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PT & Small Groups Drive Huge Average Revenue Per Member

A photo of a gym owner with a client and the title "PT & Small Groups Drive Huge Average Revenue Per Member."

Mike Warkentin (00:02):
Average revenue per member. This is one of my favorite topics because this number is a force multiplier in gyms. This show is “Run a Profitable Gym.” I’m your host, Mike Warkentin. Please hit “subscribe” wherever you’re watching or listening. Today we’re talking with an ARM leader who’s going to explain how he got on Two-Brain’s Top 10 leaderboard for ARM, which runs from $508 to $1,203. That’s not a mistake. I didn’t read that wrong. That number is actually correct in the number one spot. Everyone in our top 10 was over $500, and someone was over 1,000. So, my guest today, Yoni Leviton; he runs 3 Seasons Personal Training in Toronto, Canada. Yoni, welcome. How are you?

Yoni Levitan (00:38):
I’m good, thanks.

Mike Warkentin (00:39):
I’m excited to talk to you about this one. Like I said, this is one of my favorite topics in gyms because this number, you multiply it by your members, multiply it by length of engagement, all of a sudden, you start getting big numbers. So, talk to me a little bit about your number. How did you get on this leaderboard? Like how has your ARM number changed over time, and has it always been this high?

Yoni Levitan (00:56):
Well, so, I think the first thing to note is that we just do personal training. So, we’ve never had open gym, we’ve never done classes, and so we’ve just had two services, which are one-on-one personal training and the small group personal training with up to three or four people at a time. And, at different times, we’ve also offered fascial stretch therapy, which I guess we can get into a little bit. That’s one of the ways you can increase your ARM.

Mike Warkentin (01:31):
Very specific services, right? So, you’re not doing a ton of things. You’re doing very specific things.

Yoni Levitan (01:36):
I guess that’s fair to say.

Mike Warkentin (01:39):
OK, I like it. A lot of people, I made the mistake of doing the other thing. I did a whole bunch of stuff. I tried to have every program under the sun, and I had two people in each one, and it was not a good idea. But the more I talk to gym owners, the more I find that those focuses on very specific things seem to link up with ARM. So, tell me about your number. Has it grown over time? Did it start low? Has it always been high? What have you done?

Yoni Levitan (02:02):
It’s always been relatively high. I guess, a couple things that have helped it go up over time: one is, I’m not sure when we made this decision, but let’s say around two years ago I decided we would stop offering one time a week training. I’ve never had a client in my career reach their goals training one time a week, and even if you offer to give people homework, it just doesn’t seem to happen. And the pattern that was happening again and again is someone, whether it was because of time or budget, it wasn’t always because of budget that people wanted to train once a week, you miss a week because you’re away, and then you get sick, and then your kid gets sick, and then meanwhile you’ve been to the gym twice in six weeks.

Yoni Levitan (02:59):
And then you come in and maybe you tweak something, or you’ve been sedentary at home, and then, we have to start back from square one. So not only are you not treading water, there inevitably reaches a point where someone actually takes a step back because they’re moving their body so little. And so, the other thing that kind of—I don’t know, inspired is not the right word—the other context behind that is that the personal training studio I worked at before I started 3 Seasons, there was, broadly speaking, two buckets of clients. And so, let’s say I had—so there were too many trainers—I had maybe 80 hours a month, but 40 of those hours would come from clients who came three times a week and were very consistent.

Yoni Levitan (03:51):
And 40 of those hours would come from a rotating cast of clients who—you know, Joe might come 10 times this month, but three times the next month and six times, and then I don’t see him for two months, and then five times per month and then eight times. And same thing. Cindy would come eight times this month, eight times the next month, and then, I’d see them three times in a two-month span, and so those clients were at best treading water. And so, it might have been good for the business because there were more hours, like there was more cash flow for the owners, but as a trainer I could be making more money doing something else. I’m doing this because I want to help people improve their quality of life, get back to the activities that they love, avoid surgery, and be able to keep up with their kids or their grandkids.

Yoni Levitan (04:47):
And, so to me, helping someone tread water wasn’t meaningful, and it wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t interesting. And so, now that I’m the boss, I kind of get to decide who I want to work with. And I want to work with people who are not just interested in treading water, but people who are motivated enough and committed enough that they want to make long-term meaningful progress. And part of that means you might have a really busy stressful month where we hike back dramatically, right? Like, if you can normally bench press 135 for 10, maybe that month you’re doing 135 for five. But that way at least you’re taking a step to the side instead of taking a step back by doing something and at least keeping what you have.

