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Gym Ownership: Who Should I Hire?

By Tracey Heinz

Having a sizeable, focused team working in your gym is important, but so is getting off the ground too. Starting out might mean one or two employees, but as you get bigger you'll need to hire more people. So who should you hire and when should you hire them?

Rapid growth, especially if you’re a startup, can be overwhelming. While recognising which roles to hire next can affect your future staffing policy.

No matter the stage of your gym business, here's a list of every gym hire you'll ever need and when you'll need them:

Gym Ownership: Who Should I Hire?.jpeg

Gym Stage: #1 Starting Out

At the beginning, it's just you. You don't have a gym business yet, but you have the skills, experience - and more importantly, you have plenty of clients.

Without owning a gym you must develop the skills needed to run one. The underlying trait you must display (one which will set you up for the future) is a passion to help people achieve their fitness goals.

This is the time when you learn and master everything you need in order to successfully open your first gym business.


  • None

Gym Stage: #2 Gym Owner - Start-Up

Gym Owner - Start-Up.jpeg

You've purchased your first gym premises, made the down payment on all your gym equipment (or secure a lease) and installed a rockin' sound system. All you need now is to open your gym for new business.

Unfortunately, when you start out, it's just you. Doing everything. That means you are the receptionist, the personal trainer, the cleaner and the marketer.

It takes many hats to start a gym business and you'll need to wear them all at first. So if something needs fixing, you fix it. And if a member requires personal training, then you put your sweatpants on.

The success of your initial (pre-launch) marketing and sales will dictate how quickly you need to bring on new gym employees.

You may find you struggle effectively communicating to your members or aren't getting the sign ups your effort deserves. You may even find that you just don't have the time to run the gym, take fitness classes and manage your personal training clients all at once.

Your next hires will be dictated by three factors:

  • Membership numbers
  • How much free time you have
  • Your management skills

If you have plenty of time to manage your clients as well as running the marketing and sales of the business, you may only need a Receptionist at this point.

A receptionist will free up time, allowing concentrate more complicated administration and accounting tasks.

It is likely you will already have a full client list and will need help maintaining your personal fitness clients, however, you may have one eye on growing your memberships.

This means you will be looking at employing a Marketing & Sales Executive; someone who can produce the marketing offers needed to attract new clients, as well as converting them into members (and creating offers to retain your current memberships too).

Hiring a Full-time Personal Trainer who can help with your existing client list will be advantageous.

Additionally, allowing Freelance Personal Trainers to use your gym facilities can help bring in new potential clients and increase word-of-mouth marketing. Make them feel welcome and their clients will look to you when they're actively searching for a new gym.

Oh, and you'll probably need a Cleaner too!


  • Gym Owner/ Operations Manager (You)
  • Receptionist
  • Full-Time Personal Trainer
  • Freelance Personal Trainer(s)
  • Marketing and Sales Executive
  • Cleaner

Gym Stage: #3 Expanding Your Gym

Expanding Your Gym.jpeg

The more members you get through the door, the more facilities and benefits they start demanding. At this point, you'll need to focus on increasing gym memberships, improving facilities, obtaining new equipment, and hiring more staff.

By now you will have delegated all the social media, marketing, and sales responsibilities, as well as most of your personal training clients.

To further expand your fitness empire, you'll need an extra marketing push. Hiring a Marketing & Sales Assistant to help manage increasing gym memberships will provide the support you need.  

Further growth will require you to expand your offering. You will need to hire Fitness Instructors to run group classes, such as:

  • yoga classes,
  • spinning classes,
  • boxing or kickboxing,
  • pilates classes
  • body-pump sessions
  • boot camps
  • ... and more

As you grow, your responsibilities will change. Look to employ an Administration Assistant to help with payroll, purchasing and HR.


  • Gym Owner, Operations Manager (You)
  • Receptionist(s)
  • Cleaner
  • Full-time Personal Trainer(s)
  • Freelance Personal Trainer(s)
  • Group Fitness Instructors
  • Marketing & Sales Manager
  • Marketing Assistant(s)
  • Administration Assistant

Gym Stage:  #4 Established Gym (With Increasing Nett Revenue and Profits)

Established Gym.jpeg

By now you'll have realised that not only was Rome not built in a day, it wasn't built by a single pair of hands either. It's time to take the pressure off before you burn out.

Your growing team needs leadership and you need to start looking for someone to take the reigns as Operations Manager.

The Operations Manager is an important hire. If you are to take a step back from the day to day running of your gym, you need someone to step in and run the business as if it’s their own. The ideal candidate will be from the service industry, as well as a natural motivator, organiser and people person.

Your Marketing and Sales team has now been split into two separate Sales and Marketing teams. The Marketing Manager will ensure marketing copy and offers are available to attract new members as well as offers to ensure existing membership retention.

The Sales Manager has a team working with marketing to maintain existing membership numbers as well as converting new ones, while reaching and exceeding given sales and revenue targets. Both teams will employ staff tasked with increasing the bottom line of your gym.

By now you will have a great number of machines to look after, as well as having plenty of IT systems to maintain. It will probably become more efficient to hire a full-time Maintenance Person and an IT Manager.

Your gym will also probably stock a number of point-of-sale items as well as having a number of purchasing requirements, probably enough to employ a Purchasing Assistant.

Finally, with gym employees number anywhere between ten and thirty you will be looking at having an Accounts or Payroll person in charge of employee wages and invoices.


  • Gym Owner (You)
  • Operations Manager
  • Administrations Assistant
  • Receptionist(s)
  • Cleaning staff
  • Full-time Personal Trainer(s)
  • Freelance Personal Trainer(s)
  • Group Fitness Instructor(s)
  • Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Executive(s)
  • Sales Manager
  • Sales Executive(s)
  • Accounts Person
  • Maintenance Person
  • IT Manager

Gym Stage: #5 Multiple Gyms

The next step, once you outgrow your present operation, is to open your gym on multiple sites in multiple locations. This brings additional considerations (enough for another blog post).

But when you are at this stage, it is a case of revisiting the gym hire list and ensuring each site has the right hires in place for it to function efficiently and profitably - with the support of a head office, tasked with the overall management and expertise to manage its success.

Whatever stage you are at in your gym business, your next hire is always the most important. The right employees, hired at the right time will help your business achieve solid foundations and the best chances for growth.

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Tags: Gyms & Clubs

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