Over the past decade, the health and wellness industry has grown exponentially. From athletic apparel and health apps to wearable fitness technology, people are more focused on health than ever before. And with more people trying to live a healthier lifestyle - 54 million to be exact - new gyms and fitness centers are emerging regularly.
So, what does this have to do with equipment ratios?
If your gym doesn’t have enough of the equipment that is in demand, you will inevitably lose customers to the gym down the block. It’s that simple. Aside from cost and location, the most common reason customers listed for canceling their gym membership was overcrowding and a lack of their favorite equipment when they want to use it.
To help you maintain high levels of customer satisfaction, we’ve created a list of everything you need to know to determine the correct equipment ratio for your gym or health club.
Understand How Your Customers Are Unique to Your Gym's Area
No two gyms are created equal. Even franchise gyms that are meant to offer the same amenities, can still have a variety of differences. There are no magic equipment ratios. You need to determine what is best for your facility and your clientele. For instance, the amount of equipment options necessary at a 24-hour gym will greatly differ from that of a niche gym, like CrossFit.
Basically, your equipment ratio should act as an extension of your business plan. Aligning your facility type with user and area demographics is essential when establishing the correct equipment ratio.
Consider the following:What type of facility do you own?
If you own a multi-purpose gym, do you have a track which would give you the option to have fewer treadmills? Do you have space for HiiT Training? Have you had a chance to evaluate the profitability of your floor space?
What is your clientele expecting?
Make sure your amenities specifically align with what you’re offering. This way, customers aren’t surprised or disappointed when they visit your facility. We also recommend doing competitive research to find out what other gyms of your caliber and price range are offering.
Where are you located?
If you are located within a congested city, your customers will have less of an opportunity to run outside, creating a higher demand for cardio equipment.
Metrics that Determine Your Equipment Ratio
Understanding the demographics of your club. Good equipment ratios rely heavily on data. The single best way to calculate your equipment ratio is through analyzing the trends within your own gym. If you are opening a new gym and don’t have any historical data, research the trends at similar facilities and use that as your baseline. You can always improve after opening.
Usage Patterns Tell The True Story
By analyzing usage patterns you are able to determine which pieces of equipment are in high demand and at which times of the day they are being used most frequently. You can also use usage pattern analysis to build a rotation plan. Rotating equipment based on usage patterns can extend the lifetime value of your equipment and preserve prescious operating capital. If you have multiple locations, tracking usage patterns can help you allocate equipment across different facilities.
Equipment Availability & Peak Times
There is nothing worse than not having enough equipment during a rush. Regardless of the time of day, you will lose customers if they have to wait to use a specific piece of equipment. The best way to measure equipment availability is during the peak times of the day - usually from 4:00 - 7:00 PM when people are leaving work. Too little equipment during these times means your customers will have to wait, causing customers to leave unhappy. But too much equipment during these peak times means you are losing profits. You want to float somewhere in the middle. Saturation reporting will show you exactly when usage times spike and when a negative customer experience could be happening due to lack of equipment.
What better way to gain insight on your gym equipment than from the people who are using it? Customer surveys are extremely helpful and provide gym operators with an incredible amount of insight. And most of the time, your customers will be eager to provide information on how you can improve the facility. If you don't have a member satisfaction survey ready, you can download and customize one here.
Once you've conducted customer surveys from a portion of your members, you need to compile all of the information into one spreadsheet. By reviewing key trends and feedback, you will be able to identify any potential opportunities to improve your equipment or floor space.
Your equipment ratio directly impacts the longevity and growth of your fitness facility. Tracking and measuring data is the only way to correctly assess what is working and what’s not. We highly recommend utilizing equipment sensors that measure usage data and peak times for you. Armed with the right data, you’ll have the resources to run a successful and profitable gym or fitness facility.