How much do gym owners make? Whether you’re considering opening a gym or you’re already a gym owner, you’ll want to know what you should be earning. We’ve got you covered with average gym owner salary details and more.
So, you’re thinking about setting out on your own and becoming a business owner.
Perhaps you’re passionate about fitness and want to turn your passion into a business. Or you work in the fitness industry and want to open your own gym? You’ll want to know how much you can expect to earn.
Or are you a curious gym owner interested in how your earnings compare to others? That’s understandable. It can be tough to tell how your salary measures up to other gym owners.
Success is there for the taking. The market value of the UK fitness industry reached an all-time high of £5.4 billion in 2023.
How much do gym owners make in the UK?
There’s no one-size-fits-all or official average gym owner salary. The amount gym owners make depends on the rate of business growth and the cost of running the business.
So, how much do gym owners make? In the UK, gym owners make an average of £47,197 per year according to Glassdoor. That’s base salary. Then, on average, owners report they make an extra £3,843 on top of that in the form of a bonus, commission, or profit.
The average base salaries reported on Glassdoor range from £29,000 to £83,000 per year. On top earnings range from £1,019 to £14,487. As you can see, owner earnings can differ massively.
It’s highly common for new gyms to make a loss for a time before becoming profitable. And the reality is that 80% of new businesses in the UK survive beyond a year.
As a result, when you first open a gym, you may earn little or no money. As you succeed and grow, you’ll increase your revenue and profit. So, your salary should increase too.
If your fitness business is more profitable at certain times of year, your salary may differ seasonally too.
Business profit vs. gym owner salary
Successful gym owners tend to invest profit back into their business, as well as increasing the amount they earn. And in some cases, instead of increasing their personal salary.
Choosing when to take a salary, and what that should be, needs careful consideration. You’ll need to think about tax and other implications from a business and personal point of view.
In short, there’s no clear-cut answer. Do what’s right for you and your business.
8 factors impacting how much gym owners make
There are certain factors that will impact your earning potential as a gym owner. The most common are:
1. Type of facility
Firstly, the type of fitness facility you run will impact your salary. Why? The type of gym will impact:
- Operating costs
- The number of members you can accommodate
- Membership pricing
- Business size
- And more…
- Budget or low-cost gyms – you’ll need to take a high volume, low-margin approach to pricing. Signing up the highest number of members you can handle. And carefully controlling expenses
- Mid-market gyms – you’ll need to offer superior facilities and services, compared to budget gyms, at a moderate membership price point. Your facilities and staffing costs may be higher than a basic option
- Premium gyms – your operating costs will be higher. That’s because members expect a luxury experience, equipment, and facilities. In return, you can charge a premium membership fee
- Boutique gyms – you’ll offer unique and customised services on a smaller, more personal scale. So, you’ll be able to charge a high price point in most cases. You’re likely to spend more on creating the right member experience. And will need equipment that measures up
Profit margins will differ depending on the type of facility you run. And in each case, you’ll need to carefully balance the different factors at play to maximise your margins. So, your success in doing that will impact how much you can make as a gym owner.
The exact location (or locations) of your gym(s) will influence your salary as a gym owner.
Your location can impact the amount you can charge (it can also impact operating costs in the same way). For example, if you are in a city centre location, you may be able to charge more.
The region you’re located in can affect the amount you can charge. The average cost of a gym membership is highest in London and the South East. And lowest in Northern Ireland.
Together with membership price, your location will influence the number of members you can attract. Plus, how many sales you can make in other areas. Think pay-as-you-go visits and day/weekly passes, and retail products.
For instance, if you’re next to a busy train station, you’ll have the chance to attract commuters. And others using public transport too. You may also get more pay-as-you-go visitors. Plus, you could sell drinks and snacks to travellers.
Whereas, in a rural location, members and visitors will have to travel directly to your club. And there’s often a smaller potential membership base living and/or working nearby. All in all, earnings potential will be different in each scenario.
3. Working in & on the business
Especially in the early days of welcoming members, as a gym owner you’ll spend a lot of time working in the business. Working in your business covers anything that’s a task or job. And managing the execution of everything that’s needed to keep your business running.
To increase your earning potential as a gym owner, you’ll need to set aside time to work on the business. Working on your business includes anything strategic. For example, marketing and sales strategy, putting in place new systems, research, or expanding your services.
Start by making some time to think about the bigger picture. Work out how your fitness business is performing. As you grow, you’ll need to delegate more everyday tasks (and automate what you can) to free your time to focus on the bigger picture.
