This post was updated on December 7, 2022.
Running a gym is difficult under the best circumstances. The margins are tight, the turnover is fast and there’s always a puddle of sweat that needs to be wiped up. So, how do you make money in fitness?
For starters, Wix Fit can help you build, manage and grow your fitness business. You can host virtual classes, accept credit card payments and experiment with different fitness marketing strategies. Here are some more specific ways to increase your gym revenue and make money in fitness.
01. Charge an enrollment fee (but not for the reason you think)
A one-time fee may help you in the short-term, but it's the long-term memberships that keep you in business. An enrollment fee helps with both.
Industry research suggests that people are less likely to cancel their gym memberships once they’ve paid an enrollment fee because they don’t want to pay another fee if they want to sign up again in the future. Smart strategy, right? (Related: 8 ways to increase gym member retention)
02. Create a small snack section
You might not have space for a full-on juice bar or smoothie side business, but it’s worth making room for a small section of snacks: the mark-up on protein bars, for example, can be as high as 50 percent. Research also shows that people are more likely to spend money when they’re hungry, say, after a particularly hard workout. Remember: Everything you sell reflects on you and your brand, so make sure you stand behind your products and their claims.
03. Sell gym bag essentials
Make special equipment, like boxing gloves or wrist grips, available to purchase on your website. Thanks to dropshipping, you don't even need to manage the inventory yourself. If you want to flex your design muscle a little more, start your own fitness clothing line. Branded items will double as a source of advertising for your gym and can bring in serious cash. The athleisure market is expected to be worth over $455 million by 2026.
04. Plan a mini wellness retreat
Don’t overlook special events, like retreats. Wellness tourism was worth $639 billion before the pandemic. And while travel has taken a hit because of COVID-19, the interest is still there. And in some ways, it's easier to tap into this trend thanks to the emphasis on local adventure.
Could you partner with a nearby B&B and create a mini staycation for the members in your town? Or plan a day trip to the mountains? This strategy is also a solid option for fitness professionals who train virtually but want to adopt a more hybrid approach so their members can meet in person from time to time.
05. Switch up your free-trial strategy
Potential new members may be reluctant to commit to a contract that lasts a few months (or a year), so give them time to use the facility. The free-trial sweet spot? One to two weeks. If you offer a trial that’s too long, potential members may lose momentum and fail to sign up. You want to catch sign-ups when clients are the most enthusiastic, and as every fitness pro knows, enthusiasm can wane. Read more in 8 ways to price gym memberships like a pro.
06. Build a video library
People are working out at home more than ever, and personal trainers can capitalize on this shift by shooting high-quality workout videos. Use an online video editor to produce your own virtual fitness classes, upload them to your fitness website and put them behind a paywall. You could also film popular in-person classes or create a members-only section on your website.
07. Host workshops and seminars
Is there something clients seem interested in, but you can’t justify a full class for it just yet? Offer it as a workshop, seminar or online course. Whether it’s a weekend-long event or just a 90-minute refresher, these supplementary courses build excitement while also increasing gym revenue. This allows you to make money on the workshop itself and also gives you insight into classes you can create in the future.
08. Schedule an event
Your athletes and their friends may be more competitive than you realize, and you already have the space and equipment to host a friendly throw down. Sell healthy snacks and smoothies, then commemorate the competition with branded swag. The benefit here is twofold: You make money on the event itself, but you also encourage new members to join your gym by opening the event up to the community.
Depending on your activity, an annual recital could offer a similar benefit. Upside Aerial, an aerial arts studio in North Carolina, hosts performances that (a) give her students something to work toward and (b) elevate her brand in the community.
09. Maximize your time
The math is easy: more clients = more money. Patrick Cole, a trainer and Wix user in Germany, was able to triple his client list by offering more back-to-back virtual sessions for his corporate clients. Less time driving to different companies meant more time for the workouts themselves.
Of course, your specific strategy will depend on your business model and clients, but ask yourself: how can I tap into the new world of virtual fitness? Read more about how other professionals are adapting to our hybrid fitness landscape.