Here’s what it takes to run the biggest chain of affiliates in the world…
What’s up Gym World?
We’re always on the lookout for the world’s top gym owners.
Here’s how he got there:
Daniel opened his first location 12 years ago. That was right around the time when CrossFit was starting to get popular in France.
This early start gave him an advantage in establishing his gym and building brand recognition.
💡 While Daniel’s gym has been around for a while, his approach isn’t unique. We’ve seen other gym owners who made it big by being in the right place at the right time.
Be space efficient
Two of Daniel’s gyms are in the middle of Paris—one of them comes with a $50,000/mo rent bill.
For that money, you’d think there would be crystal chandeliers, marble floors, and gold cherub statues, but it actually gets you a dingy basement with low ceilings:
Because of the tight space, Daniel and his team are strategic about how they use it. This includes buying the most space-efficient equipment and mapping where it will sit before each workout.
They also need to be mindful when it comes to programming. If you drop into CrossFit Louvre, you’re probably not doing a chipper that requires five pieces of equipment.
💡 Gyms in expensive cities need to be space-efficient to survive, but every gym owner should be trying to maximize their profit per square foot. Gyms like West Village Athletics are running 400 members out of 1,200 sq ft.
A membership at CrossFit Louvre costs anywhere between 85 to 200 euros ($92 to $218 USD) per month, which is way lower than most rates we’ve seen on Gym World—but still more expensive than the average European group training gym.
Daniel wants to make his services accessible to a wider audience. So rather than charging more per member, he’s opted to serve more people at more affordable rates.
FWIW, I think this is playing business on hard mode, but the great thing about being an entrepreneur is that you play the game by your own rules.
💡 The average coaching gym has 159 members and, by definition, average marketing. It’s difficult to make a living charging $100-$150/mo if your membership hovers around that level.
Hire great talent
I’ve said it before: Gym owners all want to hire “A-players.” But to get the best, you need to stand out.
Daniel’s role as the International Director at CrossFit gives him an edge. His team of 47 staff members benefits from his expertise, learning directly from one of the top figures in the industry.
💡 Additionally, Daniel invests heavily in his team. All senior coaches must have the L3 certification, and he fully funds it. This way, he ensures his members are trained by the best.
Daniel also believes the front desk plays a critical role in retention, atmosphere, and community building. While a lot of affiliates might not have this role, he says a good receptionist will pay themself 100x over.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a front desk person at your gym, use a guest register to gather information from non-members.
- Set up a sign-in sheet. Have everyone who comes in write down their contact info (name, email, phone number)
- Make sure they fill it out.
- Figure out the value. You might get more prospects than expected. Take the opportunity to nurture these leads.
Thank me later. 😎
When we asked Daniel how he connects with thousands of members, he said it’s a team effort. They ask themselves questions like, “What do we want to be doing to retain our members?” and “How should we welcome people through our doors?”
So, here’s what they do:
- Birthday Calls: Everyone gets a call on their birthday.
- Check-Ins: If someone hasn’t been in for 2 weeks, they call to check on them.
- Regular Calls: Members get a call after 15, 30, and 60 days.
- First Impressions: In the first 10 seconds, staff make eye contact, smile, and use the member’s name. If they don’t know it, they introduce themselves and ask.
It’s simple gestures like these that make members feel appreciated and keep them coming back.
Takeaway for gym owners
Daniel’s success is proof that with the right place, timing, and strategies, you can run a profitable large group training gym.