By getting more strategic, you’ll be on the road to creating a business that serves you, rather than you serving it. And that means you’ll be able to find ways to grow and improve your business. So, you’ll be able to afford a bigger salary.
4. Maturity of the business
As your gym business matures and has been open for longer, you’ll likely make more money from it. Firstly, in those early years you’re likely to need to invest more into your business than you take.
Once you’ve been open for a while, you’ll need to rely less on acquiring new customers to grow. Build a loyal base of members. And you’ll have the opportunity to increase your member lifetime value (LTV).
With this member loyalty comes the opportunity to take advantage of the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
For instance, use a gym member referral programme to encourage your members to introduce family, friends, and colleagues. And offer members free guest passes to bring someone along and try your club out.
Word of mouth marketing is more cost effective than other channels.
So, you’ll be able to decrease your customer acquisition cost (CAC). In combination with a higher member LTV, your business should become more profitable. And so, you’ll have greater opportunity to earn a higher gym owner salary.
Revenue is the money that comes into your gym business.
For most gyms, membership fees make up the biggest proportion of revenue. In addition, common sources of revenue include:
- Casual visits
- Day or week passes
- Group fitness classes
- Personal training sessions
- Retail sales – for example, clothing, supplements, food and drink
- Ticketed events
- Renting out spaces or rooms to other businesses
- Nutrition services
- Training plans
Attract and retain more members, plus find other ways to bring in extra revenue. And, as a result, you’ll make more money.
6. Cost of doing business
Whereas revenue is what’s coming into your business, your expenses are what’s coming out. The cost of doing business.
The cost of opening a gym and operating will typically include covering:
The better control you have over your expenses and the more revenue you make to cover them, the more profitable your business will be.
Another factor that impacts how much you can make as a gym owner is debt.
If your business has borrowed money to open, operate, or grow, you’ll have debt. The higher this debt is, the bigger the impact it will have on business profitability. And, therefore, your salary.
Higher debt attracts higher interest rates. That means more expense to cover. And it can also limit your ability to reinvest profit into your gym business to improve and expand.
The better you can manage any debt your business has, the easier it will be to earn a profit.
On that note, the BIGGEST factor that influences how much a gym owner makes is profitability.
Profitability is the difference between your revenue and expenses. You’ll reach profitability when your revenue is higher than your expenses.
If you can keep your expenses low and your revenue high, you’ll build a profitable gym business.
As an owner you are ultimately responsible and need to know how much money is coming in and how much is going out. If you can become more profitable, you’ll be able to take a larger salary.
Becoming profitable as a new gym
When you first open, the sooner you can become profitable, the faster you’ll increase your salary.
These tips can help you achieve profitability as a new gym:
Nail your pre-sales strategy
How do you make sure your new club is buzzing from day 1 of opening? With an effective pre-sales strategy. This is essential whether it’s your first club, or, if you are expanding to a new location.
During a pre-sale, you sell memberships before opening. Your new members will sign up ahead of time for a membership. Then when you open their first payment occurs and their membership activated. Use your gym sales software to capture pre-sales members.
Run an effective advertising campaign to promote your new club and your pre-sale. Consider a special offer for these founding members. Advertising channels to consider include social media and local newspapers and magazines.
Distribute leaflets. It’s worth checking with your local council before you do this. Rules can differ around doing this, especially on the street. Generally, you are free to post leaflets through local letterboxes and within a building when you have permission.
Bonus tip: In the early stages of planning your new gym, capture details from those who express an interest. And get back in touch when your pre-sale memberships are available.
Build your brand
Your brand is the identity of your gym, it gives your business personality. Your potential new members see new brands every day. To stand out, you need to create a strong brand that captures attention. And create the right impression from the start.
A strong brand can help you become profitable faster by:
- Increasing recognition and memorability
- Inspiring loyalty
- Powering word of mouth
- Commanding higher prices
- Helping you attract passionate employees
A strong brand is more than a logo (that’s the symbol of your business). Your brand identity will include:
- What your brand says
- What your values are
- How you speak about your club
- And how you want to make your members and customers feel
Want to create a memorable brand?
You’ll need to start by researching your target members. Nail your value proposition. And understand your competition.
Then establish your brand mission and vision. Articulate the benefits you’ll bring to members. Build your brand identity with visuals, messaging, and an aligned experience. Live and breathe this brand.
If you can get branding right from the start, it will be easier to attract and retain members. And that gives you the opportunity to increase revenue faster.
