If you’re like most ambitious entrepreneurs, then at one point or another you’ve probably wondered how to run a successful gym. Gyms provide bountiful opportunities for those who have the drive and ambition to pursue this lucrative business model, but like any business, running a gym requires a comprehensive knowledge of the space. Check out these top tips if you have ever wanted to know what it takes to make your gym a success.
Decide to Build or Rent a Space
Before you commit to putting up a brand-new commercial construction for your new gym, be sure to explore all available options first. Many people simply assume that building a new gym means breaking ground and constructing a structure from the ground up. However, you don’t always have to build a new gym if you want to make your fitness facility a success.
In many cases, knowing how to run a successful gym is not dependent on constructing a new site for your business. Instead, you can often find similar success by renting out an existing space. There are several factors to consider with both construction and rentals, so be sure to consult with business owners, investors, and financial analysts who know the gym space. If you are banking on consistent membership signups and visitors, then many times the location of your gym is more important than the terms of the rental.
Even if you decide to go the route of demolition and construction, it’s possible to recoup a lot of your costs with the proper strategy and plan. As you learn how to run a successful gym, plan for regular hurdles and setbacks. While the gym business is certainly in demand these days, that doesn’t mean it’s a space that is free of its unique challenges. There are many financial planners who can help you to strategize your gym model both from the physical space to the membership fees.
Maintain Your Roof
If you’re starting out learning how to run a successful gym, try not to fall for the trap of only thinking about your day-to-day operations. While this is important, you also need to remember other crucial factors, such as the maintenance of the property itself. You want your space to be clean and tidy, but above all else, you want your building to be safe for guests. This means taking care of your roof before it becomes a problem.
When building a new gym from scratch, be sure to consult with a local roofing contractor. Even if you’re renting out your space, it’s a good idea to get a full breakdown of all recent roof repairs and inspections so that you can forecast any issues in the roof. Just like with a home, an office, or another piece of commercial real estate, roof costs are often some of the most expensive to surmount. These expenses are even worse when you’re not prepared for them.
Several commercial roofing services can give you a quote for services before you enter a contract with them. It’s never a bad idea to shop around and build a wide view of the local market so that you can take advantage of the services you need before your roof becomes too problematic to ignore. As part of your finances, you should always set aside a portion of your budget for roof inspections and repairs.
Assemble Your Team
Anyone who knows how to run a successful gym understands the importance of putting the right team in place. Without an elite team, from customer service to personal trainers, it’s going to be difficult to compete in the gym marketplace. Not only are you entering competition with national chains when you open a gym, but you’re also going up against local gyms, many of which have had a foothold in their local communities for years. It will be nearly impossible to keep pace with these entities if you have a lackluster team around you.
If you’re struggling to set up a proper team, you can always seek the assistance of a local or national staffing agency. Staffing agencies with experience in the gym and fitness space will be able to advise you on what to look for (and what to avoid) as you start to build out your team. Daily operations are critical, so be diligent in hiring people that are knowledgeable and courteous.
When it comes to the other aspects of your team, such as sanitation and finances, a local employment agency will be able to help you. Even if you’re not sure how to run a successful gym, these agencies can get you on the right track by setting you up for success with your hires. They can also provide some context on common missteps to avoid as you hire staff members to take care of your customers and market your business to a larger audience.
Diversify Your Revenue Streams
Gone are the days of simply profiting off of your gym by offering a single membership fee. Sure, it’s a good idea to offer the types of basic services your clients expect, but in the modern world, you have so many new options to explore when it comes to monetizing your gym. It’s helpful to look at what other, more successful gyms are doing in terms of their membership tiers and premium services.
Nowadays, most profitable gyms offer several levels of membership. Brainstorming some membership levels with your team is a great way to make sure you’re in sync with what your customers want and your plans for the future. One example is offering a monthly tier that gives your members access to premium services such as spa amenities, classes, and exclusive events. If you’re feeling stuck on meeting your client’s needs, try surveying them so you have a better idea about what to implement.
You may also want to think about giving some incentives to members before they even sign up to become a member of your gym. For example, if you give people the chance to work out at your gym for free for a day, it can lead to increased interest and social awareness in the community. This practice is common, along with public gym tours, because it often leads to a wider reach in your local fitness community.
