The Value Is Real If You Respect It Yourself
One of the things that you learn when you’re working as a freelance contractor in the software business (bare with me here) is that you get more respect and more clients if you set a price that represents real value and a living wage for yourself.
As a case in point, a friend of mine recently qualified for a certification in network engineering. He now works as a contractor and recently raised his hourly rate by a factor of four. An amazing thing happened when he did it: Customers and prospects, that had previously been reluctant, started signing up almost immediately. He suddenly had a wait-list and had to put up his prices yet again to get the balance right.
Fighting The Low-Value Mindset
That lesson applies just about anywhere in business generally, including the fitness industry. When you give free or underpriced classes, it creates a freebie mindset for your membership.
This happens regularly with new gym owners and inexperienced fitness trainers, as well as with new entrants to many other professions as well. The reality is that you should expect to be paid fairly and well for what you and your team do.
You have to set the value, but the customer still has expectations. These expectations are built up over the lifetime of member experience with your gym. Unfortunately, it can span further than just personal experience by word of mouth, as members clue in the new guys and gals through idle chatter on the gym floor and in the locker room. Getting started right is easier than trying to change expectations down the road. Either way, the time to get the pricing right is always now.
Just Get Over It
The under pricing mindset comes from the employee mindset, where you expect to be paid at a given level, the one that you are accustomed, from your previous jobs. The thing is, as a contractor such as a fitness trainer you are going to have to cover all of the costs of your business, with a limited amount of time available to produce income.
One of the hazards of the employee mindset is thinking that you will have a productive 40-hour week 52 weeks of the year. As a self-employed contractor of any sort, I reckon you will likely only have around 60 hours available in the month to earn your living. The rest of your time goes to marketing and promoting your business and doing administration paperwork such as bookkeeping.
Time Sharing Of Staff
In a sense, customers don’t pay contractors to work; they pay them to go away when the job is done. Employees are expensive. If you’re an independent trainer, imagine if your clients had to hire you full time as a career member of their household? Only the wealthiest would ever get the benefits of working with a trainer.
As a contractor, you charge what you’re worth and customers only need to purchase as much time as they need. The rest of the time you work with other clients and earn a small part of your income from each.
So, as a trainer you have to get out of that mindset of working the nine-to-five. If you are billing training at a given rate per hour, it has to cover the time you spent in traffic, all of the phone calls you had to make, the preparations and the time spent on paperwork and troubleshooting those pesky account issues.
Plan For The Basics And Work Toward Success
The good news is that when it goes well, you get those administration tasks mastered and you have plenty of new business by word-of-mouth, you can still charge the full value rate.
I would like to think that Gym Insight would be one of the most important tools in the solution. Being a gym business owner requires all of the support you can get. It takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice and risk to get there but when you do, you discover the true reward of being your own boss, then you will have learned how to earn from the value that you create.
Fagan, Lawrence. Differentiating Price and Value In Premium Gym Memberships. January 9, 2015. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3057-premium-gym-memberships/ (accessed October 4, 2015).
-. On The High Road To Premium Gym Ownership Success. February 17, 2015. https://blog.gyminsight.com/3188-on-the-high-road-to-premium-gym-ownership-success/ (accessed September 23, 2015).