The Exact Retention Plan in a 512-Member Gym

Retention concept: a hand adds a wood block with a magnet icon to a pile of blocks with client icons.

I’m always fascinated when top gym owners unveil the simple systems that support their businesses.

These world-class entrepreneurs run very profitable gyms, yet they always have a firm grip on the business basics many others skip over.

Here, I’ll give you a high-speed summary of the retention system that supports a gym with 512 members—and counting.

Rune Laursen of BoxLife in Denmark shared his system with me on a recent episode of “Run a Profitable Gym.”

I’ve chunked it out below into an easily digestible format.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

Retention Focus

Booking Goal Review Sessions.

Staff Requirements

  • 1 client success manager (CSM) to start, with hours increasing as monthly targets go up.
  • 1 additional staff member once volume warrants it (return on staffing investment is always evaluated).

First Targets

5-10 Goal Review Sessions per week.

Growth Goal for CSM

15 additional Goal Review Sessions each month.

Order of Avatars for Booking Goal Review Sessions

1. New clients who will see goal reviews as “just part of the package.”
2. At-risk clients who haven’t been at the gym in two weeks.
3. Long-term clients (who can be hesitant to change longstanding habits and add goal reviews).


  • Increasing length of engagement (LEG).
  • Reduced at-risk client list.
  • Increasing gross revenue.
  • Growing client count (also supported by marketing tactics).
  • Increased average revenue per member per month (ARM).
  • Clear ROI on staff costs.

CSMs and ROI

That’s the simple framework that supports a gym with 512 members. It’s not the only retention plan you can use; it’s just one plan that’s producing clear results.

And I’ve skipped some important details, of course. Rune has a thick staff playbook with roles and responsibilities laid out, and he trains his staff very well. You can’t skip that stuff, though many people do.

To ensure you tick all the required boxes, I’ll give you a starting point for your staff development. Review the Prescriptive Model with your CSM, then role-play Goal Review Sessions with three types of people: new clients, at-risk clients and longstanding clients.

If you’re hesitant to add a CSM to your staff, remember these three things:

1. Goal Review Sessions have been proven to increase length of engagement in gyms. (Rune’s LEG went from 12 to 20 months.)

2. About 30 percent of clients will upgrade their service packages by about 30 percent in Goal Review Sessions. (Rune added about $20,000 in monthly revenue that’s not tied to basic memberships.)

3. You should see ROI on staff costs—2.5X is a good benchmark. (Rune said this about CSMs: “It is the fastest ‘paying-itself-back role’ I could ever imagine in a gym.”)

If you want to improve a host of KPIs at your gym, I’d suggest it’s high time to start working on retention with the help of a CSM.

Start small if you like: Dedicate a few hours a week to retention, and track KPIs. If you get a return on your investment, add more hours and keep tracking metrics.

Want to see the whole interview with Rune? It’s here:


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.