FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Getting Started with FAQ's
Building a climbing project is a big undertaking. We're here to help! Before you dig into our FAQ's, the following terms will help you determine the scope of your project.
This refers to the square footage of climbing wall surface
The more radical the design, the more expensive
The higher the wall, the more expensive. Climbing walls typically range in height from 20 to 45 feet
If we can’t get a man lift into the space or have to carry all of the building materials up a few flights of stairs, it will be more expensive
Depending on climate and working conditions, outdoor climbing walls cost 25% to 50% more than indoor walls
FINDING THE RIGHT SPACE
What should I look for in a building?
What is the right size gym given an area or population?
When planning a climbing gym, among the most important decisions that you need to make is what size to build. You don’t want to build it too small and invite competition, but at the same time you don’t want to go too large either and waste money on start-up costs. Back in the early 1990’s when climbing gyms were few and far between, we used to think that they could only survive in a city of 500,000 or more. As the years passed and climbing became more and more popular we started seeing them go into and prosper in smaller and smaller communities. It is not uncommon now for major metropolitan areas to have 6 climbing gyms and communities of 50,000 to support a moderately sized facility. The size of a gym really comes down to the demographics. For example Boulder, CO, a city of about 75,000, has 3 climbing gyms which all do quite well. This city can support these facilities because it is filled with a very young and active population. On the other side of the coin, Orlando Florida, which has a population of close to 2 million, has only 2 gyms. There are some communities of 10,000 that can support a small climbing gym while other cities of 50,000 would probably have a hard time. As important as the total number of people that you have in your target market is the type of person that is there. My best advice, which has remained the same since the early days, is that if your “gut” tells you that your area can support a gym then it probably can. You of course need to put in the do-diligence and complete a more scientific study of your demographics to prove this to yourself (and to your investors), but it is very rare to have someone finish this type of study and come to the conclusion that it just isn’t feasible. The question soon becomes, “Ok, so what size climbing gym do I build?” The business plan consultation package that we offer addresses this and other issues relating to planning a climbing gym business. The formula for evaluating your market is based on real life historical data from gyms across the country and provides you the tools you need to accurately understand and assess your market. Once completing this study you will be able to accurately size your gym to discourage competition and maximize investor return.
I am just getting started, where do I begin?
How do I raise the start-up capital or financing for a climbing gym?
How do I calculate the square footage for climbing walls?
Multiply the length of the wall by the height of the room. Then multiply this number by a factor of 1.3 to account for the articulation of the wall surface. This total is a good estimate of the square footage of the climbing wall.
CLIMBING WALL DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Are climbing walls custom designed for every location?
Can you provide a turn-key solution for my climbing project?
Yes! We provide the following services: design, engineering, fabrication, installation, all necessary climbing gear, holds, staff training, inspections, flooring, and extras like: washrooms, change rooms and front desks.
How long does it take to build a climbing wall?
How much does it cost to build a full-sized climbing gym?
What should I consider about building a climbing wall?
Height, size, location, location access & timeline are all factors that must be considered when pricing a climbing wall.
Are climbing walls safe?
The safety record on our climbing walls is incredible. One statistic that our industry uses to illustrate the safety is that there are fewer injuries per participant in artificial climbing walls then there are in bowling. It is only the perception of climbing outside on real rock that is dangerous. Using a controlled environment, modern safety ropes & harnesses, and welded steel anchoring systems really makes the whole thing a lot safer than most people realize.
CLIMBING GYM OPERATIONS
How much is climbing gym insurance?
The rate is typically between 2 – 3% of your revenues. For example, a gym that does $750,000 in climbing wall related revenue (excluding equipment sales, rentals, etc.) would be looking at an annual insurance cost of about $20,000 for the year – just one of the costs of doing business.
Should I add retail to my climbing gym?
It has been our experience that climbing gyms that also offer a full retail store do not do as well (financially) as gyms that do not offer retail. Our theory for explaining this is that retail requires a good deal of effort and most people that operate climbing gyms do not have the time to do a good job at retail. The effort that they do spend on the retail store could be spent developing or promoting new programs at the climbing gym. This will return a much stronger return on the time investment. Our standard recommendation to gym owners is to not offer retail unless they have experience in this area. It is often better to lease the retail to a local mountain shop that is in the position to do this area of the business much better. This leaves you, the gym owner to focus on your core business, which is the operation of the climbing programs.
What is the minimum age for climbing?
We do not place a minimum age on participants. Our rule is that any child that wants to climb can try it. We have special safety harnesses that are designed for very small children. It is not uncommon to find children aged 3 or 4 that want to climb; however most children are too scared to really try it until they are 5 or 6. It really depends on the child.