Priced Out of Your Market? Dylan Kill Was, So He Opened a Mobile Gym

October 17, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Dylan Kill
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When it comes to finding a brick and mortar facility, it’s anything but a level playing field out there for aspiring gym owners.

Case in point: In a survey we conducted last year, we discovered rents range from 21 cents per square foot in Anaconda, MT, to as much as $3 per square foot in San Diego, CA.

  • One gym owner in Rapid City, SD, was paying $3,600 a month for a 4,000 square foot facility, while another in Wilmette, IL was paying $3,600 for 1,975 square feet.
  • Further, a gym owner in Glasgow, KY was paying just $850 for 3,400 square feet, while a 3,800 facility in Gilbert, AZ cost another owner $10,000 a month.

This disparity means the reality for some aspiring gym owners is that it might just not be financially viable to lease a space for a CrossFit affiliate or functional fitness gym in their market. 

This was essentially the case for Dylan Kill on Daniel Island, in Charleston, SC. He started looking for possible places to rent in his market earlier this year and couldn’t find anything that made sense financially. 

  • “The average lease I saw in the area for around 3,000 square feet was around $8,000 to $10,000 a month. With just starting my business, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a loan to cover rent, equipment, utilities and all the expenses that come with starting a gym,” he said, adding that he even came across one Globo-style gym in the area who was paying $40,000 a month for 9,000 square feet.

So Kill said, ‘Screw it,’ and decided to find a way to avoid paying rent altogether.

How he did it: Kill bought a 12-foot trailer that houses a fully-equipped gym and opened Kill’n It Fitness in August, a mobile fitness business that runs bootcamps and semi-private training out of a parking lot he pays nothing for on Daniel Island.

Though not a CrossFit affiliate, Kill’s model could provide solutions for affiliate owners (note: CrossFit requires a brick and mortar address in order to affiliate). 

And after just two months in operation, Kill has 30 members, his overhead costs are just $3,000 a month, and he has all the optimism in the world that he’s on the right path.

  • “It’s a much lower overhead to start and run the business, and once the trailer is paid off, it’s yours,” he said.

One big thing: In just two months of doing business, Kill has already discovered unique opportunities that come with a mobile gym, such as the ability for him to take his trailer to, for example local runs, vendor fairs and other events, essentially acting as easy marketing and brand-building.

  • “It is a great talking piece and people love checking it out,” he said, adding that he has also been setting up camp outside of apartments in the area and offering workouts to local residents. 

Another unique opportunity Kill sees is the ability to move into the corporate wellness space, which is his next plan.

Oftentimes, the challenge comes in getting employees to make the trek to the brick and mortar gym, he explained. But this won’t be a problem for Kill, as his mobile gym will go to them.

  • “Companies have money to spend on their employees’ health and wellness, so might as well figure out how to spend it on you,” he said. 

The big picture: Since its inception, the CrossFit affiliate model has provided the business owner with endless freedom and flexibility. Two-plus decades in, Kill is the perfect example of this, and he couldn’t be more stoked about how his members are responding to an uncharacteristic way of delivering fitness.

“People love the versatility of the workouts you’re able to bring with the trailer. People don’t realize how big it is and how much storage and different equipment you can store to have well-rounded training,” he said.

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