Mike Warkentin (05:37):
You provided a really great example. We’ve talked before about raising ARM, and one ways you can do it is by removing your lowest membership tier. And someone could say, “Well, doesn’t that just cut out a bunch of people?” And the answer is, “Maybe,” but you just said that if you do that, you’re going to end up focusing to a greater degree on the people who you can help more. And that’s the really important part because if you get clients results, they’re going to want to stay, they’re going to want to pay more, they’re going to see the value in your training. And I had the exact same problem in my gym where I had a one time a week membership, and I think it was like $55 or something at the time. And I created it just in case people couldn’t afford the other options.

Mike Warkentin (06:15):
But here’s what happened, exactly like you said, every single time the one-time-a-weekers would miss a couple of classes, they’d fall off the wagon, and I would never see them again. Almost no one renewed that membership, and it was just like the kiss of death. When I stopped offering it. I got better retention, I got better results, and my ARM went up. So, you just gave me a great example of, if you’re thinking about it out there, guys, if you have a membership option that is just not linked to results, isn’t the greatest thing for your clients, consider getting rid of it and your ARM will probably go up. So that’s a really interesting one. Tell me a bit about your business. You mentioned a few things about what you do. How long have you been around; how much space do you have? How many staff members? Give me the 411, and what do you do at your space?

Yoni Levitan (06:53):
So, we’ve been training people out of the facility for four years. Started training people in the parking lot four years ago because of lockdown. So, we help people play the sport they love at the level they desire as long as they want. There’s a little bit less of like teenagers who want NCAA scholarships or pro athletes or anything like that and more—like one of our clients who I use as our male client avatar, he’s in his early forties, he works in finance. He works a demanding stressful job, and he basically cares about three things in his life. So, he cares about his wife and kids. He’s very devoted to his family. He cares about his career, and he loves skiing. And even though he is in his early forties, late thirties when he started—so August will be four years since he started training here—his goal is to take his future grandchildren on a ski trip to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Yoni Levitan (07:54):
So when I changed my mind about something, so this was maybe two and a half years ago, I was convinced by someone else that if you had certain mobility restrictions that pounding away at like barbell back squats and dead deadlifts wasn’t necessarily the best idea. And so, we tried—so we worked on his mobility for a while, more unilateral stuff, a ton of split squats, and then we went back to back squats. And without me even having to do anything, his squat was pretty much perfect. And he felt way better; his back felt much better. And so, trying to focus on people who have kind of an eye toward longevity, and they have a physical hobby that they really enjoy. So, usually it’s like skiing or golf or tennis, but it could even be gardening or something like that.

Mike Warkentin (08:52):
Yeah. So, people who want to perform at a level, however, whatever level that is in the sport that they enjoy, but they’re also family and busy people. So, like you said, not tailoring necessarily to athletes, but athletes for life. We’ll call them something like that. That’s a really cool avatar. And you’ve got it dialed in to the point where you can describe literally what this person does and wants to do. And I love the idea of skiing at 80. Tell me a space and staff, what have you got?

Yoni Levitan (09:14):
So, the main area is 1,530 square feet. And then we also have this office in another part of the building that’s 90 square feet. And we’ve got three, including me, three more or less full-time trainers. So, Daisy and myself are five days a week, Carrie is at four days a week. And then, we have two very much part-time trainers. One is only on Zoom, and one is Sundays and kind of acts as a bench coach. And, sorry, what else?

Mike Warkentin (09:44):
That was space and trainers, but I was going to ask you about your small group training. So, you said, groups of three or four. Are they doing the same workout, or are they doing their own workout in a group?

Yoni Levitan (09:54):
So everybody has a custom program, based off of their age, injury history, training frequency, training age, et cetera. So, they’re all doing something different, but because it’s in a small group setting, they’re having to track their rest. They’re having to write everything down. We’re just responsible for writing the program, for safety, helping a little bit with setup and putting things away, and then if you’re doing something like a bench press or a barbell squat, then you’ll wait for the coach to spot you.

