Stepping into the fitness industry can be daunting, especially if you have big dreams like running a gym, if so, you’re probably going to want to know all about gym manager roles and responsibilities that you’ll be faced with. This is why we have put together this comprehensive guide that covers all you need to know including:
- 6 Core Roles of a Gym Manager
- 3 Key Skills Required to Fulfil The Responsibilities of a Gym Manager
- What Qualifications Do You Need to be a Gym Manager?
Before we get straight into your gym manager duties, if you’re not yet qualified, why not check out OriGym’s diploma in personal training for the best start to your career. Alternatively, find this and many more advancement courses in our downloadable course prospectus here.
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6 Core Roles of a Gym Manager
Becoming a manager in any industry comes with heaps of responsibilities and this is no different from managing a gym.
From health and safety precautions to staff management, there is an extensive list of responsibility, yet, it is a fulfilling, well paid role that will see you excel in the fitness sector.
So, let’s see your first and arguably most important gym manager duties.
#1 Gym Manager Responsibilities include Managing Staff
First and foremost, your staff are going to be what makes your gym operate smoothly, so how do you ensure that you manage them well and get the most out of your staff?
This task starts during the interview process, where you need to be really thorough in looking for those who you think are going to be a long term member of staff, hiring employees who want to learn.
Then, once you have a team and are confident that your gym has a sufficient amount of staff, you should spend time training them and effectively communicating exactly what you expect from your staff.
This is a good way to get to know your team and their overall character, which will help you delegate tasks to those who are better suited to specific roles.
As well as this, you should organise shift rotas that are suited to your staff's availability. You should be finding out availability from the interviewing stage to ensure that you’re hiring people who are going to fill the gaps in your team.
Many gyms operate on a shift basis that often doesn’t change. For example, in the UK, most commercial gyms run on a shift-to-pay-rent structure.
This means that usually, each member of staff works approximately 12-15 hours a week to pay their ‘rent’ in the gym, meaning that they can then freely operate as a freelance personal trainer in the gym outside of these shifts.
This makes the gym manager positions in commercial run gyms that use this structure relatively easy when it comes to shift work as it will typically stay the same week on week for your staff.
Depending on the size of the gym you're managing, the process of creating a rota is actually pretty straightforward for those who have maybe 5-10 members of staff. Nonetheless, the more that you have onboard, the more work it becomes so you may want to use a software to help you.
For example, RotaCloud is a widely used software among businesses to organise staff rotas and to make them accessible.
You can see below what this software looks like and the tools that it comes with.
This is great for bigger gyms so you can organise the likes of time off and shift patterns much easier than a piece of paper on the wall. It will help you to save time for other gym manager responsibilities that arise!
Experiences that can help you are things like managing in any capacity or industry. For example, you may have worked for a long time as a store manager which you may feel is irrelevant to your career as a personal trainer however, this isn’t the case!
Managing staff builds a particular kind of skill set, it shows the employer that you can be trusted and that you can cope under pressure and delegate appropriate jobs to the right people. So don’t be discouraged if you’re entering the world of fitness without any prior experience in that specific industry - all experience counts.
#2 Managing & Maintaining Equipment
People want a gym with good quality and equipment and to ensure this, you should stay up to date with the newest equipment and let the owner know when it is time to invest into some new machines.
For example, basic equipment would be expected in a gym with a low membership price whereas managing big commercial gyms would require you to keep up to date with popular new pieces and to adhere to your demographic.
Fitness trends and new popular exercises are forever popping up, for example, over the past few years there has been a growing interest in glute exercises with the hip thrust being a widely popular go to exercise.
This craze and growing popularity sparked interest in gyms acquiring a hip thrust machine so people no longer had to go through the trouble of loading up barbells.
Though the hip thrust exercise has been around for a long time, the increase in popularity is what prompted gyms to introduce a specific machine for this exercise. For example, you can see below a snippet taken from The Guardian, after they wrote a piece on the growing obsession of strong glutes in women.
This is a prime example of how you should stay up to date with the current fitness trends and act on them to keep your gym operating as a popular and current gym space.
