Many group fitness directors may feel that they have their hands tied because they are operating on a very low group fitness budget. Standard payroll for a healthy group fitness department is approximately 11 percent of total payroll, so that is a good place to start assessing where your level of operation sits. If it is below 11 percent, then it’s time to be creative.
Here are some tips for low-budget, high performance group fitness departments:
Take the “less is more” approach. Fewer classes usually equals more participants. Focus on your prime time slots. If the classes are quality, fun and the schedule has variety, there won’t be too many member complaints. Participants see value in a loaded schedule, but the way in which a program menu is presented and the quality of the classes offered is key to keeping them happy and satisfied.
Use your real estate wisely. Rent out your room for programs such as cheerleading that actually generates revenue for the facility. Home school programming and special populations are also options for generating revenue.
Look at ways to bring programming in that may cost you a minimum monthly fee, but have opportunities on the backside. For example, instead of providing yoga mats, participants can rent them for $2.00 or have them buy their own — this is a great opportunity to increase your pro shop sales.
Finally, give members an experience that will differentiate your gym from every other. Try a “Group Fitness Member Manual,” a booklet for participants that discusses all the different policies and etiquette of taking a group fitness class. It’s a great item to give to members at the point of sale and really prepares them for group fitness.
Decorate your rooms for different activities and seasons. Make it happy, because happy members don’t leave. Make it fun and give members the feeling that they belong to something special.