How to Run a Gym: 8 Tips for Managing Your Instructors

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You decided to open a gym because of your dedication to fitness and desire to help others feel better about themselves. While your expertise lies in training and enabling clients to achieve their fitness goals, you might not have experience in other areas of running a business, such as managing a team of employees.

The entire process of managing your staff members can seem overwhelming at times. From hiring and mentoring to training and daily management, a lot goes into successfully leading a team of people.

Here are eight tips to help you better manage your staff members.

1). Hire the right people

No matter how much you might need to hire an instructor, you must take your time and do it right. Only hire people that you think will fit into the established culture at your gym. You want friendly, outgoing people who are as dedicated to fitness as you are, while still having something unique to bring to your gym. While it might take longer to find the right person, you’ll end up saving time in the end, as these individuals will likely stay with your business longer.

2). Give your instructors freedom

It’s important to let your instructors teach classes their way, as long as it’s consistent with your gym. Most fitness instructors teach in a way that makes them comfortable. If you make them abide by certain rules and regulations, they may not be as natural, causing them to not provide the level of training they normally would. Encourage freedom, while making sure they still follow the main philosophies of your gym.

3). Always be available to talk

If your instructors are having a problem, whether it’s work related or personal, they need to know they can come to you to talk. Especially when it’s work related, it’s important to let instructors know they should come to you first when they’re having issues, whether it’s with another instructor or member. Be approachable and truly interested in addressing their concerns, no matter how small or big they may be.

4). Set a schedule in advance

It’s common for instructors to have multiple jobs. From teaching at other gyms to having another part-time job, these individuals lead busy lives. Bring some balance to their hectic schedule by structuring class times that work with their schedule, and don’t change from month-to-month. Having instructors scheduled to consistently cover certain class times will make it easier for them to stay with your business, and structure their second gig around your classes.

5). Schedule time for feedback

It’s important to schedule reoccurring one-on-one meetings with your instructors. You can use this time to discuss how things are going, cover any concerns they might have and provide feedback on their performance. Always keep your feedback constructive, even when you’re discussing something negative. Remember, it’s great to consistently get feedback from your members, which you can then relay to instructors during these meetings.

6). Reward instructors who do well

If your instructors are doing a great job, let them know. From offering bonuses or commissions for signing up new members or saving certain members from leaving, these little perks can go a long way. People love to know they are appreciated.

7). Offer long-term incentives

Turnover is common in this industry, so if you are happy with your instructors and want them to stay, give them extra incentives to keep them around. Consider offering continued education, help pay for additional training and certifications and provide raises after one year, two years and so on. Show your instructors you’ve invested in their success and want to help them build their careers.

8). Pay your instructors fairly

It’s important to pay your instructors a fair rate that is consistent with the market. Paying them too low will leave them unhappy searching for something else, while paying them too much can hurt your business. Find a consistent, fair rate that works for your business, and look for opportunities for provide incentives and bonuses.


If you’re looking for insight on how much you should be paying instructors and whether or not hiring salaried employees makese sense for your business, get your copy of our Boutique Fitness Benchmark Report.

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