Apart from this, another one of your responsibilities of a gym manager is to stay on top of checks and any repairs. You should be checking the smooth running of equipment everyday, this might mean doing it yourself or delegating this task to members of staff so it is completed everyday.
This is going to reduce the risk of injury for members and if you do find any equipment not operating as it should, you can act on it promptly and post the piece of equipment out of service.
Finally, you should always keep your gym equipment within a comfortable proximity of one another to avoid overcrowding. You should be keeping this in mind when you invest in new equipment and find space for it first, you could then use the relevant experience you have to communicate how you’re great at organising.
For example, if you have worked as a housekeeper, you may be wondering how this can be relevant to your CV or application for a gym manager position, this is when it’s your time to shine!
You can say how your experience in organisation and prompt time management has taught you the importance of these two skills and they apply to every industry who wants to be presented adequately and positively.
Think about ways that your experience in any industry, not just the fitness industry, can help you to highlight how you can manage equipment effectively and keep on top of these aforementioned trends.
#3 Gym Manager Responsibilities Include Managing the Budget
Next, another one of your gym manager duties and responsibilities is managing the budget.
This may not be necessary for everyone who becomes a gym manager, it is dependent on the size of gym that you’re working for. For example, if you’re working for one of the bigger commercial gyms, chances are they will have a finances department that will be taking care of spending and budgets.
Nonetheless, if you’re working for an independent gym, you certainly might be handed the responsibility to delegate funds and manage a budget efficiently. Either way, it is only going to be beneficial to prepare just in case.
With this in mind, here are some top tips for handling finances in the gym.
3 Top Tips for Managing your Budget
Tip 1: Setting and Managing a Budget
Setting and managing budgets is hard work, you would work with the gym owner in this instance as they’re going to be the ones spending it. If you are the gym owner, this is of course your responsibility.
You should initially calculate your net income or if you’re just starting out, your expected net income to see what is actually plausible for your business growth prospects.
Once you have this figured out, you can calculate your expenditures, or what you propose to spend on the gym and what you leave as profit.
You can use softwares to help you with this, for instance, Quickbooks is a widely used and popular accounting software that can help you to take control of your accounting.
Quickbooks acts as an all-in-one hub for everything finance for your business no matter the size.
It ultimately provides you with the ability to track all of your sales and expenses in one place, while also keeping track of all your receipts too.
Gone are the days of keeping hard tons of hard copies of receipts and documents that can get lost with the help of accounting softwares like this.
Tip 2: Delegate Funds to Departments That Need it Most
Delegating funds correctly is vital for the smooth running of your gym. You need to ensure that you’re fulfilling your gym manager duties and responsibilities by paying attention to what areas of the business needs your attention most.
Whether it is:
- Staff wages
- New equipment
- Facility maintenance
All departments of the gym need to work in harmony with each other, if one is underpaid, the gym operation as a whole will suffer the consequences.
For example, if you come to the conclusion that your gym needs a spruce up, new equipment or routine maintenance deserves your attention first.
You don’t want an ‘out of order’ sign on one or more pieces of equipment for an extended period of time, this isn’t a good look for your gym and gives the impression that you aren’t paying attention to an environment that members are paying to be in.
You should visualise your spending on the aforementioned accounting softwares or your hard copies and act accordingly for your gym's benefit.
Tip 3: Review Your Budget Regularly
In order to keep on top of your finances and ensure that no money is going to waste or be under-invested into your gym you should be reviewing your spending and overall budget.
This might mean that you make amendments along the way and rain the spending in.
This is why you need a place that you can visualise your spending, like the aforementioned softwares or keeping track of all outgoings and incomings is so important.
A budget review shouldn’t be a once in a blue moon job, in fact, you should be reviewing regularly. Whether it be monthly or quarterly, decide appropriately depending on your spending.
For example, if you recognise that you have spent significantly more this month than last month, it would only make sense for you to review your budget and stick to any targets or limitations that you may have set prior.
You should decide when your routine budget reviews are according to your average spending habits and use your initiative to choose the best time.
#4 Gym Managers Are Responsible for Managing the Gym’s Schedule
As well as managing your employee schedule, you need to manage the gym schedule for your members.
This means scheduling classes and the gym opening times.
