Biggest Fitness Center Maintenance Challenges And Potential Solutions
Fitness is a big business. The global gym industry was worth $96.7 billion in 2020, with nearly 200 million active members worldwide. As of 2022, there were 106,132 gym, health and fitness clubs in the United States alone, which accounts for more than half of the 205,000 fitness and gym facilities in the world and equates to roughly one fitness center or gym for every 3,105 Americans!
Any fitness center owner or manager knows all too well the amount of work goes into maintaining a financially viable, sanitary, and safe facility for members and guests. The key word is maintenance. There are multiple maintenance-related challenges for any fitness center, which have only grown in number and importance in the aftermath of the paradigm-shifting COVID-19 pandemic.
Knowing what to do, where, and how within your fitness facility or club regarding maintenance can be a major headache, especially for the uninitiated owner or manager who is more comfortable with the commercial or fitness-related aspects of the business. Fear not as we explore some of the leading maintenance challenges facing fitness centers today and their respective solutions.
Know Your Facility
Challenge: Gym and fitness studio owners may not know what to include in their maintenance scheduling and, thereafter, how to prioritize maintenance needs for their facility.
Solution: Know your facility in order to plan maintenance thereof. You need a fully comprehensive inventory of all assets, whether building-related or for machinery or equipment. This inventory needs to first be compiled in order for a fit-for-purpose and effective maintenance schedule to be planned and implemented.
Fitness Center Inventory Checklist
What would a comprehensive fitness center inventory cover? A good foundation is to thoroughly assess the built environment of your facility, such as:
- Physical aspects of the building: including exercise area floors, the roof, walkways and ramps;
- Physical assets within the facility: including equipment, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and sports-specific facilities and areas;
- Physical systems: including those for electrical equipment, plumbing, and other utilities; and
- Needed sanitation and cleaning of diverse surfaces: including those in bathrooms, change rooms, and for all fitness equipment.
Invest In Maintenance Technology
Challenge: It may be difficult to plan and manage exactly when and how maintenance should be undertaken.
Solution: Investment in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) will greatly assist you as a gym owner in scheduling maintenance on a regular, risk-appropriate basis. Your best bet should be a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), which is a software solution that will help you plan and implement maintenance for your facility.
Automating your planning with a CMMS will also assist in streamlining all your maintenance requirements. These should include all applicable maintenance work orders, preventive maintenance schedules, work logs and histories, parts inventory, lists and contacts of vendors, purchase orders, and equipment-specific maintenance reports.
The most important upside of automating your maintenance systems is sound asset management. Your assets, be they equipment-related or building-related, will last longer due to smart maintenance protocols, thereby ensuring improved ROI for all physical assets within your facility.
Optimize Space Usage
Challenge: Many fitness centers may have limited space in which to fit all the equipment, machinery, and fitness options needed to offer clients an optimal gym experience.
Solution: Few are the health and fitness facilities that wouldn’t benefit from optimized space usage wherever possible. The member experience can be elevated significantly when you maximize your offerings within your existing gym space. This would include embracing space management principles and allied solutions, which in turn will facilitate maintenance schemes and planning.
Optimizing space utilization has multiple benefits for your facility. The leading benefit is also the most obvious: proper space management means more space freed up, which allows for more services to be offered to members. This should result in increased revenues as less space sits ‘idle’ or poorly-used for longer periods of time, or indeed throughout opening hours.
Another significant benefit of smarter space management is that it helps improve scheduling too. An in-depth analysis and understanding of different spaces within your facility means use thereof can be more varied and activity-specific. Special sporting or even social events or niche sporting ‘societies’ can be more easily accommodated once the versatility of given spaces is well understood.
Challenge: Traditionally, gym maintenance has focused almost entirely on asset maintenance, i.e. of machinery, equipment, and the physical building. However, this is an outdated approach in a post-COVID era.
Solution: The approach to maintenance in your facility needs to be holistic, i.e. taking other non-asset-related factors into due and thorough consideration, such as sanitation and hygiene, including deep cleaning, sustainable use of materials, wellness factors for customers and staff alike, and so forth. Ultimately, the focus should be on a sustainability-driven facility.
Gyms across America are touting their sustainability credentials. For example, the Green Microgym in Portland, Oregon, uses captured energy from its high-tech bikes to help power the facility, allowing the facility to use about 85% less electricity per square foot than other gyms. In New York City, Green Fitness Studio features floors made from reclaimed rubber, an energy-efficiency infrared sauna, and equipment made from recycled metal.
However, that may be easier said than done for some gyms. Too often, it could be argued, being sustainable can impact on maximizing revenues. Take regular deep cleaning, for example. This intense cleaning, which has become a must-have in the COVID era, can interrupt classes and even shut off entire areas when in progress, right? Not if done right. Deep cleaning can be planned more effectively and less disruptively using solutions such as Omnify's booking window feature which allows you to create booking breaks in your calendar. This way, members can still book their preferred slots around your deep cleaning schedule, allowing your staff to get the job done seamlessly.
Your members deserve the best fitness experience possible. That means providing the cleanest, safest, and healthiest facility possible. Sound maintenance can assist greatly in achieving that.
Having a full inventory of the entire built environment and physical assets, investing in maintenance technology, optimizing spaces, and treating your facility as a sustainable entity are keys to maintenance success. It really isn’t that difficult or expensive and the benefits to your fitness facility could be immense.
With the heightened focus on member experience at gyms and fitness centers today, it can be challenging to manage all aspects of your business without the right support to back you up. This is where using a fitness studio software can reduce your efforts on the business end, allowing your staff to devote more time towards maintenance and creating a memorable member experience. If you would like to know how Omnify can help your gym or fitness center, sign up for a FREE TRIAL and get started today!
In this article, we explore some of the leading maintenance challenges facing fitness centers today and their respective solutions.