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How to Hire the Best Gym Manager for Your Fitness Business

How to Hire the Best Gym Manager for Your Fitness Business

When we hear the phrase “gym manager,” what typically comes to mind? It’s a broad position, ranging anywhere from the company manager to director of the fitness facility. Either way, this person has an important job – to oversee the overall operation and forward movement of a fitness center. Let’s delve into the details and see what’s needed to do this job effectively

What Is A Gym Manager?

A manager or director of a gym can wear many hats, and often does multiple different jobs within a fitness facility. With all the roles that are necessary to fill to ensure that a gym runs smoothly, making sure this person fits successfully into their job is essential to the overall business. There are many responsibilities for a successful gym manager on a day to day basis; let’s look at a handful of them now!

Business Manager: This administrative duty is one of the foundations of a strong leader; running a fitness center can be quite difficult if someone didn’t hire employees, set schedules, and manage payroll. Granted, an HR professional could most certainly be hired to do this – but to get things up and off the ground, special attention must be made in this area to manage expenses and the training/certification processes of current and future employees to be successful. Breaking down the expenses of the gym each month, along with developing business plans for buying equipment and membership fees, are just a few of the administrative duties of a gym manager.

Customer Service: being in the position of the face of the company, a gym manager is essentially the leader and example for exemplary customer service. The satisfaction of every member who decides to join (and ultimately, even the ones that don’t) is the responsibility of the manager, and those values then instilled on corresponding co-workers and team members. This push on customer service can be driven through ideas for promotional classes, free workouts, and discounts or bonuses for members, just to name a few.

Equipment and Facilities Manager: not only does this particular duty include ordering equipment and sporting goods that are used daily within the gym, but it also includes developing a cleaning and maintenance schedule to ensure all pieces and parts are safe and working correctly for members. Machines and equipment will wear down with constant use every day by members, and the manager not only needs to monitor it but also needs to keep an eye on which machines are used more than others.

Staff Manager: having a solid foundation of employees can be the heart and core of an organization, and the gym manager has to find the right people that will get the company moving in the proper direction. From organizing team events to ensuring every employee has adequate training (in regards to both educational certifications and medical training – like CPR and AED), a manager also has to learn to discipline appropriately if the time and occasion ever arise, and needs to be able to foster growth and healthy interaction between team members.

These are just a few of the duties of a gym manager; much more goes into it, such as building a sufficient and successful business organization, membership appreciation/outreach, and on-site maintenance. According to Glassdoor, the average salary range in the United States for a fitness manager is $44,624. Granted, this takes into account experience, education, certifications, and can vary depending on location.

How to Hire a Gym Manager

As the front-line person for most everything in a fitness facility, the hiring of the gym manager should never be taken lightly. This person will end up having multiple roles to play within the business, so finding someone who can wear different caps with ease is imperative to the overall success of the gym.

Gym Manager Job Responsibilities

When searching for the appropriate candidates for your fitness facility, its essential to list the top responsibilities of a gym manager. These include the following:

  • Designing/maintain a budget
  • Managing inventory and equipment needs
  • Understanding and using the studio’s gym management software 
  • Creating guidelines and rules and then implementing them with staff and co-workers
  • Hiring the appropriate staff members to meet member needs
  • Communicating clearly between both members and staff
  • Promoting/increasing sales (and therefore member retention)!

This particular list of responsibilities can definitely be changed/expanded as growth allows, but these are some general ideas that potential managers need to be aware of when hiring.

Interview Questions

So, what are some questions that you should ask a potential gym manager? Finding out how they deal with conflict is crucial since there will inevitably be instances of it between both members and employees at one point or another. Have they ever fired someone before? If so, why? Being aware of how they deal with conflict will tell you a lot in regards to how they handle many different uncomfortable situations that will arise.

Another essential question to ask would be in regards to employee and staff motivation. How would you like to see staff grow and move forward? Take into account how they value education and how they would enable their employees to help progress the company forwards. How do you find out what motivates and encourages your co-workers?

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An often-overlooked question/topic is in regards to the actual facility itself; ask the potential gym manager how they plan on ensuring a clean and safe facility. Their answer will help let you know if they have the knowledge to maintain a functional gym where people can workout safely and enjoy themselves – all while boosting member morale and retention, which are two of the goals in the long run to keep the business flourishing!

Finding the Right Candidate

Once the job for the gym manager is posted, do your best to the only interview – on the phone, initially – those that meet all qualifications (i.e., experience, education, certifications, and anything else needed). After reviewing work history and why they’d be interested in this job – why here? Why now? – then you can decide if you want to do a face to face interview to move forward.

After the in-person interview is scheduled and done, it is at that point that you can begin to check references and confirm the validity of all certifications. This is typically done after you’ve spoken with the candidate, so you can verify the information they have given you regarding their credentials and relevant work experience.

Qualities to Look for In A Gym Manager

Between training clients, instructing classes, assisting members, and administrative duties, the day to day tasks of a gym manager can vary greatly. In the long run, you’ll want to find someone that is well-rounded in the fitness realm, and who can push a company forward in the right direction. Check out some of the qualities that one should look for in a fitness manager role!

Reliable communicator: from listening and responding appropriately to members feedback to the daily interactions between team members, finding a gym manager that knows how to interact and communicate with everyone is vital. A good leader isn’t always in the back office though – they’re out on the floor, intermingling with the team and with clients, and that requires the ability to speak to whoever you come across.

Problem solver: this isn’t to say that there will be a problem every day to solve; however, you want a gym manager that isn’t afraid to brainstorm solutions to issues that may arise, as well as planning out ways to market effectively to keep the ship moving forward. Having a gym manager that can sit down and figure out multiple viable solutions to fitness facility problems shows confidence, and the ability to discern issues at the forefront and how to deal with them appropriately.

Money saver: we all know that bringing in money is what keeps the lights on and things moving inside a fitness center; without members, programs, and profit, things would sink…and quickly. A gym manager that has a decent background or working experience in profit and loss, budgeting, and sales can be imperative to the overall growth and success of a company. Accounting and business knowledge are a huge plus and learning how they would solve potential revenue and cost issues would be good to know.

Creative thinker: what kind of programs can a facility implement to gain more members? What new is software out there for fitness centers to improve workflow? These are only two of many questions that could arise in a typical gym setting, and hiring a gym manager that knows how to solve problems and is creative with coming up with solutions to everyday facility issues can help with forwarding movement. Is the person you just interviewed to work the fitness floor going to jive with the other employees? Being aware of (and being able to solve) these kinds of matters is vital for a gym manager!

Educator: a gym manager is the leader of an entire fitness facility; if you compose a team of employees and co-workers that are stagnant in their knowledge, the business won’t progress effectively. Keeping the team up-to-date with the latest in CEC’s, encouraging workshop attendance, coordinating educational team building events, and building and composing programs off of scientific information will keep the team on top of the ever-changing health and wellness knowledge, and will empower employees to give clients and members their best!

Caretaker: this could be interpreted as a very broad quality to look for in a gym manager, but its an important one in whichever way you look at it. Finding a manager who is humble, caring, trustworthy, and reliable can all fall under the quality of caretaker – and fittingly so since each of those traits is necessary to have a flourishing fitness center and a remarkable team of employees. With a gym manager that embodies all of these redeemable qualities, your facility will be on its way to not only recruiting and keeping members and employees, but it will also be giving the highest standard of care to each realm of the business.

With a combination of these qualities (and many other ones), you’ll have a thriving gym manager leading the team and business in ways you could only imagine!


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