Laws to Take Care of When Opening a Gym


Opening a gym may seem to be a very lucrative proposition but before that point is reached and the dollars start pouring in, there are formalities that need to be catered to. And one of the primary and most important one is adhering to laws that govern opening of a gym. These laws are very strict and have to be scrupulously followed irrespective of whether it is own business or on a franchisee model.

The first step that you’ll be taking is getting a property to house your gym. It can either be on rent or through direct purchase of the plot. In both cases, it has to be registered as a commercial property where the laws are quite complex. In all cases, it is always advisable to consult experts in this field. For example, if you are starting a gym in Melbourne, you should get in touch with lawyers well versed in Melbourne property conveyancing to draw up the required ownership or rental contracts. This will eliminate the possibility of any future disputes and litigation over the premises you have chosen.

The next crucial thing is following the Fair Trading {Fitness Industry Code of Practice) Regulations 2010 that lays down procedures and standards that need to be specifically followed by the industry. It has been in operation from 2005 and was renewed and came into effect from 31st December 2010. It is enforced by the Department of Commerce, Consumer Protection Division and is vital that you go through the clauses with a fine tooth comb.

This code of practice is structured to ensure that members and suppliers to your gym have the required confidence to be a part of your venture by knowing that you are following mandatory regulations as laid down by statutory authorities. Following this code of conduct is your commitment to all stake holders that you are maintaining high standards in running the gym. This code of practice is comprehensive in nature and applies to owners and franchisees of fitness centres as well to personal trainers, fitness trainers and fitness instructors. Here too, the code is very clear as to the definition of a fitness centre. It is an indoor facility that provides fitness services including health and fitness club that offers an indoor gym and group exercises classes. Delivering the same services outdoors will not come under the ambit of the code.

There are some procedures laid down in the code that has to be followed by you for opening a gym. The first is that you should desist from any high pressure selling tactics that might even be termed as harassment. This is mainly in relation to selling membership contracts to clients. Next, you should not place false and misleading advertisements to draw in membership. As an owner, it is also your responsibility to make sure that your employees too do not indulge in such methods to attract clients. The code is also very strict about maintaining client confidentiality. You should not use or disclose any information given by the client in the membership contract. This applies to both former and current clients.

There are other pointers in the Regulations regarding Membership contracts, cooling off period and pre-paid membership agreements. Read and implement them carefully so that you are not distracted at a later date from successfully running your gym.