starting a gym

Ten Profit Hacks to Increase Gym Revenue When Starting a Gym

Revenue is a crucial part of starting a gym and creating a thriving fitness business! Here are ten ideas to increase gym revenue through each stage.

Dan Uyemura
December 28, 2023
Ten Profit Hacks to Increase Gym Revenue When Starting a Gym
Revenue is a crucial part of starting a gym and creating a thriving fitness business! Here are ten ideas to increase gym revenue through each stage.

As you consider starting a gym, there are two key financial numbers to consider: expenses and revenue. Once you’ve explored the cost of opening a gym, it’s time to look at how you plan to increase gym revenue.

Revenue is the top end of your path to profitability.  Profit is often thought of as a “dirty” word.  If you see it that way, try to reframe your mindset from the start.  Remember, your goal as a gym owner is noble. You’re aiming to help your community become healthier and live more fulfilling lives.  Without revenue and profit, you will not be able to continue achieving this goal for the long run.

Increasing gym revenue when starting a gym
Use these ten profit hacks to help you work on increasing revenue when starting a gym.

Start your business off on the right foot by considering each of the ten simple tips below to increase gym revenue and maximize profit. As a team of gym owners ourselves, we understand what you need to run a successful fitness business. In addition, we work with thousands of gyms around the world. So we invite you to lean on our collective experience and expertise to help you run your own successful gym!

Ten Proven Profit Hacks for Starting a Gym.

10. Prioritize Personal Training.

During your first year in business, you’ll likely attract clients with less fitness experience. In addition, without a full membership roster, you’ll probably have more time available. For these two reasons, personal training is a great option.

Personal training is a great way to develop rapport with clients. Providing them one-on-one attention helps you get to know them and learn what they need. In addition, it removes the intimidation factor that generally comes with group classes early on.

Offering personal training will also benefit your business’ bottom line. Average Client Value (ACV), also called Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is one of the most important gym metrics to track. And personal training can exponentially increase these revenue metrics.

9. Start Small.

When you’re first starting a gym, it may be tempting to obtain a huge space and launch a full roster of classes. But trust us, starting small is key for future financial success. Cash flow will dictate your survivability in the critical early years. So if you start too big - either in rent, equipment or other start-up costs - you’ll put a massive burden on your cash flow.

Instead, find a suitable location that has room to grow. For instance, is there an under-rented business park in your area? Even though relocating a gym isn’t the easiest endeavor, moving up as your needs grow is a smart business move.

8. Give Yourself Room to Add Value as You Grow.

It’s human nature to appreciate added value. We love it when we’re given more, right? When it comes to your fitness business, giving members everything on day one limits you from adding value down the road.

For example,  start your business without Sunday classes. First, it will give you a day off. Second, potential clients likely won’t refrain from joining because you don’t offer Sunday options. It will also save you money operationally.  Then, as your client base grows, open a Sunday class. Your community will appreciate the added value with their membership.

Adding group classes to gym schedule
Adding group classes to your schedule as you grow will enhance gym membership value.

7. Avoid Discounting Memberships.

Many a new gym owner has fallen into the trap of discounting gym memberships. Though it’s tempting, we recommend heeding the advice of seasoned owners who warn against it.

When you’re first starting a gym, you have the extra room. So it’s not uncommon for new owners to think, ‘Some money is better than no money, right?’

Initially, this might work. But eventually, you’ll have too many clients that aren’t paying enough money. As you grow your business, costs will be higher and the services you offer will be more complete. If you’ve grandfathered early members into your rates, you’ll cripple your cash flow. Which means you’ll be forced to find more clients to offset the difference.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Raise Rates.

As you grow your business and services, increase membership dues accordingly. So many gym owners are afraid to raise rates for fear of losing clients. But our collective experience shows two things. First, you’ll likely lose fewer members than you fear. And second, the revenue offset will generally more than make up for it.

Pro Tip: Need help increasing membership rates? Check out the Price Increase Guide that will help you calculate your new rates and communicate the increase to members!

5. Charge For Extras.

This one is pretty simple: Don’t give things away for free.