As you discover how to run a successful gym, you’ll likely encounter other successful gyms that work to up-sell their clients on additional products and services. This is perhaps one of the best ways to extract additional streams of income from the same business. Sure, selling premier services such as fitness classes, individualized training programs, and subscriptions is a great way to level up your gym, but you shouldn’t ignore tested streams of revenue such as refreshments and supplements.
As you set up your drink station, remember to include costs such as refrigeration repair for your financial well-being. Many times, gym owners focus too much on branding and marketing, only to forego more structural costs such as refrigeration. Monitor your finances as you begin selling beverages so that you can ensure your revenue exceeds expenses. Implement a pricing strategy, and consider offering flexible options to accommodate various budgets so you can provide something for everyone.
For example, you should offer basic drinks, such as water and energy drinks. This will ensure that your refreshment station has cost-friendly options for all of your visitors. On top of this, you can offer more premium drinks for those who have the budget. Many gyms find success selling juice cleanses, probiotic beverages, and other high-end drinks to assist with health and wellness. Since you already know your clients are interested in leading a healthy lifestyle, you can use this knowledge to structure a menu that meets their needs.
Use Modern Technology to Enhance Your Gym Experience
New technology can help you draw in more customers, and it can greatly improve their experience. Many gyms offer apps that allow members to check in when they arrive for a workout, order fitness supplies, and even track their progress on their workouts. This kind of engagement is a great way to use technology to improve your gym.
There’s also a lot of technology you can use to enhance your customer service. For example, installing a new point-of-sales system can help you and the rest of your team stay on top of member details, sales reports, finances, and more. A strong website and email list will improve your reach while also making it easier for members to locate the kind of crucial information they need for their gym membership. Be sure to think hard about your investment in modern technology for your gym, as it can be a key difference maker in your success.
Leverage Online Platforms and Social Media
The new wave of smartphones and mobile technology has opened many doors for those who own and operate gyms. In the fitness space, there is no shortage of online content to reference for inspiration and motivation. Leveraging these new platforms, along with modern technological advancements, can put you on a track toward building a profitable gym business in your area.
Start out by building up some marketing campaigns on social media. At first, you can start by doing this yourself so you can see what works (and what doesn’t). After some time you may want to expand by hiring a dedicated social media team to create content, engage with your community, and build your brand out across several different platforms.
It’s a good idea to use lots of different formats for your content. For example, on your website, you can offer blog posts that provide fitness tips while also directing people to your gym when they’re searching locally. On top of this, you can leverage social media platforms like Instagram Reels and TikTok to create video content for your gym. There is no end to the possibilities when creating content to market your gym and reach your target audience online.
Fix Your Parking Lot
Taking care of the exterior of your gym is a fruitful approach to generating more business and cementing your place in the local community. While taking care of your signage and branding on the outside of your gym is helpful, you can never overlook the state of your parking lot. If you have large potholes, bad lighting, or other blemishes in your parking lot, then seeking the help of a commercial paver will dramatically improve your outlook.
Although you may not know how to run a successful gym right away, by speaking with expert contractors you can begin to develop your business. When working with a local paving contractor be sure to let them know your goals, your budget, and your desired outcome for your repairs. It’s also a good idea to set up a regular schedule of inspections and maintenance to ensure that your parking lot never goes too long without being maintained.
Whether you need potholes repaired, or just a new parking lot line stripe, your contractor will become your go-to source for keeping your gym parking lot in pristine condition. Consider the fact that inclement weather may increase the rate at which you have to repair your parking lot. This is especially important for those who do business in climates with lots of rain, snow, sleet, and ice. As you probably know, laying salt down on your parking lot is necessary in the colder months, but it can also lead to a quicker decay of your asphalt. Be sure to prepare for these kinds of issues as you learn how to run a successful gym.
As you can tell from the topics covered, if you were to ask two different entrepreneurs how to run a successful gym, you would end up with two different answers. Taking your own approach is a great way to set yourself apart from the crowd. However, by implementing the foundational keys discussed, you can make a gym business model work for you, your clients, and your local community.