Fitness business: secrets of success

What are the real prospects for the fitness services market in the face of growing competition – time; growing consciousness and civilized behavior of citizens – two and the onset of the crisis – three.

The volume of the market is difficult to determine due to its opacity. In addition, the blurring of the “fitness club” format itself also does not allow us to say exactly how many such establishments we have. A variety of establishments position themselves as fitness, which sometimes have nothing to do with fitness, but are perceived by customers as such. It’s like the old joke: “Honey, it turns out that what we took for 50 years for an orgasm was asthma.”

However, despite the opacity of the market and the difficulty of clarifying the format, experts believe that the potential demand of any million-plus city exceeds the existing supply by at least four times. This allows predicting the saturation of the market with such a service not earlier than in five years.

To begin with, let’s try to define the subject of the study itself, that is, let’s answer the question, what is a “fitness club”?

So, there are four types of fitness clubs:

  1. Large premium-format clubs (the cost of an annual card is from 50 thousand rubles);
  2. democratic middle-format clubs;
  3. small fitness studios;
  4. a terrible legacy of the Soviet era – semi-criminal brutal “rocking chairs”.

Strictly speaking, there are only three types of fitness clubs, the last, fourth – this is the local “appendage” that cannot be stupidly ignored, but which all civilized market players dream of getting rid of by increasing the segment of the third type.

60% of the market falls on the middle format. But the mid-price segment suffers a lot during the crisis, because, trying to optimize their costs, our “middle class” (which is not such in the European sense of this clear term) immediately starts saving on sports. In general, the middle class, whatever it may be, suffers most from all kinds of crises. The rich, as you understand, is a separate topic of conversation, and the poor under any government are the same.

The premium class is also becoming unattractive for a number of reasons.

The first reason is fresh, new and not without extravagance, so we will call it the first, although it is not the main one. It turns out that according to the observations of some elite network club managers, the target audience of the premium class is now completely doing liposuction, instead of tiring themselves with work in the gym, dieting and painstaking work paired with an instructor to build their own beautiful and healthy body. This is more than sad, club directors say, but there’s nothing to be done. Increasingly, premium people are saying “no” to a healthy lifestyle, ignoring the proverb “you can’t even pull a fish out of a pond without effort.” Their philosophy is simple: I eat what I want, live how I like, and don’t bother me with your advice at all. But in two weeks I’m going to Cannes, so that in five minutes the image of the “beauty” would be on my desktop. “I was Alexander Kozlov, but I don’t want to be him anymore, call Orlov Nikandr, I pay money for this.” So the devil wears prada…

The second and main reason for the riskiness of opening an elite club is related to modern requirements for the interior, infrastructure and engineering communications of premises where money is supposed to be taken from a picky client. Those sites that realtors can offer are not suitable. If the opening is supposed to be in the city center, then there are almost no such sites there, and rental rates go off scale beyond reasonable limits. The construction of special buildings tailored to modern requirements for a premium fitness class (swimming pool, mountain simulator, climbing wall) is possible only on the periphery of the city, and it is difficult to get there. The client less and less wants to stand in traffic jams, going for stress relief and relaxation to the other end of the city, until he gets back home – the effect is zero!

The most profitable and promising solution today is to develop the direction of small fitness studios located

  • a) either near the work of a potential client or 
  • b) near the house, i.e. often in residential areas.

Some fitness service tricks

So, the first thing that all the practitioners of this case say is that a well-chosen location is half the success. A business in a residential area not only brings the service closer to the consumer, but also allows you to save on rent. The profitability of fitness services is traditionally low, so you need to save on everything that can be conditionally called “show-offs” that are not relevant, but only amuse the businessman’s pride – newbie.

What can’t be saved?

Again, according to the unanimous opinion of practitioners, one cannot save on everything that works to create a “club atmosphere”. What works to create a club atmosphere, you must feel yourself, otherwise it will not work. Of course, there are many instructions on this topic, but we will not touch on this vast topic in our material. If you manage to create a club, a family, then you will never be abandoned, even in difficult times. This is the law of all services based in their concept on the “club” status. There are places where people go to socialize with nice people, “happiness” or “comfort”, and a fitness club is one of those places. Or you turn your customers into “parishioners”, well – “regulars”, or you burn out. The third, as usual, is not given.

The second thing you can not save on is the coach. If we have already begun to express ourselves in confessional terms, then we will continue this analogy. How were parishioners (especially parishioners) attracted to an empty church? The Sunday fullness of some dull meeting was ensured by only one thing – the fact of the presence of a preacher who was able to wake up the sleepy shtetl minds, and the girls to faint from fiery speeches, stuffiness and tightly cinched forms. In short, the same scheme works in a fitness club as in a restaurant, where the chief is a chef, as in a beauty salon, where the chief is a master star. High professionalism and communication skills are the two main qualities that a coach should possess. The second one is even more important. Such a trainer immediately raises the income of the institution, as it earns you money through personal training, which,

By the way, according to many market players, it is the inability to find good trainers that leads to failure of many fitness clubs that are idle and do not earn. That’s right, equipment can be bought, but where will you get people?

What else should be in a fitness club?

The fitness club must have programs for very young children and for pregnant women. Because if your regular client goes on maternity leave, you can wave her pen forever. But if you have something to offer her, despite all her sexual difficulties, then she will not lose her shape, and you will have money. Okay, isn’t it?

Also, annual memberships help increase profitability during seasonal declines in demand for fitness services. This is what the theorists think. But even they cannot fail to note that in practice the introduction of annual cards is still far away. Our man lives by the principle: “Oh, I don’t know what will happen to me tomorrow!”. In the same way, at a job interview, many of our citizens are frightened, baffled and lowered to the bottom of depression by such a seemingly innocent question asked by a cheerful and naive personnel officer: “What are your plans for the next 5-10 years”? Well, what to say to this naive girl, smearing nonsense on her blue eye? Well, our people do not know what will happen to them in 10 years.

However, don’t despair. Offer annual cards to everyone – someone will buy. And many will buy, despite the foregoing. Any product finds its consumer. Such subscriptions can even be sold on credit, and, you know, such loans are taken.

In Europe, there are institutions that offer services exclusively for people experiencing problems, for example, with the spine. We don’t have that yet, and it’s unlikely to happen in the near future. But when setting up a business in Russia, be interested in how they are doing there and follow all the novelties in both the field of concepts and technology. Because in five years, according to experts, serious network players of Western brands will come to Russian cities, which now work only in Moscow. And if you do not start a business now, then in five years it will be completely unrealistic.

Leave a Comment