Article by Gill Cummings-Bell BA (Hon’s), M.Sc.MBA.PGCE.AMCSP

It is always a worry for fitness instructors when December is looming. We know that clients will drop off and class numbers will reduce and as a consequence your income with decrease during December just at a time when you need it. As with all business you need to understand your financial business cycle and take positive action to counterbalance the troughs of the cycle which affect your cash flow. Cash flow is key in any business to be able to keep trading and to keep your income coming in during that time. Here are some things I have used over the years to bring in more cash flow during November and December. The pandemic has made the business cycle even more difficult to follow and understand as consumer fitness behaviour has not been consistent over the last two years. Here are some tips. 

  1. Sell Christmas Vouchers – Give the gift of health for Christmas

By mid October we have to recognise that there are only two pay days left before Christmas for our monthly income earner clients. With this in mind we want to introduce and offer our ‘Buy someone the gift of health for Christmas’ vouchers’. We offer up to three different types of voucher to our clients, one for just a single taster session, one for one of our courses, and one for each of our services, ie. a sports massage, a PT session, a Pilates class and so on. Consider getting your Christmas voucher offer out now!

2.  Introduce a ‘Health Bootcamp Day’ in January to kick start the new year. 

We offer a 4 hour workshop morning where we offer different elements of our services which we sell as a kick start your health for the New year. You will be surprised how many of our current clients book it in in December knowing they will need it soon. We make it a premium service with limited places i.e 10 places. We charge between £125 for the session. See our agenda.

a) Introduction – body fat check

b) High intensity workout-bootcamp session 45 mins

c) Workshop lecture on a nutrition, lifestyle planning or exercise topic like health work lunches, shopping, top tips for the kick start. You can be really creative with the topic.

d) Second workout, – less intense – more conditioning, stability balance and core based.

e) Second workshop or lecture on either nutrition, lifestyle planning or exercise – you choose

f) Final workout which is stretch and relaxation based so they get three workouts within it and the feeling of a bootcamp 

We put together a takeaway good bag of high value with free products and discount vouchers we negotiate for local suppliers of products. We put in a booklet of gifts from us such as recipe’s shopping lists, all sorts of education and information. 

3. Offer a bulk up product purchase

Pick one of your services or classes that if purchased in December gets a taster of a second service you offer free of charge. i.e if you buy a course of one to one you get a free class and so on.

4. Price increase offer. 

Review your prices for the New Year and increase them with your cost of living raise. Advertise this in good time during December letting all your members know which services you are going to increase in price and if purchased this side of Christmas they can purchase for this years price i.e a 10 class voucher bought at the current price.

5. Offer a referral voucher. 

Remind your clients and class members that if they introduce a new client or class member the client gets a referral voucher with you for either a discount on the service they use or a free session of the service they use i.e. introduce a new member who buys a 6 class pass and you get one class free. Introduce a new member who buys a 10 class pass or training sessions and you get two sessions free. 

6. High Value Gift

Have a give away for clients who book in December. Make this give away something you design or make that won’t take your time up in the New Year i.e a home workout booklet or a good bag of gifts, a recipe book, a book of articles on fitness, a voucher booklet with discounts for local suppliers like the good bag above for the event. 

I hope some of these ideas help you think about what you can do now to prepare for the Christmas period and set yourself up well to enjoy your time off because your cash flow is not a problem and you have generated good income up to Christmas. This means you can shut down with confidence, take a rest and reboot in the New Year.