Our Club Health & Fitness Inc. in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., has a unique approach to earning profits: It doesn’t. This approach to growing a fitness business may prompt questions such as, how does a two-floor, 20,000-square-foot facility with 2,500 members manage to operate successfully, much less stay in the black, without a profit? Chief engineer Ted Glaser has an easy answer: The facility is actually ‘owned’ by the membership. “Our Club is operated by approximately 60 volunteers,” he explains. “There is a finance desk in the entryway for the $25 monthly dues collection, [and] a Е’check-in’ desk where members’ bar-coded membership cards are computer verified against the paid-up list. The $62,500-per-month revenue is sufficient to pay the bills, buy Е’toys,’ replace equipment periodically, retire the mortgage, hide something for a rainy day, and pay the salaries of the club’s manager and various part-time employees.” Add to that the small commission collected from vending machines, a $10 daily fee (up to $60 a month) for nonmembers, and the $1-per-hour, per-child fee for using the volunteer-staffed nursery on weekday mornings. The bottom line is definitely black, and members are responsible for more than just using the facility; they are also responsible for running it. “

A 12-member board of directors, elected by the members, provides guidance to the club’s paid manager,” explains Glaser. “There are two members each from the aerobics, pool and weight/cardio areas. They are elected for two-year, overlapping terms.” Though members are usually willing to rise to the challenge, Glaser admits that, “as with any volunteer organization, it is sometimes difficult to obtain candidates. Usually, some issue will arise that prods members to action.”

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