Big-Time Booster: On-Ramps Drive Revenue, Retention

On a blue background, a white cartoon rocket ship blasts off.

If you want to generate more revenue in your gym without raising rates, use an on-ramp process to welcome new clients.

Years ago, the goal was just to cram lots of people into group classes as fast as possible. This plan was borrowed from the martial-arts community, and it did not work well in functional fitness gyms.

Now we know that on-ramps are a key feature of great gyms. On-ramps set clients up for long-term success and boost revenue in gyms.

If you don’t have an on-ramp, it’s time to create one. And if you have one, it’s time to audit and improve.

Retention and Revenue

Here’s what the data says about on-ramps:

  • If a client comes in through a free trial and joins group classes—not a sure thing by any means—they’re likely to stick around for just under eight months.
  • If a client is brought in through a consultative process and properly on-ramped, they’re likely to stick around for 14 months.
  • If a client makes it to the 14-month mark, they’re twice as likely to stay for two years.
  • If we can keep a client for two years, we can change their lives because at the two-year mark they generally don’t quit exercise.

On-ramps solve retention problems and drive up the lifetime value of your members.

Data also shows on-ramps increase the monthly value of clients because they’re exposed to real coaching and will be more inclined to choose “platinum service packages.”

Think about it: If every client does one-on-one sessions in your gym on entry, they’ll know that direct attention from a great coach produces amazing results.

So they might select PT instead of group classes or “hybrid memberships” with PT in addition to group classes. Some will gravitate toward semi-private training where they get lots of personal attention. Or group-class clients might book the occasional one-on-one skill session to work on something specific.

In every case, more revenue is funneled into the business.

Furthermore, one-on-one on-ramps allow the coach to form a close relationship with the client, make a better prescription in the future (“add one PT session per week”), and tailor coaching to the client—even in a group setting.

How Long and How Much?

How long should your on-ramp be? If you’re in Western Europe, the data shows that you’re likely to serve early adopters. These people should have an on-ramp, but it should probably be shorter—maybe five to 10 sessions. If you’re in North America or one of the larger cities in Australia where CrossFit and functional training have been around for a while, you can and should have a longer on-ramp.

What should you teach? That’s up to you. Teach clients everything they need to know to get results fast and find success in your gym (we give Two-Brain clients an on-ramp template they can use as a starting point).

What should you charge? Base the price on your PT rate. For example, if your PT rate is $80 and your on-ramp is six sessions, charge $480. You can also add in nutrition coaching, accountability and other elements to boost value—charge more for add-on services.

How to Add an On-Ramp

You don’t have to overcomplicate things. Here are the four steps to getting an on-ramp in place:

1. Review “The Prescriptive Model.”

2. Write down everything a client will need to succeed at your gym. Break it up into about five to 10 one-hour sessions.

3. Add an appropriately priced on-ramp to your billing software.

4. Use the Prescriptive Model in your next free consultations and lay out the best path for the client, which now includes your on-ramp.

If you start using a multi-session on-ramp based on PT rates, every single client who comes into your gym will boost your average revenue per member significantly.

Even better, those clients will be primed to purchase high-value services, and they’ll be much more likely to stay longer.

If you already use an on-ramp, review it today. Is it priced appropriately? Is it long enough? Is the curriculum an A+? Are you using the on-ramp as part of the Prescriptive Model and generating more PT sales?

If you don’t use an on-ramp, now is the time to create one.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.