From individual programming to athletic tape, set the standard from the first day of starting a gym. Remember, people only expect freebies if that’s what they’re given on day one. If you charge for athletic tape from the start, they’ll happily pay for it. On the other hand, taking something away after it’s been offered as a freebie generally won’t go well.

You may even be tempted to offer something like a free consult to sell your nutrition coaching program. Instead, charge a small fee to set the precedent that your time and services are valuable.

4. Don’t Pay Coaches Hourly.

Instead of paying coaches on an hourly (or per-class) basis, here are two great options.

The first option is to have percentage-based, full-time coaches. These coaches are compensated based on a percentage of gym revenue, versus hourly. Fitness is a service based business, but hourly coaches are not incentivized or rewarded for service. Therefore, full-time coaches will nurture an environment that’s better for the client and the business.

Hiring CrossFit coaches
Hiring full-time coaches will benefit your gym community and your fitness business.

The second option is part-time coaches that are compensated based on gym member check-ins. This means coaches will receive a minimum per-class wage, then offered a per-class check-in bonus. This does two key things. First, it incentivizes the coach to grow and retain members that attend their classes. Second, it gives coaches a reason to make sure every client has an amazing experience, every time.

The goal of this model is to have a stable, average class size that maximizes the floorspace usage across all hours of the day.  It will do this, while minimizing your risk and keeping a stable profit margin for hours that are still being developed. For example, if base pay is $10 per class and the coach gets $1.50 per check-in, a class of 15 people pays $32.50.

3. Don’t Give Away Your Expertise.

Many times when starting a gym, owners are worried about the number of members they have, versus the amount of revenue they’re making per member (ACV described above). This often leads to slashed membership rates or deep discounts, which can become a vicious cycle. These are things like Groupon, free trial periods beyond a few days, or cut-rate beginner packages.

The key is to never give away your expertise. You have taken a lot of time and energy to become a professional fitness coach. Make sure that you value it appropriately. Remember, people pay mechanics for services they can’t do themselves. And they don’t walk into the shop and ask the mechanic for a discount. Every time you offer 10% off or “get a month free with a 12-month membership,” you’re discounting a service that people intended to pay full price for.

There are two types of shoppers in the world. The quality-conscious shoppers want the best item or service they can afford. The price-conscious shoppers want the cheapest item or service they can tolerate. You want the former in your gym. Charge a fair rate and deliver beyond their expectations.

2. Take a Sales Training Course.

For some gym owners, sales can feel like a “dirty” word. Whether you like it or not, sales is a crucial part of the success of your gym. So why not reframe your mindset? Instead of selling gym memberships, you’re selling solutions to help people.

In fact, any legit sales course will teach you that sales is really nothing more than listening to someone’s situation, then helping them make a decision. And “no” is okay if their situation does not apply to your service.

Further, a sales course will help to make you feel more comfortable with the process. And you might even learn how to create a proper marketing funnel for your gym.

Pro Tip: Did you know that PushPress Grow can help with everything from lead generation to creating the ultimate member experience? Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

1. Hire a Business Mentor.

This is the absolute best piece of advice we can give you for starting a gym. Every good business person has a mentor, including the mentors themselves.

Hiring a business mentor
Hiring a mentor will provide you with guidance for what to do - and what to avoid - in your fitness business.

It’s been scientifically proven that the more you understand about something, the more you understand that you know very little.  Conversely, those with very little aptitude for something tend to think they know the subject very well.

Hiring a gym business mentor will give you access to knowledge and expertise that comes from years of experience. Not only will you get advice about what to do in your business, you’ll also learn common mistakes to avoid. And this will inevitably save you time and money.

Simply research business coaches that fit your gym’s niche. And if you need referrals or direction, feel free to reach out to our team for help!

Ready for the Next Step?

If you need a gym management system that will help you find profitability in your gym, register your free account here!

PushPress is a gym management software that’s designed to help you grow your fitness business. We built PushPress to rebel against manual paperwork and complicated, overpriced software. Our mission is to make gym management
 the easiest part of getting started. PushPress is the tools you need, and the team you trust. We can’t wait to help your gym succeed!

Dan Uyemura

Dan Uyemura built his first gym in 2008. Since then he's built and sold a couple of gyms. In 2011 Dan decided to help gym owners run more stable, profitable businesses.

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