Gym owner makes $300k/yr from 575 sq ft

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

Gym World comes from Kilo co-founder John Franklin, who shares lessons about making money in the fitness industry.

This will make you rethink your model…

Gym World, regardless of what you’ve been told, it’s not size that matters, but how you use it.

Haylin Alpert of Core Principles Personal Training is a prime example. 9 years ago, he subleased 575 sq ft in a corporate gym and now profits $300k/year from it.

Today, he’s paying $1,000 in rent, and did we mention the amenities are as nice as an Equinox?

Here’s how he did it:

Elite space

Starting a high-quality gym with as little money as possible requires some creativity.

A common strategy we’ve seen here is finding creative ways to start a gym on a shoestring budget. James Pratt began his small group training biz at a football academy where he interned, and Giancarlo Regni converted his 180 sq ft bedroom into a training space for his clients.

Haylin took a different approach. He rents 575 sq ft in a fitness center inside a corporate office and worked out a unique rent arrangement where he pays $12 per member per month (this currently adds up to about $1,000).

💡 This all started when one of Haylin’s clients introduced him to the building owner, who wasn’t sure how to utilize the building’s fitness center effectively. After consulting, they figured that offering professional training services would be best. So, Haylin stepped in and decided to start his business in this space.

The coolest part? He provides Equinox-style amenities at almost no extra cost, including:

  • Beautiful bathrooms and locker rooms
  • Cafeterias and lounge areas
  • Game rooms
  • A covered parking garage with security escort

This approach keeps some of the toughest overhead costs low, making Haylin’s gym one of the most profitable per square foot I’ve ever seen.

💡 Renting space in a corporate office is a cost-effective, low-risk move for gym owners. If you're thinking about starting a gym or expanding, what creative approaches could you take to reduce risk and maximize profitability?

Unique positioning

Most gym owners target busy moms over 40, but Haylin exclusively serves those over 55 who hate the gym.

Core Principles gym website

Like many gyms in Stamford, CT, Haylin also went for the moms. But over the years, he noticed that an older clientele was more attracted to his gym, and based on their feedback, found that they enjoyed training with people their age.

No other gyms in the area served this group. So, 5 years into business, Haylin shifted his focus to only cater to the 55+ demographic. Now, his gym stands out as the premier choice for this crowd.

💡 It’s common for gym owners to worry that niching down might limit their business. In reality, being hyper-specific about who you target can help grow your gym by making it the go-to choice for that group.

Premium packaging & pricing

Core Principles only offers small group personal training. They have a 6:1 ratio, and each member get 90 sq ft of workout space to themselves.

Pricing depends on how often members train:

  • $109 per week for two sessions, or
  • $159 per week for three sessions

That’s anywhere between $436-$636/mo per person. Thanks to the high-end amenities, Haylin is able to justify these premium prices.

💡 Boomers have a lot of money to spend—they hold half of America’s $156 trillion wealth.

Simple marketing

What I love about Haylin’s model is his ability to thrive without chasing every new marketing trend.

Case in point: A lot of gym owners stress about creating organic content for Instagram, but Haylin doesn’t bother because his ideal clientele isn’t active there.

Instead, he uses Facebook ads to get leads:

Core Principles gym Facebook ad
(He gets around 14 leads a week and 6 new clients a month.)

Haylin’s business really took off when he enhanced his lead nurture. He reaches out within 5 minutes of getting a lead and calls them 2-3 times a day in the first few days. He also sends automated texts and emails for follow-up.

💡 If you’re running a lazy lead nurture strategy, you’re leaving money on the table. Use this strategy to get the most out of your pipeline.

Efficient staff

Much like other successful gyms operating a similar model, Haylin has 2 full-time coaches on a salary:

  • One handles the mornings (Monday to Friday) from 6am to noon or 7am to 1pm.
  • The other covers afternoons from 4:30pm to 7:30pm and Saturday mornings from 8am to 10am.

Haylin also recently hired a General Manager, so he can adopt a more passive role in the business.

TL;DR: takeaway for gym owners

Haylin makes more in profit than many gym owners do in total revenue thanks to:

  1. Renting high-quality space at a low cost
  2. Targeting a incredibly specific customer demographic
  3. Charging a premium price

He took only a fraction of the risk that other gym owners do and strategically positioned his gym. Now, he’s earning 5x what they do.

For a closer look at Core Principles, watch or listen to the latest Gym World.

cheers,

j

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