9 Things You Must Do to Get More Than 150 Members

An illustration showing a large, diverse crowd of gym clients.

You can reach 150 members at your gym with the owner-operator model.

To go beyond that number you need to change your business model.

You’ll need a different structure and much better systems. You’ll need an air-tight retention plan. You’ll need great staff members who do things at a 10-out-of-10 level—just like you would do them. You’ll need to understand your metrics and be able to use them to make detailed plans for everything.

Without those things, you’ll bleed clients and slip back to 150 members or less.

It happens all the time. A gym reaches 150 members and the owner assumes growth will just continue. But more clients amplify any problems in the gym, and soon the owner is struggling to plug leaks in every aspect of the business. In some cases, the gym goes under.

Two-Brain has the largest data set in the world for gyms. We identify the top gyms and then pick them apart to find commonalities so other gyms can have the same success. If you want more than 150 members, here are the things you’ll need to do.

9 Essential Tasks for Gym Growth

1. Hire a management layer—Coaches coach. But you’re going to need to fill other roles: an administrator or general manager, a bookkeeper and, usually, a client success manager (CSM).

2. Upgrade your retention plan—Every client in the gym must be in contact with someone who is specifically tasked with retention duties. It’s time to go beyond “email the info@ account if you have issues.” At this stage, your staff members are actively working to improve retention and solve problems for clients.

3. Improve your branding—Why your gym and not the gym down the street with the same equipment? You must know that answer, and your clients must know it, too.

4. Implement the Prescriptive Model—Everyone has barbells and machines. CrossFit gyms are common now. And corporate chains have commoditized intensity. It’s time to go beyond a certain fitness method to start selling solutions to health and fitness problems.

5. Diversify your revenue streams—You don’t need to do “all the things.” That’s a mistake. But gyms with lots of members always offer two or three programs, not just one. Here’s one common plan that works well when supported by great staff members and solid systems: group fitness, personal training and nutrition coaching.

A graphic uses dollar signs to show that a gym's primary revenue stream makes up 70 percent of gross.

6. Hire at least one full-time coach—Businesses with more than 150 members need a professional on staff.

7. Create a marketing plan—Clients won’t just appear. You’ll have to work hard to acquire them (and retain them). But that doesn’t mean you need to seek out all the “can’t miss, sure-thing marketing strategies.” Master the basics: referrals, Affinity Marketing and some advertising.

8. Train your salespeople—To get more than 150 clients, you can’t have a brutal close rate. If your marketing systems bring clients to your sales office, you must put a person in the room who can close sales at a high rate.

9. Be patient—Don’t try to jump straight from 150 to 300 members. Grow slowly but steadily. Emphasize profit and retention. Growth will require investment in staff, systems and maybe even space—all of that will affect profit. To grow and thrive, you must minimize the profitability “dips” that kill microgyms.

A line graph showing gym profits as the number of clients grows. More clients are not always better.

A Mentor and a Plan

If you have about 150 members, you don’t need dedicated salespeople. You don’t need to invent a new model. You probably don’t need a GM. And you can make $100,000 a year serving these clients. We teach gym owners how to do that in our RampUp Program.

Eventually you’re going to reach the ceiling of the owner-operator model. When you do, you’ll need to change how you do things—for the good of your business, for your sanity and, most importantly, for your clients.

We work with gym owners who are optimizing their operations while serving more than 150 members in our Tinker Program.

Whatever your goals are, know this: You don’t have to figure it out on your own. We have all the data, and we know exactly how to help you get to the next level. Click here to book a free call and find out more about mentorship.


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.