State of the Industry 2022: Owners

A graphic showing the average gym owner's monthly wage vs. a Two-Brain client's wage: $3,787 to $4,854.

You started your gym to save lives. I know, because I did, too.

But here’s the reality: Gyms don’t close because the coaches are bad at coaching. They close because the owners aren’t earning enough or they’re burned out.

And when a gym closes, it’s a catastrophe: Their clients stop exercising, their staff members leave the industry, and their owners spend years recovering their lost time and money.

My mission is to make gyms successful so the owners can keep saving lives. And that means the owners have to be fed, rested and happy.

Our data shows we’re accomplishing this goal with Two-Brain clients. So what’s happening in the broader industry? What do owners of gyms, studios, affiliates, and strength and conditioning facilities earn?

Here’s the good news: Gym owners are earning more than ever.

The bad news? It’s still not enough.

Net Owner Benefit Stats for Gym Owners

Comparing the average net owner benefit (NOB) of most gym owners to what they would make working elsewhere shows that most make around 50 percent of their city’s average personal income. That’s double what they were earning five years ago, so we’re on a good trajectory. But it’s still not enough.

According to our data, the median income for gym owners is $3,787 per month. Yes, improving fitness is a passion, but ownership isn’t a hobby. Keeping gyms around long term will change more lives, build more careers, and create intergenerational legacies in both health and wealth. We need to keep doing better.

The great news? Two-Brain created 26 millionaires in 2022. They are pushing the envelope and attracting better entrepreneurs, making fitness a viable career, and paving the way for the rest of us.

When I went out looking for examples of success in the fitness business in 2008, I found people who were “famous” but poor. That’s fine if you’re under 23. But eventually, you have to get paid what you’re worth. Now I have dozens of people in Two-Brain that I can call up anytime and ask, “How’d you do that?”

A Gym Owner’s Time

How do gym and studio owners spend their time?

The measure of your efficacy as a gym owner is called effective hourly rate (EHR). You should be able to earn more, per hour, as an owner than you do as a coach. Right?

The best gym owners prioritize working on their businesses over working in their businesses. That means they delegate low-value work to others and spend their time working on marketing, media and sales.

When we use State of the Industry data to calculate the average owner’s pay against time, the EHR is $30.

For comparison, the average Twob-Brain client’s EHR is $49. That means gym owners who work with one of our mentors are doing one of three things:

  • They’re making more money in the same amount of time as the average gym owner.
  • They’re making the same amount of money as the average gym owner, but they’re doing it in less time.
  • They’re making more money than the average gym owner and doing it in less time.

Where Do Gym Owners Spend Money?

Where do fitness business owners spend money—and how much do they spend?

The average rent in a coaching gym is $4,972. Access-only gyms paid more because their businesses require more space.

This rent number can vary dramatically depending on where you live, but your rates should always rise with higher rent, regardless of which city you’re in. Unfortunately, many gym owners pay for high-value space but charge low-value rates.

Another challenge is staffing. While it’s normal for a coaching business to employ one or two full-time staff members, many gyms have more than 12 part-timers. Part-time staff members are great for adding some excitement and variety, but every staff person makes the business more complex. You need a balance of full- and part-time workers.

The most important question you can ask whenever you spend money isn’t “how much does this cost?” but “what is my potential return on this investment?” Ask that question before you rent more space, buy more equipment, paint graffiti on your walls or hire more staff.

Want to see where else owners are spending their money? Download “State of the Industry” for free.


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.