9 Things Every Gym Must Have

Whether it’s a new climbing center or an aging rock gym, every facility needs to add value to the customers experience. That’s why CBJ gives you a list of 9 things every modern climbing gym should have.

Comment Board

Great businesses listen to their customers. Offering a place for customers to tell you what they want is key to creating a lasting relationship with your customers. A comment box allows customers to anonymously give feedback to management and lets them feel as if they are an active part of the business. Posting a public response to every comment will show customers that you’re listening and attentive.

Photo: Motivation Volumes


Volumes are like little presents for your routesetters and your customers. They can bring a fresh new look to an aging wall and lets your setters create movement that they otherwise could not have. Whether made out of wood or fiberglass, volumes are a durable cost effective way to keep setters and climbers excited about coming into the gym.

Member-Only Check-In Scanner

Your members should be treated like kings and queens when they walk in the door. But if they encounter a long line of day pass buyers or a large group waiting to get their rental shoes, the member will feel less than special. Offering a separate member-only check-in scanner will offer that red velvet experience for the member while saving time for your front desk personnel.

Photo: unifirst
Photo: unifirst

Staff Shirts and Name Tags

Climbing gyms are quickly realizing that they need to be as professional as possible if they hope to bring in more members. One simple way to add a bit more polish to your gym is to make sure the customer can tell who is an employee and who is not. Providing your staff with professional uniforms and name tags goes a long way towards solidifying your brand in the eyes of your members.

Connections to Local Businesses

All climbing gyms are local and no business is an island unto itself. That’s why teaming up with other local businesses such as coffee shops, breweries, theaters, gear shops or pizza joints is a great way to offer added value to your customers and build relationships that may come in handy down the road. One example is: Show your day pass to the local brew house and get 15% off your meal and beer that night.

Soft Grades

Moses Potter, Head Setter at Sender One, once told us that “It’s OK if the customer leaves with a smile on their face.” This is not the typical philosophy of routesetters but it should be. Any conversation about grades is controversial but there should be nothing controversial about making your customers happy, and sending makes people happy. A challenging AND rewarding experience is what climbers are looking for. If they only get one or the other they will be less than satisfied and may head elsewhere.

Elkay EZH2O Station

Hydration Station

Climbers are hip to fitness and with that comes staying hydrated. Having conveniently-located water fountains is a must and providing the ability to quickly fill water bottles is one of the easiest amenities you can provide.

Chalk Regimen

Chalk dust is the nemesis of every climbing gym. A necessary evil, the white powder finds it way onto every surface, nook and cranny, creating a dirty nuisance and a chronic health problem. The only way to deal with the nasty substance is to stay on top of it with a regular cleaning regimen. Horizontal surfaces have to be vacuumed or mopped daily and air intake filters need to be cleaned at least weekly. Investing in additional air quality equipment, such as a HEPA filter or Chalk Eater, will measurably reduce the particulate load in your air, creating a cleaner and healthier environment.

Sender One's route tags
Sender One’s route tags

Professional Signage

The days of the sharpie are over, and gaffers tape should never again be used to affix announcements, warning notices or route tags to your walls. Gyms that take the time to print professional looking signage and to properly attach them to walls show that they are no fly-by-night operation. Take a page from a professional marketing department and invest in a good printer, laminator and staff person with decent graphic design skills and see how you can give your facility an instant makeover just by changing out a dozen or so handmade signs.

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