1. Create an atmosphere and culture:
Opening a gym isn‘t just laying out different pieces of equipment, (although that’s pretty important). You’re creating a space that changes lives, so be sure to think about what kind of environment you want to create and ensure that the feel of the gym matches that.
2. Do your research:
When looking to new attract members, or just wanting to retain current ones, explore what services/amenities you want to offer, the membership fees, and type of clientele you want to attract. Ask yourself:
- • Do I have enough staff to provide great customer service?
- • What is the atmosphere like? Are people comfortable? Do they feel motivated?
- Also, check out other gyms in your area and see what kind of packages they offer to new members. Are you offering something better that would motivate them to pick your gym?
3. Expand your knowledge of fitness:
Keep up with fitness trends whether it it’s the latest exercise routine, or newest technology in terms of fitness equipment. Members rely on gym owners to know what’s new and most effective to help them achieve the results they need.
Encourage trainers and gym staff to attend regional or national seminars to learn innovative ways to bring fitness to the next level. Also encourage trainers to expand their certifications. If they’re certified in more areas in the fitness industry (CrossFit, for example), they will be more versatile employees and as a gym, you’ll be able to offer a more diverse range of fitness classes and trainers.
4. Offer classes & personal training:
Offering personal training and group exercise are great amenities for your members. Whether their goal is to lose weight, take their training to the next level, or simply get that extra push of motivation, your staff should be there to help. By utilizing these resources you will see more positive results from your members and their overall gym experience will improve.
Small group training (three or four people) in addition to your personal training and group exercise classes, is another option. Trainers can give personalized attention to each member in smaller groups, showing them how to properly execute each exercise and how to best utilize the equipment in the gym. Members get the added bonus of having not just one, but three or four people there to help push and encourage them throughout the workout.
Offer an introductory class for beginners and new members. As a gym owner you want every member to be successful and enjoy the time they spend in your gym. For those new to working out or just new to the gym, offering beginner introductory classes or hiring a personal trainer will help familiarize them with what the gym has to offer, what services might best fit their needs and how to use the fitness equipment properly. Learning the basics first is crucial to success: you have to walk before you run!
5. Equipment, equipment, equipment:
You can offer your members as many fitness classes, personal trainers and discounts you want; but if you don’t have up-to-date fitness equipment your members will be left disappointed.
Most members have a routine and favor certain pieces of fitness equipment over others. If their favorite rower, for example, is constantly covered with an “out of order” sign, it will disrupt their workout and leave them less than satisfied. Upgrading fitness equipment on a regular basis will go a long way in retaining members and attracting new ones – whether its a treadmill, weight bench or new exercise mats. Strength training machines typically hold up well, but treadmills and ellipticals, for example, require more maintenance and may need to be replaced more often.
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6. Keep it clean:
With gym members coming and going, it’s essential to keep the gym, its locker rooms and equipment clean. You may have hundreds of members using the gym each day and using the same equipment. Cleaning is incredibly important for everyone’s comfort and safety. No one wants to sit down on a sweaty, dirty piece of equipment or catch a cold after working out on a “germy” used treadmill or used exercise bike. Make sure the gym and the equipment is cleaned and sanitized daily, if not multiple times a day. Also have stations where members can wipe down the equipment themselves and mandate that as a gym-wide practice for courtesy-sake.
7. Ask questions:
Talk to your members on a consistent basis. Ask for their opinion by setting up a suggestions box or send out a weekly newsletter. They need to feel part of the solution to be invested in their local gym.
8. Get members involved and keep them motivated:
Create a sense of community within your gym and members will likely to return day after day, week after week.
Setting goals is a great way to get motivated. Running weight loss or workout challenges with rewards is a great way to create excitement in the gym. This is also a great way to promote your personal training and group exercise programs. Here are a few reward ideas:
- • One month free membership
- • One free personal training session
- • Five free group exercise classes
- • 10% off juice bar (if applicable)
- • Bring-a-friend free pass
- • Gift certificate to a local fitness store, the gym’s in-house store or even something as small as a gym T-shirt.
The point is to get the members excited and involved!
9. Utilize media:
We live in a world enthralled by social media, and you can use it to your advantage. Create social media outlets that your members can follow. Post daily fitness tips, class schedules, specials, etc. Create fitness related discuss groups on social media sites like LinkedIn to create a buzz around your gym. These are additional ways to involve your members and get them excited about being a part of your gym.
10. Practice what you preach:
Whatever message or mission you want for your gym, make sure you and your staff carry this out and are consistent. Set the example for members to follow. Be encouraging and courteous towards members, follow proper gym etiquette, and be the person that makes the gym a better place to be.
Elspeth Polt serves as Fitness Ambassador for LeaseQ, one of the leading providers of fitness equipment leasing and financing in the United States. Polt is also an ISSA certified personal trainer, AFAA certified group exercise instructor, national bikini bodybuilding competitor, fitness model and published writer.