Fitness’ own ‘Cost of Doing Business’ survey seeks responses, offers results

Ever wonder how your retail business does in comparison to the industry in its overall costs, margins, expenses and more? Participating in the fitness industry’s first “Cost of Doing Business” survey by the NSGA can get respondents their own personalized results. Read on to see how you can take part.
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The fitness industry’s own Cost of Doing Business Survey is still seeking responses, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, which is implementing the first industry-centric version.

The NSGA has done a Cost of Doing Business (CODB) survey for many years, but the fitness specialty industry has been a line-item as a part of sporting goods. The association is hoping to get more responses to make a valid tool for retailers. Retailers who participate will get full, personalized, comparative results as a thank-you for participating.

The survey is one of the first actions by the NSGA as it begins to work more closely with the fitness industry through its management of the new Fitness Industry Dealers Association. Click here to see a Sept. 29, 2010, story on that SNEWS®-supported association. 

“It is, of course, 100-percent anonymous,” said Thomas B. Doyle, former NSGA vice president of information and research, who retired Oct. 31. “The valuable tool for dealers shows only averages so you can compare how you are doing to others.”

As a part of participating, a retailer would upload its financials, which go to an independent audit firm, where they remain confidential -- nobody at the NSGA even sees them, Doyle said. That allows better results plus the participating retailer’s own personalized results that compare his or her business to the industry’s as a whole. What you get are average margins, expenses, payroll, financial ratios and more for similar businesses ranked by dollar volume and square feet of selling space. 

“What’s in it for a dealer? Good information,” said Doyle. “Unless one works only on intuition, good information gives you direction. It is also an important tool for dealing with ‘outsiders,’ such as vendors, bankers and others, and it allows you to profile your operation against peers.”

Although dealers often hate sharing numbers, he explained, they do need comparative figures for accountants, banks and lenders.

You do not have to be a member of the NSGA or FIDA to participate.

Taking the CODB survey

Since it is an online survey, it should only take a few minutes, according to the NSGA. Results are requested as soon as possible, but preferably by mid-November. To complete it:

>> Go to the portal for the NSGA Cost of Doing Business survey at

>> Register and complete the survey. Choose the “Retailer” option. 

>> Under “Specialty Sport Shop,” choose “Fitness” either with or without a Commercial Division.

The first part of the survey asks you to briefly describe your company, while the second part asks for your company’s financials (information from 1120 or 1120S, P&L and Balance Sheet). Without the financials, Doyle said, respondents can’t receive a personalized report.

Other options to participate:

>> Complete the first part of the survey (company description) online at, then mail a copy of your company’s financials (1120 or 1120S, P&L and Balance Sheet only).

>> Contact the NSGA for the mailing address, above, with any questions or to be walked through the survey. It can be reached at 800-815-5422.

To see more information about the survey, which normally costs $295 to receive, click here.

--Therese Iknoian



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