(Editor's Note: This article is written by one of the sponsors of the Club Industry report, "The Future of Fitness Is in Healthcare Integration," which can be downloaded for free by going here.)
If you had medical services in your gym, you would have remained open throughout the pandemic and would have remained profitable like we have. I’m not talking about renting out space to a chiropractor or physical therapist. I am talking about becoming partners with a nurse practitioner, chiropractor and/or physical therapist so that you share in the proceeds of the medical practice.
An average gym member generates approximately $1,000 per year ($50 per month in membership for 12 months plus $400 for personal training or other services), while an average medical office visit generates $650 per visit at 24 visits per year, which equals $15,600 per year. That is more than 15 times the profit a conventional stand-alone gym produces per member per year. Maybe you are bringing in more than $1,000 per member in your health club. If so, then great. There is no reason to give that up. This medical revenue is over and above your already above average draw.
ROI Per Square Foot
A complete wellness center is comprised of a full-service health club, a spa/medspa and a medical practice. As a gym owner, you already have overcome two of the biggest obstacles in opening a wellness center: square footage and locker rooms. The expense of installing plumbing for locker rooms and the requirement for additional space to build a wellness center often prevents people from doing so. However, most gym owners already have fully functional locker rooms, and many already have the recommended 20,000 square feet needed for a wellness center if they look at unused space or how to rework some space. Many owners have equipment that is rarely used or racquetball courts that are rarely used that they can remove, filling that space with services that yield a higher return on investment. Knowing that you can generate $650 per visit with medical services makes it easier to identify what needs to go in order to make space.
Physicians Need You
Medical practitioners need the foot traffic of your members (or even just your email contact list) to build their practices. They are happy to pay you rent and take the lion’s share of the $200,000 to $300,000 they collect each month. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Most state laws allow for a gym owner to become partners with physicians so that you can share in the medical proceeds.
People who are health conscious understand that there is more to staying healthy than exercise alone. Health clubs that are focused just on providing exercise are one dimensional. Professionals in a wellness center are able to provide diet, weight loss, nutritional counseling, hormone replacement therapy, diabetes management, laser hair removal, Botox injections, cosmetic fillers, laser liposuction, chemical peels, wraps, vampire facials, massages, chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, and a host of other physical medicine and rehabilitative services from a medical provider. With a mix of both insurance reimbursement and cash services, a wellness center is able to nicely diversify profit streams.
In New Jersey where I own a wellness center, my gym and all other health clubs were ordered closed by the governor on March 16, and all gyms are still closed with no reopening date offered although some people are predicting it will be September. If this is the case, my gym will have been closed for almost six months of 2020. Neighboring big box and franchise gyms are closing left and right, but we are alive and kicking and weathering the storm. Why? Because the medical office portion of our facility never closed, and patients are still coming in for care. We have been able to pivot by not only providing our usual medical services, but we also are selling rapid-result COVID antibody tests, which are now covered by insurance companies. Since the medical practice is the cash cow in the wellness center, we will live to fight another day. Wellness centers were the future of the fitness industry and now are a must in order to survive the new climate.
Now more than ever, it’s time to build a wellness center
Dr Raj Gupta is an author, national speaker, consultant, and creator and founder of Soul Focus Wellness Center Franchise.