Gym and fitness studio business

Gyms and fitness studios can come in many forms. You might be looking at using an existing gym or fitness space, renovating an existing space or converting a warehouse space into a place to carry out your business, or you may want to open a home-based gym business or use an outdoor reserve.

The following information will provide an overview of what you need to consider as you open your business.

We’re here to help! The best place to start is to contact Council’s Business Wizardry team (Biz Wiz) on 1300 653 356, via email at or by visiting our Biz Wiz page.

Permits and registration

You will need a regulatory permit(s) to open a gym and fitness studio in Kingston. These could include a planning permit, a building permit, a Food Act 1984 registration and/or a footpath trading permit. Council will also consider feedback from internal teams about your application, such as parking and traffic restrictions or conducting training in a public reserve.

Do you need a planning permit?

You will need a planning permit for:

  • establishing a new use or changing use (for example, changing a warehouse space to a gym or fitness studio)
  • undertaking construction work in your business (such as, constructing or removing external walls or windows).

The planning permit process is set out by State Legislation and is managed by the Planning Department in the City of Kingston. Depending on your requirements, the process could be lengthy, so allow time for approvals.

Visit Planning permit applications for more information or book an online appointment to chat with one of Council's planning officers.

We advise engaging the Planning Department early before you take out a lease for a site to understand whether your plans are possible. Before making any major commitments, you should also ask Council staff whether there is any existing planning permit for the site you are interested in.

Do you need a building permit?

You will need a building permit for:

  • establishing a new use or changing the use of an existing building (for example, changing a warehouse space into a gym or fitness studio)
  • undertaking renovations or remodelling work for your gym and fitness studio business
  • altering facilities, including bathrooms, installing partitions (for changing and personal training rooms) or mezzanines.

The building permit could have several requirements, including structural requirements (such as beams and pillars) and amenity requirements (such as the number and dimensions of toilets and sanitary facilities). You will also need to plan for accessibility requirements, including wheelchair access, ramps and emergency access.

Council do not issue building permits. You will need to engage a private building surveyor to issue your permit.

You can first talk to the Building Department at the City of Kingston to see what you require. Visit Applying for a building permit for more information or book an online appointment to chat with one of Council's building officers.

Do you need a Food Act registration?

You will need a Food Act 1984 registration from the Environmental Health Department at the City of Kingston if you are:

  • making any food or drink on-site (for example, making protein shakes, self-serve breakfast)
  • selling any food on-site (for example, pre-packaged meals).

Visit Food businesses for more information on the permits, registrations and rules around running a food business in Kingston.

Do you need a footpath trading permit?

If you want to place a sign on the footpath to advertise your gym and fitness studio, you will need a footpath trading permit from Council.

Capacity and parking considerations

Depending on the location and what parking is available near your chosen location, there might be restrictions on the operating hours and the capacity of your business. Once you have provided us with more information, we can inform you whether these restrictions apply.

Application process

Step 1: Discuss with Council

Once you develop a business plan, contact our Biz Wiz team, who will assess your information and help you understand what regulatory permits you need and how to process your application. They can also help to make introductions to other departments, such as Planning and Environmental Health, who will provide you with specific information.

Step 2: Prepare an application

Based on the feedback from the Biz Wiz team, you can start preparing information for the various permits required to start your business. Visit Business permits for information on permits such as footpath activities and food businesses.

For building permits, you will need to engage a private building surveyor. Visit the Victorian Building Authority's website to find a practitioner.

Step 3: Application assessment

Once your application is submitted, you will receive a confirmation email from the relevant department, which will process your application and request further information if needed.

For example, if you require a Food Act 1984 registration, an Environmental Health Officer will assess your application and may conduct a site visit and will provide a written response within 14 days.

For planning permits, Council’s planning officer will review and assess your application and endeavour to issue a decision within 60 statutory days.

Your application may require advertising which allows community members to submit objections.

Step 4: Obtain approval

You will likely receive your approvals via email unless you require a hard copy, in which case one will be sent via post. If Environmental Health is involved in your application, they will need to conduct a final inspection before you open your doors.

Step 5: You can operate

Congratulations on obtaining your permits. Stay in touch with the Biz Wiz team for ongoing support and resources to help your business thrive.