Health Club Owners and Managers


Exploring this Job

To be able to understand and meet the requirements of a health club career, you should be familiar with sports and fitness. Join a sports team while in high school, as either a team member or a manager. Any and all experience helps, whether you're a star player, an equipment manager, or the team's statistician. You can also work with a local booster club to sponsor events that promote sports and fitness within your school district. These activities demonstrate your interest and devotion to sports and fitness and may help in the future by providing you with an edge when searching for a job.

Be sure to visit a health club, whether it is a small gym in your school or a large club in your neighborhood. While visiting, take some mental notes about the size and roles of the club's staff. Do you notice a manager on duty? How many pieces of exercise equipment are available? Is the club clean? If possible, ask a staff member about his or her job and how to get started in the industry. Visit a local health club and ask if you can work out as a guest for a small fee. This will allow you to experience a club firsthand.

College students interested in sports facility management may be able to locate valuable internships through contacts they have developed from part-time jobs, but the career service offices in undergraduate or graduate programs in business administration and facility management are also good places to find information on internships.

The Job

In general terms, health club managers, like other facility managers, coordinate the events that occur in the club with the services and people who make those events possible. This involves planning exercise programs, hiring trainers and class instructors, supervising facility redesign and construction, and overseeing the custodial staff who keep the club clean and safe. Depending on the size of the health club, managers may have different job titles and specialized duties, such as fitness directors or membership managers.

Health club owners are concerned with much more than the internal workings of the club. They must be sure they have the proper finances to keep the club running, which may require months, if not years, of research and long-term financial planning. Another crucial issue club owners must consider is how their club compares to others in the area. Does their club offer enough fitness options? Are the club's hours flexible for members with varying schedules? Is the cost of membership fair and competitive with other clubs? To determine these answers, owners may visit other health clubs to investigate their design, organization, and the types of classes offered.

Many health club owners expand their business beyond one location. To choose a new site, owners must analyze their finances and ensure that there is enough local support for a new club. Owners also must be aware of the area's zoning laws or other federal, state, and local regulations concerning the construction of new buildings.

In general, health club owners and managers spend most of their time in the office or somewhere within the health club itself, supervising the day-to-day management of the facility. Club owners determine the organizational structure of the facility and set personnel staffing requirements. As staffing needs arise, the club manager addresses them with the owner, who then sets the education, experience, and performance standards for each position. Depending on the size of the facility and the nature of managers' assigned responsibilities, hiring may be conducted by a separate personnel director or by the club's general manager.