How to make Money with a Digital Business Model

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  • How to make Money with a Digital Business Model

Within a year, online fitness has become an industry staple for nearly every gym, boutique, or trainer. The question, of course, is can you make money at virtual fitness and, if so, how do you recoup the investment?

Online classes are, by their nature, a volume business. You’re going to have to sell more classes or train more people to make the same money as you would with an in-person experience. Why? Because you’re now promoting a lower-cost service while investing in new tools and novel marketing techniques.

And, unlike selling a physical product, your concept is vulnerable to market whims and perceived value. How much worth can be ascribed to your staff’s professionalism, industry expertise, or your own time? Those are hard ideas to wrap a number around.

So how much can you charge for virtual memberships and services? The fees vary considerably based on the quality of the offerings and a gym’s target clientele.

Making a Profit


A quick Internet search* suggests pricing ranges from $35 per month to as low as $10 per month. In all these cases, digital classes were stand-alone business models supplementing either an IRL studio or a fully online company.

To determine the right pricing strategy for your business, take a few tips from the experts.

First of All – Know How Much to Charge — Pricing 101

Step One – Use cost-plus pricing to analyze your investment. This standard method compiles all the direct, indirect, and fixed costs associated with providing the service, and then adds a desired profit point to secure a final number. These costs include materials, labor, and overhead.

Step Two – Research competitors’ pricing. Although it is not often a good idea to compete on price alone, it is best to know competitors’ charges for similar services to a comparable customer base. Once you know this number, it is also important to understand the professed value of your service to the end user, as here is where pricing becomes an art form — that little wiggle space between too expensive and not expensive enough.

Step Three – Determine a fair market profit. You need to make money, but you can’t overcharge either, especially in a down market or one as prospectively saturated as online fitness. Experts suggest looking at industry resources for net profit margins. Digital fitness companies have exploded in the COVID-19 era but the concept went live a few years ago – long enough to establish a track record. Anecdotal online articles suggest the estimated gross profit margin for virtual classes hovers at 40%.

Payment Models

There are innumerable ways to charge customers for your services but here are the most common methods.

1. Cost included in the membership fee. In this method, customers select from a tiered payment model based on their personal needs, and can choose the option that includes online classes. Frequently, this fee increases their monthly charge by about $10. Some companies include app access in base pricing and even showcase free classes on social media.

2. Add-on options. This a-la-carte selection style averages 5%–10% of a membership fee and works well within marketing plans. Common promotions give away two weeks or a month’s access to classes, then switch users to are recurring payment plan. This approach allows exercise enthusiasts to build or maintain relationships with favored instructors while training on their schedule from home.

3. Fully remote memberships. Pricing for this type of service is estimated at 1/3 the cost of a regular membership. These plans strive to keep clients who have moved, become injured, or for some reason do not feel comfortable at a gym.

4. Remote live streaming membership. Pricing for this type of class depends heavily on the quality of the content. The better a product you can provide, the more you can charge. Current industry averages are 1/3 to 1/2 of an average membership.

5. Remote private training. This number varies. Pricing ranges from 25%–50% of an average hourly rate. Flat fees per client vary between $50–$100 per month. 6. Remote boot camps. These virtual group sessions typically charge 25%–40% of an in-person class.

Online fitness introduces more people to healthy lifestyle choices. That’s got to be a good thing for the industry and for your business. It’s an exploding market that complements a traditionally brick-and-mortar industry perfectly. With a careful balance of price to investment, you should come out ahead.

• Companies researched included Crunch, Planet Fitness, CampTampa2go, Melissa Wood Health, Alo Moves, P.volve, The Sculpt Society