Business Consulting

When our co-founder Dustin Buckthal began working at the YMCA climbing wall in small-town Idaho, he never could have imagined his current role: owner of three world-class climbing gyms along the Wasatch Front, as well as the industry-leading, full-service outfitter for climbing gyms.

Now, after nearly fifteen years of triumphs and tribulations, we draw on our team’s hard-earned understanding of the climbing gym industry to advise other gym owners through every step of the start-up process.

When you collaborate with us, you will not receive hollow advice from inexperienced businesspeople. Rather, you will gain unparalleled insight from a team that’s educated by real-world experience and expertise.


  • Newtwon Dominey
    The Crag

    We’ve been working with Vertical Solutions for just over four months now and can honestly say their contribution was imperative to our progress. From day one their team worked with me on creating our climbing gym financial model to suit our vision and local factors. This is much more time-consuming than we could have imagined but they took us through the process to generate a polished model for success in our market. When it came time to pitch for funding, they had our back with the banks and supported us with the data and documents necessary for smooth conversations. We thought this process could take up to a year, but we were officially funded and settling on a building inside of 6 months. The Business Consulting Package from Vertical Solutions was instrumental in all of this, especially considering at the end of the day there was no additional cost.

  • Jake Crine

    We started working with the VS team two years ago and they have been consulting with us at every turn of our project, even past the traditional obligations. They were instrumental in all the necessary big items like building size, wall space, and projected membership etc. But one of our initial focuses was on maximizing profitability with retail sales, and how much supplemental monthly revenue we could generate to justify the increased efforts and purchasing costs. The VS crew worked tightly with us on the design of our retail area, the overall size, the breakdown of product categories to carry, and even all the way through setting up vendor meetings with us at the Outdoor Retailer show to set up accounts. After that, we were really keen to develop an operational model that saw us and our staff being efficiently organized from day one. This meant that they spent a lot of time with us on developing our Standard Operating Procedures, training our staff on all aspects of our business, and even setting up our retail Point of Sale system before our doors were even open. This help was truly priceless and was a no-brainer for us to add on.

What We Offer

Business Development Package

Covering components like business planning, market research and financing deliverables, our climbing gym development package takes the guesswork out of the planning process while providing a roadmap for profitability.

The package includes:

  • $6,000 credit that rolls up toward wall design and construction costs
  • A fully customizable Climbing Gym Financial Plan Calculator, including 30 hours of consultation
  • Full access to the entire Climbing Gym Startup Guide action items checklist
  • A customizable Climbing Gym Pitch Deck
  • Customizable financial projection sheets
  • Bank document templates, including P&L, financial statements and the roadmap for an SBA loan
  • Market demographic and population consultation
  • Architect RFP
  • Conversation points with potential partners
  • Continued support through project management, including but not limited to leasing or purchasing, working with contractors and site preparation

Ready to get started?

Purchase your business development package here.

Climbing Gym Startup Guide

White Paper: How to Start a Climbing Gym

We have compiled our collective knowledge and expertise into our Climbing Gym Startup Guide, which is a must-read for anyone ambitious enough to start their own climbing gym. The Guide breaks down key issues and action-items so you can prepare for a successful business operation.

The link below allows access to the lite version of this asset. The full version with every detail is kept exclusively for our business consulting clients as part of the package detailed above.

White Paper Preview: How to Start a Climbing Gym

Other Consultation Topics
  • Dustin has managed The Front Climbing Club’s program offerings for over 15 years. He discovered that yoga, group fitness, after school programs and youth teams are investments that add value to monthly memberships and increase retention.

    Our consultation package will increase your understanding of your gym's location and demographics and help determine which offerings will best meet the demands of your future members.

  • Every climber needs the necessary equipment to participate in the sport. Your gym can be the obvious choice for those purchases. Having a dedicated retail space can supplement your bottom line and ensure easy access to essential goods like climbing shoes and chalk.

    We’re here to help you determine the ins-and-outs of retail purchasing, product choices and floor planning. Want a few tips right now? Read our "Retail Without A Runout" blog post featuring Petzl’s insight on how to discover the power of retail in your climbing gym.


Contact us to receive the following documents and take your next steps to success:

VS Company Brochure         Business Development Process Outline
Sample Gym Financial Sheets         CWA Summit Financing Presentation
White Paper Preview: How to Start a Climbing Gym        Case Study: Brooklyn Boulders Renovations


Start your gym business on solid footing.

Purchase your Business Development Package today