Modular gyms are the new way to do boxing, crossfit or yoga in outdoor shipping containers in parks, beaches or squares.
As the pandemic situation wanes, so has the return to the routine of outdoor exercise. For many, this return to exercise has been a liberation, as they can finally exercise outside the same four walls.
The obligation to exercise at home, in addition to the fear of possible infection in enclosed spaces, has made many people choose to start exercising outdoors, thus getting used to exercising in parks, beaches or squares.
Shielded from this trend, though they argue they are also precursors, initiatives such as Balanze Digitizing or Contrainer Gym, sports centers that use shipping containers converted into gyms to offer yoga, boxing or crossfit classes.
“When we got out of full confinement, people came in large groups to the container, to train outdoors,” confirmed Manuel Florence, Sports Director of the Contrainer Gym, in an interview with Business Insider Spain.
As a result of the pandemic, Floranes noted, outdoor physical activity has been “promoted a lot,” which is why its business model has benefited. He gives as an example last year’s summer, where “June is not over” and they already had the entire summer booked up.
Model born in the USA
“When we initially created it, we looked at America, specifically, at beach gyms, which were very popular and very trendy,” stressed Floranes, referring to gyms in California (USA). Before taking this step, they looked for other examples of this business model in Spain and saw that “there is a company in the south that was dedicated to this”.
However, before launching it on the market, they studied its customers and the weather, because the people of Santander and the weather are not the same as in the south. “We only open the summer season, which we define from June to October,” he explained, stressing the seasonality of the model.
The Contrainer Gym does not operate with a monthly or annual subscription, like the vast majority of gyms. “We’ve been focusing a little bit on tourists. We think the logical thing to do is vouchers for sessions, they eat the time they’re here and they don’t have to pay a monthly fee,” Floranes said.
“Last year they started testing an expansion project that will start implementation this year,” he says. In addition to the Contrainer Gym, they founded the Contrainer 360, which is dedicated to selling fully equipped enclosures for exercise.
“We offer them everything: the model of the container they want, we equip it with sports equipment and customize it in terms of color, company logos, and so on,” explained the sporting director of the Contrainer.
Contrainer 360’s business model is based on offering lease financing to those interested in opening their own modular gym. And they explain that this type of financing allows the purchase of a “finance company” at an average of 440 euros per month, without initial or final fees.
Starting with this amount, the company provides interested customers with two container models and several contract options that allow them to choose what equipment and materials will be for each container.
The Contrainer Gym, his gym in Santander, had turnover last season of “about 45,000 euros”, a figure that “far exceeds the initial investment”, since it corresponds to the months from June to October, when it was open.
Its sales forecast for 2022, having started the Contrainer 360 business this year, is about 10 facilities, both for private customers and public agencies.
Doing sports in the garden next to the house
Something similar happened with Balanze Digitizing Sports, a modular gym company that, at the beginning of May, presented its project at Expofranquicia 2022 and which already has more than 60 centers in Spain based on the sea container model.
Balanze Digitizing CEO Ignacio Iglesias explained in an interview with Business Insider Spain that in his case, it was an idea he had by going for a walk in El Retiro Park in Madrid: “I go every day and I see how many people work with a coach My person in the garden has doubled.”
And Iglesias recounted that after the epidemic, he saw people arrive at this place loaded with shopping carts with mats, weights, and dumbbells. This gave him the idea of using a shipping container, something he admits he’s already seen on Miami beaches, where this type of outdoor exercise is “very popular.”
“The idea was to buy used containers and, accordingly, adapt,” said Balanze Digitizing CEO. However, they soon realize that it is normal for a shipping container to only open on one side and that they need to open it on all four sides in order to be able to offer several sports at the same time.
In this way, Iglesias explained that they began to manufacture it themselves by purchasing the iron they needed. They currently have 4 factories in Spain: “Theoretically they are containers, but they have nothing to do with what shipping would be like.”
The versatility of being able to place it anywhere
Iglesias highlighted: “The essential thing about a container is that once it is closed, it is inviolable.” This way, with solid iron walls and energy self-sufficiency provided by the solar panels placed on the roof, they could locate these gyms wherever they wanted.
“Last year it was the first in Madrid, which was rotating in El Retiro, on the sidewalk of the Casa de Campo and is currently in the Plaza de Pedro Zerolo,” Iglesias reviews, making sure that the Madrid City Council has started a competition so that there are more than 15 gyms of This kind in DC and they were the winners.
Its model is based on offering a franchise system that revolves around a mobile app that locates the user and tells them which container is closest to them. From there, the idea is to get to the gym, see the classes shown along with a screen video explaining the class, and book and pay for just that class.
“When it’s over, the customer can put little stars on their screen and say whether they like the class or not,” Iglesias explained, stressing that it is a system based on freedom. “You only pay when you go to class, there are no fees here.”
Regarding the business model, the CEO of Balanze Digitizing stresses that it is “very disruptive”, since the investment to open a traditional gym is about “350.000 euros, on average” and a functional gym is available for “one-tenth”. Iglesias confirms that they are offering containers worth 30,000 euros to municipalities and individuals.
In the case of town halls, make it clear that they can have it or access a lease model in which the company puts up the gym and the public entity pays a fee or fee for the service. This allows them to offer 50% discounts to residents or give hours to large groups.
They estimate the end of the year with “more than 150 gymnasiums”, with an average turnover of each of them “around 50,000 euros”. A number that “may seem small,” according to Iglesias, but consider it from an entrepreneurial perspective: “Imagine you just finished INEF, we help you with the business model, to get financing and to dispose of the land.”
This process, in which people may have come to realize that exercising outdoors is more enjoyable, is enhanced, according to Iglesias, by the possibilities it offers: “We have some, like the one in the Muelle de las Delicias in Seville, that allow you to Being able to work with three screens and seeing Torre del Oro, that’s invaluable.”
With info from Business Insider.
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