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Learn tactics for leases, contractors, financing and more

For those who are looking into the real estate aspect of a club – leasing or renting, expanding, renovating or deciding on a location – there is a lot to consider. 

That may sound obvious, but sometimes in order to get the best price, results and member experience it requires stepping back from the project or seeking advice in order to get perspective.

Chris Craytor, vice president of Development at ACAC Fitness and Wellness Centers in Virginia and Pennsylvania, will be able to give some of his perspective during his discussion, Health Club Real Estate Tactics and Strategies on Saturday, March 15, at 9 a.m., as part of the Innovations & Opportunities track.

IHRSA is writing about all of the different educational session tracks leading up to the 33rd Annual International Convention & Trade Show, which is March 12-15 in San Diego.

Read on for more on Health Club Real Estate Tactics and Strategies.

Entering his 10th year with ACAC, Craytor has handle numerous projects including construction, financing, renovations, leases, rehabs and more. ACAC has five large clubs, a family summer center, and a smaller satellite operation with less than 10,000 square feet.

“The goal (of this session) is ‘how can I help you set yourself up for success’,” Crayrtor said. “You don’t want to constantly be working on a project, putting money into it because it got screwed up the first time. I hope to help you get it right the first time.”

Craytor will cover many areas, as well as taking questions. Here is some quick information, in case you can’t make the session or want to prepare for it.


Craytor explains that this can be a sticky situation because the financial institution will want your projected expenses, revenue and a full understanding of your business before handing over the money. Oftentimes that is hard to produce if you are opening a new business.

“What is the bank banking on? What do you have for collateral? You have to do things differently when dealing with things like this,” he said.



Craytor warns of some landlords taking advantage of inexperience to get higher rent and even brining in hidden expenses - common area charges, marketing expenses - in the lease.

“I will show how to negotiate effectively with a landlord,” Craytor said. “A club owner may go through real estate transactions only every few years. A landlord is used to renting space so they have a built-in advantage. To them it is just another deal. To you it’s you business, your livelihood.

“One tip I can give you is not to spend more than 20% of you total revenue expenses on rent.”


This is not much different than hiring a contractor for work to be done at your home: get references, check out their work, get a finish date in writing, and find out how important this project is to them because it can show in quality of work, timeliness of completion, ability to get things done.

“The goal of this session is to give people key takeaways they can bring back with them, including some general rules and means on how to get things done in order to achieve a really good situation for a club or business,” Craytor said.

The complete Innovations & Opportunities track schedule can be found at

For more on IHRSA 2014, visit And, be sure to download the free IHRSA App and follow on Twitter at #IHRSA2014.


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