I would not call the fitness industry ‘inherently unpredictable’ but I have been in a situation where I received late final closing notice of a gym where I had been training all my clients. I had been aware that this was a possibility but knew that the owner was trying to negotiate better leasing terms.
In my case, the gym membership had been transferred by a large national chain, and they gave me initially permission to train my clients there as an independent contractor as I had been in the old facility.
About two months into that arrangement, a rather slick looking guy asked for an interview, told me that the gym would not longer allow independent contractors and gave me an “employment opportunity”. I had already smelled that rat and was at least prepared.
Fortunately for me, I was able to open a studio within weeks of that occurrence. I have to praise Bowflex who made one of their models available to me within days. And an even greater praise to my clients, all of which stayed with me as I transitioned the space into the studio that I have now.
It was really scary when it happened. In the long term, they did me a favor in kicking me in the right direction, and it was a story with a very happy ending.
A gym near me just did this to all their members. They collected everyone’s membership dues, next day locked the door and said they were out of business. Second time that owner has done that at his facilities, and he is a lawyer so the likelihood of those members ever seeing that money again is slim.
That however does create opportunity for gyms around that business, and I have definitely seen an increase in my own clientele from it. I feel sorry for members that have to go through that kind of transition, but it sounded like that specific place wasn’t well run anyways and now people can find a better place that will take care of them more.
It happens all the time depending the business and the circumstances it operates under. Best option here is to either take your clients to another gym and negotiate any fees associated with it or start a business and convert them as your clients. Sometimes this is not a bad thing…if you know what I mean. Usually in cases like this one the non-compete policy does not apply anymore (if the current business goes out of business).