May 01 | 5 Minute Read

3 Pros and 3 Cons of Owning a Climbing Gym Franchise

Sports Franchising

With the increasing popularity of climbing, owing to its recent spotlight on the international sports stage, opening a climbing gym franchise may be on your radar. Discover the pros and cons of launching a rock-climbing gym franchise to evaluate whether it’s a good investment for you.

Indoor climbing, or sport climbing, made its Olympic debut at the youth games in Buenos Aires in 2018. Competitive climbing joined the lineup of events for the first time at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. Today there are more than 25 million climbers in 150 countries. Over the past decade, an average of 32 new climbing gyms have opened each year in the U.S., according to the most recent research from the Climbing Business Journal. The pandemic outbreak put a damper on gym growth, but the industry was forecast to bounce back in 2023.

To determine if a climbing gym is the right business opportunity for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.


  1. Growing popularity: The surging popularity of climbing among the younger generation positions it as an ideal investment opportunity. At least 39% of climbers are under the age of 18.
  2. Community building: Climbing gyms are spaces where people with shared interests connect, creating a loyal customer base. Many offer social events designed for people to enjoy climbing and camaraderie.
  3. Diversified revenue streams: Beyond membership fees, climbing gyms can generate income through classes, workshops, gear sales, and events to enhance profitability. The average annual revenue of a climbing gym is $974,337.


  1. High initial investment: The startup costs for a climbing gym can be substantial, covering equipment, facility renovations, and ancillary costs. One climbing franchise with 12 locations in the U.S. has an initial investment ranging from $1,214,350 to $3,304,300.
  2. Ongoing maintenance: You must ensure the safety of climbers by keeping equipment in prime condition, which can demand considerable time and attention.
  3. Hiring challenges: Although indoor climbing enjoys widespread popularity, finding qualified staff and implementing effective training programs poses significant challenges. A climbing wall instructor needs to meet certain prerequisites to qualify for a top-level certification, including 40 lead climbs, which is when a person places their own protective gear as they ascend.

A Climbing Gym Franchise Substitute

If the high cost and maintenance requirements of a climbing gym franchise are giving you pause, Apex Leadership’s event-based fundraising franchise is an alternative that combines your passion for physical fitness and entrepreneurial ambition. Our franchise business model promotes both fitness and leadership in children.

We specialize in organizing fun runs and other fitness-oriented fundraising events for elementary and middle schools. Choosing to open an events-based fundraising business with us can be a strategic move. Compared to the hefty investment required for a climbing gym, our home-based business is significantly more affordable, reducing financial barriers to entry. Our initial investment is $81,000 to $117,000, which includes a $49,500 franchise fee. Although we’re a low-cost franchise, the average gross revenue at 37 locations was $665,929.69 in 2023.* And as part of our franchise process, we offer ample training and ongoing support to help you gain a foothold in your community.

One of the attractions of franchise business ownership is the potential for work-life balance. At least 29% ofpeople want to quit their jobs because of a lack of work-life balance.  Unlike a climbing gym which can have long hours, our brand is a work-from-home franchise, and you have the flexibility to create your own schedule.

Learn More About Apex

Pursue your passion for fitness, make a significant community impact, and achieve your entrepreneurial goals. Request information to learn more about Apex.

*This is a historical representation of what some of Apex Leadership Company’s franchised agencies earned, as described further in Item 19 of the FDD.