5 Challenges that Gym Owners and Fitness Studios Face

Opening a gym or a fitness studio is an exciting time. You have a vision for not only what you want to achieve, but also for helping customers achieve their goals. There has been a ton of time and effort put into building a business plan, implementing a strategy, and getting all of your equipment in place. 

But not everything always runs as smoothly as you might expect it to. There are always going to be challenges that come up. Are you prepared to handle the challenges and overcome them?

While it’s extremely rewarding owning and operating a gym or fitness studio, being prepared for some of these challenges will allow you to tackle them in their tracks so you can get back to what’s most important. And the obstacles you could face can be a wide range of different things. 

You need to consider everything from financing, cost estimation, maintenance, member retention, and even utilizing new technology, among others. It can be overwhelming to keep up with all of these demands, but the good news is we put together this guide to help.

Keep reading to learn about the five biggest challenges gym owners and fitness studios face. We’ll also cover a few other important areas so you can be prepared for anything that comes your way. 

What Are 5 Challenges that Gym Owners and Fitness Studios Struggles With?

Owning a gym or fitness studio is going to come with some challenges. It’s a regular part of operating a business, but there are things you can do to overcome them. Here are five common challenges that gym owners and fitness studios often struggle with and how to overcome each.

1. Member Retention and Overall Customer Satisfaction

One of the biggest goals you might have is to get members through the door. But once they’re through, keeping them happy so they turn into long-term customers is equally as important. However, every member might have a varying set of needs or requirements to achieve their goals. 

If you’re not providing everything that a member needs, it can become a challenge to retain them. Plus, with a regular stream of new gyms and fitness studios that open up regularly, being competitive brings its own set of challenges. 

Offering the best possible experiences and engaging with your members are some of the most effective ways to increase member retention. Listening to their feedback, answering their questions, and promoting new products and services are great places to start. 

Now, if your membership base is large, it can be tough to stay on top of everything. This is where something like an SMS messaging or email campaign can come into play. You can highlight new services, share class schedules, and keep members up to date with everything that’s happening. 


2. Appealing to and Attracting New Customers 

Competition in the fitness industry marketing as a whole has never been as great. There are new gyms, health clubs, fitness and yoga studios popping up regularly. So while keeping current members is important, there’s also an opportunity to appeal to and attract new customers. 

But how are you supposed to stand out in the crowd? How are you meant to convince and prove to non-members that your gym or fitness studio is worth joining? The good news is that you have several options at your disposal. 

Simply existing isn’t an effective marketing strategy. You’re going to need to set yourself apart and target your ideal customer base. Essentially, you want to attract the right type of members by using the right type of offer. And, to take it one step further, you want to do this at the right time. 

Social media is an excellent place to start. You can take out paid advertisements to help target your audience and start to build brand awareness. Or, you can take a more traditional approach and do this by providing content and information that customers will take value from. Think about things like publishing blog posts, creating how-to and behind-the-scenes videos, or promoting product giveaways. 

You can even leverage the power of your existing membership base and have them help share and spread the word. They can become your unofficial brand ambassadors to help drive new customers into your gym or fitness studios.

3. Managing Member Payments 

Have you already put together the payment structure for your membership levels? How did you determine the pricing? Did you factor in the potential to generate additional revenue for each new customer? Is the price point at a level that customers can afford 

These are all important things to think about when coming up with payment levels. Once you have this set, however, you’re not going to be finished just yet. You might have membership and product pricing at a level that makes sense for your business, but what about managing all of these payments? 

Receiving payments on time is critical to a gym or fitness studio’s success. You’re going to have overhead costs that need to be paid and other costs that are going to come into play, which can be largely dependent on timely payments. One of the most effective ways to handle these situations is to use gym management software. 

It can help streamline your operations and allow you to effectively process payments online. Plus, it can create documents and reports with actionable insights if you ever need to make any adjustments. 

Managing member payments can often be time-consuming and tedious to take care of. But, it doesn’t have to be. 

4. Managing Member Bookings

What’s the process that you have in place to manage member bookings? Do they have to sign up on a physical sheet while they’re at the gym? Do you have a function on your website that allows them to do it online? 

What about tracking the attendance of all your members and accounting for any cancellations? Keeping track of all of this information can be a huge undertaking for gym and fitness studio owners. It’s time-consuming and one small error here or there can have unintended consequences. 

Implementing some type of digital or automated solution can help solve any of these potential headaches for you. Plus, making things as easy as possible for your members is going to bring a ton of extra benefits. They’ll be able to know when they’re scheduled for a class and have the freedom to cancel with ease. This will lead to a higher level of customer satisfaction. 

5. Maintaining the Facilities 

The functionality and appearance of your facility play a big role in the success customers can achieve. You want to make sure that everything is clean and sanitized, which includes everything from benches, floors, equipment, showers, and bathrooms. 

And when you have several other things to worry about, keeping up with these demands can be a challenge to overcome. It’s even more than keeping everything cleaned and sanitized, as well. For things like stationary bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals, there’s a need to keep them maintained and operating effectively. 

Breakdowns mean that you’re going to have one less piece of equipment that a member can use, and you want to avoid that. Implementing a daily schedule for a lot of these things can help you stay on top of their demands. For things like treadmills and ellipticals, scheduling routine maintenance and lubrication can help avoid the possibility of any breakdowns. 

Your members will appreciate the time and effort that’s put into maintaining the facilities and know that you have their health and safety top of mind. 