“I live and die by this quote that’s gone with me throughout my career in the fitness industry. ‘Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, and how you leave people feeling is your trademark.’
It’s such a powerful quote. And as an owner or operator if you really think about yourself and build your values around that, you will create the team you need in place to be in line with your own ethos, your own values, and your own morals.”Amy Ritson, Independent Gyms
Focus on your members
Of course, your member experience is a part of your brand. Yet, as it can have a big impact on how fast you achieve profitability so it’s worth calling out separately.
Generally, your new members will have a choice of options available when it comes to working out. Other gyms and leisure centres. Outdoor activities. At home and on-demand platforms. You need to make sure they include you in their workout plans.
Think about how you want to make members feel. Then look to apply this at every touchpoint in your gym member journey. Above all keep listening to your members.
The Winning The War On Attrition report found that 52% of former gym members quietly quit the gym. To summarise, these members cancelled indirectly due to a payment failure. Or cancelled directly without telling their club why.
Firstly, put in place effective processes to manage payment failures. Your gym management software partner should be able to help. Secondly, focus on creating a culture where gym member feedback is sought out.
By listening to members and acting on what you hear, you’ll be able to identify gaps where the experience your members get isn’t living up to expectations. Check out 11 ways to get actionable gym member feedback.
Lastly, invest in the technology to create the right member experience. Your gym membership software should let you build the exact experience you want. Seamlessly integrating with existing and emerging technologies.
Be a visible leader
As a gym owner, you’re a leader. And if you can successfully lead your business, you’ll become more profitable.
Especially at the start, you’ll need to take on a diverse range of roles within your business. As you start to grow and build your team of gym staff.
You’ll need to be a visible leader. According to Harvard Business School Online, these are the top characteristics of an effective leader:
- Ability to influence others – you’ll need to listen and understand your team members, making changes as needed. This will build trust and encourage your team to work to make your gym business a success
- Transparency (to an extent) – give your people an idea of where your business is going. This will help to make them feel a part of it and show them how they can contribute. Avoid making your employees feel too observed to retain trust
- Encourage risk-taking and innovation – of course, you need to keep your members and team safe in the gym environment. But supporting your team to try new things and break unwritten rules, while embracing mistakes, can allow for innovation to occur
- Integrity and accountability – successful leaders can balance power and accountability. And to do this your team needs to know you will advocate for them, treat them fairly and do what’s right for the business
- Act decisively – you need to make strategic decisions fast with as much data as possible. Then stick to that decision unless there’s compelling reason to change
- Show resilience – recognise there will be times when you’re met with failure. Face hard truths and difficult challenges. Take responsibility for your decisions, keep optimistic, and focus on a new approach fast
To effectively lead your business and team, you’ll need the right systems and partners in place.
Look for a gym management system that helps you automate daily tasks from a partner who is there to support your members with payment queries. This will free your time to be a visible leader.
Be visible on the gym floor and get to know your members.
If you’ve got a background in personal training and coaching, provide advice where you can. Talk to members to get valuable insights into member experience and use this to make improvements.
You’ll also be leading by example in helping team members adopt a feedback-focused culture.
How to increase profitability and your salary as a gym owner
As your gym or fitness club becomes more established, you’ll want to find ways to become more profitable. So, your gym owner salary increases too.
Here are tips for growing profitability:
1. Standardise & automate operations
Yes, we know, not the most exciting tip! While it can be easy to put off putting in place procedures and systems, spending some time on these can help your business become more profitable.
Look at all the daily tasks that need doing across your business. Document these. Put in place routines to find efficient ways of doing things. Use technology that will automate manual tasks. For example, chasing late payments and identifying members at risk of cancelling.
Make sure relevant team members are fully trained in your operational processes. Having documented ways of working in place will make it easier to onboard new team members. And help you to identify where things aren’t working as they should.
Listen to staff feedback to refine ways of working and make improvements.
Also think about your member experience. Document as much as you can. Think about everything. How should staff greet members? What touchpoints make up your member journey? What’s your approach to marketing? How are classes taught?
This will help you create a consistent member experience.
2. Adjust your pricing
Look at your gym pricing strategy. To increase revenue, you could try:
- Creating new membership packages at a higher price point with a luxury experience
- Adding new gym contract lengths that cater to member demands
- Offering special packages for specific groups like students or over-60s
You may want to increase prices to cover higher operating costs, investments made, and new services. Let members know about new prices well in advance of the price change happening. And make sure you check membership terms too before changing prices.
