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Value-Driven Tips for Maximizing Average Revenue Per Member

A photo of a smiling gym owner holding a trophy, with the title "how these gyms reached $500 average revenue per member."

Chris Cooper (00:02):
Imagine every client in your gym paying you $508 a month. That’s not a dream. That’s actually the 10th place gym in this month’s leaderboard. I’m Chris Cooper. This is “Run a Profitable Gym,” and every single month we pull the data from the thousand gyms in Two-Brain worldwide, and we look for the best in each category. We interview them, and then we share their secrets with you. It’s kind of like you were looking at the fittest people on earth, and you pick the one with the highest deadlift, and you say, “What’s your program?” And you look at the one with the fastest 5K and you say, “How do you do that? How do you train?” And then you publish that for free. That’s what we do every single month, and this month we’re focusing on the metric ARM, average revenue per member. I’m going to share how these gyms are getting such high average revenue per member, and the recurring theme that you’re going to hear is value, value, value over and over and over again.

Chris Cooper (00:58):
Before I get into their top tips, I want to share their numbers with you so that you have a real sense of what’s possible—not to shame you, not to make you say, “Oh, this doesn’t apply to me. My ARM is under $100 a month,” but to show you what’s actually possible with mentorship and applying the systems that we use in Two-Brain. So here we go. Here’s our top 10 in reverse order. In 10th place, this gym is in the States, they do $508.14 per member per month. What’s really interesting about these numbers is it’s a three-month average. We call it a rolling three. So, it’s not just like they sold this one big package once a year and then they have to kind of live off that revenue all year long. They’re doing this month after month after month after month.

Chris Cooper (01:47):
No gimmicks, no big promotions, no giveaways—just consistent execution of what we teach in Two-Brain and delivering amazing value to their clients. In ninth place, also out of the States $528.33 a month ARM. Incredible. In eighth place, also from the States: $537.27. Now, before I get into the seventh place and up, I want to share with you that we transfer all of the ARM into U.S. dollars so that we’re comparing apples to apples here. There’s no sense reporting in Canadian dollars for Canadian gyms because the Canadian dollar is worth about 35 cents less than the American dollar right now. So, we convert everything to U.S. dollars so that you know that these rankings are legit. We also exclude gyms who only have a couple of clients. Look, if you’re a personal trainer working with a celebrity, and they are your only client, you can charge them $2,000 a month and have amazing ARM—or more.

Chris Cooper (02:51):
However, these are all gyms that work with at least 50 clients. They might be doing personal training. They might be doing semi-private. They’ll even be doing group training like CrossFit. You’ll see that coming up, and they’re crushing it. Their ARM is super-duper high, and the way they do that is they exchange value for value. Their clients are paying a premium because they’re also getting premium value. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself here. In seventh place, and this place is out of Canada: $553.31. This place is really niched down. They help athletes develop better speed. That’s important, and we’ll be coming back to that later. In sixth place, out of the States, $590.40 per client per month. That’s their ARM. Impressive. Fifth place, I really love this because these guys started out as a big group training.

Chris Cooper (03:45):
They’re some of my favorite people, and despite all the challenges they’ve had over the last few years, their ARM is now $638.32 per client per month. That means their clients value them. They’re not showing up late for their sessions. They love the gym, they love the owners, and vice versa. It’s mutual. In fourth place: $729.85 per client per month. Now it’s interesting because this gym really focuses in on reducing pain in its clients. They’re not providing therapy at their gym. They’re not pretending to be something that they’re not, but that is their focus is on pain reduction. It’s very impressive how these different gyms have completely different niches, but the act of being the best in their niche is what drives up client value. They’re really solving problems for people. In third place, this is a personal training studio.

Chris Cooper (04:40):
Their ARM is $762.47 per month. Very good. In second place: $881.53 per client per month. And in first place, this is out of Canada, but this is in U.S. dollars. Their ARM is $1,203.07. Again, these are all gyms that have over 50 clients. They’re not just personal training gyms. Some do groups, some do semi-private, and what they’re all doing is providing excellent client value. So, what we did was we went to these top gyms, and we said, “How’d you do it? What are you doing? Why do people want to pay this much money?” Not, “How are you extracting? How are you extorting people into paying you this? How are you tricking them? How are you selling this big bait-and-switch package?” None of that. It’s all an exchange of value. And here’s what they told us. The theme, again, is these guys create a ton of value.

