Zen Planner’s Benchmark Report Retrospective: Key Findings

5 min read


Use these best practices when hiring

For our annual fitness industry Benchmark Reports, we survey hundreds of schools, gyms, boxes and studios to get a pulse on industry trends. Each survey asks dozens of questions on topics like membership, space, finances, class sizes, demographics and more. Then we dig in deep for analysis, looking at correlations, trends and patterns that indicate a thriving business. We also examine other factors that indicate a business might be struggling.

We conduct four different surveys which focus on four different verticals in the fitness industry; Martial Arts, Boutique Fitness, Affiliate Gyms, and Yoga. This year, we found commonalities across all the industry specific benchmark reports. We’ve outlined those findings in the videos below. We hope that you’re able to find some insights that can help your business.

Don’t forget to download your free copy of our Benchmark Reports!


Being a leading gym also means finding the right space and our research proves that leaders actually have less square footage per member. What does that mean? They don’t try to stuff people in on top of each other. Actually, they just try to make great use of their space. They ensure they’re in not too big of a space and they offer more classes when needed.

Thriving businesses also tend to have more members, and they’re in a facility that makes sense for their business. All too often, new businesses open in huge facilities thinking they’ll eventually grow into the space. Instead, find a smaller space and look for opportunities to make your space work for you as you grow.

There are opportunities to expand your class sizes, add new classes in, make use of your gym after hours. All of these things you can do to get more revenue per square foot.


One way to create a successful business is to get the vast majority of your members on Autopay. In fact, our data shows that thriving businesses have as many as 60-87% of their members on Autopay.

Autopay has three primary benefits. First, it makes sure you’re getting paid each month on time. Autopay actually helps you increase cashflow as you have a predictable revenue stream coming in each month. Last but not least, it removes those awkward conversations between you and your members. You want to be a coach, not a bill collector.


The most successful businesses avoid discounting because it hurts your line. Thriving businesses are strict with discounts, meaning, they’ve a much higher average revenue per member than they’re struggling counterparts. For leading affiliations, the average revenue per member is $146 per month as compared to $66 per month for their struggling counterparts.

Discounting is a slippery slope, not only does it reduce the amount of revenue you’re getting from members, but also it allows your members to start creating the idea that they should expect a discount from you on a monthly basis. If devalues the service that you’re providing to your members and for other members it might have them questioning why they’re paying more than other gym members are paying.

That’s a Wrap

Those are the key takeaways we’ve discovered from our most recent Fitness Industry Benchmark Reports. Download the full benchmark report below to look at all of the responses and see what separates the top performing gyms, boxes, studios and schools from those that are struggling.

We’ll be gathering data for our 2019 Benchmark Reports in the coming months. If you’d like to participate in comment below or send us an email at marketing@zenplanner.com. Any feedback you have on how to improve our survey and report in future years is also appreciated.

So there you have it. Our key findings from our most recent Benchmark Reports. Want to learn more? Download your free copy of our Benchmark Reports.

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About the Author: Kelli Sweeting

I'm Coach Kelli, a devoted CrossFit gym owner with 15 years of experience managing my facility, along with owning yoga studios and wellness centers. Beyond the fitness world, I have a passion for cooking, cherish moments with my children and family, and find joy in spending time outside. Having experienced the highs and lows, I'm dedicated to leveraging my expertise to help you grow and succeed on your fitness journey.