When it comes to bank holidays, seasonal holidays and weekends it is not uncommon for opening times to change, so you need to let your members know.
Gyms typically have a uniform schedule, or, if you work in one of the large commercial gyms it may be operating 24hours a day 7 days a week. Don’t worry though, this doesn’t mean you have to be there 24/7!
You should keep the typical gym opening and closing times dotted around the gym, but most importantly at reception and the front door.
Ensure that you keep your members up to date with any changes by posting posters in viewable places around the gym so nobody is disappointed when they turn up to a locked door. Apart from this, you will need to keep on top of the class schedule.
Fitness classes during the week don’t change for the most part, they’re a part of many members’ daily routines, like afterwork classes perhaps. Thus, there shouldn’t be many changes and none if possible.
That’s why it is one of your gym manager responsibilities to keep your classes organised. In other words, don’t allow classes to overlap, and as we mentioned before, if one of your employees is sick - you will have to cover it!
#5 You’ll be Expected to Jump in on Any Given Role
Gym manager duties and responsibilities are arguably unlimited. Running employees and your gym space means that you’re the go-to figure for your employees and members, so you should be prepared for anything.
For example, if a member of staff calls in sick, you should be ready to fill in their duties for the day if you can’t get a hold of any other staff members that could cover. This might mean you’re doing things like:
- Administrative tasks
- Cleaning the toilets
- Working on reception
- Taking inductions
- Filling in for their scheduled classes
Whatever it is, you should be prepared to step up.
It is vital that you understand that with gym manager positions, this is going to be a consistent responsibility that will come with the role before you decide that this is what you want to do with your career.
This is why when it comes to experience, it is important to have some varied roles behind you as this can really help you to jump in on different gym manager roles and responsibilities. In fact, some gyms may even make past experience in particular environments a requirement before hiring you.
Take a look at this example below to better understand how these requirements may be communicated:
As you can see, it is often desirable to have worked in a similar environment at the very least. This isn’t an uncommon requirement so be prepared for this before you apply.
Get Working on Your Career by Getting Qualified! Kick start your career as a gym manager by taking the first step and getting qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with OriGym.
Get Working on Your Career by Getting Qualified!
Kick start your career as a gym manager by taking the first step and getting qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with OriGym.
#6 One of The Main Gym Manager Duties and Responsibilities is Strategising the Growth of Your Gym
Something that comes with gym manager roles is the responsibility of growing your space. You will be in the gym normally for around 40 hours a week if you’re full time in the UK as standard, thus, you will be the person who sees everything first hand and where the strong points or weaknesses are that could be stunting your growth.
This is why you should consider ways in which you can grow your gym and attract new members, some ideas may include:
Offering Promotional Joining Discounts
This is something that can be communicated through the likes of email marketing, social media marketing, or on your website. This is a gym marketing idea that can help incredibly well in gaining new members or those who have cancelled their memberships.
An example of how this might look as part of an email marketing strategy can be seen below:
This is an example from JD Gyms, who often do this for members who have cancelled their membership highlighting a no joining fee offer along with many other benefits.
Bringing a Friend Offers
Relating to our example above of email marketing, you may be wondering how you can gain new customers without having their email. This is when ‘bring a friend’ schemes come in handy.
With members having the option to bring a friend, their friend may enjoy it so much that they want to come along more often. PureGym has had this scheme in place for some time and it clearly works well!
This is a good way to reach people whose data you don’t have and entice them into a membership of their own.
Investing into New Equipment
We touched on how keeping up appearances is vital for your gym, trends come and go and when they’re effective they stay - just like the hip thrust machine we spoke about earlier.
With this in mind, in order to get more members and retain your current ones, gym manager roles require you to know when it is time to suggest investment.
It’s not always new types of equipment that you need to be thinking about though, if your treadmills are looking somewhat worn down or your weight plates look tired, replacements can go a long way when it comes to aesthetics and the practicality of working out comfortably.
You may have experience in marketing that could help you greatly in expanding the gym and putting campaigns in place to get more members joining. Gyms are always looking to grow bigger and bigger, so whatever experience you have relative to expansion in any industry it's worth making it clear.
