Gym ownership can be a bit of a beast. There’s a lot to consider beyond just a love of fitness.
From managing expensive gym equipment to making sure you have the right team to support your clients, running a gym is a big task. If you want to make big gains, the right software for gym management can transform how you manage your gym for the better.
Gym management systems can help you save time and eliminate tedious tasks so you and your employees can focus on what matters—your clients.
Keep reading as we dive into the ins and outs of gym management. From common challenges to the top gym management software, you’ll be running a top-notch gym in no time.
What is the role of a gym owner?
A gym owner is the person who owns a gym or fitness facility. But like most small businesses, you don’t just get to put your name on the door and walk away. Gym owners play a major role in their gym’s success. Your role is to set a strategic business direction for the gym.
Each gym owner might have different responsibilities, depending on the size and type of gym. But you’ll often find the following tasks on a gym owner’s to-do list:
- Set business goals and expectations
- Manage finances, including budgets and expenses
- Set membership fees and design programming
- Develop a sales and marketing strategy
- Measure and increase customer retention
- Run employee payroll
- Oversee gym equipment and other facilities
Like many small business owners, we’re gonna guess that you usually love what you do. So it’s not uncommon to also find a gym owner working with clients or playing an active role in everyday gym operations.
What is gym management?
Gym management is the process of managing the day-to-day operations of your gym. It can also refer to the people responsible for taking care of those everyday tasks.
Depending on your gym, you may have one gym manager or even a few that make up a management team, especially if you have multiple locations. If you own a smaller gym, you might even be doing double duty as a manager and owner.
Gym management works closely with your team and often your clients to help make sure the gym is running smoothly.
Working as a gym manager often includes tasks like:
- Managing employee scheduling and tasks
- Hiring, onboarding, and training new team members
- Overseeing staff performance, training, and development
- Overseeing fitness programming schedules
- Reporting on attendance and membership sales
Gym managers are often employees of the business and typically report to the gym owner.
Sometimes the tasks of a gym manager may overlap with the owner, but management typically focuses on the everyday tasks so the owner can focus on big picture responsibilities.
What makes running a gym different than other businesses?
Even among small businesses, gyms are unique.
Of course, there are the impressive amounts of specialized equipment and facilities. But there are also a lot of moving parts that help turn a bunch of dumbbells into an actual fitness destination
This means gym management should be aware of the unique differences of running a gym and how to approach managing them.
Most clients go to the gym before or after work, which means most gyms don’t operate on your typical 9-5 schedule. Gym-goers range from early birds to night owls, which means successful gyms often have long hours to accommodate client needs. Some are even open 24/7.
The diverse hours can present challenges when it comes to scheduling employees and hiring.
Need to schedule employees for overnight or extra-early shifts? These types of shifts can be a doozy. So a little flexibility with scheduling and employee availability can go a long way in promoting a health work-life balance for your team.
Even forecasting customer demand and labor costs can require a bit more time and attention. Otherwise, you run the risk of being under or overstaffed.
A high number of different employee roles
A lot of customers come into the gym, do their workout, and leave. They may interact with the front desk staff or a trainer, but there are a lot more people behind the scenes that bring a gym to life.
- Reception and customer service: They manage check-ins, greet customers, and deal with any inquiries.
- Fitness trainers and instructors: From personal training to group fitness, depending on your gym you may have several different instructors specializing in different areas of fitness.
- Cleaning and maintenance: These are the folks who make sure your gym is spotless and sanitary. They’ll also help make sure all your equipment is in good working order.
- Sales: To manage new member inquiries, retain current members, and help attract potential new clients.
- Management: These are team leaders who help make sure the other teams are doing their jobs effectively.
In smaller gyms, employees might wear more than one hat. But even if you’re a leaner team, you likely still need to fill a version of these roles in order to deliver a solid customer experience.
Employee pay structures can vary
Simple payroll math is enough to make most people’s head spin. But when it comes to paying your gym employees, things can get more complicated than setting up a Bulgarian split squat.
With the wide range of roles within a gym, it’s pretty common to have different pay structures for your employees. Here are some common pay structures you might have:
- Hourly pay: Paying an hourly wage is common for shift workers. Hourly pay means you only pay your employees for the hours they work. In a gym, roles in maintenance, customer service, and even training are often paid by the hour.
- Salary pay: Salary pay means you’re paying an employee a fixed-rate—usually over a year. This is common among management teams. Sometimes gym trainers may also be paid a salary
- Commission-based pay: Commission-based pay is common for sales roles. For example, in a gym, a sales team may be compensated based on the number of new members they sign up. Sometimes commissioned employees also earn a base hourly or salary rate. This ensures that they’re getting paid, even when they aren’t actively signing up new clients.
Want to get even more complicated? Since your head trainer who’s been with you for 10 years probably earns more than the newbie on towel duty, you likely have a wide range of bay bands within these pay structures. It can get tricky to navigate payroll for everyone, but not to worry: we can help.
Common mistakes made by gym management and owners
When it comes to running a successful gym, there are tons of tactics you can experiment with. But sometimes it’s easy to get caught up and overlook certain areas.
Let’s take a look at some common errors that gym owners and managers tend to make—and a few tips to solve them.
Ignoring employee experience
A lot of business owners tend to prioritize the customer. And while your gym customers are extremely important, your team plays a critical role in creating that positive experience for your gym clients.
When you put employee experience first, your employees are happier, more productive, and more engaged. This is particularly true for gym employees who might be expected to work unpredictable hours in a fast-paced environment.
