So you want to open your own gym | Part 2 | Staffing

Jul 13 / Nik Hanley
So you want to open your own gym part two. 

And today we are going to be talking about staffing. 

Now staffing will come down to particularly the model that you you choose.

The first thing I wanted to define is the type of gym that you open. I'm very much talking about gyms itself and I think you've got to define that. I'm not talking particularly about a one-to-one PT studio because it's very self-explanatory about that model and how things will run. 
But if this is something of interest let us know and we can talk separately about this in this series of emails. 

What we're talking about here is a private facility. 

There are many different ways and many different models for staffing your facility, 

from attracting PTs to just rent the facility as an extra revenue stream. 

There is a blended model of part rent, part employed which would essentially mean that they pay x amount of rent and they do x amount of let's call it gym floor trainer duties. 

Okay so they might get basically a discounted rent by doing certain amount of hours. 

Or you have the fully employed model. 

Now if you are looking to really build a successful private facility from a gym, having 100 plus members paying a premium membership price. 

in my opinion the fully employed staffing route is the way to go and I'll break it down for you a little bit here about why … 

We will briefly first look at the pros and cons of just having PTs pay rent. 

The pro of this, is the fact that they you will get an extra revenue stream so obviously great for the bottom line. and the disadvantage of this is that you are going to be going into that facility and if you're a one-man band or a one-woman band or even with a partner going into that facility what you will find is that you are still going to be very much stuck IN the business because you have no one to be actually running the service. 

And with the additional costs you inherit with a facility, which takes you time and attention on to other work blocks … well .. 

you might be sitting there thinking yeah that's okay because we can do x, y and z. No it's not!, because you have to take on board a general/gym manager role or you have to split that role between you and your business partner and if you're still doing the same amount of hours that you are currently doing IN your PT business i.e 25 30 plus a week of IN business work for the vast majority of you you will struggle. 

That's the first thing in the first model to look at and think about. 

The second model is the blended part employed/self employed or you do this amount of “gym floor cover for us, and we will knock it off your rent” (which has become very popular over the last 10 years or so with commercial gyms adopting this model)

Pros are, yes you get the advantage of having some hours covered. Where the downfall is of this is that you will never have fully bought in PT’s. Very rarely have I seen this be successful, as they aren’t fully invested into the ethos or brand of the gym, and the way that you want to grow and run that facility. WHY?

no matter how good that trainer is … there will always come a point of conflict … between the gym and their business. 

And this rarely ends well. 

The trainer needs a wants to focus on building their business, but keeping hold of the hours to lower their costs. So there is this messy middle ground. And the trainer very rightly needs to prioritise they business. And rightly so the gym owner needs to prioritise their business. So the compromise is mainly never long lasting. Which , results in churn! 

you will want the trainer to do more (guaranteed) than they feel they should. And as the business grows or the demand on your time grows this leads you to give up more hours of IN business work. Therefore a trainer who is half way committed is not the way to go (in my opinion). 

And then we have the fully employed model. 

Now the first challenge is that this will obviously increase costs greatly. But the opportunity to grow, scale, have a fully brought in team that share the day to day operations, that you can put processes in place for … that share the same vision, passion and enthusiasm for the company is second to none. 


It will avoid disputes in holidays, operational tasks, conflict of interest etc. 

So I would 100% budget for this. Fix this into your business plan, price points, and membership and revenue targets. 

It’s a hard decision I know. 

At the start cost is a big consideration for sure. 

But building out a phased plan, systems that claw you back time, and campaigning for the right coaches to join the company and gym is a receipt for longevity and success.