Figuring out a class schedule for your studio is a bit like figuring out a crossword puzzle. There are certain timeslots that seem obvious to fill a class with — like post-work hours, or weekend afternoon slots timed to give clients just the right amount of extra shut-eye (but early enough that they’ll still make it to their weekend brunch plans post-workout). But when it comes to what type of class to fill those slots with, the answer isn’t always clear. There are a number of factors to consider, including how well this offering ebbs and flows with your other classes throughout the week, so that your members feel like they’re getting enough of a varied workout from your studio.
This can often mean that you’re doing a bit of trial and error to determine what works best for your clients. There are always going to be certain classes that are more popular than others — but when is it time to remove a class from your schedule and try something new? We asked a few studio owners for their honest take on the key indicators that it’s time to drop a class from your roster.
When you’re losing money by keeping it
Factor in the cost of the instructor, as well as what you’re spending to keep your business opened for that hour. If it’s costing you more money to keep this class on your schedule than it would to lose it, Daniel Nyiri, CEO of 4U Fitness says it’s time for that class to go. “You should remove the class if it generates the least amount of revenue out of all your services,” he says. “If this class is the least successful in terms of making money for your business, you need to cut the fat. Calculate the sales versus assets and employee costs to determine whether or not it’s profitable.”
Get a better idea of your individual class costs and projected revenue with our Studio Forecasting Model — available now for free download in the ClassPass Partner Dashboard under Tools & Guides.
If you’ve put marketing efforts behind it — but haven’t seen results
Sometimes, especially in the case of smaller studios, there will be one class that gets a cult following of a few dedicated class takers — but not enough of a turn out to be turning a profit from. If this is the case, Christine King, CEO of Your Best Fit recommends putting some marketing tactics behind it to see if you can attract enough people to make the class worth keeping. “Proper promotion of the class is key,” she says. King recommends promoting the class across all of your studio’s social media channels, and cross-marketing with similar demographic market audiences in order to further your reach. You can even use the targeting features on Facebook ads to reach potential clients in your area who are interested in that type of fitness class. Also, be sure to offer additional incentives to the dedicated group that shows up for this class every week. “Offer existing students incentives to ‘bring a friend to a complimentary class,’ she says, “or a free class or two if their friend signs up for a minimum of 5-10 classes.” If you still see no fruits of this labor, it’s time to remove the class.
When you’ve asked your clients for feedback on the class
There’s no better way to get a clear answer about what’s not working for a class with low turnout than to go straight to the attendees. “Communication with anyone who enters your studio is equivalent to a piece of gold,” says King.
There’s no better way to get a clear answer about what’s not working for a class with low turnout than to go straight to the attendees.
“Visitors, guests and members will provide you with all of the information you need to build a successful class schedule. Don’t be afraid of asking the difficult questions and hearing their feedback. That feedback will turn your studio around into not just a profitable entity, but one that helps people.” Listen to the feedback given on the format of the class, and do what you can to make modifications based on your client’s responses. If sign-ups remain the same, at least you have vital information that can help inform what class you decide to swap the one that’s not working with.
When you’ve done some maneuvering — and attendance is still too low
As fitness specialist Kim Evans points out, there are a lot of components that could be negatively impacting class attendance to take into consideration before pulling the plug. “There are times of the day when classes will always be packed and if they are not, maybe there are too many classes for the same people, or it is not a good format,” she says. The first step to figuring it out? Evaluate the instructor. “A good coordinator will attend a class to see if there is an issue with the instructor, or if it is not a good fit,” she says. “If it is a good instructor, find another slot for that person, or ask what they think about changing it.” You might also want to consider giving the class a name change to see if it might attract more of a crowd. “I taught a class that was called Total Body Conditioning, and the name changed three times,” she says. “Once it was changed to TRX, and I had an instant class.”