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We’re living in tough times, and the current troublesome economic climate is only adding to our collective stress. 

Gym owners are rightly worried about losing members due to the recession that’s predicted to hit in the next few months. Too often gym memberships are seen as a luxury by consumers, and not as a necessity (which is what they should be).

Recessions are an unfortunate part of life and it’s no real surprise to anyone considering the cycle has been sped up by the pandemic, surging energy prices and a cost of living crisis. 

However, that doesn’t mean clubs should sit back and let the worst happen. If the fitness industry can make it through a pandemic in which businesses were forced by law to close for months on end, we can make it through this too.

We’ve put together four actionable steps you can take today to put your gym in a solid financial position by preparing for the economic uncertainty that lies ahead and making sure you thrive beyond it.

How to make my gym survive a recession

Review your pricing strategy.

Because everyone’s finances are so up in the air right now, we’ll likely see an increased desire for flexible monthly memberships that offer affordable monthly payments and gives members the freedom to cancel anytime. Naturally, this is riskier for the gym owner because offering such memberships doesn’t guarantee a long-term monthly income, but it’s worth introducing a flexible option for those that want it. There’s even some conversation to suggest contracts impact sales – read more about that here. 

Introducing a flexible membership option is a better option than slashing your prices to become the cheapest on the market because it doesn’t put your cash flow at risk. You’ll also avoid having to chase individuals that can no longer pay for their fixed-term contract because of mortgage rate increases, redundancy etc.

Your pricing structure should be clear and concise and with minimal barriers that might prevent people from completing their purchase. Online joining is a fantastic tool here because it gives your prospects control over their buying experience and allows them to buy securely online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We recommend that someone should be able to visit your website, join and pay online in less than five minutes. You can use ClubRight to facilitate the whole process – you don’t even need to have a website. Customers can join, pay and head down to your club for their first workout in as little as ten minutes! Learn more about that here.

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Pull your members deeper into your ecosystem.

The trick here is to pull your members so deep into your ecosystem that if they need to cut back their spending, cancelling their gym membership doesn’t even cross their minds. You can do so by putting emphasis on and supporting your customers in building their fitness habits; making sure coming down to your club is ingrained into their routine. 

Next, deliver exceptional customer service so that your customers are consistently delighted by their experience, which you can learn how to do here. Employee satisfaction should also be treated as a priority because your business needs staff to operate! It seems obvious, but looking after your employees is often an afterthought because you’re so focused on your customers. 

The last step in pulling your members deeper into your ecosystem is to deliver value every time. Make your customers feel like they’re getting access to more than just gym equipment by offering complimentary accountability sessions or exclusive member-only downloadable content. Lean on the social aspect of going to the gym and focus on the community that comes with it. If someone has made friends and enjoys the social interaction at your club, they’re more likely to think twice about ending their membership.

Minimise your expenses.

When we talk about minimising expenses, we often go straight to extreme cost-cutting measures that ultimately make it harder to deliver the service you offer. But that’s not the goal here.

Minimising expenses looks like making sure you’re getting the best deal on your monthly expenses – equipment leasing, energy rates, gym software etc. One of our Users recently told us they were paying more than £800 per month for their previous gym software and switched to ClubRight because Capterra has rated ClubRight the best-value gym software on the market!

You can also save time and money on club admin by automating processes wherever possible. Payment chasing, joining emails and renewal reminders are just a few examples of time-consuming tasks that can be automated. Automated tasks result in fewer errors and give you more time to focus on growth, an important part of surviving a recession. See how ClubRight can help with automation here.

How to make my club survive a recession

Diversify your income.

If your membership revenue slows down during the recession, you need to be able to supplement that lost income. It’s time to start thinking about how you can supplement that lost income by diversifying your income. 

Opportunities to generate more revenue will look slightly different to everyone based on what facilities you have and what skills or services you have access to, but online coaching and nutrition plans are good places to start. Partner up with other suppliers to sell supplements or protein powder that your members can buy from you in person or order online through their member app and collect at the club. Or, instead of supplements, sell merchandise branded to your club – a great way to let your members do the advertising. 

When diversifying your income, don’t try all of the above methods at once. Assess your current resources and start with the easy wins; things that you can implement the fastest with the least amount of investment. Measure what works and don’t be afraid to move on to the next idea if your first one doesn’t land.


The best way for gyms to survive the inevitable recession is to stay on top of cash flow and use these steps to take action now instead of waiting until things get worse. Recessions are tough on businesses and humans too, so make sure you’re taking care of yourself and leaning on others for support when you need it. The fitness industry will come out of the other side.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by these strategies? Don’t yet have the tools to sell online? ClubRight can help. We offer the best value gym software on the market right now – no other supplier can match the level of functionality we offer at our price point. Our product experts have more than 40 years of experience in the fitness industry combined, and they’ll help you set up a robust system to not just survive economic uncertainty but thrive. 

Book your free online demo or speak to us directly on +44 (0)203 884 9777.

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