Mike Warkentin (10:27):
Right? So, listeners, we often refer to this as semi-private training, small group training. You have people in a group, and in some ways, you could do a small group of three people who are all doing the same workout if that suits them. A different option that equals probably higher ARM is to have people doing their own programs in a small group and one coach circulates among them. So that means one person’s maybe working on deadlifts because he wants to be a powerlifter, or someone else over there is working on shoulder mobility because she wants to be a better tennis player and so on and so forth. Each person is doing their customized program, personalized program, and the coach is helping them saying, “OK, great rep there. Let’s try and tack on two more next time” and so on and so forth. Gyms that do the semi-private model are seeing dramatically higher ARM than ones that are doing the group model, which is one giant class. Everybody has the same workout. So that’s an interesting one. And then PT is also obviously a high-value service. Did you set your rates correctly right from the very beginning when you opened your gym in 2020? Or did you have to adjust things as you came along?

Yoni Levitan (11:26):
So there was two, sorry, just one thing quickly. The other thing that’s important for the coach in the small group training is calling the loads. So, telling clients, “That was too light. That was too heavy. You should do one more rep next time,” et cetera. But anyways, so there were two, not huge, but two small things that I had to change with pricing. The first was when we started, the small group training was half the cost of one-on-one. And I was just finding that it was—especially because everyone gets a custom program. It was—I’ve raised that to 60%, and now it’s at two thirds the cost of one-on-one. And the other thing was, and this is one of the reasons why the ARM is high, is when we opened the gym—so I just raised the rates of the other trainers for the first time in four years, but my rate has gone up a few times since the gym opened, like as the head coach.

Yoni Levitan (12:27):
And so initially my rate was $10 higher than the other trainers. And not everyone, but most people wanted to train with me. And so, then I raised my rate by $20, and then most people still wanted to train with me. And then, two things happened. So, one was I raised my rate by $20 again, so I was $50 more than the other trainers. And there was a change, there was some turnover. So, Jackie, came and joined the team, and someone else who wasn’t a good fit, a trainer who is very knowledgeable, but not attentive. And the thing I hang my hat on is that the one commonality that all the trainers on our team have is they put their phone away, and they give their clients their undivided attention. And then about a third of my clients were happy to switch to Jackie, and ever since—and before that, if I was away, a bunch of my clients would rather just miss their workouts.

Yoni Levitan (13:24):
And now, everybody’s happy to have one of the other trainers filling in for me when I’m away. And so that’s been—so I would’ve started with a bigger price difference between the head coach and everyone else. and I would’ve started with—you under-appreciate how much more work it takes to have three or four people training at the same time, both in terms of the energy it takes from you. Like I can knock out 10 one-on-ones in a day, and as long as I have a break in between like four or five clients, one-to-two-hour lunch, and then, four or five clients, max six people, in a row. I don’t like to do more than four or five in a row, but if there’s three or four people, it’s really hard for me to do more than two or three of those in a row. And I could not—well, we don’t have enough people anyways, but I couldn’t do 10 of those in a day. I’d probably be capped out at, I don’t know, let’s say six, maybe even five.

Mike Warkentin (14:26):
And that makes sense. It’s a slightly lower value service because you’re not getting one-on-one attention, but you’re getting a lot of one-on-one attention. You’re getting a customized program, and a lot of the elements of personal training, and maybe what happens is, like you do your set. I give you a form cue, and I tell you your next load, and then I move on to the next person. And all we’re doing is we’re cutting out that banter in between sets about the weekend, and we’re coming back to the focus part. There’s not a whole lot less attention. So semi-private training is a very, very high value service. And one-on-one is slightly higher value, but it’s still—semi-private still works very, very well. You gave yourself a $50 raise, so you gave you—it took a $50 raise, per hour, for you to get some clients to jump down to someone else, right?

Yoni Levitan (15:08):
So well, so then what happened is, about half of the people who were signing up still wanted to train with me. And so, this is one of the things is basically whenever I got to the point that I was anxious about getting more clients, and I actually would rather not get a new client than get a new client, even though I kind of needed the money, and that was my sign—there’s probably a better way to do it—but that was my sign to raise my rates. And so, the next step that I did in October was I said, “OK, a $50 spread is not enough.” I just was kind—so, I made my rate double the other trainers. And then from October until now, zero people signed up to have me as their lead trainer. People signed up with the other trainers. So, I delegated enough of the admin work that I have more time to see clients. And so, I brought my rate down to one and a half times the other trainer. And sure enough, the third consult I did after doing that, someone signed up to train with me.

Mike Warkentin (16:11):
I’ve got to ask you this because people are thinking it, what makes you good enough to charge that rate? What do you do to bring value to the client? Got any ideas?

