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How Do Gyms Make Money? (6 Smart Ways They Profit)

With as many as 180,000 fitness clubs worldwide and an estimated $84 billion in revenue from memberships alone, it is safe to say that the general fitness industry is booming and it is only going up from here. Indeed the rise of popular health movements means people are getting more concerned about their health and weight. In a world where everyone is so intimately connected through the internet, people want to look and feel good, making fitness a great industry to break into.

If you are a fitness guru, you may be searching for a way to profit from your passion. You may also be wondering if starting a gym is profitable. If you are not asking yourself that question, you should be. Having enough funding is a key factor in running a successful fitness business. You also need good ideas to attract the right market.

A lot of gym brands are growing and doing well in the fitness industry. In a $30 billion industry, that’s some indication of possible success. Successful gym brands are the ones that have strategic business models and systems. Have it in mind that starting any business takes hard work. Opening a gym is no exception. You still have to deal with those who are uncommitted or seasonal resolution makers.

The next step is to expand with ideas that set your fitness center apart. It could also be accommodations that help guests make time for the gym. Also note that some gyms have childcare services, grocery services, or dry cleaning. The draw may be member exclusive amenities such as spa services or a café. If the fancy add-ons don’t fit your start-up budget, go slimmer. Just start with narrowing your niche.

Most business experts suggest you go narrow instead of broad with your type of business. In case of testing if opening a gym is profitable, slim down the fitness center to fit those you want to attract. Options are widening everyday with fitness centers. At this time, digital solutions are taking more and more of the market share. That’s why it would be a great idea to have a niche tailored to the tech generation.

6 Smart Ways Gyms Make Money and Turn Massive Profit

So many people consider the gym as just a service area, a place where the sole purpose is to help people get in and stay in good physical shape. However, a gym is a business, and it wouldn’t be around for long if it doesn’t generate funds. Here are some of the ways gyms make money.

  1. Membership Charges

No one just walks into a gym at their leisure and starts working out. Most times, people are expected to register and begin paying a monthly membership fee. These dues are the facility’s main source of income.

If you are not sure if you wish to join and would just like to check out the gym for the day, you may be subject to a “drop-in” fee. The same is true if you are a guest of an existing member. However, the general rule of thumb is that the more amenities the gym has, the higher these charges will be.

  1. Fitness Blogging

While not the easiest option on this list, so many gyms make money from blogging, and it has proven to be one of the most lucrative. Once your blog is up and running, you can use it to make money through your personal services, paid membership forums, advertisement space, brand partnerships, affiliate marketing, and more.

However, note that blogs are long-term business strategies. It may take a year or longer before you start seeing profit. But the possibilities are endless once you are up and running.

  1. Extra Fees

Coupled with membership charges, many gyms have fees for certain services. These can include towel rental fees, sports equipment rental fees (for rackets and balls), or even charges for the ability to use the gym during certain “premium” hours of the day, such as between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays when they tend to be most crowded.

Also, there can be fees for programs that go beyond the typical gym experience, such as a group exercise class that needs advanced equipment like a Pilates machine, or outdoor training like “boot camp.” Some of the money does go to providing these special services, but the gym is also making a profit from them.

  1. Fitness Seminars

Fitness seminars are another incredibly profitable way gyms make money in the fitness industry. A well-seasoned gym expert can host seminars at a location of their choice or even give a presentation at popular trade shows and conferences, which can give them a lot of publicity.

Seminars also have the added benefit of providing material for future money-making efforts. Most Gyms record them and use them to market to future customers, raise brand awareness, or even sell them through their store. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

  1. Rent and Admission

The gym’s management may let individuals hold special events there. This can be especially desirable if the facility has a basketball court, skating rink, track, or other large, open space. Note that some may even wish to reserve the entire building.

In all of these cases, the gym will charge rent, usually by the hour. Some of the money goes to hire extra staff for the event, but the rest is straight income for the facility. The gym can also make money by charging people admission to attend these events. Sometimes, management will split these funds with the renter.

  1. Selling Fitness Products

Gyms aren’t the only way to get fit anymore. With so many fitness apps, online workout plans, and digital coaches, more and more people prefer to work out from the comfort of their own homes, making this a great market for you to enter. Gyms also generate revenue by leveraging these wants and needs. However, the possibilities for fitness products are endless. You can find some examples below:

  • Fitness tracker
  • Jump ropes
  • Resistance bands
  • Exercise balls
  • Fit boards
  • Foam rollers
  • Pre-workout supplements


Although membership revenues are very crucial for gym businesses, you can create additional streams of income that not only drive value but make more money. There are lots of opportunities to generate income in a way that compliments your current services and helps your members.

However, if your plan is to launch a digital fitness platform or to get your downloadable workout content moving, always do your research first so that you can offer your audience something they will truly value and is worth their money.