Member Experience

Top 7 Gym Owner Challenges (And How To Solve Them)

This article provides answers to the most common concerns of gym owners, including pricing, location, and time management.

Eric LeClair
October 15, 2021
TLDR;
This article provides answers to the most common gym owner challenges, including pricing, location, and time management.
gym owner challenges
ym owner Photographer: Jesper Aggergaard | Source: Unsplash

As much as owning a gym brings much satisfaction and rewards, it’s a daunting and challenging task. It is not always easy on the other side as there are various segments of the business to deal with just like with any business. So, if you are starting out as a gym owner, you should be well prepared for the obstacles ahead and how to deal with them. Here are the 7 biggest gym owner challenges you may face and how to solve them.

Most Important Of Our Gym Owner Challenges: Capital

Once you've decided to own a gym and have done a cost estimation of all you need to get started, sourcing for funds is a major challenge due to the amount of investment needed to get the gym running. Even rent, lease or outright purchase of a gym alone has gulped a significant portion of the capital while there are other costs like equipment, renovations, lighting and several others to be taken care of. This is probably one of the biggest gym owner challenges to contend with.

As a gym owner, you can approach banks, private investors or a franchise as sources of capital. Also, if you have some capital at hand, purchase some small gym equipment like resistance bands, weights, dumbbells, stationary bikes and so on to offset some of the costs.

You can also take out a loan but understand that repayment comes with interest which could make things more cumbersome. So as much as possible, avoid unnecessary loans and make better financial decisions that will benefit the gym once it starts running.

Building a Client Base

Owning a gym is all about providing fitness and training services to people and with the intense competition in the industry today, attracting new clients could seem difficult when you are just starting out. The second biggest gym owner challenges we face is how do you break out amongst the intense competition? How do you convince potential clients to buy your gym ownership? How do you stand out from the intense competition?

To do these, your gym needs to attract the right set of people who need the services you offer. Also, be willing to give out value for free as a bait to give potential clients a taste of your premium services and also build trust in your brand. You can also utilize social media as a means of spreading the word to potential clients within close proximity to the gym.

Client Retention

Once you've been able to draw out new clients and get them to sign up for your gym membership, retention is one of the top 3 gym owner challenges you’ll face. It is a well-known fact that getting recurrent patronage from an existing customer is easier than acquiring a new client as they are already conversant with the value the business provides.

To keep your clients, you need to ensure they are all satisfied. As a gym owner, interaction with members is important as you discuss needs peculiar to each person to keep them engaged with the gym. To execute this, you could create online surveys and send them out to members regularly to understand their ever-changing needs.

Also, direct marketing through emails and motivational content will keep members hooked on achieving their fitness goals with your gym. Ensure each client feels listened to whenever they have issues arising and also provide immediate solutions to negative feedback.

Facility Maintenance

Establishing a gym is a lot of investment and one of the ongoing costs to be planned for is maintenance costs. Maintaining the gym is one gym owner challenges that many gym owners fail to pay attention to and this could have disastrous effects. This could be challenging especially if you are just starting out and things are a bit slow.

From cleaning the facility to rent to maintaining all equipment, facility maintenance is not a very easy task. Also, aside from the facilities that need maintenance, clients, employees, advertising, etc. also needs to be well managed for smooth running of the business.

It is also important to keep the gym's software updated at all times. To solve this challenge, ensure you are well aware of the costs of maintenance upfront so adequate planning can be made to deal with it. Create a budget for cleaning materials, towels, equipment cleaner, software maintenance, pools pH testing, chemical cleaners and other maintenance costs so they can be well taken care of.

Employee Management

You cannot run a gym alone; you would definitely need to hire people along the way and it is a well-known fact that people are not easy to manage. Hiring qualified talent in a gym is not easy as there are several personal trainers who only took a few courses and certifications to become a trainer but are not well experienced.

Even after hiring qualified personnel, keeping them for long is another issue as competition is waiting to poach them especially if the trainers are well qualified and experienced. Additionally, each employee has a different attitude to work so it is important to manage each employee and strategically place them depending on their passion for their job.

This challenge can be solved by placing the passionate employees in roles that require member interaction so they can engage the clients more and produce higher retention and satisfaction rate. Also, it is advisable to hire for administrative positions initially and train members yourself then as the business expands, you hire more qualified trainers.

Consistent Revenue

Revenue is important as profit is expected from all businesses and the fitness business is no exception. There are bills to settle, employees to pay, equipment to buy and several other running costs that will be paid from the revenue. Having a consistent inflow could be difficult especially if new members cancel or old members are not renewing. This sets the gym back as income is reduced.

This issue can be solved by being knowledgeable about the gym's finances and being able to analyze the books so you know if the gym is breaking even. Having this knowledge as a gym owner will help you make revenue predictions for incoming months and also make plans on how to increase it. Consistent revenue can be increased by using automated payments, aggressive marketing and sales of gym apparels and accessories which attract potential customers.

Managing Bookings and Payments

Bookings and payments could cause a lot of headaches for you as a gym owner especially when you are stuck with traditional methods. Bookings cancellation, cash and bank payments only could all slow down a gym and prevent it from having a consistent flow of income.

This could be overcome by having a branded gym mobile app where members can conveniently book and cancel appointments as well as make payments online. Additionally, you can have the gym's mobile app integrated with a gym management software so you can get all bookings in a digital spreadsheet which is easier to manage.

Also, with various payment gateways on the mobile app, members can select an option that works best for them and even automate the process so you get your timely payment.

Gym Owner Challenges: Conclusion

As a gym owner, you need to anticipate potential problems and obstacles that could arise over the course of running the gym so you can be fully prepared to deal with them. These challenges can be overcome with the right approach and mindset making the gym a rewarding business.

Eric LeClair

Eric LeClair works on the Marketing Team at PushPress. Eric has been a CrossFit Affiliate owner for 16 years. He's built three separate gyms and developed over 20 staff members to run operations at those facilities. He's a Veteran of the US Army, married with two little kids, and spends lots of time with his two boxers backpacking and exploring new adventures!

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