A Step By Step Guide to Reducing the Churn Rate of Your Gym

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Implement The 5 Horsemen of Retention To Reduce the Churn Rate In Your Gym


Do you want to make 3x more than your competition? Here’s how: 


The gyms that implement these five strategies for client retention see a 67% reduction in churn rate. That means that their clients stay 3 times as long, which means 3 times as much money per client for you.


Before we get into how to reduce churn rate, let’s first define what churn rate is. Churn in a gym is the number of clients who cancel or leave the gym over a period of time. (There are formulas out there so you can calculate it yourself or you can try GymDash to have all of your analytics in one place including tracking and measuring your churn rate.)


Let’s break down the 5 steps to reducing churn, so you have the operational and marketing strategies to reduce churn rate and help you grow a wildly profitable business. At the end, we will break down exactly how this will play out in your gym over time.


The 5 most effective strategies to reduce churn are: tracking attendance, texting twice per week, sending handwritten cards, hosting events, and conducting exit interviews.



Number one is the very first thing that we noticed across all of the gyms that had sub 5% churn. They were tracking weekly attendance– meaning they were having their clients check in for classes. By Thursday, if someone had not checked in on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, they were picking up the phone and calling every one of those members. 


They use their CRM to track attendance, then pull a report on everyone that had not been in by Wednesday, and on Thursday morning they had someone on their team calling them to check in and get them scheduled for their next class.


What this did was make sure that:  #1 their members were okay, and #2,  their members are held accountable to their goals. You want your members coming in and using your services so they see the results and value their investment. When members don’t see the value in what their paying for, their gym membership will be the first thing to go when they sit down to make budget cuts. 




The second strategy to reduce your churn rate is to  text your clients twice a week. Not just clients who missed classes, but ALL of your clients. 


The goal is to check in just to see how your members are doing and feeling. Some examples of quick texts include… 


💬 “Hey, how was the workout?” 

💬 “Hey, how are you doing?” 

💬 “Hey, great job today. That was phenomenal. Awesome work.” 


The reason the most successful gyms do this is to continue the relationship and make sure the client knows you care about their goals as much as they do. A text is a quick and non-intrusive way to stay in contact with your members. 


*If that sounds like a lot of extra man power: Good news is there are ways to automate this process so that all you have to do is respond. 




Now this one cannot be automated, so it will take more time and manpower, BUT the gyms that do the boring work are the ones who crush their competition. 


So, get out a pen or delegate this to a staff member. You are going to want to write a handwritten card to each member every single month. An easy way to do this is to separate your members into 4 groups and each week, write and mail cards to each person in the group. (This way you are not writing 100+ cards on the last week of every month)


An example of the type of message you would include could be:


“Great work this month Susie. We love seeing you in the gym crushing your workouts every week. Keep it up in September ”.


If they hit a PR, didn’t miss a class, had a birthday, or anything else notable that you remember would be great to include to personalize the card as well. 




Typically, the gyms who see the most success with events hold them every four to six weeks. There are a number of ways you can do this and it does not have to be a big expense or even an expense at all. 


Some options here include: 



  • A member potluck where everyone brings a dish to the facility, or park, etc
  • An internal  fitness competition amongst the members
  • A holiday party
  • Meeting up at a restaurant, bar, going for a hike, a game of kickball, etc.

Regardless of what you choose, holding events will create a stronger community and in turn reduce your churn rate. Your members will have even more reason to stay if they have made friends and connected with the community.




Another operational strategy to reduce your churn rate is asking every member who decides to cancel their membership  to take part in an exit interview. It’s important to sit down with them and ask:



  • Why are you wanting to leave?
  • How did I fail you?
  • How can I help you achieve the result you want? 

This is your chance to ultimately win them back and get them to stay if there is a way to make their experience better– take accountability for your shortcomings.


Bonus Tip: If you want to increase the number of exit interviews you hold, at the start of memberships going forward, give the client an incentive to pay with ACH. This will mean that instead of being able to just cancel their credit card, they will have to meet with you in order to cancel. 


This is not a ploy to trick them into staying longer, it is a strategy to be able to sit down with your members, and understand how you can better help them and future clients.


To salvage the relationship, you can also offer the member another 30 days free – ask if they would stay if after 30 days free, you are able to get them to their goal. 




  • MONTH 0 = 15% CHURN
  • MONTH 1 (first month using these steps)= 22.5% CHURM
  • MONTH 2 = 11.25% CHURN
  • MONTH 3 = 5.6% CHURN


Wait, I’m going to implement these steps and see a higher percentage of churn? Yes, but with good reason. Let me explain how this will play out.


Month 0, you have no retention strategies (or none that actually work) so your churn is at 15%. Then, month 1 you implement these strategies and your churn increases– don’t panic this is part of the plan. 


By ‘shaking the tree’, you’re going to reach out to some members who haven’t been using your services, and your reach outs will be a reminder to them of that. If you’re a boutique studio, you don’t want clients that aren’t using your services. You want to replace them with clients that will, so that your retention will increase and you will have better testimonials to share.


So now by month two, your churn will cut in half due to your efforts. Now within 2 months you are already below your starting churn percentage.


Month 3, churn will cut in half again to 5.6% and stabilize there.


Your clients will now be staying at least 3x as long- in the course of just 3 months.



If the idea of keeping track of your churn every single month sounds overwhelming, you’re not alone. Metrics and analytics can be daunting for any business owner. That’s why we have created the most user friendly Gym Management Software for Gym Owners to track their data and get REAL feedback on the health of their gym. 

Visit GymDash to see how data and analytics can help identify the root cause of your churn rate and help you build a wildly profitable business.



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