Break Ups are Hard. How to Keep Your Gym Members From Dumping You

February 15, 2022

The ups and downs of owning and operating your own fitness business can be enough to drive anyone a bit crazy. The ole’ saying “two steps forwards, one step back” can be all too real. Members can be a bit flaky when it comes to commitment.

So what’s the deal with your members leaving? 

Keeping your current members around long-term isn’t just about making you feel good as a coach. It’s also about continual growth. However, keeping members around can save you tons of money in the long run. Advertising to get new members can be expensive, not to mention the money lost giving free trials, new member discounts, etc.

 Plus, happy members provide the best marketing available. Word of mouth advertising is the most potent form of advertising you could ask for. When someone is happy with their experience, they bring in their friends, and your gym grows organically.

Focusing your efforts on keeping your member retention rate high is the smart move strategically, not to mention it makes you feel good about yourself as the gym manager.

Here are some of our best tips for keeping your members around for the long term.

People Want a Community:

Humans are social beings, and feeling connected to a tribe is super valuable. If your gym or fitness club doesn’t feel like a community, your members will leave and look for it elsewhere. 

Most business owners already know the value of creating a community around their gym. It’s such an essential factor that we recently wrote an entire article on cultivating a community at your gym.

In that previous article we give a bunch of tips for how to cultivate a community, but don’t talk a lot about the role of the coaches and their interaction with members. Studies show that the more engagement a coach can have with members, the less likely members are to cancel.

One easy way of keeping on top of member engagement is to have good gym management software in place, which is now commonplace in most premier gyms or fitness studios.

Having Membership Options:

Are you providing the class types your members are excited about? Offering different types of membership packages can be a great draw for both new and existing members. 

In today’s day and age, people tend to get bored with doing the same thing day in and day out. Offering fresh class options can be a great way to keep your current members excited about showing up regularly. It can also be a great way to increase your current revenue. You can offer something like a once-per-week yoga or cardio class in addition to their current membership package for an up-charge.

The length of membership agreements can also have a big impact on member longevity. Members that signed a 12-month membership agreement have a higher rate of retention compared to shorter contracts. 

Many gyms around the country have switched to the month-to-month model for the convenience of their members. But their retention rate has likely gone down because it allows your finicky members to follow the newest fitness fad.

Offering discounted rates for longer memberships is a great way to convince people to stay with you long-term. Having a tiered pricing model based on the length of the contract is a great way to provide enough value for longer commitments.

New Equipment and Training Methods

It’s important to stay relevant compared to your other local competitors. If there’s one gym around that has all the new shiny equipment, they are going to draw a lot of attention towards them. Unfortunately, the fitness industry can be very competitive and you do have to keep making improvements to keep your members around.

You don’t need to buy new equipment ALL the time, but every once in a while buying some cool new piece of equipment or recovery tool will keep people more interested in resigning contracts. Go ahead and treat your gym to that infrared sauna that you’ve been wanting to buy. Also, everyone loves a slushy machine, just saying. 

Keeping up to date with the newest training methods can also have a big impact on member retention. You don’t need to drop everything and follow the latest fads, but keeping up with the trends can be a convenient way to stay relevant to what’s happening around your gym.

Why People Leave Gyms

We’ve told you a few areas of focus to help keep your member retention rate high in the long term. But we wanted to also inform you of the main reasons why members leave gyms in the first place. 

  • They are not receiving the proper care/attention.
  • Not enough time in their busy schedules.
  • Membership fees are too expensive.
  • Lack of progress.
  • Loss of motivation.
  • Switching to a different style of fitness.

As the gym owner, you may not actually have control over all of the reasons that people may leave. But being aware and doing what you can to mitigate the above reasons can help you adapt in real-time to customer dissatisfaction. 

Keep Your Members Around for the Long Haul

Ultimately, you as the gym manager are responsible for member turnover. You get the credit or the blame depending on how you’re doing. 
Using data and metrics for comparing your month-to-month or yearly retention rate averages can also be an incredible tool for making the changes necessary for success. Don’t make decisions blind, and keep track of the changes you make towards improvement.

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