A checklist for operators
Private clubs are entering the fitness market in droves. It is the way of the future. Members expect it, and the next generation of members demands it. Private clubs are known for their customer service, communities, and overall quality, but herein lies the risk. When it comes to fitness, clubs are quite green. Yet, members still expect the same level of overall quality.
This checklist is dedicated to clubs who don’t have a fitness center yet, but have started moving dirt. For those of you who have fitness centers already, the list can still be helpful especially if you are looking for a fresh perspective on operations.
The checklist is for operators, not builders, though conversations with builders and designers will be very important. It is critical that an operator is included in the early discussions so that the operations can be factored into the build out.
The below checklist is the product of our experience grand opening private club fitness centers—though we reserve the right to get smarter. The list lacks finer details, but if you have never grand opened a fitness center then you will appreciate the framework this provides.
Note: We refer to pre-opening as the time it takes for us to get to grand opening. Nine months is what we generally request to complete the project, but we have done it in six—which is not recommended.
Introduce best-in-class private club fitness management plan for review/approval:
Strategic plan for pre-opening, grand opening, and first full year of operations
Deliver rough financial projections and pro formas
Determine what the GM/board need/want of the fitness center/operation/services
Survey the membership to determine interests
Conduct a market analysis of private clubs nationally, commercial boutique nationally, and the local fitness market
Electrical for cardio
Cable tv needs for cardio
Internet/data for cardio
Location of water fountains
Location of electrical outlets in relation to fitness equipment, wireless speakers
Audio needs, zones, music subscription service, control devices
Window shades (retractable)
Support beams in ceiling (for TRXs, aerial yoga)
Hot yoga needs (as needed)
Separate temperature controls in all exercise spaces
Soffits or mill work that may interfere with equipment placement
Sound proofing needs
Closet/shelves for fitness equipment storage
An empty wall reserved for storage of towels and small member items
TVs mounted on walls
Monitors mounted on walls for club promos
Air filtration (especially if there is a kitchen nearby or outdoor grill)
Member engagement event
Run focus groups (as needed)
Determine the brand position (check out this article for more help with branding):
How will the operation bring the brand position to life?
How will the brand position influence who is hired, what programs to introduce, and how to market/sell services?
Finalize staffing needs (especially pro hours, reception, management, staff development, and budget)
Introduce SOPs for review/approval:
Fitness specific service standards
Private club appropriate sales strategies (we call it Service-Sales)
Fitness monitor checklist
Staff workout policy
Introduce fitness center rules for review/approval:
Hours of operation
Begin meeting with fitness equipment vendors:
Do not go with a single manufacturer
Consider PM plan and warranty options
Don’t just work with your equipment vendor—consult with a fitness operator to make sure you aren’t filling your space with too much equipment
Do your equipment selections allow you to evolve at the pace of fitness?
Sketch the first two months of programming
Decide upon pricing schedules:
Member engagement event
Office/supplies for fitness director
Office/supplies for staff (as needed)
Introduce safety and risk management standards for review/approval
Finalize fitness equipment (hard goods) order, including lease v cash decisions
Member check in
Fitness business management software
Decide upon KPIs. 1000 Hills Fitness uses the following KPIs in their managed facilities:
Publish fitness center/program renderings
Deliver final financial projections
Recruit and hire core staff (e.g., personal trainers):
What is an ideal candidate like?
Finalize fitness equipment (soft goods) order
Recruit and hire support staff (e.g., group fitness instructors, subs, reception, expert guests for first 3 months of operations)
Staff on-boarding begins 6-8 weeks prior to grand opening:
Session etiquette and strategic plan
Print forms and materials for programs and services:
New client intake
Release of information
Grand opening (look for future resources from 1000 Hills Fitness about the best way to launch the fitness program)
About 1000 Hills Fitness
Founded in 2011, 1000 Hills Fitness is a leading private club fitness operations manager and consultant, combining more than 40 years of operations excellence with private clubs and luxury commercial facilities. The company has the expertise to cover every aspect of delivering a high value fitness and wellness experience for Members while reducing the high costs and stagnation often associated with the industry. The firm can provide an operations evaluation, staff development, strategic planning, equipment selection, program development, recruitment, pre-opening of your new facility, and full-service supervision of your fitness and wellness areas in order to elevate the Member experience and enrich the overall value of the Club. For more information, visit www.1000hillsfitness.com or call 303-325-2640 to connect.