The Importance of Promoting Your Gym

Standing out from the competition has never been as important as it is today. With the emergence of new gyms and fitness studios, attracting new customers can be a significant challenge to overcome. Think about these statistics:

  • The global fitness club and gym industry has a market size of over $96 billion
  • There are over 210,000 fitness clubs and gyms located around the world
  • Worldwide, there are over 174 million people who are part of some type of gym or fitness club
  • Over 64 million Americans have some type of gym or fitness club membership
  • Budget-friendly and boutique studios are continuing to see a steady rise in performance 

All of these statistics are continuing to rise, showing the competitiveness of the fitness industry as a whole. So why do they matter? It shows the importance of promoting your gym to stand out from the rest. 

Importance of Promoting Your Gym

There’s no perfect plan or recipe to promote your gym. You’re going to have to find what services you offer that separate you from the rest of the competition. From here, you can tailor an effective strategy and be able to achieve results. 

How Much Should You Invest in Marketing?

Before getting too far into how much you should be investing in your marketing efforts, let’s first take a look into what might get included in a marketing budget. This can often be one of the most difficult elements to balance and account for. And, not every gym owner or fitness studio is going to have the same type of requirements. 

Here are some of the most common expenses that can typically be included in a marketing budget:

  • Social media marketing 
  • Brand-related expenses 
  • Marketing activities direct expenses 
  • Marketing analytics 
  • Marketing research 
  • Overhead costs 
  • Mobile marketing

Knowing what’s going to be included in a marketing budget is the first step. Next, you’re going to want to determine exactly how you’re going to allocate each aspect of the budget. Put some thought into a few of these questions: 

  • How many members do you currently have?
  • What’s your revenue averaging each month?
  • What’s the lifetime value of your customers?
  • How many months does a member typically stay active? 
  • What’s the total maximum capacity you have for membership?

You’re also going to want to think about the total number of members you want to have, how much revenue that would generate, and if your goal is achievable.

Now, each gym and fitness studio will be a little bit different. But understanding these questions and doing some calculations will allow you to determine an adequate budget for how much to invest in your marketing efforts. 

For the majority of business-to-consumer companies, they will spend anywhere from 5% to 10% of their total revenue on marketing. The most important thing is to find what you have, determine what you need, calculate what you want, and implement an effective strategy.

The first few months will help you see what’s working and what isn’t, and you can make adjustments as you move forward. 

Marketing Automation: The Future of Fitness Businesses

We now live in a world that offers new trends and technological advancements to help take your business further. One of these is marketing automation, which is going to shape the future of fitness businesses everywhere. 

To put it into perspective, software used for intelligent marketing automation is going to continue to grow over the coming years, reaching a market capitalization of over $6 billion. And, as it stands today, over 51% of businesses are already leveraging the power that marketing automation can bring.

These numbers are only going to increase. It allows you to create more unique and engaging experiences to provide as much value as possible to your customers. Using marketing automation is going to be an essential tool to help increase your bottom line and increase your conversion rate. 

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About Gleantap and How We Can Help Your Gym

Gleantap can help scale your gym in the most intelligent ways. We believe that while we can all be powerful alone, we are unstoppable when we’re together. By simplifying the way you approach and handle your sales and marketing, you can achieve actionable results and grow in the way you always planned for. 

Using the power of automation allows us to deliver a much faster and much more personalized approach to your entire customer experience. Here are some of the ways that we can help you intelligently scale your fitness business: 

  • Marketing — We have the tools and expertise to automate everything about your customer journey. This includes implementing thoughtful touchpoints through text message, email, and Facebook. In so, you can drive repeat visits, increase your booking, offer more upgrades, leverage referrals, and much more. 
  • Sales — Our automation allows you to manage your sales pipeline like you never imagined. See how the power of automation and task management can allow your sales team to stay ahead of lead generation, all so you never miss another potential prospect. 
  • Conversations — There’s nothing worse than missing opportunities to engage with your customers. You’ll never have to miss another one with our 24/7 capable technology. Our mobile app and chatbot features are more than capable and powerful enough to manually automate two-way conversations. 
  • Video On Demand and Live — Looking for ways to provide additional value to your customers? You can give them more through live classes and on-demand videos. And all of this can be done through a fully customizable and branded website. It will include everything to get your fitness business to the next level and includes flexible membership and paywall options. 


Every business is going to have challenges and obstacles to overcome. But being prepared for these things to happen will give you the best opportunity to handle them with ease. Managing member retention and overall satisfaction, maintaining your facilities and equipment, managing payments and bookings, and attracting new customers are some of the most common challenges gym owners and fitness studios face.

The good news is that there are several things that you can do to help reduce the likelihood of these challenges happening and tackle them head-on when they do. Engage with your existing members regularly and find the optimal channels to attract new customers. From here, you can put strategies in place to ensure you maximize your efforts. 

Promoting your gym effectively and determining the right amount to invest in marketing is also going to play a big role in the success of your business. There isn’t a perfect recipe for doing this as each gym and fitness studio will have varying requirements. However, if you follow the tips outlined in this guide you’ll be able to get started on the right foot. 

Do you need some help scaling your health and fitness business into the company you always imagined? Gleantap can help take your business further by simplifying how you handle your marketing and sales efforts. By leveraging the power of intelligent marketing automation, we can help you deliver a more personalized and efficient customer experience. 

Keep more customers for longer with Gleantap.

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