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Seth Kapoi 01-10-2014 05:35 PM

help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility
First post! :pepper:

Hi all,

I recently opened a small training center in las vegas after leaving a globo gym where i personal trained and taught group classes at for a few years. We currently offer what we call "open-gym" and personal training only. During open-gym hours, members can come in and do the wod. a trainer is always there to walk people through movements and scaling options, etc. we are not a crossfit affiliate yet but plan on it in the future.

my question is, how do we get more members for open-gym?

we've been open for a couple of months now and only have two members. our prices are very fair at $50/ month unlimited and our hours are normal. we've tried a few facebook ads, a groupon (didn't get any people) and even an ad spot on the local news' website all with no luck.

does anyone have any suggestions or tips that could help?

any help would be greatly appreciated.


Seth Kapoi
Zenith Athletics

Adam Morden 01-10-2014 10:31 PM

Re: help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility
Hi Seth,

what's your USP (Unique selling position)? Why should I train at your place and not somewhere else? This should be short, easily understood and be written in a way that conveys the benefits the client receives rather than your qualifications.

also, would you mind sharing what you offered for your FB ads and groupon?


Seth Kapoi 01-11-2014 09:45 AM

Re: help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility

Thanks for the response.

Our USP is the freedom of open-gym. All of the benefits of classes such as programming, coaching, competition, comradery, etc. without having the hassle of having to make a specific class time.

As for our groupon, we had a deal for our beginner's fundamentals course 60 bucks for 6 semi-private sessions plus open-gym for the rest of month 1. The fb ad was for our grand opening, which did pull in a new person. Who will sign up when she gets back in town, about a month from now.

planning on trying another shot at both, any suggestions?

Thanks again!

Tommy Alfinito 01-11-2014 01:21 PM

Re: help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility
If I want to be able to workout at any time and do my own thing, then I would sign up at a globo-gym, that's their target market.

If I want to learn how to do the lifts correctly, be told what the workout is, and be a part of a great community, I am going to join a Crossfit with classes.

I know there are gyms that make the open gym model work, but I wouldn't want to work with that model. One of my masters athletes that moved to Florida goes to a gym like this but it is so I can program for her without her worrying about what the class is, so she basically still wants to be told what do to and what to work on.

When I first started my gym, I would put 5-15 minute blocks of open time for people to work on weaknesses and things they wanted to work on with a coach around during class. Whenever I did this, everyone just stood around and stared at me. I finally talked to everyone and they said all day I am thinking, making decisions, and worrying about things. This is my 1 hour a day where I shut my brain off, you tell me to do that, and I do it. As I have grown, that mindset seems to be even more true.

If you want to make the open gym model work, you should look for some Crossfit gyms that have made it work and even try to do some things similar to a globo-gym. They have been perfecting the open gym model for years now. I know most open gym model Crossfit's still offer some classes and programming. This way people can take some classes and learn the movements and then use the open gym time to build on that.

Tommy Alfinito 01-11-2014 01:24 PM

Re: help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility
Also just because people are loud about things does not make them the majority. I am not on the message boards much anymore but a few years ago there was a group of people who raved about how they would love to have an open gym Crossfit gym that didn't cost a ton. There was about 5 people that would make this comment all the time, but I really believe they were the loud minority. Most people are interested in Crossfit for the camaraderie, the coaching, and the atmosphere.

Brian Strump 01-12-2014 08:29 AM

Re: help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility
If you've run groupon and no one has bit, I'd seriously re-consider your selling points.

If it's an "open gym"style, you're not getting the selling points that you mentioned. You're only catering to a small minority. You need to consider that less than 1% of the population even know about CrossFit. The ones that want to have an "open gym" style of CrossFit is considerably less.

Most people see CF for the good workout, community and camaraderie. They bring friends for those reasons. Those top 3 reasons are strongest in the group dynamic, which you do not have in the style you are training people.

Sorry, but 2 members in months should have smacked you in the face forcing you to re-think your idea.

Skip Chase 01-12-2014 05:02 PM

Re: help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility
We were the 1st gym to create what others have called the 'open gym model'. We've been successful with it since 2005 at 2 locations.
Through the years, I've received emails and calls from various CF affiliates asking me similar questions- "I've been open for 18 months and I only have 12 members. Can you help me?"
Joe Marsh, owner of CF Las Vegas called and asked me that question in 2006. My first response was, "Perhaps you suck as a trainer!" I traveled to Vegas and met with Joe and discovered he is an excellent trainer. He just didn't know how to market himself.

My first comment to you, $50!! Are you serious. You don't take much value in yourself. When I opened my gym in 2005, in 600 square feet, in a small market and NO name recognition, I charged more than that.

If I am in Vegas, and I am looking for elite fitness training, I'm by passing you. $50? I will get what I pay for. $50=substandard training.

Brendan McNamar 01-13-2014 05:42 AM

Re: help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility
For an "open gym" model you need a big pool of experienced CrossFitters looking to be unrestricted on time and wanting to save money.

How are you going to find/create this pool of people?

The only place that might have it naturally would be near big military bases and often they have everything they need on base.

The vast majority of people want coaching and groups.

You would most likely need to create your members by having a long foundations type class that would give people the knowledge to get started.

Not saying it would work or people would want it but I think this is what you need to be thinking about. It is a business model question.

If your a good coach, good with people and have an established member base why not just become a traditional affiliate?

Jason Kelley 01-13-2014 07:01 AM

Re: help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility
I don't know much about gyms but I do about start-ups in general.

Did you not create a solid business plan with some form of marketing strategy? It maybe worth sitting down again, establishing your target demographic, your business model and your strategy for the next 12-16 months. Plan it all out; stage by stage.

The reality could be your business may need to be less of what you want it to be and more of something else, so stay open minded.

Have to agree with comment(s) on pricing. The best products are rarely the cheapest. You may have only got 2 people but those two people may have been willing to pay $80 as an example.

Maybe use them to test your current model. Tell them you need to increase monthly charge by $15-30 and see if they run for the hills or not.

Just to touch on your facebook ads comment. Social media targeting is a great idea but it is still a numbers game. You could need to display and ad 1000 times to get 5 click thoughs of which only 10% may contact you about joining. So that is 1 in 2000 displays (at best). And even then "you" have to convert them in to sales.

In a new business you need to be relentless. In your case when you are not PT'ing you need to be selling yourself/your business 24/7. At the end of a year you should probably feel like you haven't slept for five. "Tried a few facebook ads" won't cut it in my opinion. Obviously there will be exceptions to these 'rules' but if they applied to you, you wouldn't be having this conversation.

Solution off the top of my head not knowing your market:

How's the PT side of things going? Maybe it is a case of stick with the PT and once the client has reached a certain level and feels they no longer need a PT they can be guided towards: "Previous PT clients membership". i.e you only offer "open gym" to previous clients.

Create a loyal "fan base" through PT, retain them via "open-gym".

Joey Scafidi 01-13-2014 03:23 PM

Re: help on getting members for an "Open-gym" type of facility
It's me and one other affiliate in my city.

He does only open gym. I do only classes.

I constantly get people from him saying that the miss and want the class atmosphere.

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