Explain the value of being a member at your fitness club. And showcase any investments you’ve made that benefit members.
3. Sign up more members
Attracting new members to your gym or fitness club will help you grow and generate more income.
So, here are some tactics that can help you increase the number of new members you attract:
- Special offers – use promotion codes to give new members access to a special offer when joining. For example, no joining fees, free or discounted months, branded merchandise like water bottles and t-shirts, or upgraded access to services
- Effective lead management – use gym management software that makes it easy for you and any sales staff to proactively nurture and manage prospective members
- Partnerships – create partnerships with other local businesses to offer special packages for loyal customers
4. Retain more members for longer
Often overlooked in favour of signing up new members, retention is key to the profitability of your gym business.
Keep members coming back for longer and you’ll increase your member lifetime value. Plus, it’s usually cheaper to retain existing members than it is to attract new ones.
That will help you become more profitable. Increasing retention starts with understanding why members quit the gym.
Recent research, published in the Winning The War On Attrition report, found that most members cancel. Or become cancelled without ever telling clubs why.
The report contains ways to help you better understand why members leave. Plus, details on how you can keep more members coming back for longer. And that’s key to sustainable growth and profitability. Significantly increasing your ability to make money from your business.
5. Expand your offering with new services
Offering new services is a great way to expand your business. As well as adding new revenue streams to boost profitability.
- Personal training sessions
- New group fitness classes
- Nutrition advice
- Physio and other recovery services
You could even rent out spare space in your club to coaches and therapists. So, you’ll boost your income this way too.
6. Look at product sales
Talking about new revenue streams, selling products in your club will let you earn incremental revenue from your members.
Branded merchandise like t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, bottles, and towels can be a great option. You also have the benefit of members showcasing your brand away from the gym. Win-win!
Nutritional supplements, sports drinks, and healthy snacks are often appreciated by members. If you have room for a café and seating area, consider serving coffees, juices, and shakes.
Some clubs are even turning areas into co-working locations with hot desks. So, members working remotely or running their own businesses, can choose to work from the comfort of your club.
Additionally, if you don’t have staff available to sell products, you could install a vending machine. And consider a self-service coffee machine, like you often see in service stations and convenience shops.
7. Create corporate partners
Located near to other businesses? Create corporate membership rates and partner with these businesses to offer their employees special membership packages.
Other ideas include running events with corporate partners for their employees. For example, fitness assessments, classes and workshops, or team challenges.
You could also look at partnering with aggregators like Gympass. This will give you access to employees signed up to the platform via their employers.
Creating corporate partners will let you grow your reach and attract new members. All helping you generate more revenue.
8. Pair up with local hotels
Similarly, if there are hotels near to you without their own gym, form a partnership. And give guests access to your gym. That might mean discounts on day and week passes or another commercial arrangement.
This is a fantastic way to help travellers keep up their fitness routine. And can help you bring in extra income with a light lift.
9. Invest in marketing
Want to grow your business and increase revenue? An effective gym marketing strategy is essential.
Marketing will help your gym business:
- Spread brand awareness
- Boost your sales
- Attract and keep members
- Build trust
- Make it easier to reach and engage your target audience
Marketing can be effective and inexpensive:
- Social media – create pages and groups on the channels your target members use. Create helpful posts. And spend time interacting with your followers to build a community
- Email marketing – use the marketing automation features within your software to send personalised, targeted, and timely emails to members and prospects. Promote special offers. Give fitness tips & tricks. And share the latest news from your gym (for example, events happening, new equipment, new classes, or new team member profiles)
- Search engine optimisation (SEO) – make sure your website is easily found by anyone looking for gym memberships, personal training, classes, and other services you offer
Invest in marketing to create long-term profitability and grow your salary as a gym owner.
10. Run referral programmes
Word of mouth marketing is one of the most powerful and cost-effective type of marketing available. And as you grow, a gym member referral programme, will encourage your members to market your business for you.
Typically, a referral programme will benefit the referring and new member with a discount or gift. And your club will enjoy a new member.
Many gyms will have refer-a-friend offers that run continuously. You could also create time-sensitive special offers. And draw attention to your programme and encourage uptake.
11. Organise events & challenges
Fitness challenges gamify fitness to encourage members to use their membership. Use challenges to build community in your gym. Get members to interact with one another.
Challenges will help you create a stickier gym member experience. Increasing length of stay to grow member lifetime value.
You could also organise events like workshops with specialists. Perhaps a yoga workshop. Maybe a talk on nutrition. Or a strength training technique workshop.
