Average Customer Acquisition Cost for Gyms

The average customer acquisition cost (CAC) for gyms varies widely from gym to gym, leaving many gym owners unsure of what they should be spending to acquire a customer. We have grouped gyms into five categories to provide accurate and precise CAC benchmarks. The categories are:

When running paid and organic advertising for gyms, the most important metric to pay attention to is the CAC measured against the lifetime value of a customer (LTV) to determine the profitability of the advertising campaign. At a minimum, we recommend maintaining an LTV:CAC ratio of 3:1, meaning for every $1 spent to acquire a new customer, $3 in revenue is made. 

How to Calculate Your CAC

To measure your results against our benchmarks, it is important to ensure you are correctly calculating your CAC. The following formula is used. 

CAC = Total Spend on Sales/Marketing ÷ Customers Acquired

Each breakdown is split into organic and paid channels. Organic channels include email marketing, SEO, and organic social media, while paid channels include Meta Ads, Google Ads, and radio ads. Organic channels will yield a lower CAC, but they generally take longer to implement than paid channels, which offer quicker results at a higher CAC. 


Average CAC by Type

The following table breaks out the average CAC by gym type, from small boutique gyms to large mega-gym chains. 

Gym TypeExplanationExampleOrganic CACPaid CAC
TraditionalBroad range of standard exercise equipment 24 Hour Fitness$158$277
Boutique Fitness StudiosSpecialize in specific types of workouts or fitness classesOrangetheory$364$638
Personal Training StudiosFocuses on one-on-one or small group personal trainingFitness Together$475$832
CrossFit GymsEmphasis on functional fitness with a mix of weightlifting, cardio, and bodyweight exercisesCrossFit$475$832
Wellness CentersOffer a holistic approach to health and fitnessYMCA$301$527
Sports-SpecificCater to athletes focusing on a specific sportNC Baseball Academy$554$970
Women-OnlyExclusive to female clientsCurves$127$222
BudgetFocus on providing essential gym services at lower costsPlanet Fitness$63$111
LuxuryHigh end facilities and extensive amentitiesEquinox$713$1,247


Average CAC by Facility Offerings

Generally, the more niche the facility offerings are, the more expensive the membership will be. This leads to higher CAC in most circumstances, except in markets where the demand for a specific type of gym has outpaced the supply substantially. 

Facility OfferingsExplanationOrganic CACPaid CAC
BasicStandard gym equipment, no or limited group classes$95$166
Full-ServiceExtensive gym equipment with a variety of group classes$206$360
Fitness StudiosSpecialized equipment (Pilates reformers, boxing rings, etc.)$364$638
Wellness CentersComprehensive fitness equipment and classes with additional services (massage, sauna, nutrition counseling)$301$527
Sports ComplexesFitness equipment, group classes, and sports facilities (basketball courts, swimming pools, tennis courts)$253$444
Personal Training StudiosFocus on one-on-one or small group personal training$475$832


Average CAC by Price Point

We observe that as the average monthly cost of a gym increases, the CAC will also increase. We generally recommend the marketing spend to be liquidated (revenue = CAC) in the first 3-6 months. 

Price PointExplanationOrganic CACPaid CAC
Budget< $30/month$63$111
Mid-Range$30/month - $60/month$143$249
Premium$60/month - $100/month$253$444
Luxury$100/month - $200/month$475$832
Exclusive> $200/month$713$1,247


Average CAC by Marketing Channel

Below are the most common gym marketing channels where results are measurable and data is available.

Social Media$398
Influencer Partnerships$477
Online Paid Ads$557
Direct Mail$636


Average CAC by Location

Below, see the data for average CAC by gym location. 

Gym LocationOrganic CACPaid CAC


Next Steps: Lowering Your CAC

The best way to lower your CAC is through organic lead generation channels. While these channels take longer to build, they offer consistent leads generated at a low cost for years to come. We specialize in helping businesses do this by implementing a thought leadership SEO strategy. If you want to learn more, message us on our contact page here.