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Health Club Marketing With Gym T-Shirts

Aug 17, 2007
Whether you own a circuit training franchise or a large national chain gym, there's no doubt that two of your primary functions are health club marketing and boosting profits. Every fitness center in the country is looking for new members, while at the same time seeking to increase their income.

What if you could do both at the same time? What if you could get your existing members to do some gym marketing for you, and do it for free? Even better, how excited would you be if your members actually paid you to advertise your health club?

A custom t-shirt can help you achieve all these goals, bringing in more revenue and free advertising for years to come. Selling workout clothing has been profitable for many gyms, and it can be for you, too.

Perhaps the best way to capitalize on the workout wear market is to sell t-shirts with your logo on the front. Your members will wear a high-quality customized t-shirt, and every time they wear it they'll be advertising for you.

Before entering this side-business, it's important to consider exactly what type of custom printed t-shirt your members will purchase. As an example, consider the extremely popular women's circuit-training gyms that are spread across the United States. Most of these hydraulic circuit-training gyms cater to women. Color and quality are important, especially to a woman. While most women will not wear a regular white t-shirt, they will eagerly purchase a custom designed t-shirt. Cheap t-shirts that are practically see-through after the first wash won't generate many sales. Offering high-quality shirts in a wide assortment of colors, on the other hand, will maximize sales.

So how do you get into this profitable business? It's simple! You already have the membership base, and all you need is a t-shirt design. For most of you, that will be your existing health club logo. Once you've decided on an image, slogan or logo for your printed t-shirt, your next step is to find a supplier that can wholesale t-shirts and also handle all your t-shirt printing needs.

Perhaps you already have a t-shirt printer that you're working with. Maybe they've even quoted you a price that appears to be low. But is that really what you're paying? Be wary of the hidden charges on your bill. Most gym clothes providers charge a set-up fee ranging from $60 to $140. You pay this fee every time you make a change to your t-shirt design. Other companies quote you a low price on the shirts and then hit you with a huge shipping and handling fee, bringing the per-shirt price well over $9. Hidden costs like these will erase any profit potential.

To discover what kind of profit you've been making on retail health club t-shirts, find one of your old invoices and figure out your actual cost per shirt. Take the total amount you paid, including set-up fees, shipping and handling and divide that number by the actual quantity of shirts you received. You may be surprised by how much you're really paying for t-shirts.

Assuming that you've found a supplier with a reasonable price, you can resell logo shirts to your members for $10 each. However, you may want to consider charging more for your shirts. For example, 24 Hour Fitness center charges $16 to $20 for their women's t-shirt. Bally's Gym has a t-shirt for a man listed at $16.99. World Gym offers their basic logo t-shirt for $15.95 and their designer t-shirt for up to $26 each.

If you decide to charge more than the basic $10 for your gym t-shirt, your profit margins might look something like this:
$10 retail = 42% markup
$12 retail = 71% markup
$14 retail = 100% markup
$16 retail = 129% markup
$18 retail = 157% markup
$20 retail = 186% markup
(Based upon a cost of $7 per shirt)

So now you're aware of the potential profit to be gained by selling workout clothes, while at the same time getting completely free fitness center marketing and advertising. Still not convinced that you should be selling t-shirts in your health club? Here's another idea that may even help with member retention:

Hold a t-shirt design contest for your gym members! Have your members submit drawings or ideas for a novelty t-shirt. Choose the best design and have some printed up for sale. Give the member who submitted the best design a free t-shirt or some other prize. Your members will have fun, and you'll be surprised with the humorous t-shirt ideas they'll create.

If you like this idea, here are a few funny t-shirt sayings to get you started:
"Leave Your Fat Behind At __________" (name of your gym)
"Actually Weight What Your Drivers License Says."
"Don't Weight Another Day! Join __________ Today!" (name of your gym)
"The Weight Is Over!"
"Change Your Life Inch By Inch."

Selling t-shirts in your health club is profitable, it provides you with free advertising and it can help increase member retention. No matter what size your gym may be, this is one strategy that deserves a closer look.
About the Author
This article brought to you by Health Club Clothing , a wholesale apparel clothing store for gym owners. We offer discount apparel wholesale clothing for health club, gym and fitness center owners. Please visit http://www.healthclubclothing.com/ for more information.
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