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Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym
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Ben.Wilde


Apr 15, 2011, 10:06 PM
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Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym
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     I'm a San Antonio native attending school at Texas A&M. As graduation nears, I keep thinking about what my first move will be when I get out of school. The climbing community at A&M is one of the friendliest groups I have ever dealt with and, being a climber myself, I have started to consider starting a climbing gym in San Antonio.
At this stage, my goal is to gather information about San Antonio climbers and discover the reason no climbing gym exists there currently. I'm hoping the climbing community can help me out in discovering if a climbing gym is something that would be well appreciated and well used. If you are a San Antonio climber, chime in and let me know you are out there and whether or not you would use a rock gym if one existed. Other helpful preliminary information would include what side of town you are on and what you currently do to get your climbing fix.

Get your friends on here and lets get a gym up and running within the next 2 years.


Ben.Wilde


Apr 15, 2011, 10:36 PM
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Re: [Ben.Wilde] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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Any information (doesn't have to be from SA) would be great. I have some connections with Angel investors here at school. I feel very confident that I could pitch the idea very well to the city as well as investors. The task seems big, but i'd love to hear from those who have done it and succeeded as well as those who have failed (if you are willing to talk about it) In a city of over a million, I am quite shocked that there isn't already a gym. I think I may have found a great niche in a market that does not exist yet and from what I understand, that is how super successful businesses start.


matterunomama


Apr 17, 2011, 8:26 AM
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If you want to start a gym-what you should really be asking [In reply to]
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You've got to do your own research, but this will give you some of the facts you need to ferret out and questions you need to answer. Even angel investors want to see a business proposal with some realistic estimates.
http://www.docstoc.com/...Start-a-Gym-Business


djlachelt


Apr 18, 2011, 8:23 AM
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Re: [Ben.Wilde] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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I'm sure someone will say I'm a broken record here... but if you are serious, then you should strongly consider attending the Climbing Wall Association Summit.
http://www.climbingwallindustry.org/cwsmain11.php

This year there are two free pre-conf workshops specifically addressing the issues around starting a climbing gym. One hosted by Eldoraro Wall Company, another by Rockwerx.

The Rockwerx one in particular will address the development of a business plan, finding or building a suitable facility, finding investors, etc. It is a good presentation with lots of helpful information. All of the info is appropriate whether or not you choose to use Rockwerx to build your wall (it's not just a Rockwerx advertisement pitch).

You would definitely find the whole conference to be worth your while. Very informative workshops from successful people in the climbing gym business plus lots of time and opportunity for networking.

And, of course, if you can afford extra time then you can get on some real rock within 15 minutes of the hotel.


flesh


Apr 22, 2011, 4:12 PM
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Re: [djlachelt] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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djlachelt wrote:
I'm sure someone will say I'm a broken record here... but if you are serious, then you should strongly consider attending the Climbing Wall Association Summit.
http://www.climbingwallindustry.org/cwsmain11.php

This year there are two free pre-conf workshops specifically addressing the issues around starting a climbing gym. One hosted by Eldoraro Wall Company, another by Rockwerx.

The Rockwerx one in particular will address the development of a business plan, finding or building a suitable facility, finding investors, etc. It is a good presentation with lots of helpful information. All of the info is appropriate whether or not you choose to use Rockwerx to build your wall (it's not just a Rockwerx advertisement pitch).

You would definitely find the whole conference to be worth your while. Very informative workshops from successful people in the climbing gym business plus lots of time and opportunity for networking.

And, of course, if you can afford extra time then you can get on some real rock within 15 minutes of the hotel.

It does sound worth attending.

Do you have any idea how much one could make from a climbing gym? I understand there's many variables but maybe you could narrow it down for me. Let's assume you we're a 100% owner and could finance it yourself or pay cash if that makes it easier, I can calculate the financing.

I often thought as a business owner and climber, if the income was there, I'd like to pursue this in the future.


djlachelt


Apr 22, 2011, 4:45 PM
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Re: [flesh] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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flesh wrote:
It does sound worth attending.

Do you have any idea how much one could make from a climbing gym? I understand there's many variables but maybe you could narrow it down for me. Let's assume you we're a 100% owner and could finance it yourself or pay cash if that makes it easier, I can calculate the financing.

I often thought as a business owner and climber, if the income was there, I'd like to pursue this in the future.

I'm not even sure what you are asking. "How much you could make"????? Obviously, you could lose a lot if you didn't get the customers you expected. Some gyms are doing quite well (but you probably won't get specific financial data from any of them unless you have a good friend that is willing to open up his/her books), some are barely hanging on, and some go under. It's a big investment and as risky as many other small businesses. A climbing gym is not a get rich quick scheme. I'm sure you weren't thinking it was.

