there were 743 gyms in Hong Kong and the number is undoubtedly increasing with each passing year coupled with its increasing popularity.


Building a business from the ground up is never an easy feat. Like Richard Branson once said “A big business starts small.”, successful businesses start with taking baby steps in every part of their development and expansion plan. There are countless details to consider when you first start your boutique gym. However, it will not be as laborious if you know where to start. Here are some aspects you need to consider and work on to help you better navigate your business before you officially open your boutique gym!

1. Define your boutique fitness business

As an industry that values specialization and personalization, the decision made during this process is undeniably the most crucial. Understanding the reason for wanting to open a fitness studio will help you gain clarity and build a cohesive business plan. By deriving what you (and your partner) value, you can generate a ‘mission statement’ to follow through in your studio. For example, some studios strive to empower women to have a healthier lifestyle, some strive to improve people’s self-defense literacy, while others aim to provide a positive and encouraging community for Fitness.
Just like any other business, you might be overwhelmed by the number of decisions that are needed to be made when opening a new boutique gym. Once you have better clarity on the why , you are ready to answer other questions about your business plan.

a) Which fitness category should I open the studio for? Aerial yoga? Capoeira? Barre? Think about your past experiences, and network within the industry. Having some background in a certain workout type would help you understand the needs of your customers and provide greater value to them.

b) Do I want to open a franchise, purchase an existing one, or start one on my own? Consider franchise fees, and whether you would enjoy designing your own content & delivering your own standards. A franchise may limit the extent of customization that you are allowed to implement.

c) How should I conduct my classes?

d) Should I start with using free public spaces to conduct classes, before renting a physical space when I have gained some traction?

e) Where should I rent my fitness studio? Should I pick a Central area, where many other fitness studios are located? Or start your own community in an area where I stay close to?

f) Do I want to hire other instructors, or can I manage all the teaching by myself in the beginning?

These are some questions that could guide you through the planning process. While answering these questions, it is important to consider market conditions and feasibility of your ideas.

2. Develop your plan

The second step would require you to get on-the-ground to do some research and build up your business plan. Firstly, choose your company name and construct your business plan. In Hong Kong, company names can either be in Chinese, English, or both. However, do a thorough check on the government system since you will not be allowed to use an existing company name. You can find out more about Hong Kong’s company naming requirements here. Having a well-considered business plan will assist your decision-making process in the future. It will provide you with clarity when determining strategies to achieve both short-term and long-term objectives of your gym.

Besides industry analysis, competitor analysis, and financial projections, another important aspect to include in your business plan would be planning the initial branding and marketing strategy. Constructing and communicating your brand positioning well will help you standout from competition. Based on a research done by Lucidpress in 2019, brand consistency can increase revenue by 33%. Not only does it have a positive impact on financial performance, a strong branding also helps to build trust with both existing and potential customers.

3. Deliver the starting point

While setting up a company in Hong Kong can be considered to be comparably easier compared to some other cities, there are still some procedures you need to complete in order to be legally recognised as a company.
a) Choose the legal structure for your fitness studio, and register it
There are 4 common business structures in Hong Kong – sole proprietorship and partnerships, limited company, company limited by guarantee and company limited by shares. After choosing one that is more relevant to your needs and requirements, prepare the paperwork and submit it either electronically or physically on the 14th floor of the Queensway Government Offices. For more information, you can visit Hong Kong’s government site here.
b) Obtain your studio permits and licenses
There are some licenses you need to obtain to legally run your studio. For example, Certificate of Compliance specifically for clubs that only deliver service to its members. You can find more information about Hong Kong’s permits and licenses requirements here.
c) Register for tax
With the rate of 8.25% for the first HKD 2 million profit, 16.5% thereafter and no capital gains tax, Hong Kong is one of the cities with the lowest corporate tax in the world. Click here to find out more about Hong Kong’s profits tax.
d) Insurance for your studio
The only compulsory insurance requirement in Hong Kong for businesses is the employees’ MPF scheme. However, there are other types of insurance that can better protect your company and your stakeholders. For example, general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, and property insurance if you own your own studio.


Once you are legally registered, you can have access to certain resources the Hong Kong government has provided to help SMEs grow. For example, access to HKTDC offers various services to startups from operational management to sales promotions. StartmeupHK offers many resources and updated information for start ups and SMEs in Hong Kong.

Other than the legal procedure, it is also important for you to execute some pre-sales strategies to raise awareness and build hype before your launch. It can be as simple as creating your social media accounts to hosting a pre-launch event and conduct pre-opening promotional sales.


With the launch of your new fitness business, you want to be set for success. vibefam provides a booking solution that will reduce your administrative workload and help you build a seamless experience for your customers. Access business reports that have been specially built for boutique fitness with a single click of a button. Find out more about what we offer here or schedule a personalized demo with us here.

This article was written by Fidelia Dwiksa K.



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