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What challenges do gym owners struggle with?

What challenges do gym owners struggle with?

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on January 28, 2023 — Updated on March 26, 2024

What challenges do gym owners struggle with? Common challenges for gym owners include adjusting to the competition, maintenance, and generating new sources of revenue. Using the best gym management software, strong gym marketing, and a regular financial check-up routine can help alleviate many gym owner challenges.

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Biggest Gym Owner Challenges

Some of the challenges of gym ownership include maintenance, retention, and assessing your competitors. Choosing a good location while offering services at competitive prices is paramount to succeeding as a gym owner. Convenient access to memberships, scheduling, and other services could be the difference between you and other gyms.

Gym owner challenges that seem to pop up over and over include:

  1. Competition from other gyms or fitness centers in the area
  2. Maintaining a steady membership base and retaining current members
  3. Keeping up with trends and offering a diverse range of fitness classes or equipment
  4. Managing costs, such as rent and employee salaries
  5. Staying on top of gym tax filing and other regulations (Read More: 17+ Gym Owner Tax Deductions)
  6. Meeting health and safety regulations
  7. Marketing and advertising to attract new members.
  8. Managing the cleaning and sanitization of the gym during the pandemic
  9. Keeping up with digitalization and offering online classes
  10. Maintaining a balance between providing a safe and clean environment while also keeping the gym open.
  11. Motivating, training, and retaining gym employees
  12. Running a profitable and sustainable gym business (Read More: How profitable is owning a gym?)

Read More:

How to Overcome Gym Owner Challenges

Not to bury the lead, but before going any further, what are the key things to do to fix these common gym owner challenges? Sean Greeley, Founder and CEO of NPE Fitness, offers the following three key factors:

The foundation for your success involves:

  1. A BIG dream, growth mindset, and focused commitment
  2. Love and commitment to serve the people you work with everyday
  3. Continued development of your sales & marketing skill sets
– Sean Greeley, Founder and CEO of NPE

Source: NPE

Sean Greeley

Fitness Business Challenges

Many fitness enthusiasts invest in facilities without considering the challenges of gym ownership and researching the very important question: what are the biggest challenges gym owners struggle with? It’s important to remember that just because you love fitness and may be a fitness expert, that does not mean that you are necessarily an expert fitness business owner or have the requisite gym business knowledge to grow and scale a gym profitably. (Read more in our gym owner guide).

Overcoming gym ownership problems can be daunting if you wait too long. It’s important to strategically prepare your gym business plan to prevent catastrophic business mistakes before they occur. In this article, we’ll guide you on common gym owner challenges alongside some potential solutions.

Before you learn more about what gym owners struggle with, don’t wait to learn how the best gym software can help you build a successful fitness facility. Book a demo today to learn more.

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Common Challenges of Gym Ownership

Owning a gym isn’t for the faint-hearted. It often requires a lot of work to establish a successful and long-lasting fitness facility. As a gym owner, you’ll need to consider where you want to be, how many members you want to have, what services you’ll provide, and so much more.

Considering all of the above factors will be your first step to establishing a successful gym. Without an identity, you’ll be just another gym that nobody talks about or loves. Once you open your doors, you’ll face a new assortment of problems. So, what do gym owners struggle with?

Creating Consistent Revenue

Why do most gyms fail? Simply put, they don’t bring in enough money to offset the costs of expensive equipment, leases, and the energy demands associated with owning a gym.

There are a handful of ways to create regular income for your gym. One of the easiest steps is to bind members to contracts while automating payments.

You’ll also need to find ways of attracting new members after building a client base. This can be done by offering workout challenges, advertising specials, and more. It also helps to sell apparel and other gym accessories that serve as walking advertisements for your gym.

Exercise.com’s gym ecommerce software allows gym owners to sell various products online or in-person to help generate more revenue. This can be anything from workout challenges to shaker cups.

Maintaining Facilities

In general, many gym owners fail to recognize the challenges associated with gym facility maintenance. This refers to the overall appearance and functionality of the entire facility. You’ll need to be sure your facility is clean throughout. This includes cleaning bathrooms, showers, floors, benches, and virtually everything else.

Facility maintenance also means keeping up with routine maintenance on machines and other gym equipment. For example, NordicTrack recommends lubricating treadmills every three months to prevent irregular function and to prolong the life of your treadmills.

While lubricating a bunch of treadmills might seem like a tedious task, it can help prevent you from purchasing or leasing new treadmills every year or two. The gym is a physically demanding space. Floors, walls, and equipment are all damaged regularly. Be sure to be proactive with repairs and maintenance.

Understanding the Competition

Competition is a big part of gym ownership. It’s important to understand what your competitors offer and for how much.

Satisfaction and retention rely on your members feeling appreciated and like they are getting a fair value for your services. Sometimes it can be as simple as offering a custom-branded fitness app that allows your clients to schedule classes or buy services on the go.

Understanding your competitor also includes the evaluation of staff. Gym employee management is tricky for gym owners. Highly credentialed staff can be expensive when it comes to payroll, but those accolades could help bring in more members that look for additional services like personal training, nutrition plans, and more.

Overcoming Gym Ownership Problems

For those who are looking to open a gym, it’s important to anticipate some setbacks and challenges. Is owning a gym a good investment? Gym ownership can be rewarding both morally and financially if you are thorough with your business plan, execution, and understanding of gym owner challenges.

So, to recap: what do gym owners struggle with? Time management, maintenance, and attracting new clients are always challenges, but they don’t have to be as impactful.

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Learn how you can improve the operations of your gym by booking a demo today.

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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