The post-pandemic rise of self-care and wellness saw the global health and fitness industry grow to $96.7 billion in 2022.
A key trend driving the industry is the emergence of boutique fitness studios of different shapes and sizes – all offering a more intimate, personalized gym experience to customers.
It means that gym management is no longer purely reserved for the biggest brands, running chains of gym franchises. It’s allowed smaller businesses, and even solo entrepreneurs to manage their own mini-gyms and studios.
To help you out, we’ve scoured the latest gym management tools and software apps for their best advice.
Here are our top 27 gym management tips.
Gym Management Tips: How To Succeed
Let’s get right into the most important things to know.
1. Create An inclusive Studio
Everyone needs to feel comfortable working out and getting fit.
Without an inclusive culture, your gym won’t just get a bad reputation, it’ll actually only become an option for a small group.
You want to encourage people of different shapes and sizes, ages and backgrounds to work out together and all feel comfortable. You can do it with modern well spaced equipment, clear rules and expectations, good supervision and varied classes, which is our next point…
2. Offer Varied equipment and classes
Different people have different workout needs and requirements. You need to make sure you have the right equipment for them – from treadmills to bikes, to rowers, to cross-trainers, plus good variety of weights and resistance machines.
You also need to cater for different needs when it comes to classes – from yoga, to spinning to pilates, to high intensity workouts.
3. Write a clear mission statement
You’ll need to set clear expectations around rules, regulations and behaviours, but first you need to write a clear mission statement for yourself, so you know where you’re going with your own journey.
Gym management will become much clearer once you’ve decided on your destination.
4. Employ passionate People
A good personal trainer is a motivator, that person who can encourage us to squeeze an extra drop of effort when we’re tired.
A gym full of passionate people will keep the energy high, and make it a fun place to be. Taking care of who you employ is one of the most important gym management tips.
5. Focus On Retention
Growth can come through marketing, word of mouth and natural expansion, but retention really shows whether you’re doing a good job or not.
Focusing on retention is smart from a management perspective as an extremely high retention rate means you’ll be growing all the time. If this drops off, then you’ll have to replace members and add even more to expand.
6. Build your online community.
When people are motivated to work out, they feel proud of themselves. And then they LOVE to talk about it.
An online space where people can share goals, ideas and tips is a great way of keeping people coming back to your gym.
This online space can be a social media platform, a comments section on your website, or a forum. It’s important that you contribute too.
7. Start rewards programs
When I go to the gym, it tells me how often I’ve been in the last week, month, year, and has milestone badges set up to reward numbers of visits.
It’s a small easy way of keeping people engaged (and competitive with their friends). Setting up little rewards based on attendance or goals is a great way to keep people motivated. – which keeps them as paying customers!
8. Keep members up to date
Keep an updated subscriber list so you can always update people on what’s happening. For example, you might be closed certain days of the year, or bank holidays. You might shift opening or closing times around.
You might have to change the timing of certain classes if an instructor can’t make them. All these little things should be passed onto your members as the last thing you want is them turning up for a class when it’s not on, or your gym when it’s closed.
Communication goes a long way.
9. Focus On Data Demographics.
Work out who your customers and audience is through data capture and analysis.
It might be best to capture this info on signup, but it’ll be useful if you want to direct marketing at audiences, or aim for a wider demographic.
10. Put Safety First
When people are working out, they can get hurt sadly.
It might be on the weights, or on a cardio piece.
What you need to do is put safety protocols in place to minimise any accidents and take care of your guests. Put signs up, keep equipment in excellent condition and have induction sessions so people are using the facilities in the safest way, right from the start.
11. Make Expectations Clear
You want people to treat each other with respect, so make your rules and expectations clear.
You won’t tolerate certain actions, you expect the direct debit to be paid on a certain date, you can’t cancel on classes just before they start.
Whatever your rules are, make them clear through signs, emails, induction leaflets and your website.
12. Focus On Hygiene
Hygiene should go beyond cleaning the equipment and facilities, you should be encouraging your gym-goers to do the same.
Recommend that people bring a towel to wipe off the equipment afterwards. In a busy gym, you won’t want machines to be dripping with sweat!
13. Add Different membership options
Your facility might have more than certain customers need. A swimming pool, for instance, or a studio with extra classes.
Give people tiered gym membership options and you’ll cater for both ends of the market.
A good rule is the rule of three: A starter, pro and premium program.
14. Provide Good Security
For members to enjoy working out, they need to know their stuff is safe.
A solid gym management tip is to provide lockers, or even simple safe boxes in case they want to drop phones or laptops behind the counter, especially if they visit on the way home from work.
Having that peace of mind is a real added bonus for your customers.
15. Make A Good First Impression
People will decided if they want to join almost as soon as they walk through the doors. All these gym management tips are irrelevant if you’ve turned them off from the word go.
Have a well-lit welcoming lobby, nice branding and a smiling receptionist and it’ll go a long way to encouraging people to join.
16. Add Online Booking For Classes
In today’s world, everything needs to be simple.
Booking a gym session or class is no different, and if it’s difficult to do then people likely won’t bother.
