13 Helpful Tips For Gym Managers

Helpful Tips For Gym Managers

With our gym manager tips, any gym is sure to go from average to exceptional. From advice on marketing to customer service, we’ll provide you with everything you need to ensure the smooth-running of the establishment.

But before we break down our tips, the best way to build progress as a gym manager is to expand your fitness knowledge and skills set. 

Taking our Level 4 Sports Nutriton course is the perfect way to do just that! Enquire today, or download our free course prospectus here to find out more. 

13 Useful Gym Manager Tips & Ideas

We're starting this article off with 8 general gym management tips and later on we'll disucss 5 further tips for both managers and those who own their own gym!

Tip #1 - Prioritise Customer Service As A Gym Manager

gym management tips

One of the most important fitness studio manager tips is to provide excellent customer service both in-person and online. Customer service is at the heart of any gym as this business relies on attracting and retaining members.

Visitors who receive great customer service are much more likely to return and recommend you to others. As gym revenue depends on finding and keeping members, it’s crucial you and your team provide gym goers with a high-quality experience. Some benefits of this include:

  • Increasing value of the business
  • Building member loyalty
  • Encouraging referrals 
  • Boosting membership retention

To create great customer service as a gym manager, think about what makes your own experience better when you use a business. 

gym management tips

Simple things you can do to provide members with a good experience include:

  • Learning Names & Greeting Visitors - Customer service shouldn’t be high-quality just to make people sign up, it should be maintained throughout the duration of their contract. One way to do this is by learning the names of members and greeting them when they arrive. Remembering their name is likely to make them feel valued and builds rapport.
  • Quick Online Response Times - As most email and phone contact are during working hours, this means you must have a quick response time to any customer queries or issues. Social media is especially important for this, as people will voice their concerns here expecting a quick answer. If the gym takes a long time to answer simple questions or resolve issues, it’s likely people will have a negative view of the gym and may turn others away from your service. 
  • Listen To Feedback - Online and in person feedback should always be encouraged! It allows you to quickly resolve member issues and stop them writing a negative review or leaving altogether. Feedback is important for improving the business and giving clients the best experience and so should be taken seriously.
  • Celebrate Events & Birthdays - Events such as birthdays or gym membership anniversaries are great ways to show you care about those who use the gym. Keep track of important dates when members join. Recognizing these days will make them feel special and you can celebrate them by giving a card or even an email with a gift card.
  • Make Yourself Known In The Community - Integrating the gym within the community can make the public’s perception of the business positive and boost loyalty to the gym. By supporting charities or hosting outdoor fitness events, you can increase awareness of the gym and gain members this way.

You should ensure all staff understand the importance of customer service and train them so they can implement these gym manager tips.

Tip #2 - Transform The Gym Into A Fitness Community

gym management tips

With the increase in the number of gyms up and down the UK, there are plenty of options for the public to choose from, especially for those living in cities. This means as a gym manager, you need to find ways to stand out and attract clients who will continue using your service.

To do this, you need to make the gym more than just a building members visit to use the gym machines. You need to build a sense of community, allowing members to feel they are part of something exclusive.

Many people enjoy using gyms not just for the equipment and classes, but also for the social element. Even those who prefer an independent workout value a comfortable environment where they know people look out for one another.

A community can also be developed online through social media and Facebook groups, especially if the gym is holding virtual classes. Users who don’t visit the gym at the same time can get to know one another through online contact. 

gym management tips

This virtual community can then expand into the physical gym. Members can arrange to meet up with one another or attend classes if they don’t know anyone who regularly goes. 

People could also post if they need a boost of motivation, allowing members to support each other and reach goals.

This sense of community doesn’t just put clients at ease, it also helps the gym in the long term. 

To make the gym a community, some things to consider include:

  • Share Photos - Take pictures of gym members and post them to the social media page, reminding other members they're all working towards individual goals even if they don't attend the gym at the same time.
  • Newsletter - This is a great way to build a sense of community as you can highlight events and birthdays, as well as include details of people's achievements to make them feel even better about hitting their goals.
  • Host Events - These can be events that aren't based in the gym such as fundraising, obstacle courses, or rock climbing. Fun events allow members to be social outside the gym and while should be based around fitness, can help people get involved in activities they wouldn't otherwise enjoy.
  • Sell Merchandise - Clothing really can help build a sense of community. T-shirts and hoodies can get the name of the gym out there as well as make members feel a connection and identify with people both inside and if they recognise someone wearing the logo outside of the gym.

Members who feel part of this community are more likely to:

  • Stay at the gym longer
  • Promote or review it without asking
  • Achieve their goals by returning to a place they enjoy frequenting

By having something to offer people other than low membership or nice equipment, you run less of a risk having people leave for gyms with these same selling points.

