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3 Things About Gym Ownership Part Two


Part one of this topic was very well received so I wanted to back it up with a round two. I took a little different approach to this and wanted to pose three questions that I would now ask my younger self when the decision was made to open a facility.

Hindsight is always 20/20- but over the last two years, I have asked these exact questions to aspiring gym owners and they’ve felt some value in them…

Here we go!

1) What is your reason/why?

Cliche, yes. BUT, what I am getting as is this- why are you opening a gym? Do you think you can do it better than your current employer? (out of frustration). Do you have some secret sauce that makes your sessions better than someones perception of Orange Theory? (ego?) Or do you have an full schedule and want to take your business to scale? (expansion).

Seriously, ask yourself why. I was an ego driven and frustrated Strength Coach who thought I could do it better. We all know how that ended….

2) At what point will you be able to promote yourself out of the role as ‘trainer’?

This one typically starts with some confusion. You’re a damn good Personal Trainer, that’s why you’re opening a gym, right?

Not so fast.

If you’re opening a gym so that you (literally, YOU) can train more people, you’re just making a lateral career change that is going to cost you $5,000-$10,000 in monthly overhead to cover.

When you’re writing your business plan, make sure you know at what point you will be promoting yourself from Trainer to ‘owner’.

3) Can you teach?

Another often overlooked piece is your ability to teach your own systems to someone else. Clearly, you can TRAIN and teach a client. But can you teach your first hire? Your second hire? Can you teach someone who is going to be teaching the third hire?

Having your systems dialed in is one thing, but being able to clearly teach them to someone else is another. You would be surprised how many Personal Trainers don’t have their own training systems written out.

Start with that…seriously, that’s the product you are scaling to your new facility. You can’t scale a person - unless you have a cloning machine?- but you can scale the HOW you train part. Build that system, refine that system, and then practice teaching that system.



3 Things Personal Trainers Can Do To Be More Financially Secure

One of the hardships in the profession as a Personal Trainer is that 95+% of the time you have to directly exchange your time for money (sessions) to create an income for yourself. Obviously that’s the norm for EVERY job, however there are a few catches that most may not recognize in the personal training career path.

Client contracts ‘expire’ every block of session - no long term projections

Weather impacts your ability to deliver services - we had 2 feet of snow this weekend in Vermont…

People can no-show, fall off the face of the earth, and never USE their sessions which leaves a trainer unpaid

Personal Trainers spend so much TIME delivering their service, it can be HARD to get ahead in another revenue source…

These are very common questions that my staff and other trainers will pose and the underlying tone is always how do I create more financial security for myself?

Here’s 3 ways to do it…

1) Leverage your available marketing platforms

This is specifically for those who are in a commercial gym or working for/within a training facility. LEVERAGE THAT FACILITY! The health club I work for has 20,000 members, 6,000 members come in to our specific location alone each week. Things that the health club offers? A wide reach of direct community members. Chances are in a health club/ commercial gym setting you are getting buried under other services and members aren’t seeing you. Check to see if there is a newsletter that goes out that can do a feature on you. Does the gym have a social media page- do a take over of the account. Find ways to leverage the gym to make you more visible!

The hopeful outcome? An increased client roster. More clients, more consistent income and the opportunity to start more programming for yourself.

2) Create and sell programming

This isn’t necessarily advice to create a fitness product, but indeed is baby steps to get in that direction. I’ll keep using my health club as an example. Do I think a 4-6 week new member program would sell? You bet. Are there very intelligent coaches who could create a very good ‘block zero’ program for all new members to do? You bet. Everyone wants to jump to social media to sell their name, did you see the stats of my health club? 20,000 bodies walking in…I’m sure the membership department would love to answer the question “where do i start?” and personal trainers would love to have an easy and profitable solution to “I just want a program, can you write me one (for free)?”

The hopeful outcome? Passive income from selling a program/product. The better outcome? People who do this program, enjoyed it, and now become a very qualified lead to pursue other fitness offerings.

3) Teach workshops/webinars/clinics at a higher price point.

As your training career evolves you will most likely find that you enjoy working with a specific population of people OR you develop a particular set of skills (re-read that with a Liam Neeson voice). Monetize those skills. Create workshops on-site in your facility, reach out to local businesses that your skill set is relevant to, partner with other coaches to hold a clinic (NOTE- clinics are harder and more work than you think, worth exploring, but not the easiest thing on this list to do). By doing these things you have the ability to charge a higher price point and supplement your income. At first I wouldn’t view this as a new (and consistent) revenue stream, rather, something that supplements a slower training season or revenue you can account for in a very unpredictable career.

The hopeful outcome? Tons of leads related to your skill set, amazing networking opportunities, and of course, an increased opportunity to teach and present!

I’m hoping these three things spark some ideas that you CAN be more financially secure as you start to diversify your portfolio, so to speak, as well as making sure your main revenue sources are very full and low-risk. Trainers and Coaches- if you ever have any questions on something like this, drop a line in the comments OR reach out to me directly via email or on social media- I’m always happy to help!