Whistlekick Survey Results - Gym Management Software Edition

When we launched The Whistlekick Report earlier this year, we reported the findings from our first survey - a general look at what martial arts facilities are doing today. In this survey, we discovered that only 37% of those that took that survey were using gym management software - a type of CRM or customer service management software. We set out to learn more about that, launching our second survey shortly after, this one aimed at uncovering more information about what softwares martial arts facility owners were using, why they were using them, and why some owners chose not to use them at all.

The results are in, and while 70% of the respondents to this survey do use some type of CRM, the responses we got allowed us a better look at what people like and don't like about them, as well as why some respondents haven't tried them yet. Below is a quick recap of the results of the survey in an easy to read infographic form, followed by a more detailed analysis of those results for those interested. As always, we appreciate the time our respondents have taken to answer these questions.

Respondents to our survey gave their feedback on several CRMs and gym management softwares, as well as reasons why they like and dislike them, do and do not use them, and why they haven’t tried them yet. We hope that the results of this analysis will help anyone who questions whether these systems will work for them, or needs help choosing the right system for them.

Why Use CRMs

70% of the respondents to our most recent survey on gym management software reported using a CRM. These respondents reported liking a range of different features. Automating tasks such as sending welcome and reminder emails, scheduling and keeping track of attendance, and being able to communicate with students were the top features users reported liking about software usage at their facility. Respondents also answered that they like receiving tips and trainings from the CRM and the availability of features that have helped them grow their businesses. They also like the fact that the softwares make it easy to keep track of costs and accounts.

It’s these features that have made the use of CRMs for so many companies one of the fastest growing fields. As of 2022, more than 91% of business with 10 or more employees were using CRMs to help with automating tasks and business growth. One of the things reported by respondents to our survey is the fact they the software they use has been crucial to their ability to grow their facility. And this is true of most reported CRM usage - by using CRMs, you can help grow your business more effectively. This is because using a CRM makes customer service and communication easier, which in turn helps you get and nurture leads and retain your current students.

For smaller martial arts facilities, CRMs can help free up administrative tasks with automation. In the last few years, studies have shown that more than 50% of CRM adopters are able to improve their productivity. While this can vary by usage, automating many of your communications with students and potential students can be a big benefit to many facilities.

Obstacles to CRM Usage

Many of our survey respondents had used more than one CRM, with several people answering that they have looked into many different softwares over the years. And 30% of those who responded to this survey have not tried a CRM, either because they have a system that they like, or for other reasons.

Of those that had left a software, the most common reasons were because the company did not have enough relevance for martial artists, the expense of the program, and how difficult it was to use either for themselves or for their students. Of those that had not used a CRM to date, the number one reason why was the expense of the software, while some were unsure of what the CRM could be used for as well as what features might be available to them. Some also reported that they felt that most CRMs had more features than they needed, and as a small facility, they did not want the expense of something they would not use.

CRMs are used for a wide variety of different industries. For martial arts facilities, the most common type falls under the category of “Gym Management Software”. These software types may be aimed at the general fitness industry, with interfaces that are aimed at more specific niches - like martial arts facilities - while others are designed just for martial artists. Of those, we’ll discuss some of the more popular options - Spark Membership, KickSite, OnMat, and MyStudio below. Because CRM usage does need to be relevant to your industry, it is true that simply using a software is not enough to get the benefits you may need. 

In addition, CRMs have many different interfaces. These can be intuitive and easy to use, or they can be clunky and made mostly for one user. Because gym management software is often used to assist with scheduling, invoicing, communication with students and members, as well as checkout pages and inventory, it is crucial that the software you choose have a good interface. Spark Membership and OnMat are two softwares that are often praised for interfaces and ease of use. 

Expense is definitely a concern for CRMs, particularly if you are unsure of how the system could help your business grow. However, many CRMs offer plans for small and new businesses, while others allow you to choose the options you will use, which can eliminate bloat and help cut down on expenses at the same time.

Available and Frequently Used Softwares for Martial Artists

There are many different types of gym management software and CRMs on the market. Each has its own angle, benefits, features, and level of support it offers to the user. In our survey, respondents most commonly answered that they used either Spark Membership or Kicksite, while other software types that were in common usage include MyStudio, Zen Planner, ClubWorx, and JIBAsoft’s OnMat.

Each of these softwares has its pros and cons, as well as price points for users. We’ve broken them down for you below, ranking them from those respondents reported liking best to those they reported liking least. Each section details both what our respondents felt about the software, as well as general reviews from users, and why you may want to try this software. When determining this last factor, we looked at information from the survey, such as why people want to use CRMs, why they do use them, and why they have avoided trying them at this time.

Spark Membership

Spark Membership is a CRM designed for martial arts facilities, which sets it apart from more general fitness-based CRMs. Users of Spark Membership reported liking the checkout pages and the way the software has helped them grow their business. Some Spark users also liked the reporting features, claiming them to be among the best of available CRMs.

