How to Make Your Gym Recession-Proof

Oct 20, 2022

 by Josh E.

Unless you have been living under the dumbbell rack in your gym, you have undoubtedly seen and heard all the craziness going on in the economy.

You may be worried about what will happen if a recession actually occurs.  Will your clients all cancel to save money? How will you pay your bills? Will you have to close your gym?

Relax. The good news is that you can, and will, make it through a downturn in the economy if you are smart about how you run your gym.

So here is a step-by-step system to make your gym recession-proof.


Step 1: Know your numbers

I know you hear this ALL THE TIME, but you won’t believe how many gym owners we talk to every day that have no idea what some of their most basic key performance indicators (KPIs) are.

Here are the most important KPIs you should be tracking every month (if not daily). We aren't going to dive into each one (there are tons of articles out there that do that), but rather just list the ones we have found have the most impact on the success of your gym.

  1. Revenue
  2. Expenses
  3. Profit
  4. Payroll % of Revenue
  5. Average Revenue per Member
  6. Cost per Acquisition
  7. Churn

There are quite a few more that the most successful gym owners track, but if you are at least looking at these numbers monthly, you are farther ahead than 70% of the competition.


Step 2: Cut unnecessary expenses

You next need to look at what money you have going out each month. When times are good it’s easy to get lost in adding more and more. But when things get rough, where can you cut?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I condense the software platform I use to 1?
  • What can I eliminate?
  • How lean can I run and still be profitable (i.e. still able to pay myself)?

Saving money every month will make it a whole lot easier to keep the lights on and the doors open if the economy gets worse.

FitHive was built by gym owners, for gym owners to help you save time, simplify your business, and make more money.

Our ALL-IN-ONE software platform can help you eliminate the need to run 4 or 5 different software system.

To learn more schedule a demo.

Step 3: Fix your attrition

When we start talking about making more money, the first thing every gym owner wants to discuss is sales & marketing.

How do I get more leads? How do I get better quality leads? Do I need to sell a discounted front-end offer?

But where they first need to look is at their attrition.  If you are losing members (for more than they are moving away) you probably have a problem with the culture or experience at your gym.

Your members are much less likely to quit if they are having an exceptional experience at your gym. And we mean more than “the community” when we say experience. That experience starts with their onboarding. If it isn't providing the motivation and inspiration the member needs, then they are much less likely to stay when times get tough.


To address attrition, start by auditing your new member onboarding process.

  • Is there a clear, written procedure for how all new members are started?
  • What happens at each critical point of their first 90 days? 
  • Are they being checked on? Held accountable? Celebrated for little wins?

If you can’t answer a resounding YES to each of those questions, you have an onboarding problem.

Grab a FREE copy of the FitHive New Member Journey Workbook

After the first 90 days, then what happens? Are your coaches reviewing the member’s goals with them periodically? Do they have a clear plan that they are working on to achieve their long-term goals?

Again, if the answer is not YES to each of those questions, you need to look at how you are helping your members more than just giving them great workouts.


Step 4: Add services your clients need

Stress levels are pretty high right now. And we all know how elevated stress can affect results. From lower attendance, to “stress-eating”, you clients need you now more than ever.

Adding services that compliment your core offer is a great way to solidify the relationship your clients have with your gym.

Some example services include:

  • Nutrition coaching
  • Mindset training
  • Yoga


Remember, members will quit the gym, but they won’t quit relationships. The more integrated you are into their life, and the more meaningful connections you can make between you, your team, and your members, the harder it will be to leave if times get bad.