16 February 2023

Chasing Rainbows: The return to 1-on-1 Training

In the last 3-months I have seen more small group, independent gym owners decide to ditch their gyms and return to 1-on-1 training, than I have seen in the rest of the previous 3-years. And that includes during COVID.

Running an independent, small-group personal training gym is hard. Having established yourself as a successful personal trainer, owning your own gym is a logical step for many.

Having listened to the hype of achieving a £1m annual turnover, the reality proves more difficult. Even for those who achieve it, turnover is not the same as profitability. You might have been caning it in your back garden and had your pick of luxury holidays. Now, you find you're working twice as hard - often for a lower "take-home".

On top of that, when you factor in "work-life balance", for many, operating a training gym ceases to be an attractive option - especially when you can return to training half a dozen people a day from your back garden and still end up better of financially.

The reality is that SGPT remains a hot and fast-growing market. However, as such, many new operators are entering the space - and the big chain gyms are also bowling in with stacks of cash, keen to steal your Dairylea Dunkers.

One of the first things to be reassured of is that there is money to be made in the SGPT sector. The second thing to realise is that just because someone has a great name, it doesn't mean they're taking home stacks of cash. They might be turning it over, but that is a very different thing from profitability.

The key is to learn how to operate your facility effectively, driving profits - not just turnover. Systemisation and automation are your friends. It is also time to turn your back on some of the historical, self-harming methods traditionally employed by the fitness sector.

There are few gym owners who, having started out as PTs, would say that they fall naturally into administrative roles. Administration is dull. Nobody likes it. It isn't what you signed up for. However, it is essential - and managing your business effectively can make an enormous difference to your bottom line.

Knowing administration has to be done, but with a reluctance to spend life tied to a desk, many gym owners employ an administrator(s). Immediately that's £25k or more taken from your profitability in a role that (often) isn't revenue-generating. Moreover, very often, having an administrator doesn't bring the benefits you would expect. We are all fallible. Things get missed, and mistakes get made.

A much better option is to spend this headcount on revenue-generating (sales team) members or to do away with the need for it altogether.

At Quoox, our Alchemy team spend a lot of time working with our customers to help them set up systems and processes in Quoox Ultimate that take care of many administrative tasks for them. What's more, being an automated system, it doesn't forget; it's never sick; and it doesn't go on holiday.

It is also important to ensure that you charge appropriately for your services. Often, SGPT facilities are charging too little - and it simply isn't economically viable. This is the same 'mess' in which the hospitality industry has found itself, where restaurants aren't charging enough even to cover their costs.

Psychology also plays a key role in sales. Many gyms think they're whacking out a great offer with "unlimited this" and "unlimited that", but, psychologically, what the member perceives is that your service isn't worth much if you can do that.  It is far better to put a cap on your offering, as this helps assign value to it.

We have just been through the annual New Year period, where many potential clients are motivated to sign up to a gym.  So, what do we do?  Rather than charge a sensible price, we throw out ridiculous trial offers for mere peanuts.  After the 6-weeks, many have lost motivation, don't sign up, and the gym has made no money (or perhaps even lost) from the whole experience.  Instead, by charging a realistic amount, it is easier to convert trialists to a full-paying membership, and, in the worst case of them not continuing, at least you have made some money.

There is a wealth of small changes and things that SGPT gym owners can put in place to make their lives easier, save money, and have a smoother-running, happier gym.

At Quoox, we work closely with our clients to help them meet their business goals - whether it be through the effective implementation of our Quoox Ultimate software, or as part of providing more in-depth business guidance with Quoox Alchemy.  It is in our mutual interest for your facility to flourish and grow.

If you would like to learn more about Quoox, please contact us.

Find out more about how we can help your SGPT gym

Written by Chris Windram.


Quoox provides the system, resources, and practical advice & support that gym owners need to operate a profitable, "high ticket" membership, small-group training gym. Discover the ultimate "SGPT toolkit".
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