Here are some great idea-generators, shared with Heartline by Robert Francis, CEO, Planned Companies, on building a fitness center for your business office tenants.
Robert introduced us to Gary Klencheski, President of First Fitness Management, LLC, out of Boston. They have designed and managed dozens of fitness centers for landlords, companies, schools and private institutions, specializing in all aspects of running a corporate fitness center including management, staffing, design, equipment purchase, fitness programming and marketing to employees/tenants.
Here are the top three things he says you need to consider when deciding to open a fitness center for your office building:
- DESIGN/LAYOUT. Klencheski recommends hiring a fitness consultant to help you and your architect design your fitness center. Architects know how to design fitness centers, but they often lack experience regarding selecting the proper equipment, lockers, entertainment systems, etc. A fitness consultant can help you avoid many potential design problems. Too many fitness centers have been ruined because they selected the wrong lockers and or fitness equipment!
- WHO WILL MANAGE THE FACILITY? Hiring the right staff to manage the fitness center is crucial according to Klencheski. Having a fitness center unstaffed will save you money, but it opens you up to liability, less engagement and much lower participation. He explains, “Fitness centers need a dynamic energy and vibe that is welcoming to members, and that must come from personal engagement.” The staff is also a critical part of executing new fitness initiatives and wellness programs, he adds. Unstaffed fitness centers are unsafe and poorly maintained.
“Fitness centers need a dynamic energy and vibe that is welcoming to members, and that must come from personal engagement.”
3. PRICE/FEES. You need to charge a fair membership rate, explains. With a fair membership rate, employees will be more inclined to show up and work out. And his big point here don’t allow free “membership” to the fitness center. “Giving away the fitness center will just reduce its perceived value to your tenants!” Your fitness center staff or management company will be able to collect the membership dues for you. Another key, according to Klencheski: Don’t have annual contracts. If a member feels that they are no longer getting value from the gym, then they should not be held to an annual contract.