Maintenance Planning for Gyms and Rec Centers

Image of gym equipment getting cleaned

January is the month many people try to create (and stick to) healthier routines. According to IHRSA, gym membership usually spikes 4 percent points in January, accounting for 12% of all new annual memberships. 

Another significant number to consider: about 50% of new gym members are lost by six months.

There are several reasons people quit their gym memberships—some you can’t control. 

But your team can certainly control some things. For example, creating an inclusive environment, supporting the achievement of patrons’ fitness goals, and providing excellent customer service experiences. 

And, of course, making sure the facility is clean and well-maintained. People want to exercise in a clean facility with machines that work. Dirty, unsanitary workout spaces with unmaintained equipment will cost memberships.

The extra effort of creating positive experiences for partons pays off. According to Bain and Company, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can mean an increase in profits by 25 to 95 percent across several industries.

Benefits of a Maintained Gym

Of course, a well-maintained gym or recreation center will keep members returning (and renewing their memberships). But it’s more than just getting people in the door. 

Having a clear, well-established gym maintenance plan allows for:

  • A cleaner, safer facility for your patrons to enjoy
  • Fewer breakdowns that cause user experience disruptions
  • Stretching the budget by lengthening the equipment lifespan
  • Having access to data and records for budgeting, risk management, and compliance

Conduct Regular Safety Inspections

Gyms and recreation centers certainly have their fair share of hazards. Slipping on wet floors, tripping on displaced equipment, and accidents from faulty equipment are just some risk gym patrons face in poorly maintained workout areas.

Staff needs to do daily spot checks of the gym. This includes areas where accidents are more likely to happen, like entrances during wet weather, near water fountains or bottle filling stations, and by the free weight area. If multiple staff work at the gym, create a uniform checklist of places to monitor to ensure nothing gets overlooked.

Schedule more intensive weekly inspections where a trained staff examines workout equipment, machine hardware, pulley systems, weight stacks, and moving parts. 

Establish a Vigorous Cleaning Schedule

Wiping the exercise machines several times a day will help keep them looking good. It also keeps the corrosive sweat and body oils from damaging finishes on equipment.

Similar to inspecting areas, provide clear cleaning checklists and instructions for staff. Schedule cleaning at specific times and make it routine. 

Set aside a day each week for more thorough cleanings of everything. Make it easy to report or request a maintenance work order when cleaning staff notices something out of the ordinary. 

If the budget allows, schedule a professional crew to clean the gym. Even periodic cleanings by a team that specializes in servicing commercial gyms can complement the work of your staff.

Maintain Easy-to-Access Records

Records serve a crucial role in the overall condition of a gym or recreation center. 

First, they help keep staff accountable. Records generated from scheduled inspections, work orders, and tasks give all the information about who completed what and when.  

Records also provide gym staff with a contact list of who installed or serviced the various features in the gym. Because, let’s face it, details fade over time--especially when there is staff turnover. Keeping records allows the current crew to know what staff, subcontractors, tradespeople, or service providers were used in the past. 

Along with a contact list, your team could have all necessary manuals, instructions, and maintenance plans in one area (or digitally accessible). Maintenance records may help if broken equipment is under warranty. Detailed records could also prove your agency used reasonable care to keep areas and equipment as safe as possible in the case of an injury.

Schedule Preventative Maintenance for Equipment

Preventive Maintenace can include:

  • Lubricating workout machines per manufacturers’ guidelines
  • Sanitizing equipment
  • Scheduling appointments with expert technicians
  • Cleaning and vacuuming interior components
  • Checking for loose fittings, worn parts, and surface damage
  • Cleaning floor underneath equipment
  • Scrape dirt, dead skin, rust, and lifting chack from barbells’ knurling with a wire brush

Plan for Improvements and Repairs

People want to walk into a gym that looks clean and new. Unfortunately, nothing keeps that brand-new look forever, especially in a gym. The annual operating budget should allocate funds for minor improvements and repairs. 

Planning to repair or replace items or areas that typically wear down fast will help keep the gym looking new without a surprise line item on your budget. The things that usually need an early replacement include:

  • Finish on certain doors
  • Edges on countertops
  • Corners on walls
  • Entry mats
  • Stripes on an indoor track
  • Pads and upholstery on benches and machines
  • Rub points on hand grips
  • Showerheads

Other areas will depend on usage and how your facility is designed.  

The Takeaway

Successful gyms and recreation centers are clean, safe, and inviting. Maintaining workout areas and gym equipment results in a better user experience.

Organizing and systemizing cleaning and maintenance processes help keep staff on the same page. Standardizing inspection and work orders helps staff report when they notice issues. Having a centralized location to store records of inspections, previous service, and owners' manuals ensures details about facility maintenance don’t fade away. 

More park districts and recreation facility operators rely on computerized maintenance management software to help keep everything in order and running smoothly. They found it saves time, money, and file cabinet space by having a digital dashboard where everyone can effectively communicate what work needs to be done.