This gym owner has the scrappiest success story we’ve ever heard…
What’s up Gym World?
Imagine starting your personal training gym in your 180 sq ft bedroom with a few bartered dumbbells and some second-hand equipment.
While plenty of fit pros dream of opening a gym ‘someday,’ Giancarlo made no excuses to turn his into a reality.
For those of you dreaming the same, let Giancarlo’s journey be the push you need to get started.
The $200k/yr career switch
In 2016, Giancarlo quit his job and began training a few people in his 1-bedroom Philly apartment.
That wasn’t enough to make ends meet, so he drove for Lyft. He wanted to own a gym, but he needed clients and cash flow to make it happen.
So he got creative: Giancarlo drove Lyft with a clipboard on his back seat that explained his personal training service. He asked passengers to leave their emails in exchange for fitness content.
Instead of paying for leads, leads paid him.
Over time, he grew his bedroom gym to 35 clients.
Many were inspired by his passion, which expanded his network and clientele. At the time he was working about 60 hours a week, charging each client $35-$65 per hour. He said he was making about $10k/mo with no overhead, but he was burning out.
He used some of his cash flow to upgrade to a 700 sq ft space, and switched from a personal training model to a small group personal training model.
💡 Giancarlo’s model is similar to Jeff Schumacher’s at Engage Personal Training. Check out that episode to learn the ins and outs of running a small group personal training gym.
And while he took a huge financial hit in the short term, it paid off over time. He now has two locations that do $63k/mo in revenue with a 25% profit margin, and his third location is under construction.
💡 It’s not the sexiest revenue number we’ve seen on Gym World, but as they say, “revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, and cash flow is reality.”
Takeaway for gym owners (you’ll want to see this)
Most gym owners use paid ads or fancy organic marketing; Giancarlo focuses on referrals.
When I ran my gyms, referral marketing was something I should’ve focused on but the effort didn’t seem worthy of the revenue it generated.
But Giancarlo keeps it simple by doing two things:
- He sends an automated text on day 30 of every client’s membership and asks if they know anyone else who would benefit from joining the gym. If he gets a lead, he calls that person.
- He runs a Black Card campaign once a year that he learned from previous Gym World guest, Vince Gabriel. Clients receive a card for a 30-day free trial, which they gift to a family member or a friend who isn’t already a member at the gym.
💡 When Giancarlo first did this in 2018, his gym grew from 70 to 100 members in a month. That’s an extra $10,000 in recurring revenue!
The campaign still works, and December is the BEST time to run it.
Here’s how it works:
1. Go to this website: https://mymetalbusinesscard.com/
2. Order 100-200 fancy metal black cards with your gym’s logo and a free introductory offer
3. Mail or hand out the black cards to all your members, along with a note that says something like:
💡 Dear [member’s name], Thank you so much for being part of our gym. To help you get a head start on holiday shopping, we’ve enclosed a trial membership card valued at [$XXX] for you to give to a friend or family member. This card is meant for new members. Each card is valid for 30 days. Please give the gift of fitness to anyone you choose. We appreciate the time you spend with us every year and look forward to serving you, your friends, and family for years to come.
4. Follow up with an email that says something like:
💡 Dear [member’s name], A few weeks ago, you received a package from us in the mail that contained a card for a 30-day trial membership for you to give as a gift this holiday season. Just curious, who are you going to give the card to? Please let us know by [date] as the offer will end soon.
By doing this, your member looks like a rock star for giving a friend something of real value, and you get the chance to close a toasty warm lead.
While training someone for free is never fun, referrals are the highest quality leads out there since your member has already done most of the selling for you.
The campaign only costs a few hundred bucks, so it’ll pay for itself if you get just one new member.
Hope this helps,