The Problem with 24-Hour Fitness Clubs

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and enjoyed the extra time off with their family and friends. It is now time to focus on business and get the New Year off to a good start and propel your health club or gym to the next level of success. We are knee deep in one of the busier times of the year for selling new memberships. The energy level is high in our clubs, the staff is pumped and new clients seem as if they are falling from the rafters above into the laps of the membership sales staff and personal trainers.

There have been more blog posts, articles and videos made about selling a health club membership and closing the sale than any other subject in the fitness industry. I would say a runner-up to these two would be customer service. That being said I will save those subjects for another day of writing. What I am going to write about comes into play long before the closing of the membership or PT sale. This new and now very popular way of doing business in the health and fitness industry will be the death of many club owners. In most cases if something sounds too good to be true it usually is. This is a prime example!

I am sure you are by now wondering what this man is talking about. I am talking about building and opening a 24 hour access club and then not staffing it or being present as an owner. Since when has this business model been successful any place in the modern world? Oh sure it may sound nice in a pitch from a gym franchise trying to sell you a license. You continue to work your day job and just stop in for a few hours a week to check on your autopilot turnkey fitness business that will secure your comfortable retirement from your 9 to 5 in a few years. I think not! Would you open a retail store and have the front door locked and the store not staffed or staffed just for a few hours in the late afternoon? Don’t forget the sign on the front door that says go to our website to join. Maybe lets add some hands off customer service with a sign on the door saying if interested please call us on our cell phone. You wonder why after your first few weeks of being in business the sales have dropped so much. Did you ever stop to think it is because you or your staff is not there like before the doors opened and during the first few weeks your club opened?

Potential clients or members normally fall into one of two categories in this industry. The first being someone who makes a spontaneous decision to check out a local gym or health club because of something that triggered them to think about getting healthy or losing weight. This people need to be able to see the club and hear about options for joining while the idea is still fresh in their mind. Walking up to the door of a club and pulling on the handle only to find it locked and then noticing a sign to call for more details puts a damper on their enthusiasm to join a gym or sends them down the street to your competitor to check out his club. The second is someone who has made a decision after much thinking and debating to join a club to improve their health. This person normally needs to be able to enter the club and have a knowledgeable staff member make them feel comfortable in the club and explain to them how becoming a member of the club will help them to achieve their fitness goals. A locked door, partially staffed club with an absent owner does not bode well to attracting or enrolling either of these categories of potential members.

Do yourself and your future a favor and sit back a few minutes and think about what I said before you invest your financial future in this business model. If you already have one of these clubs and it is not doing as well as you hoped it is time to reconsider the amount of hours you have the doors open and club staffed.

Until next time, enjoy life!
Matt York


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