Business Consulting

When our co-founder Dustin Buckthal began working at the YMCA climbing wall in small-town Idaho, he never imagined his current role: Owner of three world-class climbing gyms along the Wasatch Front.

After fifteen years of triumphs and tribulations, Dustin draws on his hard-earned experience in the climbing gym industry to help other gym owners through every step of the start-up process.

When you collaborate with Vertical Solutions, you won’t just get hollow advice from someone who barely knows the business. Rather, you’ll receive unparalleled insight that only years of real-world experience and expertise can provide.


  • 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

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Business Development Package


We want to help you because an increased number of successful gyms helps strengthen the sport of indoor climbing and the entire industry. A stronger, larger industry means more customers and profits, too.

Our complete suite of financial and business tools helps our partners get funding for their projects and sets them on track to earn a profit, allowing them to join others around the world who successfully own climbing gyms.

If you’re an entrepreneur who is beginning to develop a business plan, market research, banking institution deliverables and an operating agreement for potential partnerships, review our climbing gym development package that takes the guesswork out of the process by giving you the template for success.

Before diving into our package, review our climbing gym financial projection sheet located in our Downloads & Links section below. As part of the business development package, we’ll consult with and present to you a unique version of the projection sheets that are completely customized to your business plan. Additionally, you’ll receive:

  • $6,000 credit that will roll up toward wall design and construction costs.
  • A fully customized Climbing Gym Financial Plan Calculator, including up to 30 hours of consultation.
  • Full access to the entire Climbing Gym Startup Guide action items checklist.
  • A Climbing Gym Pitch Deck with consultation and customization.
  • 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.
  • Access to marketing and industry research and reports.

Here’s a link for payment when you want to get started.

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Climbing Gym Startup Guide

White Paper: How to Start a Climbing Gym

With Dustin’s personal experience in the climbing industry, as well as additional research in small business ownership, Dustin compiled all his knowledge and expertise into one comprehensive document.

The Climbing Gym Startup Guide is a must-read for anyone ambitious enough to start their own climbing gym. The Guide offers a step-by-step breakdown of everything you’ll need to know in order to open your first gym, from just thinking about the project to formulating an actionable plan that investors will believe in.

By clicking the link below, you’ll have access to the lite version. This will give you a quick glance and brief idea of the start-up process. 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 programming for over 15 years. While refining The Front’s offerings for maximum return, he discovered that additional programming such as yoga, group fitness, after school programs and youth teams can round out product offerings.

    Through our business consultation, we’ll help you specify your offerings based on your gym’s location and demographics.

  • Your members and guests will need a place to purchase equipment and apparel. So, your gym should be the obvious choice. Plus, having a dedicated retail space can supplement your bottom line.

    We’re here to help you determine the ins-and-outs of retail purchasing, product offerings and floor planning.

  • Much like the difference between amateur and professional art, the difference between strong and poor route setting is obvious. Climbers of all abilities deserve thoughtful setting and in this era of modern climbing gyms, they’ve grown to expect it.

    Beautiful walls are meaningless with bad setting. To help meet customer expectations, our expert team of route setters is available with all climbing wall packages.

Downloads & Links