Gym ownership can be a satisfying career path. You get to do work you’re passionate about, help people reach goals and make transformations, create a supportive fitness community, and make a pretty decent living.
Of course, owning a fitness club is not all sunshine and daisies. Like any profession, gym ownership comes with challenges that range from minor inconveniences to steep mountains to climb. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common challenges facing gym owners today and offer solutions for overcoming them and solidifying your space in the industry.
Challenge #1: Member Retention
Unless you’re a niche fitness club catering to a specific client base, your gym is filled with a plethora of diverse members. These different members bring with them a wide range of needs, goals, and fitness journey trajectories that you must be able to satisfy — and that’s a tall order for any business owner, no matter how passionate or experienced you are.
Solution: Ask members what they like, dislike, and want to see in your club.
The easiest and most effective way to ensure you’re offering what your members want and need is to go directly to the source. Survey your clients regularly — ideally once every month or two — through platforms like email, social media, your member app, and in person on the floor. You should also be using strategies to keep members engaged, such as producing regular content, getting active on social media, and investing in the equipment and tools they want.
Challenge #2: Consistent Revenue
Keeping a gym running requires some hefty expenses. Between buying and maintaining equipment, rent/mortgage, payroll, facility maintenance, marketing, and everything else it takes to operate a successful club, you need to bring in considerable profits to offset your costs. Especially after the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on gyms and fitness studios, which saw a collective 58% revenue loss relative to 2019, monthly membership fees are often not enough.
Solution: Track your finances and make and seize opportunities to upsell.
Like any business, your club needs reliable and consistent financial reporting to keep tabs on your cash flow, where you’re most profitable, and where there’s opportunity to improve. Club management software that offers marketing features like email and SMS campaigning and automated communications can help you identify and maximize growth opportunities.
Challenge #3: Hiring Staff
Finding and retaining skilled, experienced, and enthusiastic trainers has proven to be a hurdle for many fitness business owners. This is another challenge that COVID has greatly amplified. When gyms had to close their doors for a portion of 2020, 44% of the fitness industry workforce lost their jobs. Employee retention directly affects member retention, as clients get attached to specific trainers or instructors.
Solution: Put more effort into employee retention.
When you find a good employee, do everything in your power to keep them on your team. Here are a few things you can do to boost employee retention at your club:
- Offer competitive pay and benefits packages
- Be flexible with scheduling and PTO
- Create a positive company culture
- Offer career growth opportunities (trainings, certification reimbursement, internal promotion)
- Offer referral incentives for hiring new team members
- Make their jobs as easy as possible with a staff mobile app
Challenge #4: Facility Maintenance
Maintaining a clean, attractive, and functional club is no easy feat. Members expect your club to run smoothly, look good, and have high standards for cleanliness in the COVID era. If you don’t hit every mark, you’ll see members leave for one of the many other gym options they have to choose from.
- Health changes or challenges
- Family or work obligations
Solution: Invest in club management software that streamlines and automates maintenance tasks.
There are plenty of resources available for you to take advantage of to ensure your club is organized and operating as efficiently as possible. You’ll quickly find that tools such as automatic billing and payments, mobile data capture, automatic inventory tracking, customizable POS, QR access control, and other solutions that free up your time to focus on members are worth their weight in gold.
Challenge #5: Integrating Technology
In the 21st century, your club has no chance against the abundant competition in the fitness industry if you don’t have technology that offers the ease, convenience, and access consumers have come to expect from gyms and studios. Technology is a necessity for optimizing both club performance and member experience.
Solution: Leverage technology to make your club more accessible, engaging, and easier to run.
Make your gym tech-friendly by embracing the tools members love and solutions that will streamline your business operation. Fitness consumers, for example, want to be able to track their workouts, access your services on the go, and have livestream and on-demand exercise options. On the business side, technology such as management software, member and staff apps, social media, and digital marketing will keep your club in the game.
2022 Fitness Trends Gym Owners Should Keep an Eye on
Since the fitness industry is always evolving, staying up to date on recent and predicted trends can help you anticipate and prepare for future challenges. Here are some of the expected fitness trends you should be aware of going into 2022:
- Fitness wearables
- Member mobile apps
- Online training
- Mindfulness programs
- Bodyweight training
- High-intensity interval training
- Personal training
The Right Marketing Strategy Can Make Gym Ownership Profitable
Most of the challenges that gym owners face can be prevented or solved with effective marketing efforts that supercharge member acquisition, boost retention, and grow your business. This can seem like an overwhelming hill to conquer if you don’t know where to start. The good news? ClubWise has you covered!
Download our free e-book on marketing your gym to ensure you build a stronger, more resilient business in the ever-changing fitness landscape. With our comprehensive marketing strategy guide, you’ll put the local competition to shame and unlock your club’s full potential!