This community can also help positive relationships develop between clients, meaning they can motivate one another to reach their goals. Members will often find it harder to leave if they have friends at their gym or have developed a great relationship with trainers.

Tip #3 - Carefully Consider Who You Hire For The Gym

fitness studio manager tips

Who you hire can make all the difference when trying to run and manage any kind of business efficiently, and a gym is no exception.

Your team will be the face of the brand and an extension of yourself. When hiring candidates, some questions you should ask yourself include:

  • Are they a good fit for my team?
  • Will they get on well with other colleagues?
  • Do they have enough passion?

Culture fit with both team and gym members is certainly worth considering. While qualifications and experience are certainly important when looking for suitable candidates, you should also think about where they will fit within the gym.

fitness studio manager tips

It’s important to hire people who can adapt to different areas of the gym. For example, an employee may be great at teaching classes in the studio but may not be as successful teaching virtual classes.

To ensure you limit the applicant pool to the most desirable candidates, there's no reason why you shouldn't specify certain skills or qualifications you expect applicants to have.

For example, this job advertisement for a Gym & Fitness Team Leader with Torus Group specifies the qualifications and experience they believe applicants should have for the role.

tips for gym managers

By specifying experience, many potential applicants are unlikely to send in their CV if they know they haven't got a certain qualification or the right experience.

If experienced applicants make it to the interview stage, you may hold a quick trial gym session or have them answer scenario-based questions to ensure they haven't lied on their application.

There are many skills required to become a personal trainer, so you must also ensure candidates can adapt to these different areas and still teach classes effectively while also developing positive relationships with colleagues and clients.

Tip #4 - Adjust Gym Schedule According To Times

fitness studio manager tips

When managing a gym, effectively organising staff schedules should be one of your main priorities. You’ll need to identify the gym's busiest times and adjust staffing levels accordingly.

These times are typically during mid to late morning (8am - 10am) before people head off to work, and in the evening when people finish work (4pm - 7pm).

This means you should have appropriate staff levels to enrol new members, hold classes, and train customers who come to use the gym.

As gym manager, you should be ‘front of house’ during its busiest hours. The manager shouldn’t leave just as the gym starts entering peak times. 

This allows you to address any customer or team member issues and show new guests around the premises.

fitness studio manager tips

On the other hand, having a high number of staff members onsite during quieter times means a large overspend on unnecessary labour. Depending on the size of the gym, you should work with other department heads such as fitness managers to ensure appropriate levels of staff.

During quieter hours, typically the middle of the day, the gym is unlikely to require lots of staff members. It’s likely the only staff members needed during this time are the gym manager, department heads, and someone working the front desk.

By scheduling the staff rota efficiently, it means you can save money on labour by saving the busier schedule for times when it’s actually needed.

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If you’re looking to become the best gym manager you can be, check out these articles for some inspiration:

Tip #5 - Continually Provide Staff Training & Development Workshops

fitness studio manager tips

In a gym setting, it’s important to provide the team with regular training to ensure they’re up to date and can do their jobs to the highest standard.

As a manager, it’s wrong to think that once a team member has developed a level of proficiency in their role, they no longer require any further training or development.

Although you should give the team independence and not be standing over their shoulder every minute of the day, there is always room for improvement and continual development.

To ensure staff are providing a great service, you should hold one-on-one monthly coaching sessions with each team member. These sessions can act as appraisals and as a way for you to continue development while also evaluating their performance.

fitness studio manager tips

Once a month, you should conduct a training workshop with each department to refresh their skills and evaluate the department as a whole, including positive feedback and areas for improvement.

This can then move into continuous skill development, including customer service simulations and sales roleplay.

Another tip for gym managers is to host team building activities to strengthen the relationships between your team and encourage more of a community within the workplace.

Tip #6 - Hold Performance Meetings For Gym Staff

fitness studio manager tips

As gym manager, you need to understand that everything, both the establishment and team, are a reflection on you. You’re responsible for the team and must enforce discipline or raise issues with staff where necessary.

While you can’t be responsible for the actions of every employee, everything ‘flows up’ to you. Staff who are rude or have a negative attitude will show a lack of training on your behalf, making members question whether you have control over staff.

To ensure you’re aware of how the team is getting on, you should arrange check-ins or meetings with them every couple of months so you can raise any concerns and allow them to do the same.

This can be a performance review or evaluation and also to let you check on their general wellbeing. Doing this shows them you care about how they’re coping both during and outside of work, meaning you can help resolve issues that may be negatively impacting their work.

Tip #7 - Ensure You Keep Track Of All Records As Gym Manager

how to manage a gym successfully

We understand it’s unlikely you got into the fitness industry to spend your days managing accounts, taxes, and all the legalities that come with this. However, being organised and keeping records is one of the most important gym manager tips.

