Retention – the overlooked KPI for Group Fitness Success

How long do you want your members to attend your facility for? 1 month? 1 year? This question seems so simple yet is rarely ever asked in fitness businesses. Personal trainers & coaches are so good at setting new goals for clients and working towards reaching them, do you do it for your group classes and members? This article is designed to help you understand how to set a retention goal for your facility so you can measure your success and the success of your members.

Getting people through the door and buying your memberships or class packs is usually the most important factor for continuing profitability in small business. There is no question how important that is. Equally important, however, is the ability to keep these members paying long term. With a 2019 Glofox studying suggesting that a retention increase of only 5% can yield between 25-95% more profit for your business, it’s definitely something that warrants our focus.

Before we can check the numbers in our business we need to take stock of what we are currently doing and offering. It’s challenging to set ourselves a profit goal when we haven’t looked deeply into our class offering. Some of the questions you want to start asking include: What are the goals you want your members and participants to achieve? How long will it take your members to achieve these goals, if ever? How often do members need to attend classes to see results? What brings members back to your facility once they have reached these goals? And, finally, how long do you want your members to stay with your facility?

Without having a deep understanding of these factors in our own businesses, it can be hard to measure your retention progress. Retention is a measure of the profitability of your business, but also a measure of your capability to change and influence the lives of your members. Retention is your ability to influence people into loving your facility and hopefully to love exercising. The best problem to have in your facility is having too many members!

So now that you have had a think about these key questions to your business (and hopefully answered them too) we can start setting some more definitive and measurable goals.

Firstly; let’s break down the numbers. How much is one paying client/member worth to you in a month? Let’s then multiply by 12 to get your yearly figure per client/member. Now with your yearly figure you can establish if you have a positive retention rate or a negative one. To start measuring retention, use the estimate of how long you believe it would take them to achieve their physical goals – against how long you want them to remain at your facility. The longer they remain at your facility past the point of achieving their goals, the more satisfied they are with what you are offering and what they are receiving.

These statistics give the opportunity to gain insights into a number of different factors that may be affecting why someone leaves. We now need to look at a different set of questions to ascertain what aspect of our business could be effecting retention. Are the staff members unhappy within your business and bringing down the vibe? Are there outside factors contributing to member decline such as lack of parking? Are members achieving their goals? Are they getting injured? It is time now to investigate where this member attrition is stemming from.

Finally let’s come back to our 12 month member worth number. Can you break down into percentages how much of that income is going towards sales & marketing? Then can you break down how much of that income is going towards retention? If you have a higher spend on sales & marketing and are noticing a pattern of decline in your membership, it may be time to redirect those funds.

Putting a dollar value on your facilities retention and how it can change the profitability of your business is extremely worthwhile. While it may take time to complete all of the data reporting and causation investigating, the amount of information you get is invaluable. It will help to keep you accountable in your business and focus on areas that truly need it. It may be the defining factor between a loss or profit at the end of the year.


If you are in need of help or expertise to investigate causes of attrition, or strategies to overcome membership decline, please be sure to check out our Retention Handbook. Our self-paced course and community is designed to help all fitness businesses through these retention struggles. Find out more information on our Services Page.

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