Why Running a Gym Is More Difficult Than it Sounds

by Paisley Hansen about a year ago in advice

Running a gym requires a lot more than a passion for being fit. Here are some things to consider.

Why Running a Gym Is More Difficult Than it Sounds

If you're interested in combining your love for fitness with your passion for entrepreneurship, opening a gym may be the ideal venture for you. However, before you jump into this type of investment, take the time to look at the biggest obstacles to success that this type of business faces. You may find the experience is more challenging than you expect.

Location is the key to success.

In fact, the success of any gym depends on three primary factors: location, equipment, and staff. While sub-par equipment and a staff that is only minimally interested in customer service may be overlooked, the location of a gym can often make or break it. People have a hard enough time committing to a regular fitness schedule, but, if they have to drive too far out of their way, they're likely not going to stick with it for very long.

Hiring Your Staff

Employee management. In operating a gym, it means locating top talent and ensuring they are personable and skilled at their job. Interviews will be essential in evaluating a prospective staff member's qualifications, but you'll also have to verify their credentials. Once you fill your open positions, employee management shifts from locating desirable candidates to ensuring those you do hire are happy in their new positions. While offering a competitive compensation packet is important, so is helping your employees feel valued as team members. Encouraging their involvement and creating a positive atmosphere is as important as offering a good salary. Make sure they have necessary benefits and a healthy PTO lifecycle. Doing so will ensure they enjoy their jobs and feel valued.

Retaining Memberships

Your gym's success will depend on attracting new members, but it will also depend on retaining new memberships. This means customer service will have to be a priority even after you get an individual to pay for membership. Your staff will have to develop a friendly and open atmosphere for your members. As soon as someone is considering membership, they should be given a tour of the facility and a staff member should be on hand to explain all of the services your gym offers. Additionally, communicating with occasional phone calls, postcards, and social media posts can help your members feel more welcome. Hosting contests and giveaways can make memberships seem even more valuable, which is the key to retaining members.

Maintaining the Facility

All of the promotional strategies in the world won't help you retain members if your equipment is falling apart. This means you will have to devote considerable resources to their upkeep, while keeping supplies fully stocked. Machines should be cleaned and serviced regularly. Additionally, posting safety warnings and use instructions will help you keep each machine operating properly for longer. Keeping supplies in stock, such as paper towels, chemical cleaners, and other items, will help you present a clean and well-maintained facility. Vending machines should be restocked on a regular basis as well.

Managing Revenue

Finally, it's important to recognize that the revenue you bring in from memberships and extras will have to be reinvested into the business. You can benefit from accounting software specifically designed for gym management, because it will help you track the flow of cash from start to finish. This will help you identify your biggest expenditures and help you track the revenue you are raising. In this way, you can target areas that can be made more cost-efficient, allowing you to free up cash to add new machines, offer additional services, or market your gym to potential new members.


While operating a gym is similar to managing any business in some ways, it requires paying attention to fitness-related details as well. People look for state of the art equipment and advanced fitness services, but they also want their basic needs met, such as cleanliness, locker space, and refreshments. By taking the time to address all of these issues, you improve the chances that your gym will become an ongoing success in your community.

Paisley Hansen
Paisley Hansen
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Paisley Hansen

Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, beauty, and fashion. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.

See all posts by Paisley Hansen