Extras, Extras! (Are They Worth It?)

Extras, Extras! (Are They Worth It?)

Looking for ways to diversify? Find out which “extras” can help you boost revenue—and get insider intel to determine which ones are the right fit for your gym. 



Birthday parties ACX owner Randy Dickey views birthday parties as a great way to woo potential clients. “When you have a birthday party, a kid from your gym brings 20 of their friends in who’ve never even heard of your company before,” says Dickey. He suggests capitalizing by “handing out a coupon to every kid for a free class, or offering some type of promotion [like], ‘Hey, if you come in within a week, you’ll get X amount off your first month’s tuition.’” Make sure you have the right people working the party. Dickey explains that you don’t want “some high school girl that’s on her phone Facebooking the whole time and not paying attention.” Also, be sure you have the bandwidth to do it right—if the facility isn’t ready when people arrive, it leaves a bad impression on potential new clients: “You want a smile behind the desk when everyone walks in and somebody to inform them where to go. From head to toe, you have to put on a show.”
After-school programs Parents don’t see these as an “extra”—they see them as an essential, and your gym can profit by supplying that demand. Marilyn Noon, co-owner of Polk Aces, says, “Working parents need childcare. Parents pay consistently because you offer a service they need. If they don’t pay you, they will still have to pay someone, so it’s typically already built into their budget.” Before getting started, Noon recommends conducting a market survey within your own gym to find out if enough parents are interested. Also, arranging pickups from multiple schools can be tricky. To maximize profits, familiarize yourself with local dismissal times so you can pick up from as many schools as possible with just one vehicle.
Gym rentals Midwest Cheer Elite rents gym space to a personal trainer. Owner Tanya Roesel appreciates that the personal trainer brings new faces into the gym. “We get a lot of moms that come in while the kids are in school, and I bet 50 percent of them sign their kids up for tumbling,” she estimates. “The personal trainer does a [fitness] class at 7 pm, and the kids will tumble with us while their moms work out.”


To protect your reputation, it’s crucial to perform due diligence on your new affiliation. “Make sure you do background checks on whomever you’re renting it out to because you’re basically giving them access to your business,” cautions Roesel. “Anyone coming into your gym and running a business out of it must have good morals and ethics, because if they have a bad background, it could ruin the name of your gym.”
Mommy & Me classes Roesel also offers Mommy & Me classes at Midwest Cheer Elite, and she’s happy with how they’ve worked out so far. She says, “Mommy & Me does pretty well, and it’s in the daytime when we don’t have as much going on. During the school year when the older siblings are in school, it’s busy.” If you want to offer Mommy & Me classes, find a time during the day. Roesel explains, “That type of class is not going to work in the evenings. Unless you have a dedicated area for pre-school tumbling, you aren’t going to want 2- and 3-year-olds running through your gym at 7 pm when you’re working with Level 5 athletes.”
Dance team Rena Blanchard, director of operations at Charlotte All Stars, points out that offering a dance program can make life easier for your clients. “We have a large base of athletes who have siblings who dance, so the families like the convenience of being able to bring the dancer sibling to our gym, rather than going to two different locations.” Blanchard emphasized that it’s important to find the right person to lead the program. “Since dance is not our expertise, we needed to bring an expert in to work with us.“ She also suggests researching other dance studios in the area and checking which ages they serve. Blanchard believes it’s best to start slow— Charlotte All Stars offers dance at just one of its five locations. “Eventually we’d like to turn that into a competitive team, but right now it is strictly instructional.”
Tween dances Bel Air, MD-based Eastern Elite All Stars holds a series of dances called “Second Saturdays.” Trisha Quinn, president, describes the set-up: “We have a dance room that has some wood flooring, and we bring down two sofas. We also rent little circle tables, a popcorn machine and a pizza oven. It’s $10 to get in, which includes a black light lounge. We only offer it once a month so it becomes a special event.” Knowing your audience is key. Quinn says they avoided catering to high school students because their “biggest concern was if they were going to try to sneak in alcohol or do inappropriate dancing.” Instead, they started off holding dances for middle-schoolers, but learned a surprising lesson: “Believe it or not, the kids that are taking to it are the younger, elementary school kids.  They absolutely love it.”

-Lisa Beebe

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