Make sure they can book online through a piece of gym software, or use a third party booking system to make is as easy as possible.
17. Put on social gatherings
Many people want to work out alone (I am one of them), but for others, the social side is valuable.
Putting on a monthly or quarterly social gathering can help people meet like-minded members, who can encourage them on their fitness journey.
Plus, once people have made friends, they likely won’t change gyms!
18. Prioritise Training For Staff
Staff training is invaluable, and not just so your staff stay engaged and motivated at work.
For your customers, having staff on hand who are experts in nutrition, or body mechanics, or injury prevention is a real plus.
19. Add nutrition and wellness coaching
Having staff who know their nutrition is great, but have you considered offering is as a proper service?
Some people would love to have meal plans made up, as well as techniques like breathing or meditation. Adding expertise and services is a great way to help your gym grow.
20. Gather customer feedback
Your customer feedback is absolutely crucial (both good and bad).
You can gather their opinions through social polls, email surveys, written surveys and even just a quick few questions when they sign up.
21. Use Metrics To Improve
Those gaps always exist in your service, but they might not be obvious until you crunch the numbers.
Relying on metrics for feedback can help you reinforce your beliefs that you’re doing the right thing, and make decisions accordingly.
22. Excel in Customer Service
A gym is like every other business in that customer service really matters.
Ultimately, good service will create a positive impression that’ll help safeguard retention and drive growth.
Make sure the customer service filters through every aspect of your gym management, from reception, to booking, to classes and email responses.
23. Use a Smooth member payments System.
There are lots of different way you can choose to do your payments. You might encourage annual fees at a discount, or monthly fees by direct debit.
But whatever you’ll do, you need a smooth, secure payments gateway that every customer can trust.
24. Keep Financial Records.
There are so many costs associated with running a gym, that it’s easy to fall down if you’ve lost oversight of your cashflow.
Financial records via an accounting or payroll software like Quickbooks, or Xero, plus paper receipts is a must to keep you on top of your finances (and projected outgoings).
25. Create partnerships local businesses
Local businesses are the lifeblood of your gym, because there’s a good chance that employees in your local area will sign up.
Create discounts and partnerships with these organisations, and they’ll encourage their staff to join.
You might even do a package deal that makes your gym part of their employment benefits. It’s a great way to secure loyal customers in large numbers.
26. Stay On Top Of Trends
The gym business changes just like every other industry.
Wearable tech has taken off in the gym world, and Fitbits and Apple Watches will be found in pretty much every gym nationwide.
Keeping on top of trends might mean finding equipment and software that integrates with these devices, allowing people to keep records of their workouts.
27. Keep learning To Grow
You can’t grow as a manager of a gym unless you are always learning and developing your offering, and your own managerial skillset.
Embrace new ideas, learn from mistakes and keep looking to the future.
Managing a gym can be tiring, but it’s also extremely rewarding when you build strong relationships with your members.
Biggest Gym Management Mistakes
After going through the gym management tips, there are three common mistakes that people make most often:
Without a clear vision, how will you know if you’re doing well, or whether you need to switch things up.
The most important part of starting up is to have clarity about what you’re trying to achieve.
Forgetting it’s about people
All the data and metrics are great, but looking at your gym as a snapshot of numbers online can be deceptive. Remember, every number is a person.
You need to keep asking, do they feel happy? Does the gym offer what they want? Do they feel comfortable working out? Gym management is a people business, not a software one.
It’s easy to tot everything up at the start and think you’ll be making a lot more profit than you actually will.
Have you factored in equipment repairs and maintenance? What about heating and electricity? And have you got a plan if your retention rate isn’t as high as you first estimated?
You need to be smart about future financial projections, as well as what’s happening in there here and now.
Gym Management: The Basics
Before we wrap up the best gym management tips, let’s cover some of the basic metrics you’ll want to track.
- Memberships: Both the overall number, and the growth of new joiners, month on month.
- Attendance: How often your customers actually come to the gym. This can be tracked by individual equipment stats.
- Customer satisfaction: Whether your members are happy. Are they visiting regularly? Would they recommend it?
- Revenue: The overall amount all your services bring in.
- Expenses: Every cost related to the running of your gym, from software subscriptions to insurances, to rent, to equipment, to salaries.
- Profit: The ultimate test for how well your gym is actually doing.
- Staff performance: Are your staff engaged and excited by their jobs? Are they passionate about good customer service and invested in the fitness goals of your customers?
The individual metrics and data points you’ll want to track depend largely on your gym’s size, scale, location and target audience.
Gym Management tips: What Else Should You Consider?
Aside from your equipment, rent, energy bills and insurance, payroll expenses are likely to be a significant chunk of your overall costs.
Here, you might need to budget and plan for sick leave, insurance, taxes and pension payments, so it’s worth getting an excellent piece of payroll software to do the hard yards for you.
Part of management in any business is the things that go unnoticed, such as the way you inspire your team, or interact with your customers.
Managing a gym is tough, but rewarding.
Get the right technologies in place, understand your members, collect regular feedback and create a safe, inclusive place for different people to train together.
We hope you found these gym management tips useful. Good luck!