gym owner

Raise The Impact: The Secret To Opening A Second Location

With the right steps, opening a second location can be lucrative and rewarding for gym owners. Here are three tips from Chris Williams to get started!

Emily Beers
April 13, 2023
Raise The Impact: The Secret To Opening A Second Location
With the right steps, opening a second location can be lucrative and rewarding for gym owners. Here are three tips from Chris Williams to get started!

If you’re like most gym owners, the simple act of opening the doors to your first location was a huge win. And when you beat the statistical odds with years of success, it’s not unusual to consider opening a second location.

As gym owners ourselves, the PushPress team always recommends weighing all your options first. Then you can make the best decision for you and your situation.

Last month, we talked about gym owner burnout with PushPress Grow Onboarding Leader Dave Yandel. Yandel owned a gym for seven years before selling it and walking away. He has now made it his mission to help other small gym owners avoid making similar mistakes.

One of those, Yandel said, was opening a second location. His gym was doing well and he assumed another location would double his profits. But as he soon discovered, “It’s really tough to run two locations.”

With that in mind, and if a gym owner does a lot of research first, Yandel believes it can be done.

Successfully opening a second location
Opening a second location is achievable with the right steps.

Chris Williams agrees. Williams is the owner of two flourishing gyms and says he’s living the dream. Today, he’s sharing his story to help gym owners who might be considering a second location.

Two Gyms. One Goal.

Williams, a PushPress client, owns CFT Fitness and Altamont Performance Lab in Tracy, CA.

Today, CFT Fitness has 200 members, with an ARM (average revenue per member) of around $200 per month. Altamont Performance Lab focuses more on individual design, and strength and conditioning for middle school and high school athletes. It has an ARM of approximately $350 a month.

Williams is far from being a burnt-out gym owner. He’s not racing back and forth from location to location or coaching all the class. He doesn’t wear all the hats or feel like he’s the only one who cares about the business.

In fact, Williams doesn’t spend any time on the floor coaching anymore. Instead, he has full-time coaches that he trusts to run the daily operations at both gyms. Meanwhile, he focuses on what he does best: Business and coach development.

So as Williams says about opening a second location, “Life is good.”

Three Tips For Successfully Running Two Gyms:

1. Put People In The Right Positions.

Williams explained that it’s impossible to do everything on your own when running multiple businesses effectively. So first he had to start with hiring the right team of coaches. And once he found those people, he had to put them in the correct seats on the bus. Then, he learned how to delegate tasks and responsibilities.

He said that doing these things has allowed him to be “very hands off,” while letting the gyms operate smoothly on their own.

Put coaches in the right roles and delegate
Put coaches in the right roles and delegate responsibilities.

Williams recognized that the hardest part of doing this was teaching himself to be willing to let go.

“You have to let go of your fear that (the business) is going to fall apart if you’re not there,” he said. “You gotta drop your ego.”

He added, “If you really look at the history of businesses in general, the failure point for most businesses is the point where the founder or CEO refuses to let go of the wheel and put the right person in the right place to get them to the next level.”

The bottom line, he noted, is that opening a second location can’t be done alone. For the sake of your business, coaches, members and sanity, you have to loosen your grip.

Pro Tip: The PushPress Staff App makes it easy for your team to manage the gym and communicate. Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

2. Provide Full-Time Opportunities.

While it might be possible to operate two gyms with part-time coaches, Williams said it would be “a pain in the ass.”

He believes that one of the keys to his success is having full-time coaches who are 100 percent bought into the business. This comes from encouraging his team and providing career opportunities for them to excel.

“Part-time coaches don’t have the same buy-in as someone who realized that if this doesn’t work, I will lose my livelihood,” he said. On the flipside, full-time coaches “have a much larger love for what they do.”

And there’s further motivation for his team members who are all in. They get offered “bigger and more important positions” in the business. So they know their value. This also lets his coaches know that they’re trusted, he explained.

“If you’re the CEO and you’re always there looking over everyone’s shoulder, then nobody trusts they’re doing the right thing,” Williams said.

In other words, build your coaches up and let them fly.

CFT Fitness Coaches
The team of coaches at CFT Fitness in Tracy, CA.

3. Capitalize On Your Own Strengths.

Another part of the puzzle for Williams in opening a second location was looking within himself. He had to analyze his strengths to discover where he could provide the most value.

Williams has a background in marketing, including a Masters Degree. So he decided his biggest strengths included lead generation marketing, content creation, and developing coaches and managers.

Recently, this has helped him focus mostly on CFT Fitness. As a result, the gym has jumped from 150 to 200 members in the last six months. Williams is hoping to get this number to 250 members, as well as adding a kids’ program. And once it’s at “flying altitude,” he’ll step away again and circle back on his next focus.

In Summary: Opening A Second Location Is Achievable

The most important step in considering opening a second location is doing your homework. The initial allure of doubling your income should be balanced by the idea of also doubling your workload.

If you decide to venture down the path of multiple locations, take Williams’ advice. Find the right team of people, delegate and provide opportunities. Analyze your own strengths and put them to work for your business. Then you can step back and watch your locations flourish, impacting even more lives for the better.

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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