Influx Metrics: Retention

“What gets measured, gets managed”

This is the first post in a series called Influx Metrics: the metrics that matter to a gym.

As the owner or manager of a gym, you can easily be distracted by metrics that either have no, or only minor, influence on the success of your gym. The aim of this series is to provide you a number of important gym metrics, and how to measure them.

By measuring these Influx Metrics you can focus, as a team, on the important things.

Influx Metric #1: Retention

Retention is a measure of how many members are still members after a period of time. A common duration used is 12 months, however you could also measure short-term retention (e.g. 1 month or 3 months).

The fitness industry typically has low retention rates, and so anything above 50% is better than average. Anything above 70% is very good.

How to measure retention?

How many of your members today were also members 12 months ago? This is your 12 month retention rate, reported as a percentage.

For example, if 12 months ago you had 100 members, and of those 85 are now members, then your retention rate is 85% (which would be excellent in the fitness industry).

Note: you do not count members that have joined during the period. If 25 members joined during that period, your retention is not 110%

Retention = Number of members you have now, that were also members 12 months ago / Number of members you had 12 months ago


Why is retention important?

It is generally a lot cheaper for you to keep the members you have, than to recruit new members. It is also something that every staff member will be able to understand and work towards.

** How could you apply this in your gym?**

Make retention something everyone understands and thinks about in their daily job. You could do this a number of ways, but here are a few ideas:

  1. Report the retention percentage at every monthly staff meeting.
  2. Print the number out and hang it in a prominent place in the staff room each month, so it is ‘front of mind’ for everyone.
  3. Set a percentage goal for the gym, and celebrate if you meet that goal.
  4. Talk to each staff member about how they directly influence retention.