Gym Owners Get Creative to Build Community, Generate Revenue

May 7, 2023 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit Centralia (
Enjoying Morning Chalk Up? Access additional exclusive interviews, analyses, and stories with an Rx membership.

While the group class has always been the bread and butter for CrossFit affiliates, most have discovered diversifying and offering other services—from personal training to nutrition coaching to individual design to renting out space to registered massage therapists or physical therapists—is beneficial for all parties involved.

Others still take a look at their square footage and community and see even more opportunity to find creative ways to generate additional revenue in a way that also helps their community.

Case in point: In February, we covered a gym in Cedro, CA—Country Strong Fitness— whose owners Karina and Lani Bangay turned their gym into a Learning Center for homeschooled children in 2021. Today, 60 kids pay anywhere from $450 to $550 a month for a place to workout and do their schoolwork supervised by a full staff. Ultimately, the initiative has allowed the Bangay’s to be profitable in an especially tough economic time. 

Four Other Owners Thinking Outside the Box

Lewiston, ID: Amanda Long, the owner of CrossFit LCValley in Lewiston, ID read an article written by Two-Brain Business mentor Chris Cooper about advertising and had a brain wave. She decided to sell advertising space on one of her gym’s walls to other small business-owning members to generate some quick, easy funds to buy new equipment and “take care of miscellaneous things,” she explained, without having to rely on adding new members for new revenue. 

The details: Long reached out to members individually—a dentist, a massage business owner, an electrician, an insurance company owner, a coffee shop owner and even a funeral home owner—and found 10 members eager to join her wall.

  • Each of them then helped design their two-foot by three-foot banner, and in return they paid Long $750, as well as the $55 cost of the banner, to advertise on her wall for one year.
  • “They were so easy to sell…it’s a no-brainer,” said Long, who raised a quick $7,500 last month, adding that she definitely recommends the initiative to other gym owners as it’s a quick way to “add value” and generate revenue.

Madison, AL: Stephen Miller, the owner of CrossFit Impulse in Madison, AL took a look at his space, his community, and his skillset as a certified management training instructor and decided to offer a management course at his gym, designed to build “a management toolbox to manage businesses, and life in general, more efficiently and effectively,” he explained. 

The details: He sold the 40-hour, twice a week course designed for “anyone that requires good decision-making in their career field” for $600 and had 10 people go through the course. 

  • “Most of our client base are professionals in various industries, so anything we can offer to help them in their career, as well as fitness, is a plus in my books,” Miller said, adding that because his first attempt—his “pilot project”—went well, he’s going to offer it again in 2024 for somewhere between $800 and $1,000.

Ruston, LA: Evan Derveloy, the owner of CrossFit Ruston in LA, decided to try offsetting his marketing and advertising costs by designing a Diet Guide ebook, as well as a 12-week, no equipment introductory CrossFit course that he sells online to leads and prospects. 

The details: Derveloy gives away many of the ebooks at zero cost, but he also sells between 15 and 25 of them each month for anywhere from $9.99 to $49, which he uses to “reduce lead cost and make marketing a net positive,” said Derveloy, who has been pursuing this strategy for close to two years.

  • “We vary the price based on front end revenue. If front end revenue is lower, we raise the cost for the book and workouts,” he said of why the price fluctuates between $9.99 and $49.
  • He added: “Many gym owners hesitate to pay for advertising and assume, like most small business owners, that referrals are the only (marketing) channel they need…Using a system like this allows us to close the gap between paying for ads while also getting results for them.”

Centralia, IL: Michael, Wright, the  owner of CrossFit Centralia in IL, hosted a ruck walk scavenger hunt through the city of Centralia as a community-building event, where he charged $40 a team, but thinks you could charge closer to $100 if your goal was to turn it into a money-maker. 

The rules: Each team is assigned a color and has to find the flags of that color, which are hidden around the city. The teams are given clues about how to find them, and the first team to collect all their team’s flags and make it back to the gym wins.

  • Ultimately the event was a great way to make fitness a little more fun, and especially accessible, than a more traditional in-house CrossFit competition, Wright explained.
  •  “It was a cool vibe because it’s simple and everyone can do it. It’s just talking and solving clues…you get people from all different fitness backgrounds…It’s something different,” he said. 

The big picture: When you open a gym, you not only have the luxury of useful square footage, but you also have a built-in community of people to help, and who can help you.

And while functional fitness will always be at the heart of what they do, gym owners are also constantly proving that the sky’s the limit in terms of what they can do with their space, their community and their business.

Get the Newsletter

For a daily digest of all things CrossFit. Community, Competitions, Athletes, Tips, Recipes, Deals and more.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.