Yoni Levitan (16:19):
So, there’s two parts to it. One part costs $0, but maybe 1% of people are willing or able to do. And then there’s the other part which is every spare dollar I had for the last 10 years went towards continuing education. So, the first five years of my career, I was investing $15-20,000 a year. Like if you include flights and hotels because Charles Peloquin, as he used to say, people say, “When are you coming to the West End of London, England?” And if you want to learn from him, you have to go to Phoenix or Toronto or Australia or wherever it is he’s teaching. And so if you want to go learn from him or Ido Portal or you want to take a kettlebell course with StrongFirst or learn from powerlifters, like Ed Coan or Matt Wenning, or you want to go learn from Stewart MacGill, like there’s only so many people who have that level of knowledge and expertise, and they only teach so many weekends in a year.

Mike Warkentin (17:27):
You have to go see them.

Yoni Levitan (17:29):
And so you have to be willing to get on a plane, or you need to rearrange your life so that when that person comes to your city or within driving distance, you make it so that you don’t exist to the world. You don’t go on a date, you don’t see your friends, you don’t have a family dinner. For those two to five days, you’re pretending that you’re in another country, and you’re 100% focused on the course that you’re taking. And then the other part of it is there’s three questions that I ask new trainers to ask themselves every day, or at least every week, which is, “What’s one thing I did really well today? What’s one thing that I made a mistake with, but I realized it myself, like I didn’t need someone else to point it out?”

Yoni Levitan (18:16):
“And then how am I going to fix that, so it doesn’t happen again? And then what came up today that I don’t know the answer to, or it’s like a problem that I can’t solve, and where am I going to go find the answer? Am I going to Google it, YouTube? Am I going to ask a colleague about it? Do I have a book that I think will have the answer? Do I have notes from a seminar that I’ve taken? Is there, you know,” and if you ask yourself those three questions, ideally every day, but even just once a week, you would accelerate your learning to an unbelievable extent. And I am, every six months, I am changing at least one important thing that I do with my clients, and I explain to them, “So I’ve changed my mind about this, and here’s why I’ve changed my mind, and I think that this is better.”

Yoni Levitan (19:08):

And, or “I’d like to try this. We’re going to do an experiment.” And so, I don’t see it as a fault in me or my training. The body is really complex. The same way that astronomers are figuring out the universe is bigger and expanding. We’re figuring out that there’s things happening on a smaller and smaller level in the body that we’re only beginning to understand. And, so, I am very hard on myself and always trying to improve and find the best possible methods to help my clients reach their goals.

Mike Warkentin (19:50):
So it sounds like a relentless commitment to professional development. And it sounds like you’ve invested financially, and now you’re seeing the rewards of that. You can’t just charge whatever your personal training rate is because you’re a pretty good trainer; you’ve got to be a great trainer, and you’ve got a huge bank of knowledge that you can use to tell people how to get the results they want. So, I love that. Tell me this, where does mentorship fit into that? You say you invest in professional development. Talk to me about business mentorship. When and why did you sign up for Two-Brain, and what are you getting out of it?

Yoni Levitan (20:16):
So I signed up for Two-Brain, I think it was September, we’ll say fall 2022. So, the one caveat with what I said about professional development was—so my dad passed away in August 2022, and it was a long four year, very painful decline. And so I was just trying any time or mental energy, anything I had to give just went to the business and my family, and both of my siblings have kids, and I don’t, so I maybe felt that I had to give a little bit more at times because I didn’t have anyone else who was I was responsible for, unlike my brother and sister. And, so my dad only really wanted two things for me, which was to meet someone, get married and start a family and to be successful in business.

Yoni Levitan (21:15):
And maybe if there’s a third thing, like be a good sibling, be a good uncle, like help take care of your mom, be good to your family. So, I knew that I had to do two things, which was catch up on my tax filings. As a retired accountant, I think that was the thing that probably caused him the most pain that I was doing or not doing. And finding a way to, like, if I couldn’t make it work without working 400 hours a week, I wasn’t sure that this was something I wanted to keep doing. And so, I was probably most months working 400 hours a month, not of clients, but bookkeeping, cleaning the bathrooms, billing clients, hiring trainers. And so, I knew I needed help there, and I knew it was very similar to how we help clients because clients know—like telling someone to eat less and move more is like not helpful at all.

