How Many Members Can You Serve at an A+ Level?

A large number of clients work out at a functional fitness gym.

Here’s a critical question for gym owners:

How many clients can you serve at an A+ level?

Let’s be real: This is a finite number.

You, your staff and your business systems have hard limits. When they are pushed too far, service declines.

It’s nice to think you’ll always be able to deliver A+ service, but it’s not realistic.

 So exactly how many clients can you serve at an A+ level?

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

I haven’t met many gym owners who’ve capped membership. But they exist.

I got to interview one of them recently: Jeroen van Duijn is the co-owner of CrossFit Leiden in the Netherlands, and membership is now capped at 400 in that gym.


  • Jeroen told me that he and his staff have decided that 400 is the maximum number of relationships they can maintain.
  • They’ve also determined that their 5,300-square foot facility is full at 400.
  • Finally, they are comfortable with income levels and see a path to earning even more without adding additional staff and clients.

The first point is important: The more relationships you have, the harder it is to maintain them. You know this already—consider your personal life. Same deal in a gym. At some point, people just become “faces in the crowd.” That’s bad for retention.

The second point: The gym is at its physical limits. CrossFit Leiden has full classes and very few dead hours. Adding more people will just add stress to the system: Overfull classes and waiting lists, less coach-client interaction, etc.

The third point: Jeroen told me current member levels allow him to live the way he wants and create good careers for staff members. But he’s not sitting back and relaxing. To generate even more revenue, he’s focusing on delivering more value to current clients through nutrition coaching, personal training and other services. And he recently acquired a second gym where he’s working to replicate the success of CrossFit Leiden.

Your Number

Don’t think 400 members is a common cap. This is, in reality, a huge number. The average microgym has about 150 members, and even that total can strain systems.

CrossFit Leiden has staff and systems that allow them to deliver A+ service to 400 people. They built up to this number over time, and Jeroen said they’re always making adjustments to ensure their business remains a well-oiled machine.

I would not set “400 members” as my first goal. For most gym owners, 150 members is an excellent first target.

With 150 clients, you will run into all kinds of problems that are challenging but not unsolvable or overwhelming. And you can make a great income with 150 clients—$100,000 or more is common in Two-Brain gyms.

With 200 or more clients, you’re going to run into much greater challenges: staffing, space and equipment, marketing and sales, retention. It’s not uncommon for gyms that hit 200 clients to fall back down to 150 because their systems are completely overloaded and service declines to a C level.

I’m not suggesting you cap membership at 150. But I am suggesting you make this your first target: Deliver A+ service to 150 people.

At that point, you can determine your next target—which should not be “more.” Pick a number that works with your space, staff and systems, then work toward it while keeping a close eye on all key metrics in your business, not just gross revenue.

Does length of engagement improve or decline when you add more members? What about average revenue per member? Does your ROI on staff go down because coaches get overwhelmed and quit?

Remember: Your coaching business has a client limit, whether you set it or not. At some point, service will start to decline and people will leave.

The best way to ensure your business can reach 150 clients and handle more if you want to? Work with a mentor to build the systems that will allow you to deliver great service to each and every member.

So how many clients can you serve at an A+ level?

And if you want to serve more clients at that level, what are you doing to become a better entrepreneur?


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.