Fortunately, there are many different ways to foster a positive employee experience in your gym:
- Offering flexible scheduling
- Providing competitive and on-time compensation and benefits
- Creating opportunities for learning and development
- Building a culture of employee appreciation and recognition
Having happy employees means you have a smiling team that’s ready to show up for your customers. Create a workplace where your employees actually want to work to decrease employee turnover and even save your gym money.
|Did you know? Prioritizing employee engagement and experience isn’t just about being a good employer, it can have a major impact on your bottom line. Companies with engaged employees outperform their competitors in earnings by a staggering 147%.|
Forgetting about customer retention
Most gyms operate on a membership model. Put simply, your customers pay a set amount at regular intervals—often monthly—in exchange for your service. Even if you offer drop-in services, you’ll often see repeat customers.
As a business owner, this is great because it creates predictable revenue.
But gyms will often fall into the trap of only focusing on getting new members in the door. And while new members are always a plus, if you’re losing loyal and existing customers, that’s still a big loss for your business.
Growing your gym requires attracting new members while keeping your current customers engaged and happy.
And that starts with a retention strategy that keeps your customers coming back. This means delivering exceptional customer service, listening to their feedback, and creating a top-notch gym-going experience.
|Happy customers = happy employees: According to a Gallup research study, better employee engagement correlates to a 10% increase in customer loyalty. So if you’re looking for a place to start building customer retention, your employees are a great place to start.|
Not taking advantage of tools and automation
Gym ownership can be a bit chaotic—in the best way possible. But from employee scheduling to keeping on top of client needs, there’s a lot on the gym management to-do list.
What if we told you there was a way to get more done in less time?
Well, there is. There are tons of tools available you can leverage to streamline your gym management process. They’re designed to automate repetitive tasks, make you more efficient, and reduce human error. This frees up time for employees to focus on your customers and complete tasks that actually make an impact.
Even if you’re going for the no-frills, old-school gym vibes, we promise that the right software and technology still has a place in improving your gym’s workflows.
Whether it’s automating employee scheduling and payroll or implementing online fitness class scheduling, investing in the right technology can improve everyone’s gym experience. Not only will you improve your employee’s job satisfaction, but you’ll see customer satisfaction levels rise as well.
5 gym management software tools to level up your gym’s performance
Your gym doesn’t need all the fancy bells and whistles, but using the right software for gym management can get your team working like a well-oiled machine.
Here are five tools you can implement in your gym to manage your team better and keep your them happier.
1. Touch base with a team communication software
Working at a gym means your employees may have unconventional shift hours and could be all over the place helping clients. So getting your entire team together can be harder than getting people to re-rack their weights properly.
It helps teams build camaraderie, keeps employees engaged, and streamlines your team’s processes. Plus, it helps keep everyone on the same page—even if they aren’t in the same room.
2. Make payday painless with payroll software
Gym employee payroll can get a little complicated, which means a calculator and spreadsheet just won’t cut it.
And frankly, paying your employees shouldn’t be a workout. Use a payroll software like Homebase to help you calculate wages and taxes in just a few clicks, so you know your hourly employees are being paid the right amount every payday.
We’ll even help you automatically process your tax filings and issue 1099s and W-2s for a stress-free tax season.
3. Simplify schedules with an employee scheduling software
We may not all be part of the 6 am workout crew—but your clients might be. An employee scheduling software makes sure you never miss an employee shift.
Homebase helps you optimize your schedules based on how busy your gym is, so you always have the right number of team members on shift. Homebase will even help you send reminders and notes to your team, so they’re ready to go when you need them.
|Shift swapping made simple: Long opening hours = several open shifts to fill. Homebase makes it easy for your team to pick up and swap open shifts so you can say goodbye to scheduling stress for good.|
4. Make booking a breeze with a client fitness scheduling software
An open gym is relatively easy to manage; you typically don’t need a schedule and clients can come in whenever they want. But what about activities with limited availability, like group classes, 1:1 training sessions, or equipment reservations?
Clients need (and expect) an easy way to sign up for their gym activities. They want to be able to make and adjust their plans in advance.
Hint: You can do better than a sign-up sheet on a clipboard.
Make booking a breeze for your clients by using a client scheduling software that’s made especially for fitness facilities. Plus, you’ll save on labor costs by reducing the need for someone to answer the phone and manage class schedules.
5. Track time more effectively with a time clock app
For hourly gym employees, it’s important that you track everyone’s hours, breaks, and overtime effectively. Otherwise, you might run into some trouble when it comes payday—and your friends in labor compliance probably won’t be so happy either.
Gyms can be large. So save your employees time by eliminating the need for a manual time punch clock. Homebase’s online time clock app makes it easy for your employees to clock in and out—whether they’re in the break room or on the gym floor.
Ready to level up your software for gym management?
Get Homebase for easy scheduling, time clocks, payroll, messaging, HR, compliance, and more — all in one app. Get started for free.
Gym management software FAQS
What is gym management?
Gym management is made up of managers and leaders who make sure that your gym runs seamlessly. It can also refer to the day-to-day operational tasks related to running a gym. Gym management is responsible for everything from hiring and managing employees to dealing with customers’ concerns.
Depending on the size of your gym, management can be one person or a team of people. For small businesses, the gym manager may also be the gym owner.
What is a gym owner?
A gym owner is the person who owns and profits from a gym or fitness center. They’re responsible for everything from finances to business strategy. Gym owners are typically focused on the big-picture tasks that help steer the businesses’ direction.
For smaller gyms, the owner may also take on the role of day-to-day gym management.
How will gym management software help me manage a gym?
Using gym management software will help you manage your gym by improving employee productivity, optimizing your employee schedules, and delivering a better customer experience.
Some software that will help you better manage your gym include:
- Software to help your team communicate
- Software to simplify payroll
- Software to simplify employee scheduling
- Software for seamless client scheduling
- Software for employees to clock in and out