Yoni Levitan (22:14):
“Oh. Like, it’s that simple? Like, oh, right?” It’s like the secret to getting rich is buy low, sell high. “Oh, I didn’t know that.” It’s not very easy to actually do that, right? People know that they need to eat more protein and drink more water and go to bed early and drink less alcohol and all of that. But it’s the accountability of their coach, right? They care about not disappointing me more than they care about disappointing themselves because they know that I care, and we have a good rapport with each other, and that if they don’t show up, I’m going to text them and be like, “Hey, is everything OK? I thought we were on for three o’clock today. I hope you’re OK.” And so, it’s the same thing. I knew that I needed to not do everything myself and delegate and build a team, but the easy thing to do is to just stay on the path that you’re on, and “Oh, it didn’t work with my first admin person, so I’m just—everybody’s—they’re all useless, so I’m just going to do it myself.”

Yoni Levitan (23:19):
Well, no, maybe you had bad luck, or maybe the person wasn’t trained properly, or you were giving them the wrong responsibilities. It should be like repeatable tasks versus giving them all of these one-off things that they don’t get a chance to master or whatever. So, right, I don’t know who said it, but the two ways you can tell what your priorities are is by looking at someone’s calendar and their checkbook, right? Like, where are they spending money and where are they spending their time?

Mike Warkentin (23:55):
So, two years. Who’s your mentor right now?

Yoni Levitan (23:58):
Right now, it’s Brian Bott.

Mike Warkentin (24:00):
So, he runs—Brian is one of our semi-private training experts. Has he given you some tips on that aspect of your business, or did you kind of have that figured out before you talked to Brian?

Yoni Levitan (24:10):
He’s helped me a little bit more. We’ve talked about it a little bit, but not a ton.

Mike Warkentin (24:15):
OK. That’s interesting.

Yoni Levitan (24:16):
It’s been more some other things that he’s been helping me with. So, one thing that’s different about my business is when people are paying for classes, they kind of understand that if they go away for a week or two, that’s kind of part of the cost of the vacation. But if you’re paying $120 or $150 or $180 an hour for personal training, and you go away for a week at Christmas, or you go to your friend’s cottage for a week, you don’t expect to be dinged for the week that you’re not here. Which I think is a very fair and reasonable expectation, just to be clear. And it’s not always possible depending on how long you go away to make up all of those sessions, right?

Yoni Levitan (25:03):
If you train three times a week and you go away for two weeks, you’re not going to come in six times the week before and six times the week after. And most of my clients have a lot of responsibility in life, like most of them are parents; they have stressful careers, so there’s kind of—for a lot of them, coming to the gym more than three or four days a week wouldn’t be beneficial anyways because of their recovery. And so, the billing has been kind of a hard thing to figure out, like striking the balance between reducing the admin burden on myself and our admin person and doing it in a way that’s fair to clients. And so, I’m about to implement a suggestion from Brian that I think will make things a lot simpler. Also, PushPress has dramatically, dramatically improved how the billing works in recent months. And I’ve just started digging into that, and so, I think that’s also going to make it a lot easier.


Mike Warkentin (26:08):
OK. So, you’re working on—you’ve got your average revenue per member super high, and you’ve got your training plan; you’ve got your avatar. So, Brian’s helping you uncoil some of the admin stuff and get the business running better, which is great because that has a huge reward too. And you can really make some great inroads by getting better ROI on the software that you’re using, reducing your admin time, making it smoother and improving the client experience. So, I love that Brian’s helping you with that. Here’s a huge question. You’ve talked about some of the rates, and you have a huge ARM; you’ve got great clients. Where do you find these people? How do you get them? Do you advertise? What do you do?

Yoni Levitan (26:40):
Pretty much all of our clients have come from two or three sources. So, the first two years of the business, it was pretty much entirely referrals.

Mike Warkentin (26:49):
OK and was that active? Did you go and ask the people to do it, or did you just let it happen? What was your plan there?

Yoni Levitan (26:55):
A little bit of both, but it mostly just happened.

Mike Warkentin (26:57):
OK. So that’s good.

Yoni Levitan (26:59):
So, the thing that I’m most proud of is if someone who is married or living with a romantic partner starts training here, I haven’t actually crunched the numbers, so this isn’t an exact number, but six months from when they start, it’s something like five times more likely that them and their spouse will be training with us then that they’ll have stopped.

Mike Warkentin (27:22):
Whoa, isn’t that interesting? Plus one.

Yoni Levitan (27:25):
So, and every single married person that I’ve trained has ended up referring their spouse. So, it’s not true with all of the people that have trained at the gym, but every single person that I’ve trained that’s married, their spouse has ended up coming.