Think about what would work for your target membership base. Make events ticketed with a discount for members. And give non-members the opportunity to attend too.
Events like these will help you grow your reach. And bring in more revenue outside of memberships. Both helping you increase profitability.
12. Put in place unmanned access technology
Access control is important if you want to run a profitable gym business. And while it might not seem obvious, effective access control can help you become more profitable.
Why? Access control that’s integrated with your gym CRM will help you track visits. So, you can avoid unauthorised access by non-members. And identify when a member’s visit pattern changes, vital to identifying those at risk of cancelling.
Many gyms choose unmanned access control. Essentially, that means putting in place technology and hardware so members can access your facilities without a staff member being there.
This approach to operating can help you optimise staffing to cover key periods only. It’s a flexible way to operate as a gym owner.
13. Go 24/7
Likewise, offering 24/7 gym access to members can help you attract a broader membership base. And in turn, increase profitability to grow your earnings.
A 24-hour gym access system (often allowing for unmanned access), will help you compete with big players. For example, The Gym Group and PureGym offer 24/7 access as standard.
It’s fantastic for members who do shift work. As well as those who prefer to workout at quieter times. And as a gym owner it can help you achieve better work/life balance and become more profitable.
The wrap up…
How much do gym owners make is a common yet complex question. And it’s one asked by prospective and existing gym owners. While averages are available from Glassdoor and similar sites, really a gym owner salary is determined by many different factors.
Essentially, the more profitable your business is the higher a salary you should be able to take. There are many ways to increase profitability as we’ve detailed in this article.
Successful gym owners are effective leaders that can create profitable gyms. And in turn choose to take attractive salaries to reward their hard work.
The right systems and partners can help your fitness business grow profitability, so you can earn more as a gym owner. Get in touch to see what Xplor Gym can do for your business.
Gym owner salary: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average salary of a gym owner?
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a gym owner in the UK is £47,197 per year in 2023. On top of this owners take home an average of £3,847 in additional earnings from their fitness business.
How much does a gym owner make in a year?
Gym owners in the UK make an average of £51,044 a year. That includes an average salary of £47,197, plus on top earnings of £3,847.
This means that on average gym owners make £3,933 a month.
What does a franchise gym owner make?
Franchise gym owners in the UK make between £25,000 and £60,000 a year according to Glassdoor. And the average is £38,987.
As with non-franchise gyms, the amount owners make can vary depending on the franchise owned and successful management. Positively, the British Franchise Association (bfa) reports that 93% of franchisees claim profitability. And under 1% of franchisors close per year due to commercial failure.
Do gym owners make more money if they own multiple locations?
Owners with more than one gym have the chance to make more money than single-site gym owners. Of course, with more sites comes the need to invest more and cover operating costs.
Successful multi-site gym owners can take a higher salary than single site gym owners.
Is the salary of a gym owner affected by the size of the gym?
A larger gym often has the capacity to attract more members than a smaller club might. So, the size of the gym owned can impact the salary of the gym owner.
Yet, salary will also be impacted by the location, membership price points and more.
Do gym owners make a higher salary in urban or suburban areas?
The location of a gym can impact the salary a gym owner takes home because certain areas can boost profitability. Typically, gym owners in urban areas can make a higher salary than those in suburban and rural areas.
Why? Location will impact membership prices and the number of potential members. Urban areas tend to command higher fees and have more people working and living nearby. Although, often operating costs are higher in such locations.
Regional location can also impact on gym membership pricing and target audience size.
How does a gym owner’s salary compare to personal trainers, fitness instructors, and gym managers?
Glassdoor reports that the average gym owner salary is £47,197 per year in the UK. This compares to:
How long does it take for a gym owner to start earning a profitable salary?
Exactly how long it takes for you to earn a profitable salary as a gym owner will depend on your business model and other factors. It can take a few years for some, especially if you choose to reinvest profit into your business.
If you are a gym franchise owner, you may achieve profitability faster thanks to a proven business model and recognisable brand. Snap Fitness explains that franchisees normally see return on their investment within 2-3 years.
The sooner your gym business becomes profitable, the sooner you’ll be able to take home a profitable salary.
Are there any certifications or qualifications that can increase gym owner salary?
While there are no formal certifications or qualifications needed to become a gym owner. If you have existing qualifications in business management, marketing, personal training, gym instruction, and nutrition you may be able to take home a larger salary.
Article by Xplor Gym
First published: 09 October 2023
Last updated: 31 October 2023