For some more useful information on how to make it big in the fitness industry, read our articles below:
- The 7 Best Personal Trainer Accounting Software
- Top 7 Progression Opportunities for a Personal Trainer
- 5 Big Fitness Business Ideas of 2023
Become a Personal Trainer with OriGym!
3 Key Skills Required to Fulfil the Roles of a Gym Manager
In order to be greeted with success when you go for any gym manager roles, you should try to tick at least these three skills off of your list.
We have listed what we think are the 3 most important soft skills that you should have in the bag before applying,
First and foremost, you may have noticed how much we’ve spoken about the responsibilities of a gym manager organising various activities. From schedules to classes, you’re the go-to person for it all.
With that being said, of course organisational skills are the first on our list of requirements.
As a gym manager, duties such as:
- Scheduling classes
- Organising opening / closing hours
- Scheduling staff rotas
- Keeping track of inventory
- Physically organising the gym
The reason why you need these organisational skills is because you will need to juggle an array of different responsibilities and jobs as a manager. We’ve spoken about how you need to jump in on any role and to do
If this is something that you know that you often struggle with, you can invest into some task management software to help you get used to juggling job roles.
Softwares like Mondayprojects can help you to organise tasks and even manage your teams within your gym.
They are widely used by brands and could help you too if necessary. It is particularly good to invest in something like this if you have a big team and are managing a large gym.
It is an idea for those who think their organisation needs improvement and it could help you to integrate some good habits of organisation too.
Next, you should come to terms with the fact that all gym manager roles require 10/10 communication skills.
Any kind of manager for any industry needs to be confident in instructing a team and laying down rules for the gym. After all, it is your job to ensure that not only everything runs smoothly, but also that you intend to grow and are putting things in place to do such.
This means that you need to be able to motivate your team without dictating to a point of rudeness. You should find the balance, you want your staff to want to work hard for you and work as a team.
To do this, ensure that you’re getting involved with all the roles of the gym, work together with your team and things will run much more smoothly. For example, create a rota for your staff and give them clear instructions on what their tasks are for the day.
Typically, many managers brief their staff every day, so have a brief chat with each staff member as they come in for the day and keep them up to date with higher communications of the company and also any specific tasks that need to be prioritised.
This will come with practice, but setting tasks for each day is a good way to begin. You could even read out tasks and allow staff to volunteer for whatever roles they want to do, this makes it even easier to take a small action to make your staff's day more productive and enjoyable.
Another thing to consider is the fact that flexibility of your schedule is non-negotiable. When heading into the career of management in any capacity is flexibility and this is no different in the gym world.
You will need to be able to work unconventional hours if necessary and contactable. For example, if one of your members of staff is sick, they’re going to call you, if you can’t find a replacement you will have to pick up the slack.
These things happen, it is only normal, but as a manager, you should be prepared for these obstacles and by ensuring you’re flexible, you can overcome these easily.
What Qualifications Do You Need to be a Gym Manager?
Gym manager roles often require you to have a fitness qualification as standard, but what does that holistic label actually mean?
Let’s talk about the best approach that will see you get well educated in the most succinct way.
Taking a Diploma in Personal Training
The best way to dive into the industry as a fitness professional is to complete a diploma in personal training which will qualify you as a level 3 personal trainer.
This qualification provides you with both a Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Insrtucting and a Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training, meaning that you'll have all of the skills, knowledge, and insurance needed to jump in on a class or cover a PT shift.
It is an all-in-one qualification that would make you fit for the role, no matter the experience behind you.
It will grant you the ability to work in many gyms, most perhaps as this is the exact recognised qualification that gyms will ask for.
For example, take a look at this job advert we plucked from many alike:
Before You Go…
Hopefully you feel confident in what to expect when it comes to gym manager roles and responsibilities and maybe you’re even ready to start applying!
Whatever stage you're at, we at OriGym have the fitness course to either exceed expectations or just get started. If you’re looking for a starting point, why not enquire about our personal training diploma? Or, find plenty of other fitness courses to make yourself the most desired candidate here in our downloadable course prospectus.
Start a Successful Online PT Business From Home in 9 Weeks
Download our video guide to get started