Mike Warkentin (27:41):
Wow. So, that’s huge. And that costs you $0.

Yoni Levitan (27:44):
So, and then, two years in, so the last two years, pretty much every new client—or no, there’s still some referrals—is from Google. So just people search for “personal trainer near me” or “gym near me.” And we only have, I think it’s 32 Google reviews, but every single one is at least one or two sentences, and most of them are like paragraphs. And there’s only—there were two clients who kind of asked like, “Is there something specific you want me to say?” or “I want to write a review, but I don’t know what to say,” and I gave them like a couple bullet points, but you can tell if you look at it that these were all written from the heart, that this is straight from the—like, it’s their words. It’s not my words. And like one of our trainers, the gym that she used to work at has like 250 Google reviews, but five of them are an actual written review. It’s like they’re all either nothing, it’s just like five stars—

Mike Warkentin (28:47):
Plane emoji. Yeah.

Yoni Levitan (28:48):
No written text. Or it’s like, “Great gym,” or like “Johnny is an awesome trainer.” Whereas like, every single review we have is someone’s telling their story or saying something specific that they like about our gym and our team.

Mike Warkentin (29:06):
Do you ask your clients to write those reviews? Like, do you say, “Hey, could you write a review sometime?”

Yoni Levitan (29:10):
Most of them, yeah. So, usually what I do is at the three-month mark, I offer to take the client for coffee or to sit down in the office. And this is one of the few things I did well before Two-Brain. And I ask them, “What’s your favorite thing about your trainer? What’s your favorite thing about my gym? If you can change one thing about being a client of 3 Seasons or one thing about working with your trainer, what would it be?” I get feedback on the programming because it’s very much not just tailored to their goals, but their personality. So, do you like maybe planning your workouts? Do you find them engaging? So, I’ll get feedback, right? Like, some people only want to do full body workouts. Some people, there’s a few other—some people don’t like doing more than three sets of the same thing. They get bored. And then if they say they’re happy, then at the end I say, “Would you be comfortable writing a Google review?” And I try to say it in a way that it’s not—I’m like, “I understand if you want your privacy, and you don’t want people to know where you go, so I won’t be offended, but if you’d be comfortable, it would mean a lot if you wrote a Google Review.”

Mike Warkentin (30:18):
Wow. So, you were doing this even before Two-Brain. So, it sounds like you figured out the goal review system that Chris Cooper recommends almost on your own, which is pretty cool. And he’s got the same kind of questions there about asking clients, “What are your greatest challenges outside the gym?” and things like that and solving problems for them. And then the exact thing that Two-Brain recommends: If you have a great happy client in a goal review, ask them, “Can I make you famous?” And whether that’s a Google review or maybe it’s a testimonial on your website, maybe it’s a video, maybe it’s social media. I mean, listeners, that is your thing to do today. Take this from this interview. The next time you speak to a happy client in a goal review session—and if you’re not doing those sessions, start doing them.

Mike Warkentin (30:56):
But the next time you have a happy one, ask them to do something for you because they’re fired up, and they want to support your business. “Would you write a Google review?” Yoni’s doing that. And he’s got great lengthy Google reviews, five-star reviews. People are reading them, they’re finding his gym, and he’s getting his clients through Google reviews, SEO and referrals, not spending a ton of money on ads. Are you spending any money on ads? I’ll ask you that before I say it. Zero? Zero dollars on ads. So, guys, Yoni’s got a huge ARM in our top 10. He’s not spending any money on ads. His marketing budget is zero. He’s just spending time with his clients asking them for Google reviews. And he’s doing such a great job that he’s getting every single one of their spouses to come to the gym too. That’s a plus one every time. So, each client that trains with you, Yoni, is a two-for-one, essentially, right?

Yoni Levitan (31:42):
Pretty much.

Mike Warkentin (31:43):
Wow. That’s like legendary. I wish I could have done that. You might have to be my personal trainer after this show ends; we’ll talk. I’m going to ask you a couple other quick questions here before I let you go. Do you have any simple add-ons that you use to drive up ARM like, renting lockers, selling T-shirts, or is it just training that you sell?

