gym owner

Gym Owner Debate: Should You Open A Second Location?

As a gym owner, where do you stand on opening a second location? Today, we're looking at the varying viewpoints on sticking with one or doubling up!

Emily Beers
May 17, 2023
Gym Owner Debate: Should You Open A Second Location?
As a gym owner, where do you stand on opening a second location? Today, we're looking at the varying viewpoints on sticking with one or doubling up!

This month on the PushPress blog, it’s the great gym owner debate! We’re having some fun discussing topics where fitness business owners traditionally vary in viewpoints. We invite you to check out each days’ topic, then join the conversation in the PushPress Facebook community!

It’s a special moment for a gym owner to be able to look around a full gym and know that you’re changing lives. If you’ve been able to consistently drive revenue and fill classes, chances are the journey hasn’t been easy.

First, acknowledge the work you put in. Statistically, you’ve beaten the odds and that’s a celebration-worthy accomplishment.

For many gym owners, this moment comes with an important decision to consider. Should you keep growing your current space or open a second location?

Varying gym owner viewpoints about opening a second location
Gym owner viewpoints vary toward opening a second location.

Today, we’re looking at the arguments from both sides: Those that recommend steering clear of a second location, and those that are successfully running one.

The Gym Owner Viewpoints:

1. Be Cautious About Opening A Second Gym Location.

We heard a funny saying recently: Opening a second gym is like having a second child. It seems easy because you already have one. But it somehow ends up yielding three times the work, energy and effort.

The draw is that it’s seemingly a fast route to doubling profits. But as former gym owner (now PushPress Grow Onboarding Leader) Dave Yandel can attest, it’s more likely a fast route to gym owner burnout. Unfortunately, gym owners are often spread thin, and opening a second location only intensifies this.

Further, it’s not a solo effort. While gym owners can sometimes manage a single location on their own, two simply requires more manpower. And hiring CrossFit coaches that are quality and invested is hard enough with one location. Two can mean doubling the consistent task of hiring and retaining a rockstar team.

2. Embrace The Opportunity.

On the other hand, there are gym owners who’ve successfully opened a thriving second location. Chris Williams is proof that it’s possible.

Williams is the owner of CFT Fitness and Altamont Performance Lab in Tracy, CA. His two gyms have an average client value of $200/month and $350/month, respectively. Here, he shares his secrets for opening a second gym location.

No matter which route you choose, there’s a lot of careful consideration that should go into the decision. Here are some tips to help you decide.

Five Keys To Deciding Whether A Second Location Is Right For Your Business:

1. Do Your Research.

A gym owner should never rely on a hunch to open a second location. Nor should the reasoning be anything like, “I thought it would be fun.”

As you consider your options, the first key is to do your research. Especially if your new location caters to a different demographic. Check out this guide to doing gym market research for some helpful tips.

Do adequate market research for opening a gym location
Complete adequate market research for opening a gym location.

If you’re considering buying an existing gym, it’s crucial that you research its important gym metrics. These will include things like current client numbers, average client value, retention rates, overall revenue, etc.

In addition, check out these legal tips for gym owners who are looking to buy or sell a gym.

2. Consider Your Current Role.

It’s important to look at your personal bandwidth as a gym owner. If you currently have a trustworthy coaching staff running your gym, a second location might be feasible.

On the other hand, if you spend 15 or more hours coaching each week and are already feeling somewhat burnt out, be careful. A second location may only add more stress to your life.

3. Examine Your Systems.

Are your policies and procedures clearly outlined? From your onboarding program to coaches development, you need consistent, measurable systems to operate successfully.

This also includes a reliable gym CRM. An effective one can almost act like another employee to help you with lead nurture and member experience.

Pro Tip: Want to learn about how PushPress Grow can help you run your gym better with the power of automation? Book a demo with our team today!

When you have manageable, measurable (and hopefully automated) systems in place, you can scale appropriately.

4. Recognize Your Ability To Delegate.

One of the biggest strengths a gym owner can possess is the ability to delegate. You can’t be everywhere at once and you shouldn’t be doing everything. Learn to delegate effectively to transition the success of one gym to two.

Part of this involves putting the right people in the right positions to be more hands-off. And when you capitalize on your own strengths, you can focus on the big picture and maximize success.

Delegate as many gym tasks as possible to effectively scale your fitness business
Delegate as many gym tasks as possible to effectively scale your fitness business.

5. Contemplate Your Ability To Create Full-Time Opportunities.

If you don’t already have a general manager, opening a second location is a great time to consider it. Hiring a GM, or full-time coaches, not only takes more work off your plate but gives you employees who are fully invested in your business.

Having employees whose livelihoods depend on the success of your gym opens even more doors. For example, offer these team members opportunities to explore additional revenue streams that directly benefit their income. These can be things like nutrition coaching, weightlifting workshops or demographic-specific programs (e.g. Fitness for new moms).

In Summary: When Is A Second Location Right For A Gym Owner?

At first glance, opening a second location simply looks like a way to continue growing and increasing revenue. When the decision comes up, each gym owner needs to make the choice that’s best for their fitness business.

In order to decide, market research is your first important step. Next, look at your bandwidth, and the correlating effort it would take to run a second location. Then, explore the scalability of your current systems and how well you’re able to delegate. Finally, look at the decision through the lens of your team, and whether you’re able to provide full-time opportunities for them.

Once you’ve analyzed all of this information, you can determine whether opening a second location is the right choice for your business.

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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