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8 Keys To Profitable Health Club Operations

We recently shared the good news in this post for owners and operators of health clubs, according to IHRSA the global number of health club members increased 33.60% from 2008 – 2017, with the health club industry, in general, comprising $87.2 Billion in revenue in 2017. Learn more details by purchasing the IHRSA 2018 Global Report: The State of the Health Club Industry.

While the health club business is booming there is also a lot of competition and many variables that impact clubs financial success. Having a health club does not mean you will instantly be able to make it profitable. That takes a lot of hard work and knowledge. Check out more information in The Ultimate Health Club Management Guide.  Operating a profitable health club is about balancing what generates revenue while controlling what costs money. It is also about prioritizing what is important as opposed to what is not. So here are our 8 keys to having a profitable health club.

1. Create A Great Member Experience

Giving members what they really want through delivering an awesome experience is THE most powerful marketing you can have. Studies show that people trust word of mouth recommendations from friends, and even strangers, more than anything else and really much more than what a company says about itself through advertising. You have to engineer great member experiences. But while engineering a great experience is a simple thing to say, it is usually a complex process for companies to try and get their arms around. Learn more about how to do that here. And design your club to offer the experiences members are looking for.

2. Retain Members By Thanking Them

This is a no-brainer. Retention is one of the biggest challenges impacting profitability so keeping the members you have is the best thing you can do to impact your bottom-line. Members and clients are the heart of what fitness professionals do every day. Without them, you’d have no business. Maybe they’ve been your member for years or maybe they’re brand new. Maybe they bought a personal training package when you really needed it the most, or they let you know when your Facebook post had a typo. Or, maybe you just feel like giving your whole customer base a pat on the back for being at your facility. Whatever the cause, there’s no time like now to show some gratitude. Here are a few things to consider:

1) Send a handwritten thank you card. In today’s digital world, a paper thank you card is extra thoughtful. Try purchasing these in bulk from a site like Moo for a design with a unique, handmade feel that really captures your personality.

2) Offer something special for your longtime members. Whether it’s a free smoothie, a session with a trainer, or a t-shirt, recognize your long-term members. Tweet the word out to your followers about them. Doing so can be a form of social media and content marketing, especially if your followers share the news. Who knows? You might just gain some new followers, expanding your social reach while solidifying your current customer base. That’s a great reason to say “thanks.”

3) Recognize members during special events. When it’s a birthday event, an anniversary, a holiday, recognize and thank your customers.

3. Know Your Numbers

A major reason some health clubs and gyms fail to become profitable is that the owners do not have a handle on their numbers. You need a budget and a financial plan. You also need systems that enable your information to be produced reliably and without a lot of problems. It is hard to know your numbers if you don’t have a way of easily tracking the information. From sales goals to expenses you really need to understand what is going on and how it impacts your top and bottom line. Having great health club software can really help as well. Learn more about that here.

4. Create A Great Team Culture

Creating great team dynamics has been shown to positively impact results in any business and having a customer-centric team that can work well together is a must today. So how do you get your team to work together effectively and excel for your customers? Four key dynamics serve as the best foundation for having a great team in your fitness business. An expert in organizational behavior, Harvard professor J. Richard Hackman, began studying teams in the 1970s. During his decades of research, he uncovered some great insights: What matters most to people working together as a team is not the personalities, attitudes, or behavioral styles of team members. Instead, what teams need to excel are certain “enabling conditions.” In other words, the atmosphere we create in our businesses makes a big difference in how teams function. The most essential part of leadership today is creating an atmosphere where teams excel. Three of the enabling conditions Hackman identified included: (i) having a compelling direction, (ii) creating a strong structure, and (iii) having supportive context. These are all important factors and these three requirements demand more attention than ever.

5. Market Wisely

You need to have a great marketing plan to operate a profitable club. Marketing is more than just advertising alone. Of course, you must have a great member experience and do a lot of other things to be successful; but in today’s world paying attention to marketing is essential to success. ABC Financial partners like Muscle Up Marketing can really help you develop an effective marketing campaign. You need to have a thoughtful health club marketing plan and execute it.

6. Stay Informed On Health Club Industry Trends

The fitness industry is full of great associations and professionals able to provide you a wealth of information. Understanding key trends is very important to being profitable, as is attending industry trade shows and reading content about what is happening in the health club industry as a whole. Check out www.ihrsa.org and to keep up with all of the latest news and trends.

7. Choose Great Vendor Partners

Members and clients are the most essential part of success in any health club, gym, or fitness studio business. In today’s economy, however, vendor partners can play a crucial role as well. Choosing the right vendor partner for technology, billing, and collection services, among other aspects of your fitness business, can have a big impact on the success and growth of your company. Think of your vendor partners as a resource able to help educate you and offer solutions that will make a big difference to your success. You can learn more about this here.

8. Attitude 

Having the right mindset to succeed in the health club industry is key to winning in the health club industry. Check out these two in-depth articles for keys to being a successful health club operator:



The health club industry is a wonderful one and we wish you great success in operating your club or clubs and serving your members. Hopefully, these 7 tips will help you and your fitness business’s profitability. If you need anything just drop us a note.

About ABC Financial Services

We are the nation’s leading software and payment processing provider for health clubs, gyms, and fitness facilities of all kinds. Our experience and insights continue to support the growth of leading fitness industry operators. Our seamless integrations and relationships with the world’s most advanced technology solution partners enhances member experience and improves retention and profitability. Your fitness business deserves a proven reliable technology and billing solutions provider. Call us at 800-551-9733 or visit our website to learn more. Subscribe to our newsletter here (link) or Contact us today to learn more.