Yoni Levitan (32:04):
So, the one thing would be one of our trainers does fascial stretch therapy, or I think now it’s called Frederick Stretch Therapy, and she’s been really great at—some of the other trainers, so some of my clients and one of the other trainers, some of our clients have started seeing her once a week for special stretch therapy, and everyone’s happy because the client is getting faster results in terms of improving their mobility, their posture, getting out of pain. And then the trainer doesn’t have to spend as much time on mobility in their workout. They can just do the kind of meat and potatoes, strength training, or sometimes while stretching, she’ll notice something that leads to a change in the program, which allows the coach to write a better program, and the client to get a better result. But that’s really it. Like I was just looking at a financial statement that my accountant sent me. I’m just starting to get better with that stuff, and I actually lose money. So, we give clients supplements, like we don’t charge for that.

Mike Warkentin (33:07):
OK, that’s interesting.

Yoni Levitan (33:08):
I just say—like, during their workout; if they want to take something home, they pay for it. But electrolytes, essential amino acids, collagen, creatine, beef protein, whey protein, pea protein for after the workout. So, some clients are literally taking $5 or $10 of supplements every time they come to the gym. I just want them—right, we’re a high gross margin business—I want them to get the best results possible. I am giving them access to the same stuff that I use when I work out. And so, some clients buy stuff to take home, some don’t, but we haven’t—it’s not really something I’ve made an emphasis on, but we actually lose, when you factor in all the money I’m spending on the free supplements that clients get, we actually lose money on supplements. It’s 2-4% of revenue. So, that’s not a big part of what we do.

Mike Warkentin (33:58):
But that’s OK. You know, if you’re talking about—the average personal training rate is like 70 bucks. You’re charging more than 70 bucks, so you’ve got a little wiggle room to give someone a protein shake, right? Like that’s built in and that’s probably a retention tool. It’s a high-value service tool. It’s part of your service package. So, technically losing money on supplements, but like I’d consider that almost like a training cost. Would you?

Yoni Levitan (34:17):
Yeah, so, sorry, I’ll let you—I had some notes about some other things, but I think I should probably let you get through the questions.

Mike Warkentin (34:26):
Yeah, no worries. I was just curious if there was anything because sometimes, I’ll talk to a gym owner in Las Vegas or Hawaii or something, and they’ll say, “You know what, dude? I sell like $8,000 in T-shirts a month,” which is rare, but it does happen in certain locations. Didn’t happen where I was at where no one wanted to go. But it does happen in some certain places. So, I was just curious about that. But it sounds like for you, your meat and potatoes is you sell training, you’ve got that one specialty service, which is really great, and helping clients solve problems and get results faster is hugely valuable. Chris Cooper’s written about this infinitely. If you do that, you can charge more and your gym, Yoni, is the proof of that. Let’s close this out here by—I’m going to steal one of your things because you’ve already said it, and I’m just going to reiterate it: Start doing goal review sessions with your clients, and then if they’re happy, ask them for a testimonial. That is going to help you sell more training and more high-value training. What can you tell, listeners, Yoni, we’re looking at things like—there are people out there who think, “I can’t charge more than $200, $300 a month.” What are some simple things that they can do just to drive up their ARM a little bit? What are some starting points from a guy who’s on our Top 10 leaderboard?

Yoni Levitan (35:32):
So I just want to tell a little anecdote about one of my clients at my old job, and the day that I went from a commercial gym to a personal training studio, my rate went up by 50% even though I was the same person. And so, there was a little bit of wondering if I was worth the money at the beginning, so at the commercial gym I was $75 an hour, and then all of a sudden, I was $110 an hour. And so, I had a client who was so happy, and he had been to a Good Life, which is the big commercial gym in Canada and didn’t have a good experience. And you would think this would just be table stakes, but the fact that his schedule never got kind of like—like he just knew that these are my days and times, and you guys are super reliable, and you’re not going to be texting me all the time asking me to like move my time around, and you’re punctual, and I can just count on that.

Yoni Levitan (36:26):
And then like with my gym, someone knows that if they have a session at 6 a.m. that I’m usually here at like between 5:45 and 5:50. And if I’m here at 5:56, I consider that being late. And that they should be ready to start their workout at six. So just being punctual and reliable and keeping the bathrooms clean are very underrated things. Also, if you get good at getting people out of pain, then people will be very grateful, and they’ll want to tell other people, and they’ll have a lot of loyalty. One thing that’s been great for me in the last year was I started taking courses with a company called Exercise Therapy Association. And they give amazing supporting materials so that you don’t have to furiously take notes and kind of wonder what you were trying to write after the fact. And that’s been probably the biggest change in what I do in the last two or three years with clients.

