As owners and managers of fitness facilities, one of our greatest challenges is attracting, training and retaining great personal fitness trainers. While there are no guarantees when hiring employees in any profession, there are ways to significantly limit the amount of time you put into choosing the right kind of trainers for your facility. At Innovative Fitness, a Vancouver, British Columbia-based company catering exclusively to personal training clients, we use very specific criteria when
hiring staff members.
In the last “Money” column (January 2001), I addressed what it takes to start a new fitness facility. As you may recall, I introduced “Mark,” a real-life entrepreneur who lives in “Smithville,” a fast-growing suburb on the U.S. East Coast. Despite my warnings, Mark opened a 10,000-square-foot club with $100,000 of his money and additional funds from investors. His competition was a slightly aging YMCA, a licensee of a popular fitness chain, an older racquets-based club and a small “ma and pa” operation.
There is nothing wrong with competing on price. However, if it’s not a part of your overall marketing strategy, then flirting with price concessions to win short-term business could indicate a dangerous trend for your business. Compete on value, rather than price. Use the following questions as springboards toward action.
Average hours worked and compensation for the industry were reported in the January 2001 issue of IDEA Health & Fitness Source. These charts break down those results into regions. When looking at the numbers, consider that the region includes big cities and suburban areas, as well as small towns.
When faced with the dilemma of how to motivate employees, many managers simply avoid offering employee incentives because they “don’t have it in the budget.” Yet most employees can be handsomely rewarded if managers budget time, effort and a bit of creativity.
Each year business owners and managers in the fitness industry spend millions of dollars promoting their
facilities and trying to sell memberships. Every form of media is utilized
—television, radio, direct mail and so forth. And yet, when we ask those
customers who do end up joining our clubs how they heard about us, the number one answer in my many years of experience remains the same: word of mouth. Here’s what I hear: “My
sister is a member.” “My neighbor
encouraged me to join.” “My friend
at work brought me as a guest.”
PERSONAL TRAINER PROFILE
Subject: Nicki Anderson Location: Naperville, Illinois Company: Reality Fitness Studio Experience: Tenth year as trainer; third year as owner Maverick Strategy: In 1998, I opened my own studio to work with clients intimated by the regular gym setting. The studio is not a typical health club: It is 28,000 square feet, with five private r...
In my experience, the number one mistake managers and owners make when hiring new help is failing to look beyond the stack of employment applications. Great employees already have jobs. Most people with jobs do not fill out employment applications unless they’re really unhappy with their current situation. The quicker you reshape your approach to hiring, the sooner you can build your facility’s dream team.