Chris Cooper (05:38):
They don’t just raise rates until people are unwilling to pay more. They build value by solving problems and adding speed to the solution. So, here’s what leaders had to say when I asked them, “How did you post these numbers?” The first said, “We offer personal training and small group personal training, so we’re selling a higher value service.” That’s very interesting. If you’re a CrossFit gym owner listening to this, go back to my original interview with Greg Glassman from 2018. It’s twobrainbusiness.com/greg, and what you’ll hear is that Greg was doing small group training, which means he was charging personal training rates to a small group of people at once, and he’s broken that down on other podcasts and stuff. We don’t have the exclusive insight into that, but there are CrossFit gyms out there who still do that original CrossFit method. They’ll train four to six people at once.

Chris Cooper (06:28):
They’ll call themselves a CrossFit gym. They’re using the CrossFit methodology. People are not just paying for privacy; they’re paying for the tailoring of results. And so, the way that Greg would do his programming is he would look at this group and say, “OK, by and large, this group is good at deadlifting. They’re really poor at running. Their programming for the next six, eight weeks is going to have more aerobic capacity work.” And then the next group, you know, they’d all have a different problem. They’re all weak at pull-ups. We’re going to include more pull-ups in their programming, and so you get both the benefit of working in a small group with the attention of the coach. You don’t get this in a group of 12 people, let alone 30 people where a coach is circulating and trying to spot the flaw. You get this from real coaching in a small group setting, and it’s very valuable for people, and there are a lot of people who are willing to pay for this.

Chris Cooper (07:22):
I do semi-private training at my group now with a small group. Ours is a little bit different in that we’re all doing our own program, but we’re doing it together. We’re sharing a coach. There are four of us with very diverse backgrounds and very diverse goals, and all of us are paying between $400 and $600 a month for it. The next person on the leaderboard said, “We’re good with getting people pain free and finding ways to safely work around injuries so clients can keep making progress. We’re able to fix a lot of issues that other gyms might refer out to a physiotherapist or a chiropractor, and we still do refer out. We have an amazing partner network.” Another person on the leaderboard said, “We don’t do classes. We do personal training and small group only.” There’s a bit of a theme here, but this is possible.

Chris Cooper (08:04):
My gym still runs classes, but you boost up your ARM with the people who want to do personal training and won’t go into a class. Another person said, “We provide as much value as possible for our clients. We’re in a high cost of living area in San Diego, so our average member likely averages multiple six figures a year per household, but they have a lot of options for training with big box gyms, Pilates, yoga, F45, and the like in proximity. We focus on the high-value clients receiving a very high-value service.” Another person said, “We emphasize professional development and program design as being important to keeping clients engaged and helping them to get long-term results.” That focus on results is really, really, really important. I am not a product guy. I am an outcomes guy, and that means that I don’t care what methodology we use as long as the client gets the result.

Chris Cooper (08:57):
There’s no holy grail that I’m going to bow down to and say, “We only do this method. We only do yoga. We only do CrossFit.” What we’re going to do is incorporate whatever it takes to get my clients results. And often focusing on those results gets lost in the dogma of the method. If you focus on client results and say, “What tools do I need to get them there? That is what drives up value for a lot of clients.” Look, they’re not coming to your gym to do sled pushes. They’re not coming to your gym because they want to try a bootcamp. They’re coming to your gym to get a specific result, and the tools that you use, including sled pushes and including bootcamp, yoga, nutrition, whatever should be aligned with that result. If not, they’re going to churn out because they’re not getting the result that they came in for.