Mike Warkentin (37:31):
So you’ve got elite standard of service—before you get to the last one—you’ve got elite standard of service, right? Where you’re doing all the stuff, even the little stuff. They clean the bathroom really well, showing up on time. That stuff is actually uncommon. There are so many people who take that stuff for granted, and they don’t clean their bathrooms, and they just show up late, mess around with their client schedules. You’re not doing that. You have an elite status or service. Then the second thing you’re talking about here is personal development and professional development, because getting people out of pain, not every trainer is qualified to do that. So, if you’re working on that side or scope of practice, you have to have your education, you have to have your qualifications, and you have to be able to do what you say you’re going to do for the clients within scope of practice. That requires—I would guess, that that reflects that $200,000 investment in professional development. So, if you get the right skills, you can definitely charge more because special skills are worth way more. So, listeners, professional development is a big one for you. What else is on your list, Yoni?

Yoni Levitan (38:21):
Just if you do such a good job that you get so busy that you either can’t fit more clients in your schedule, or you wouldn’t want more clients, then you’ll be able to raise your rates, as simple as that sounds, that worked for me at least.

Mike Warkentin (38:37):
It’s a simple economic one, and it feels a bit nerve wracking for people, but we do have a plan, listeners, to help people raise rates

Yoni Levitan (38:45):
And the not taking one-time-a-week clients here—so, I spent hours and hours and hours writing a blog post. I think it’s called “Free and Low-Cost Health and Fitness Resources.” And when someone doesn’t sign up, and they tell me the budget is the reason I send them the blog post, and I tell them, “If you go to the gym on your own or you work out at home and you have questions, I will answer your questions. I’m not going to bill you.” And not a single person has ever asked me a question. I maybe should start turning it into a Bitly, so I can tell if they even open it, but not a single—so, that tells you that it’s not just money. Unless there’s someone holding them accountable, they’re not going to do it.

Yoni Levitan (39:31):
And so, because I am giving people the free solution. These are the best podcasts. These are the best YouTube channels. These are the best books that you can get from the library. These are the books that you can’t get from the library that you’ll have to buy, but they only cost $10 to $50. It’s like a very detailed, very detailed. And so, you kind of have to ask yourself, “Am I going to offer what people say they want? Or am I going to offer what people actually need?” And there’s a difference between those two things. And especially if you’re offering—like a human, like you’re not building a software company. You can’t be all things to all people, and I’d rather help 50 people or 100 people make obvious, clear, amazing progress than help 200 people tread water or go backward, age more slowly or have their body break down slightly more slowly than—like, that’s not inspiring or interesting to me.

Mike Warkentin (40:31):
What I’m hearing here is like an overwhelming commitment to your clients, and you are getting results for them, and you’re unwilling to offer the things that don’t give results. Therefore, the things that you are offering get results, and you can charge more for them. Is that accurate?

Yoni Levitan (40:45):
I guess so.

Mike Warkentin (40:46):
That’s what I’m seeing is that you are going to the—like you’re just deciding exactly what is going to get your client’s results, put it in place, drive it home, show up exactly on time, give them great service, keep making yourself a better trainer and then charge more. So, guys out there, if you’re listening to this, Yoni just gave you a list of stuff that you can do to start moving in the right direction. And I’ll give you one more that you can do as well, if you’re talking about professional development. Work with a Two-Brain mentor; that mentor can help you be a better business owner. That will help you do all the things that you need to do to grow a great business. Yoni, I want to thank you so much for your time. I’ll let you get back to getting one client and adding a spouse. That’s an amazing story, and I love that you’ve been able to do that. That’s incredible.

Yoni Levitan (41:26):
Thanks.

Mike Warkentin (41:27):
Alright, my friends, thank you for listening. This is “Run a Profitable Gym.” I’m Mike Warkentin, and please subscribe wherever you’re watching or listening. That was Yoni Levitan, and he’s one of our ARM leaders. Two-Brain releases leaderboards every single month, and then we get the best of the best on this show to tell you exactly what they’re doing. So please subscribe so you don’t miss any of that. And now here is Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper with a final message.

Chris Cooper (41:46):
Hey, it’s Two-Brain founder Chris Cooper with a quick note. We created the Gym Owners United Facebook group to help you run a profitable gym. Thousands of gym owners, just like you have already joined. In the group, we share sound advice about the business of fitness every day. I answer questions, I run free webinars, and I give away all kinds of great resources to help you grow your gym. I’d love to have you in that group. It’s Gym Owners United on Facebook, or go to gymownersunited.com to join. Do it today.

Thanks for listening!

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