These reports tend to line up well with general reviews of the company - users report liking the customer service, ease of use of the software, and how comprehensive it is. They also appreciate how the software is designed around martial artists, rather than being generic. Spark Membership has starting costs around $199 a month.

Who may like this software:

If you are looking for software that is dedicated to martial arts and is easy to use and navigate, Spark Membership is a good choice.


Kicksite is also a CRM dedicated to martial arts facilities. While Kicksite users on our survey praise the company’s customer service and its ease of use, some compared it to Spark, saying that its checkout features and backend were lacking. Kicksite users also disliked the reporting features. 

General reviews of the software also show a mix of opinions. Users state that while the customer service is quick to respond, they are also quick to blame user error for any issues. They like the functionality for testing and scheduling, but say that the software does not offer as many features and range of options as they would like, such as lack of good inventory tracking and reporting. One benefit of Kicksite is their pricing, which is tiered by the number of students, and has entry rates for small facilities at $49 per month, up to $199 a month for larger schools.

Who may like this software:

Kicksite is a good choice for schools that want a software for martial arts facilities that can help facilitate testing. If you’re a smaller school, you may also find the entry rates more affordable than some other dedicated CRMs.

JIBAsoft OnMat

JIBAsoft OnMat is a software designed for martial artists, that also aims to simply usage by being an app, rather than a full system software. OnMat’s users reported in our survey that they found that the testing features were excellent and useful, but disliked the fact that the software was reliant on iPads. They also found the app to be buggy, which can be detriment to a busy facility. 

Users on the web like that the system is easy to use and makes testing easy as well as facilitating better communication with students. However, they dislike the open windows in the app and the need to toggle between them. The A La Carte pricing is also confusing for some - you can customize the app to how you want to use it, but it’s hard to pin down a price range if you are new to CRMs and don’t know which ones you will want or need. That said, some users like this feature, as you can start small with a low cost and increase as needed. Some features are included free after a $99 annual fee, while others start at $20 a month.

Who may like this software:

Some of our survey respondents felt that most CRMs had more features than they needed, while many others were worried about the cost. For those who feel this way, OnMat is a good option, as you can pick and choose the features you want and lower your price accordingly.

Zen Planner

Zen Planner is a gym management software that caters to many different business types within the fitness industry umbrella. They do offer features for martial arts facilities, and BJJ and MMA schools in particular. Respondents to our survey merely reported using the software; no one offered specific feedback good or bad. 

Users on the web report liking the customer service and how easy it is for customers and students to use. However, instructors and business owners were dissatisfied with communication and the inability to tailor things to the needs of their students. Like some other CRMs they do have tiered pricing, from $99 to $350 per month.

Who may like this software:

If you fall under the umbrella of one of ZenPlanner’s specific business types, you may find the features better align with your goals.


ClubWorx is an Australian-based CRM that is designed for a range of fitness-based facilities, rather than specifically for martial artists. While they do list martial arts facilities on their website, they are not as popular with martial artists as some other softwares that offer similar features. This may be why users reported on our survey that the software lacks a lot of relevant features that they would find useful to their business.

Web user reports are mixed, with some saying the company offers good customer service and others saying that they did not receive the support they needed. Likewise, many people felt that the features were clumsy and difficult to use, and that it did not offer what they needed. Features do get released frequently, though, which users found helpful overtime. 

ClubWorx does offer a free plan for very small businesses with 20 or fewer members. Their average cost per month for larger businesses is around $109 a month, and they do offer discounts on annual rates.

Who may like this software:

If you are a small facility just starting out and want to try a CRM to help free up some administration duties, the free plan for small businesses is a very good deal.


MyStudio was developed in China by martial arts facility owners with an aim to provide a CRM that would meet martial arts school needs. The company now offers CRMs for not just martial arts studios, but all fitness facilities and club types.

MyStudio users reported on our survey that they were the least satisfied with the features of this software compared to the others they had tried. They reported being unable to change what students saw on their end, unattractive checkout pages, difficult to use features, and that the company is lacking in customer service. 

User reviews on the web are more mixed. Some like the tools that the software provides such as administrative help for their businesses. However, many dislike the fact that it’s hard for families with multiple members to use, and that attendance tracking and communication options are lacking or not robust enough for their needs. 

MyStudio offers three plans for pricing ranging from $75 to $250 a month.

Who may like this software:

If you want to free up administration duties, MyStudio does offer a lot of automated features that can be helpful.

Bottom Line

While many people assume that CRMs and the like are for sales-based companies or large corporations only, there is a lot to offer martial arts facilities of all sizes as well. For small facilities, using a CRM can help your business grow, and free you up to spend more time on the mat and less behind a desk. For larger facilities, CRMs can help make administrative tasks and reporting easier, while also facilitating better communication between you and your students. While not every software will be a fit for every martial artist, many facility owners may find benefit in their use. We hope that this report helps answer some questions you may have had and has given you better insight into gym management software and how it may assist your facility growth.

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