(Editors' Note: This sponsored article is part of Club Industry's report, "The Changing World of Personal Training." To download this free report, go here.)
Opening a fitness facility, a performance center or a boutique-style training studio is a huge investment. Industry research can help you plan the best space possible. Below are four questions and answers about how to create a successful floor plan, maximizing revenue potential and creating a top-notch brand and member experience.
1. How do I measure the profitability of my studio? Several key performance indicators (KPIs) measure the profitability of a studio, such as year-over-year member growth and retention, average dues per member, etc. In regards to space planning and maximizing the functional square footage of your studio, revenue per square foot is a KPI you should know and track.
Calculating revenue per square foot is simple: divide annual revenue by the square footage of your space. Here is a simple example:
If your annual revenue is $250,000 and your facility's square footage is 2,500, then you divide $250,000 by 2,500 and that equals $100 per square foot.
For studios, the closer you get to $100 per square foot, the better. According to the Association of Fitness Studios 2018 Operation & Financial Benchmark Report, the industry average for studios is between $89-$92 per square foot.
2. What are the main reasons people join or leave a facility? The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) conducts extensive research worldwide and provides reports to the industry on nearly every topic of interest to an owner/operator of a fitness facility. One of its early research projects set out to answer the question of why members leave. The answers fell into two categories:
- Uncontrollable circumstances i.e. relocation, change in financial situation, and medical condition or illness. By definition, these circumstances are a constant variable but not something you can control.
- Controllable circumstances, i.e. the facility did not meet/maintain expectations of the member so they chose to exercise elsewhere. The top three reasons given in this category were:
- Overcrowded facilities
- Unclean facilities
- Rundown, obsolete or outdated equipment
The two commonalities here – facilities and equipment upkeep – are variables that fitness facility owners, operators and employees can control and influence daily.
3. What are the biggest design mistakes fitness facilities make? After conducting interviews with several experienced architects and consultants in the fitness industry, IHRSA compiled another resource for current and aspiring fitness facility owners entitled “Answers to Your Pressing Gym Design Questions.” One of the five key questions in the report was, “What are the biggest design mistakes fitness facilities make?” The answer? Not providing enough storage space.
Without proper storage, your facility can appear cluttered and disorganized, which can give your members and prospective members the impression that your studio space is dirty. That should be a red flag because it is both a controllable circumstance and a reason members cancel memberships.
4. What are the best practices for a successful studio? The answer to this question comes from the executive summary of IHRSA’s Health Club Business Handbook. Of the 11 practices listed, two are related to facility and equipment upkeep. Specifically stated, “The owners regularly reinvest in facility upkeep and improvements” and “the club enjoys a reputation for cleanliness, friendliness, and integrity.”
Both smart space planning and equipment upkeep reinforce the message to your members that your facility is clean and organized and that you invest in both current and new members by updating your facility and equipment regularly.
Elisabeth Fouts serves as the education coordinator for Power Systems and is their primary content contributor for blogs and articles on a variety of subjects from personal training and group fitness programming to product spotlights and health club operations. She holds a B.S. in exercise science and has more than 12 years of experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor as well as regional level fitness management. Fouts is also a master trainer for PowerWave Master and holds industry group fitness certifications with ACE and Les Mills.