Documents to store include:

  • Membership contracts
  • Cancellation letters
  • Complaints
  • Financial records

Essentially, anything that goes on in the gym should be stored. While you’ll need financial records anyway for tax purposes, it’s best to keep track of everything in case other legal issues arise.

This should be done on a routine basis, at least once a week. Doing this regularly means you can store necessary documents away and also discard ones you’re certain you no longer need. 

Sorting documents so they’re up to date means you won’t be overwhelmed by years worth of records that no longer serve a purpose when you’re looking for something you actually need.

how to manage a gym successfully

For example, a member may try and hold the gym liable for back pain suffered during a session. However, if you have a health questionnaire available that was signed by the member acknowledging it occurred before they joined the gym, this is a great way to help yourself in the long run!

You should keep records of everything, including when equipment was changed to prove it isn’t old and faulty. While we hope as gym manager legal issues will be an uncommon occurrence, it’s best to be prepared for situations if they do occur.

Tip #8 - Enforce High Levels Of Cleanliness

how to manage a gym successfully

Although it can be a challenge, keeping the gym clean and tidy is essential to attracting and retaining new clients. Along with operating hours and reliable equipment, cleanliness is important for gym members.

An untidy workout space and dirty locker rooms can really put people off using gym facilities. Think of it this way, would you really want to sign up to a gym that constantly looked like this:

how to manage a gym successfully

If people come to the gym for a session and are met with an unclean space, it’s unlikely they will consider taking out a membership at the gym.

To avoid this happening, as gym manager you need to ensure all members of the team are making it their responsibility to keep areas clean and tidy.

While you can’t always control how the general public will leave the gym, you should do what you can to gently remind them to be considerate of other members. 

You could leave signs around the gym with phrases such as:

  • Put weights back on shelves
  • Wipe machines when finished
  • Store yoga mats away

While signs like these may not always work for certain people, it shows gym members you are considerate of other people and have at least acknowledged you want areas to be kept clean.

Bonus Tips For Managing A Gym You Own

If you own the gym, here's some extra tips you can implement from a business owner perspective.

Tip #9 - Make Effective Use Of Gym Management Software

gym management tips

As gym manager, it’s crucial you find ways to ensure the gym runs as smoothly as possible. Not having software that can track billings and memberships means you’ll need to hire other employees to process payments and keep records.

Without software, you may also have to do this yourself, meaning you’ll have to sacrifice time you could be spending on tasks of a higher priority like training staff or ensuring the smooth and safe-running of the gym. 

Gym management software such as Glofox and PushPress are great tools, allowing managers to: 

  • Manage memberships
  • Track attendance
  • Schedule classes
  • Automate payments

This can also make the experience easier for gym members as this software is designed to be simple to use. Using an uncomplicated system makes the business more streamlined overall as it reduces the number of customer queries and complaints.

gym management tips

As responsibilities such as payroll and membership fees are sensitive subjects, you need to get software that makes this process smoother. Constantly losing track or using an unreliable system will still reflect badly on you as gym manager, even if you’ve hired someone else to do this for you.

Tip #10 - Employ Marketing Strategies To Advertise The Gym

fitness studio manager tips

A gym’s success depends on its ability to attract and retain members, meaning managers need to find new and creative gym marketing ideas to advertise their business.

Social media is a great business tool and can be used to:

  • Advertise membership discounts
  • Promote gym events
  • Provide fitness content

As many people have smartphones, you should utilise this medium by promoting the gym in a quick and effective way. 

Having a social media account for the gym is a great way to advertise services and classes to a wider audience and can be done more frequently than on a website as people won’t be visiting the gym’s homepage everyday.

Google My Business is also a great tool for establishing the gym online. Potential members are given a snapshot of the gym with information such as:

  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Opening Hours
  • Images
  • Directions

Gym members can also leave reviews which appear beneath this information, giving other users a snapshot of how they found their experience. 

fitness studio manager tips

Having this key information available here saves people having to spend time searching for all this separately.

Not all marketing methods have to be online either. You can still advertise the gym in simple ways such as giving posters to local businesses to put in their shops or handing out leaflets in busy areas.

You can also use referrals as a way to gain new clients, which brings us onto our next point:

Tip #11 - Encourage Organic Gym Referrals

gym manager tips

If members are happy with your gym, they will naturally discuss it with and likely recommend it to friends and family. You can encourage referrals from members in a natural way by setting up a referral programme.

Referrals work by encouraging current members to refer people they know to use your services in return for something valuable. It’s likely they will refer you to someone they’re sure will use the gym, meaning you can target your ideal audience.