Something I've heard from a long-time (and multiple) gym owner... you'd be better off putting your money in mutual funds. Generally people don't get into the business because of its high returns.


tx88


Apr 22, 2011, 7:13 PM
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Re: [Ben.Wilde] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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This makes me so happy to see! I am in San Antonio for 3 more years and right now climbing options are limited though not non-existent. From what I've gathered a climbing community definitely exists though in pockets of town it seems. Every indoor play to climb is North and northwest of town, near 1604, which is primarily where the people who can afford to climb at gyms/are interested in climbing live.

The places to climb currently are UTSA and lifetime fitness. UTSA is unwavering in letting anyone from the non-UTSA community climb unless you are accompanied by a current student. From everything else I've heard, their wall sucks too.

The other options are lifetime fitness. I was initially skeptical but the lifetime rock walls at the rim is great and well run! Lifetime (the rim and 281) seem to be where the locals gather to climb and the community is pretty nice.

The way to beat the lifetime corporation is simple, under sell them. If you provide a gym that is cheaper than life time (and of high quality) you will win over everyone there.

Prices are currently 60 for students and 80 for a regular membership monthly plus a start up fee of 120 or something. It's ridiculously expensive but hey, im desperate to climb. The sad part is i only use the climbing wall.

The climbing community will definitely want to see something that is bouldering, tr, and lead friendly.

Last, the reason a gym doesn't currently exist, from what I've been told and can gather, is the primary population of san antonio. Unfortunately san antonio is not a very 'active' city in general and from what I've been told hispanics tend not to be as interested in climbing or fitness. Argue with that if you like, but move here yourself and you can witness it.

If you set up in the right area and under sell life time I think you could be profitable. You'd probably have to sell your soul and play into the small child birthday scene as well but I think nearly every climbing wall does now adays.

Hope this helps.


Ben.Wilde


Apr 23, 2011, 6:32 PM
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Re: [tx88] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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Thanks a bunch for the info. That last part about SA being a less than active city is what worries me about trying a gym there. How many people actually climb at Lifetime? I will be back in SA for a short time this summer from June 1 - July 4 living at my parents house on the northeast side. I would really like to climb indoors and out during that time and meet with as many climbers as I can. I have everything to lead routes. Please PM me if you are interested in climbing with me and discussing the prospect of a climbing gym here in SA.


tx88


Apr 23, 2011, 7:54 PM
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Re: [Ben.Wilde] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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I'll be in Austin during those months but I suggest you head to one of the lifetimes if you can fund it and begin talking to their staff about the prospects. The guy who runs the wall at the rim is very knowledgeable about climbing and the SA area in general.


Ben.Wilde


Apr 23, 2011, 8:18 PM
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Haha I love that you put " if you can fund it". For only one month and with a great wall to go "home" to at A&M, it's not worth it to pay the startup fee and then the monthly membership. It may however be worth it if I think of it as an investment in research for the gym. Could you put me in touch with anyone else that's going to be in SA during that time?


icarus7


Jun 30, 2011, 9:35 PM
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Re: [Ben.Wilde] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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man i also am from san antonio / going to A&M / have thought about starting a gym eventually! All ive heard as to why there's still no gym here is that whatever gyms had been started didn't prosper enough to continue. But damn i would love it if i didn't come back for summers to nothing :(


guangzhou


Jun 30, 2011, 10:13 PM
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Re: [icarus7] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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One thing you need to keep in mind, climbing gyms don't make money from climbers, they make money from reaching the non-climbers in the community and convincing them to climb indoors.

My new gym:

http://www.facebook.com/...738&l=41f7ce249d

Climbing Gyms can be very profitable or can go bust, like any other business. Unlike many other business, the initial investment is huge. Many of the gyms in America are built by several climbers and investors pooling the capital and each owning a piece of the company. Good management, and good marketing are the two most important factors for sure.

Want to know how much revenue, before expenses, a gym makes. Take the monthly membership and multiply it by the amount of member that pay dues. That shouldgive you a starter base. After that, add birthday parties and day use fees.

So:
Monthly membership fees of 40 USD
100 members equals 4000 (monthly)
200 members 8000 (monthly)
300 member 12000 (monthly) This is most likely what agym need to cover basic operational cost monthly
400 member 16000

Day use fees, birthday parties, after school group programs and so on add to revenue.


Climbsa


Sep 12, 2012, 3:16 PM
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Re: [Ben.Wilde] Starting a San Antonio Climbing Gym [In reply to]
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Sorry, I'm coming a bit late to the party. I've recently started a portable rock climbing wall company here in San Antonio, with the goal of using it to help finance starting an indoor climbing gym. The business has been running only a little over a month, but I am getting quite a bit of business, and more important, a lot of people are showing interest in having a gym here. I don't know if I can post my website on here, but you can email me at info@climbsa.us (hint on the web address) and I can also send my facebook page, where I post most of my updates. That Rockwerx information was extremely helpful, btw. Like you, I've been here for 6 years waiting for a real gym to open, or dreaming of opening my own. I hope this pans out. I don't even care about making tons of money. I just want to be able to pay my bills and climb.


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