Increase your income AND your staff’s income [?]

First off, if you happen to be in NYC next Friday Oct 6th –– or want a good reason to visit! –– I’ll be doing a fireside chat about Mark Fisher Fitness and marketing at the Boutique Fitness Solutiont’s CEO Summit. I’ll also be there all day, presumably taking furious notes. 🙂

Today is the very last day to register. But the good news is they’re giving BFU lovers like you $100 off the ticket price. Just enter the code “BFU100.”

For more about the event, click the link below. And let me know if I can expect to see you!


Now, here’s my dead simple suggestion to increase your income AND increase your staff’s income.

Have less staff, but pay them more.

There are acceptable gym models where you have a small handful of part timers. This works best if you have a large group class format that only requires  25-35 classes per week, and a simple-to-coach-and-scale program design model. But those are both pretty big IFs. And this is still a model that builds the business around you personally training most sessions. This can be lucrative, but it ain’t creating a lot of freedom.

And there’s one big downside of less people being paid more: you DO lose some schedule flexibility. Both in regards to options for coverage when someone is out AND in ease of cutting sessions if you find you’re overscheduled. Losing a class or two isn’t that big of a deal if you’re not their main source of income, but if you pay hourly, this can result in a de facto pay decrease for full time staff.

But on the other hand, if you make a full time job for someone with a living wage, you don’t have to work around other full and part time jobs. You can also be more directive in your scheduling, because, well… it’s their job!

In practice, I know part of the challenge is crossing the chasm. Because you’ll almost always start with part time help while you grow the business. For a number of reasons, this super part time help may not be the right candidate to come on full time. The solution here is understanding how to find great trainers. 

(Need help? Check out my video on 15 ways to find great staff HERE.)

But let’s say you DO have someone you want to bring on full time. What gets in the way?

There are two reasons gym owners get jammed up and can’t make this move: 

1) You’re offering too many classes and sessions.

If your utilization is below 70%-75% (and certainly below 60-65%), you’re overscheduled. You’re offering more capacity than is appropriate for your client roster and revenue. So you don’t really need more staff. You need to be reasonable about how many hours you’re offering per week. If this is the case, focus on growing your business until you actually need more hours and staff.

2) You can’t afford it because you’re not making enough money. 

If you have sold out sessions but STILL don’t have enough money, it means you’re undercharging. So in this case, the solve is to raise your rates and charge your worth.

Those points aside, at some point, you may still need to cross a chasm. You may have to make less for a bit while bringing on a trainer AND freeing up more time to focus on growing the business. And this can be scary. 

But in many cases, the right staff member can be a gamechanger for your quality of life and freedom of time. Just keep in mind, with your newly freed up time, now you have to make it rain.

Ultimately, what do you think is easier? 

Managing 5-6 part timers covering 25 hours per week? 

Or managing a single full time trainer that has no other job and is all-in at your facility?

Follow Dieter Rams’s classic design advice: “Less but better.”


MF Signature BFU 2

PS: Here are four ways to get more BFU in your life:

  • Learn more about our coaching group The Unicorn Society HERE.
  • Subscribe to our Business for Unicorns podcast  HERE. 
  • Subscribe to Mark’s YouTube channel HERE
  • Pick up a copy of my book HERE.

PPS Want another awesome FREE resource?

I’m doing a free training where I cover all kinds of benchmarks that gym owners need to know. To help as many gym owners as possible attend, we’ll be holding the training twice. So you can pick from one of the following two options:

  • Friday October 13th @ 12pm est
  • Saturday October 14th @ 12pm est

I’ll share with you the exact numbers I use when analyzing a gym’s performance, as well as give you direction for how to fix underperforming numbers.

Attendees will also receive a dead simple plug-and-play spreadsheet to input their numbers and see how they fare, as well as a PDF with the slides for further review.

And it’s totally FREE.

All you need to do is sign up at the link below and choose which time works best.