Though it’s hard to ever feel like you have fully made it as a small gym owner, when Chris Auster, who owns CrossFit Bridge City in Texas with his wife Carrie Pugh, actually takes a look at his number these past three years since joining the Madlab Group, his progress and success is hard to ignore.

From a pure revenue standpoint, his gym has jumped from $140,000 in annual revenue to $190,000 in 2020 and this year they’re set to hit $242,000.

“We have grown 10 to 12 percent a year, and profit has increased too each year,” Auster added.

Keys To Success.

The first key reason for his growth, Auster said, is switching to Madlab’s Hybrid Membership model, where all clients do some degree of personal training with their personal coach, along with group classes.

Second, Madlab mentor Audrey Patterson has also helped him increase his rates, which has made a huge difference. Some people were paying as low as $100 a month, and now the minimum any client pays is $175 a month. 

The third big piece of the puzzle for growing as much as he has in the last three years, even through the pandemic, has been using personal training as his fundamentals program.

“Doing that really helps people stay at the gym,” Auster said of the personal training first model he follows today, as it really helps get to know your client’s true why, he said, adding that a one on one connection with a consistent coach also “helps the person feel understood.”

Finally, reading the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz also helped Auster both reduce “unnecessary costs” and increase his profitability. 

“Michalowicz broke down everything that needed to be set up so it was less intimidating to (make changes),” he explained. 

Moving Forward.

Auster’s next step is to get his coaches to a place where they’re making more of a professional wage.

“The number one priority now is turning my coach into full-time professional coaches, so me and my wife aren’t doing all the coaching,” he said.

And, he’s turning to Patterson for extra help. 

“I honestly have to say the more I meet with Audrey, the better our business does…for a while there, because we bought a building and did construction on it, I wasn't meeting with her as much, but I’m now focused on meeting with her more often again and hoping she can help us get our coaches to the next level,” he said, said. Currently, they’re meeting once a week for the next eight weeks.

Auster’s advice

Auster, who has been a gym owner for 10 years now, offered this piece of advice to other small gym owners looking for long-term success: “The Madlab system works super well. It’s really the best thing out there, but it does take a long time,” he said. It takes three to five years, for example, to build a professional coach, so you need to be willing to put in the time and the work, he said. 

“It’s not a quick fix. It’s not going to be sunshine and rainbows right away. But in the long term, it’s worth it,” he said. 

- Emily Beers 

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