gym growth

Growing Your Gym Team: When and How To Make Your First Hire

When your business is growing and your plate is full, it might be time to make your first hire! Here are six steps for growing your gym team successfully.

Emily Beers
February 2, 2023
Growing Your Gym Team: When and How To Make Your First Hire
When your business is growing and your plate is full, it might be time to make your first hire! Here are six steps for growing your gym team successfully.

From the start, most gym owners are accustomed to handling all the tasks. But inevitably there will come a moment when it all feels like a bit too much. And that’s when it’s time to consider growing your gym team.

You’ll know that moment when it arrives: You’ll be coaching all the classes and handling the admin. You’ll be covering the onboarding sessions, making social media posts and planning gym events. And let’s not forget cleaning the toilets.

Tips for growing your gym team the right way

The bad news is that this type of workload can burn you out quickly and it’s not sustainable. But here’s some great news: The fact that you need to hire someone means you’re doing something right. Your business is growing and moving in the right direction.

Now it’s time to take action for the continued success of your business.

Six Steps For Growing Your Gym Team:

1. Crunch Your Numbers.

As great as it will feel to hire a new team member and take some of the work off your plate, it has to be financially viable first.

The two big questions to start with: Are you currently making enough revenue to hire someone? And how much can you afford to pay them?

First, it’s important to be brutally honest with yourself about whether growing your gym team is feasible at this time. The last thing you want is for a new team member to hurt - instead of help - your bottom line.

If you do the math and a lack of gym revenue is the prohibiting factor, we can help. Check out some of our recent blogs about additional revenue streams you can add to start bringing in extra money today. A few of our favorites include nutrition and mindset coaching, new ideas for gym merchandise and local business partnerships.

Crunching the numbers may also help determine whether your new employee should be full-time or part-time. That is, if you’re going for a salary or hourly wage model.

Another option is a percentage-of-revenue compensation model. This means compensation is directly tied to revenue. It can be overall gym revenue, personal training, specialty programs, onboarding, etc.

Not sure which direction is the best? Consider a hybrid of the two options as a middle ground. Your new hire earns a salary or hourly wage, plus a percentage of revenue.

Ultimately, this is beneficial for them in two ways: They’re directly invested into the success of your gym and there’s no ceiling on what they can earn.

Find the best compensation model for hiring

2. Look For Someone Who Compliments You.

Imagine you have an upcoming partner competition with a great mix of strength and endurance. If you have an engine that won’t quit, it’s probably smart to find a partner who can really throw a barbell around.

The same concept goes for growing your gym team: Find someone whose strengths match your weaknesses, and vice versa. This allows you both to focus on not only what you’re good at, but what you enjoy doing as well.

For example, let’s say your goal is to focus on growing the business, which means you’d like to coach less. Find someone who loves coaching and wants to spend as many hours leading classes as possible.

Or maybe you’re a numbers person. You love the data and analytics of running a business, but the creative tasks aren’t your jam. Find someone who can - and wants to - handle the social media, blogging, marketing, etc.

When you find the “yin” to your “yang,” the results will show up in your revenue, retention and gym member experience.

3. Look Within Your Gym.

In the best case scenario, there’s someone at your gym who would be a perfect fit as your first hire. Someone who has already proven their character to you, who members respect and who understands your gym’s culture. In that case, hiring from within is statistically your best option.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a natural fit within your community, there are other options to explore. We recommend, a free PushPress platform for employers and job-seekers in the fitness industry.

4. Set Clear Expectations.

Once you’ve found some candidates, the next step in growing your gym team is to clearly outline the responsibilities and expectations. When you’re desperate to fill a position, it’s easy to hire quickly. But often this leads to a rushed start date without adequate time to fully discuss the role.

Over time, your new team member isn’t delivering on expectations they didn’t even know you had. So it’s imperative to clarify everything in writing and make sure both parties agree on the job responsibilities.

In fact, before you tell them what your expectations are, ask them about theirs. Here are some other key questions to ask:

  • What are your (short-term and long-term) goals?
  • Where do you want to be in one, three, five, ten years?
  • If you could create a list of responsibilities that you’d enjoy and/or do well, what would that look like?
  • What are your weaknesses (and/or are there any tasks you specifically don’t want to manage)?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Why do you want this position (and/or why this gym specifically)?

This information can help reveal whether this candidate is going to be the right fit for the position.

Outline clear role expectations and discuss goals

5. Use The Right... Gym Software?

It sounds outside the scope of this article, but hear us out.

Your brand new, two-person squad can accomplish the work of three people if you put automation to work for you. A gym CRM (customer relationship management) system can take a ton of work off your plate. Everything from following up with leads to celebrating current member milestones can be done in automated workflows.

Pro Tip: Want to learn how automation can be a game-changer for your retention, revenue and time management? Book a demo with the PushPress Grow team today!

6. One At A Time.

Generally speaking, when it comes to growing your gym team, it’s best to play the long game. Sometimes it’s tempting to hire multiple new employees at once, thinking that each extra team member’s work multiplies revenue. But when it comes to growth, be smart. Once again, any team member should yield a positive ROI (return on investment).

Take the time to get to know each person and make sure they’re a good fit. Set them up for success by clearly outlining the expectations and training them to do the job well.

Only when your first hire is a continued success, then it’s time to look at adding more team members.

In Summary:

The moment you need to hire someone means you’re doing something right. Take a moment to celebrate the need for growing your gym team!

Start by evaluating your revenue numbers. Confirm that you’re able to hire someone without it being detrimental to your gym’s success. Next, find someone whose strengths balance your weaknesses and start your search within your gym walls. Finally, set clear expectations and look to automation to accomplish even more.

Once you’ve added a new hire and your team is rockin’, you can replicate the process for future team growth as well.

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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