5 Critical Mistakes Gym Owners Make

Feb 19, 2019 - 4 min read
set of weight plates on a bar

We’re living in what industry insiders are calling the Golden Age of Fitness. By the end of 2022, there were roughly 63.1 million health club members in Europe, up about 7 million or 12.3% from the previous year, according to EuropeActive’s 2023 European Health & Fitness Market Report. The global fitness industry is projected to be worth $81.5 billion in 2023.

So how do you make your gym stand out among the rest? To help get you on the right tracks, we’ve compiled a list of some of the traps that gym owners can run into — and how to avoid them.

Too Much Equipment

Club operators have never had more options when buying health club equipment. 30% of fitness centres spend less than $1,000 annually on new equipment , and 65% of fitness centres only budget $5,000 annually for fitness equipment.

While it’s tempting to buy every new shiny piece of equipment, more equipment in your gym doesn’t automatically translate into a great member experience.

The fix? Know your space, if your workout space is too crowded to a point where members feel cramped while working out, it’s likely to put members off from coming back to your gym.

The atmosphere inside your gym is just as important as the equipment you provide. Encourage the development of a supportive community such as homeschoolers gym class or new mothers gatherings, to help improve the culture and atmosphere of your gym.

Misguided Marketing Efforts

Effective marketing can help you grow your gym, but if it’s not done in the right way you could end up wasting a lot of money!

For example, if you just opened up a small boutique gym there’s no reason to order hundreds of shirts with your gym’s logo on it. It may have always been part of your dream of owning a health club, but the money for that merchandise could be better used towards a new advertising campaign to drive new memberships to your gym.

An easy, yet effective marketing strategy, could be to use your gym website to create a landing page where non-members can sign in with either Twitter, Facebook or email to receive a free one-to-one session with a personal trainer or join in for a class. If they don’t sign-up right there and then you can always provide them with on-going valuable content via Facebook, Twitter, and email to tempt them to your gym.

Related: 5 Fitness Marketing Tips To Unlock Your Business Potential

Not Knowing Your Competition

One of the most dangerous mistakes to make for your gym is not being aware of the competing gyms in your area. If featured gyms around you offer a very low monthly fee or have an automated system it’s going to be hard to convince members to pay three times that rate to join yours.

Likewise, if your competition is all high-priced premium gyms, you could make your monthly rate lower allowing you to retain those price-conscious members. Doing market research could be the key factor in truly differentiating yourself in an increasingly crowded market.

You Only Focus on Client Acquisition

Quite understandably, gyms are always on the lookout for new members. But this makes it easy to forget that you also have to take care of your already existing members. To put it in numbers: the probability of selling to an existing customer ranges from 60-70% , while the probability of selling to a new prospect is between 5-20%.  And did you know that it can cost up to 7 times as much to gain a new client than retaining an existing one? So take care of your existing clients. Are they achieving the results they’re after? Are you delivering the best possible client experience? Keeping your members satisfied not only helps you with client retention, but it could also actually help you gain new members as well.

Ignoring Innovation

According to recent statistics, around 72.3% of the total US population actively uses social media, which amounts to approximately 240 million people. If you’re not using social media you are missing out on a great way to communicate with your clients. Next to social media there are also other innovations that you shouldn’t forget, like fitness apps.

Most gyms have incorporated a mobile fitness app into their business allowing users to track workouts, schedule classes and book personal training classes. Members can also connect their wearables to your mobile app creating a brand identity for your gym that is available whenever and wherever they workout.


Now that you know exactly what not to do, it’s time to focus on how you can make your gym better for members and potential clients. Doing so will help you to rise above your competition and run a thriving fitness business.

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Simret Samra

Copywriter at Virtuagym. I am a former sports and finance Journalist, and a devout Liverpool FC fan. When I'm not in the office I enjoy exploring Amsterdam, my new home city!