The Easiest Way to Double Your Average Client Value, Increase Client Retention

November 26, 2023 by
Photo Credit: @findlay_movement
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Although CrossFit affiliates have the freedom to run their businesses any way they see fit, the large majority have adopted the same business model: Sell group class memberships for $165 a month.

Case in point: In 2023, 80 percent of revenue at CrossFit gyms came from group class revenue, with a median price point of $165 a month for unlimited group classes (up from $160 in 2022 and $156 in 2021).

  • Other, much smaller revenue streams include personal training (12.8 percent), nutrition coaching (3.2 percent) and hybrid memberships (3.1 percent).

This data comes from the annual State of the Industry Report recently put out by Two-Brain Business, which this year included 13,444 gyms worldwide and data from gym management software companies PushPress, Wodify, Kilo and TeamUp.

Why this matters: When it comes to average client value, 2023 data shows gyms might be leaving money on the table, and a whole lot of it, as personal training, nutrition coaching and hybrid memberships are all higher ticket services, yet most gyms are heavily focused on lower ticket, group class-only memberships.

  • According to the report, the average cost of a hybrid membership is $337 a month—hybrid being a monthly membership that includes group classes bundled with at least one other service, such as nutrition coaching, personal training, online coaching or individual design. (Further, the average price for nutrition coaching as a stand-alone service is $152 a month).

All this is to say, in theory, a gym owner could more than double their average client value by turning group class memberships into hybrid memberships.

What they’re saying: Those who offer hybrid memberships say that adding them has helped increase, not only average client value and overall revenue but also client retention, as high-ticket, high-value memberships keep their clients more accountable than pure group class memberships do.

At Findlay Movement in Cincinnati, OH, Sarah and Patrick Herringer have all their clients on monthly hybrid memberships that include group classes and personal training, and range between $235 and $570 a month, depending on how frequently the client meets with their coach for a one-on-one session. Further, they offer nutrition coaching, holistic health coaching and postpartum movement coaching on top of their hybrid memberships for anyone interested in those services, as well. 

The Herringers started the hybrid model three years ago, and with fewer overall clients today than three years ago, their revenue is still much higher selling higher-value memberships than it was selling group class-only memberships, Sarah explained.

  • “And our client retention is better because our members get more with us than they do elsewhere,” she said.

In Vernon, BC: At Forge Valley Fitness in Vernon, BC, Bonnie and Terrence Limbert’s clients are all on hybrid memberships that range between $195 and $249 a month, and like the Herringers, their memberships also include a combination of group classes and personal training. Further, Bonnie is a nutrition coach, who charges separately for nutrition coaching. 

Not only has switching from group class memberships to hybrid memberships helped drive their overall revenue, but they have also benefited the client, as well, Bonnie explained. 

  • They allow the coach to develop a deeper relationship with the member and the member to feel more connected to the coach and the gym,” she said, adding that hybrid memberships have also improved client attendance and accountability. 

Further, hybrid memberships have helped create a more individualized fitness plan for each client, as each person’s journey is “very specific and personalized,” all the while allowing the coaches to run “more efficient classes as the clients are able to develop new skills in one-on-one settings,” Bonnie added. 

In Scottsdale, AZ: Tim Lyons, a 14-year gym owner, goes so far as to suggest the group class-only model needs to go, as it’s detrimental to long-term financial success for the small gym owner. 

  • “$165 a month is too cheap. $199 is too cheap. I think in the next three to five years there will be more (gyms) closing than opening,” said Lyons, whose cheapest monthly membership at Legacy Personal Training is $429 a month. 

A gym mentor rings in: Audrey Patterson, a mentor with Madlab Business, recommends hybrid memberships to all her gym owner clients, as it means more revenue per member and the ability to “deliver a higher-value service to the client,” as more touchpoint with the coach “fosters deeper relationships,” she explained. Ultimately, this means clients stick around longer, which saves the gym owner even more money long-term.

  • “Retaining clients costs you nothing, while attracting new clients can cost you more time, marketing, coach time and payroll costs,” she said. 

For the business, hybrid memberships create more stability long term, as more loyal, high-value clients are now on recurring memberships. 

  • “Recurring memberships are the basis of consistent revenue generation and business sustainability. And if you can get your recurring memberships to include higher service via hybrid memberships then you immediately increase that revenue stability,” she added. 

The bottom line: If you’re a gym owner looking to increase average client value, overall revenue and client retention, offering more hybrid membership options could be your one-way ticket.

As PushPress owner Dan Uyemura said, most gym owners spend way too much time on trying to pick up new clients when what they really need to be successful “is in the gym already.”

So instead of pushing forward with your next marketing plan to drive new leads your way, it might be worth stepping back and revamping your group class membership model to a hybrid membership approach.

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