Chris Cooper (09:45):
They’re trusting you as the coach to say, “This is the tool that will get you that result.” Not, “Hey, do you want to try CrossFit?” The next value is a simple focus on value. The next client said, “The keys are clean bathrooms and attentive personal training sessions.” So again, you’re hearing people with high ARM are doing a lot of personal training in small group. This isn’t to say that you can only get a high ARM with personal training, but if you’re not including personal training, even as part of your CrossFit gym, you’re excluding people who don’t want to do group. They’re open to doing CrossFit. They’re open to doing whatever method, whatever tool you prescribe them, but they’re not going to do it in a group. And I get that. Another person says, “I’ve invested in extraordinary amount of time and money into continuing education—over $150,000 and approaching $200,000 in nine years.”

Chris Cooper (10:35):
What’s interesting from this respondent is they’re not just talking about getting more certifications, going to more seminars, getting better at teaching technique. They’re talking about education and building value for clients in business, in marketing of course, but also in coaching and being an amazing coach and not just what to sell, but how to deliver really, really, really well. Amazing. Hey, by the way, the certifications will help, but at the surface level, nobody comes into your gym and says, “I’ll pay more because you’re a Level 4 instead of a Level 1, or I’ll pay more because you’re a black belt and the guy down the street has a brown belt.” That doesn’t matter. What matters is how the certification helps you get the client to the outcome that they want. Again, I’m an outcomes guy. Anything that gets the client a better outcome faster, I’m all in and I’ll invest, and this gym owner is the same.

Chris Cooper (11:26):
Next, staff assistance: “Trainer pay is based on commission rather than salary, so they’re incentivized to increase client attendance and drive up ARM. Coaches are paid on a sliding scale where the percentage they make goes up the more hours they train, so their pay incentivizes them to retain more clients, push for referrals and encourage attendance.” This next person on the list said that they know their avatar: “We use a lot of what Two-Brain teaches in our vetting process for clients. Price is often the deciding factor for the leads that we don’t close, and we’re OK with that.” Finally, here’s another one—knowing the avatar: “I don’t let clients show up only one time a week. If they insist, I refer them out to somebody who will let them do that, or if they aren’t coming consistently anymore, I ask them to recommit, or I ask them to take a break from training if I like them, or I might even fire them as a client.”

Chris Cooper (12:18):
We often think that anything that we can get from the client is good. If they’ll train once a week, OK, they’ll fall in love with it, and then they’ll train twice and three times and four times a week. But the reality is that our job as coaches is to tell people, number one, “Here’s what you need to do.” They’re counting on us to do that, and number two, when they’re not doing it, to say to them, “You are not doing it.” It takes a lot of guts to be able to say to a client, “Look, I don’t want to just take your money for the sake of taking your money. Coming once a week is not going to help you. Do you want to take a break, or do you want to go to another gym?” That takes guts, but it also takes honor as a coach to know that your service is not going to get them the result and being unwilling to just take their money when you can’t possibly provide the outcome that they want, and that’s really what value is.

Chris Cooper (13:10):
Value requires a lot of trust, and when you say to a client, “I’m not just here to take your money. If you can only come once a week, this probably isn’t for you,” that builds trust in that client and all the other clients that you’re talking to. If that’s part of your core values, that’s going to show, and frankly, you don’t have to be rude about it. You can be tactful, you can be polite, but you have to be honest with a client if you want to build value. Building value builds a very high ARM. It helps you get away from the whole churn cycle of, “I need 300 clients to make a good living here,” and it helps you attract the right clients who will help you make a good living for yourself and for your coaches. High ARM is really the key to a lot of gyms for their growth.

Chris Cooper (13:54):
They’re selling often like a low-priced group training program only with high churn, very high marketing demand, high burnout for coaches, and high burnout for the owner because it’s not sustainable. In fact, if I were to give most gyms a bit of advice, it would be to focus on improving ARM however you can do it, whether that means raising rates and that benefits you or raising value, as these leaders have talked about which benefits the client. Focusing on high ARM will guide you to a better product, a better client experience, better clients, and a better gym. I’m Chris Cooper. This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” If you want to talk about this, just go to gymownersunited.com. That’s our free public group. There are 9,200 gym owners in that group. They’re sharing, they’re supportive, they’re caring, and they’re here to help you grow your gym too. Thank you for your service.

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