Referrals are a great way to attract potential members to the gym as both parties benefit. By offering a free session or discounted membership, you gain a new member and increase revenue while the person who refers their friend to the gym gains something in return.

gym manager tips

Some ways to encourage organic referrals and reach more people include:

  • Pin the referral to the bio of the gym's social media page
  • Have your team include it in their email signatures
  • Place it at the top of the homepage of the gym's website
  • Put posters up around the gym
  • Simply discuss it with members once you've developed a familiar relationship 

You can also use a level scheme to encourage referrals, especially if you have current members who are great at recommending your services. 

If a member brings one friend to the gym, you could give them a free class. However, if they bring three people to you, this could result in a month of free gym membership.

It’s best to offer incentives you know will be used on the right people. A gift card offering free gym membership or discounted classes can be great for this as those who refer people are likely to give it to someone they know will use it.

Tip #12 - Create Processes For Member Check Ups & Gym Testimonials

tips for gym managers

A checkup is a consultation for a client at the gym where you can find out:

  • How satisfied they are with the gym
  • Aspects of their life outside the gym
  • How they’re generally progressing with their fitness journey

Gym members may feel slightly awkward bringing up issues so you shouldn’t just assume they will come to you about their problems. Instead, initiate a conversation so you avoid any clients leaving without knowing how you can improve the gym.

As gym manager, you should have a process to ensure this gets done and no clients are neglected or ignored. This conversation should occur during time you’ve set aside, not awkwardly or casually done in the middle of a workout.

Setting time aside for clients shows you are:

  • Actually listening to them
  • Taking their feedback seriously
  • Ready to implement their desired changes

You should have a set system in place for doing this, not just when you remember it needs to be done. This could occur after 60 days of a client signing up and then after every three months for the amount of time they’re a member of the gym.

While you should plan for this ahead of time, the client shouldn’t be aware of this. From their point of view, it should be a casual moment. 

tips for gym managers

An example of how to initiate this check-up could be something like this:

‘Hi John, can we have a chat soon about how things are going? Will this Wednesday after your workout be alright?’

From this conversation, you can casually move onto the subject of gym and personal trainer testimonials. However, this should only be done if the client is enthusiastic and positive about the gym.

If they are, you should ask them in a natural way if they’d be willing to leave a quick review on:

A satisfied client is likely to be more than happy to leave a review, especially if you mention how much this will help the gym.

However, if the client isn’t happy with your service or facilities, you should listen to their complaints and use it to improve the gym. If they choose to continue coming back, you should make sure to check-up with them after a month to see if their opinion has changed.

Just by listening to their concerns and adjusting the gym to provide them with a better experience already shows how seriously you want all gym goers to have a great experience and are already on your way to positively changing their opinion.

Tip #13 - Create A Well-Designed Website For The Gym

tips for gym managers

These days, people are much more likely to find out information about the gym through online research rather than walk through the doors. As websites essentially work as an online front for the business, you need to ensure it is professional and wellmade.

Just like how a storefront provides customers with their first impression of a business, a website does the same. If you turned up to a business, would you be quick to use their services if it looked like this on the outside:

how to manage a gym successfully

If a business website isn’t sleek or inviting, this will put many people off. Even if you manage the best gym in the world, a terrible website is unlikely to attract potential members to seek out the gym as they will assume it also isn’t professional.

This means you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of an online presence. A well-designed website should be:

  • Clear in establishing the gym’s identity
  • Visually appealing
  • User friendly and easy to use

An example of this is the homepage of HotFit:

how to manage a gym successfully

Their website is simple yet eye-catching and easy to navigate. Users have the relevant links at the top of the page and don’t have to spend time searching for what they’re looking for, such as the location of the gym or session prices.

Depending on your creativity and tech skills, you can design it yourself using website builders such as Wix and Squarespace. These providers are simple and inexpensive, providing users with professional templates to make the gym's website great.

However, if you’d like to trust someone else to help the website stand out and if budget allows, you can hire a professional or freelancer to do it for you. This can be done through trusted platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr.

Before You Go!

Now you’re caught up with our gym manager tips, it’s time to put them into practice! 

If you’re hoping to be the best possible gym manager, enquire today about our Advanced Sports Nutrition course to become a specialist fitness professional!

You can also download our complete course prospectus to browse the full range of courses we offer.


Become a specialist fitness expert with OriGym

Expand your skills as a gym manager with our Level 4 Advanced Sports Nutrition course! 

Written by James Brady

Fitness Writer & Enthusiast

James graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. His desire to find a place where he could combine his passion for writing and love of fitness is what brought him to OriGym. He believes his passion for daily exercise, especially running, is imperative in keeping him motivated and productive. As a result, he has a particular interest in the psychology of health and fitness and the relationship between physical and mental health. Outside of work, James enjoys reading, swimming, writing short stories, watching classic movies and has a keen interest in journalism and filmmaking.

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