Typical Roles at a Rock Climbing Gym

A rock climbing gym is a retail business with a manager, receptionists to staff the front desk and answer phones, and climbing instructors who ensure customers are climbing safely.

General Manager

The general manager runs the gym’s day-to-day operations. This role may be filled by the owner.

Typical Salary: $40,000

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Managing daily operations
  • Manage staff, inventory, marketing

What to look for:

  • Management experience
  • Knowledge of rock climbing

Climbing Instructor

A climbing instructor helps all customers in the gym climb safely and motivates climbers to advance their skills.

Salary: $17/hr

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Assist all climbers when needed
  • Ensure climbers are safe at all times
  • Motivate climbers to achieve more and push themselves farther

Who to Look For:

  • Climbing experience
  • Friendly personality
  • Customer-oriented


A receptionist staffs the front desk and manages guest relations. Climbing-specific knowledge could be learned on the job.

Salary: $10/hr


What Does This Role Entail?

  • Answer phones
  • Sell memberships and rent out climbing gear

Who to Look For:

  • Flexible schedule (available weekends and nights)
  • Friendly personality
  • Prior retail experience a plus

Rock Climbing Gym Hiring Tips

Hiring employees can seem like a nerve-wracking process, but it doesn't have to be. We break the process down into four basic steps: (1) Planning; (2) Recruiting; (3) Interviewing; and (4) Completing the Hire. Here are some tips for each phase of the process

Plan to Staff Your Business

To create a successful rock climbing gym, it is important to build a supportive atmosphere that encourages people to return. A community atmosphere where the climbing instructors are friendly and helpful goes a long way to ensuring the success of the business. Achieving this goal requires you to hire the right people who will positively contribute to your culture. Look for candidates who have the relevant climbing skills, but are also extremely patient, helpful, and positive.

Initially, the store can get by with a minimum number of staff, and you can hire more climbing instructors during peak times as you start to gauge the business better. The owner can be the manager of the rock climbing gym, or you could hire someone with previous management experience.

Develop a Recruiting Strategy

You can recruit qualified candidates from usual channels such as online job boards or flyers. Consider posting flyers around local universities to attract young, enthusiastic climbers. Try also contacting local climbing clubs to attract top-notch talent.

Interview with Confidence

If you take your time during the planning and recruiting phases of the process, you will likely end up with many qualified candidates.

Nonetheless, it is natural for a new business owner to be a bit anxious the first time hiring employees. Don’t forget that the interview is just a chance to get to know an applicant and to give them an opportunity to learn more about the role and the business. Also, it might help to remember that they are probably even more nervous than you are!

Throughout the interview process, it may help to keep in mind that most rock climbing gyms look for employees who are:

  • Positive and upbeat
  • Experienced climbers
  • Friendly personalities

Here are some sample interview questions that will help you learn more about the character of your interviewees:

  • How would you ensure climbers are having a good time?
  • What does safe climbing mean to you?
  • How would you handle a climber who was climbing unsafely?
  • What climbing styles are you proficient in?

Be Familiar with Hiring Laws

After selecting a job candidate, there are certain steps you will need to follow to complete the hiring process. Check out our Hiring Compliance Checklist for a step-by-step guide to the legal aspects of hiring employees.

One of the most important steps is to classify your new hire as an employee or an independent contractor. Become familiar with IRS guidelines on this matter, as there are serious consequences for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor.

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For more details, please refer to our guide on the topic, Contractors vs. Employees: What You Need to Know. We also provide templates for the essential hiring forms you will need.

Set Up Payroll

Once you have a growing team of employees, it's time to set up your payroll. Using a payroll service provider saves you time for running your business, and also helps ensure that you comply with important federal requirements such as employee tax withholding.

To help our readers save money and grow their business, we negotiated a 20% discount for you with payroll provider ADP, the most popular small business provider in the country.

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Try ADP and get 20% off payroll services for your business.

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