Have you considered raising your gym membership rates yet? It’s a scary thought but the truth is inflation is running hot with no signs of cooling off. As a gym owner, you get the big picture: higher fuel prices, limited labor market, and costly commodities. This all adds up to less cash in the bank.
And, even though you didn’t start a gym to make a fortune, that buffer between income and expenses — aka your profit margin — is the foundation of a well-run business. Profit is where growth, reinvestment, and risk-taking occur.
In order to keep offering your gym members an exciting, well-managed and fully maintained gym, you’ve got to generate extra cash.
What do other gyms charge?
In January 2021, the monthly rate for gym membership in 2021 ranged from $31 to $44.42 among the 16 most popular U.S. gym chains, according to RunRepeat. The most expensive gym in their survey, LifeTime Fitness topped out at $79 per month.
At the same time in 2021, the inflation rate was 1.551 percent and we filled our gas tanks for $2.27 a gallon.
Oh, what a difference a year makes.
That same tank now costs us more than $4.00 a gallon and inflation is running 8.25 percent, using Consumer Price Index measurements. Even the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics can’t make it look pretty:
There is some good news though.
Your gym clients know it’s expensive out there today.
We are not living on an island. For better or worse, we are in this together, and your gym members appreciate the difficulties of today’s economy. For example, a recent survey of 500 salon industry clients revealed this group of people expects hair styling rates to rise. More importantly, most won’t stop seeing their hairdresser because of a price increase.
Now, gyms and salons are different industries but they work from the same concept: personal improvement and relationships. No one goes to a hairdresser to feel worse. Just as we all hit the gym with the expectation that we will feel and look better after a good workout.
Secondly, health club members are creatures of habit. They like your fitness boutique because of what? Well, perhaps it’s your nice front desk employee. Or, your super clean showers and extra powerful blow dryers. Or, even, the equipment. Whatever the hook, your clients enjoy a relationship with your club. That’s why they stay.
Can you raise gym fees without losing clients?
Yes! If you do it right, you may even gain clients. In one of our recent customer profile podcasts, Chris Giumarra of Rosamond Health & Fitness in California, confessed to signing up more than 100 new clients during a rate increase. We detailed his strategy in the blog post,“Here’s a Great Six-Week Strategy to Raising Gym Membership Fees…”
His key promotional point encouraged new customers to sign up BEFORE the rate increase went into effect. Throughout the six-week promotion, he steadily unwound the offers – changing them to generate a sense of urgency.
The four key elements to Rosamond’s rate increase promotion:
- Communicate well to staff. Keep them up-to-date.
- Promote heavily through social media, text messaging to current members. Invest in boost posts.
- Tie offers to specific deadlines.
- Add a strong call to action – Chris’s gym promises to never raise a member’s rate as long as they are clients. That’s worth jumping on early.
Raising gym membership rates to stay ahead of costs.
Chris’ decision to keep rates stable for current members may not be the right one for all gyms. Sometimes, the price just needs to go up. Only you as a gym owner know which course is correct.
Ironically, we thought the pandemic would derail gyms. Yet, many survived and today are thriving, as a new community of people express a commitment to their long-term health. Exercise is their ticket to beating illness. Whether they can afford a rate hike is a different discussion. Some may stay on. Some may not.
However, you can’t allow a reluctance to lose a few people strangle your future. If your business does not stay strong financially, there is no more club for the entire gym membership. I wish our company could provide a way to predict the outcome of raising rates. However, our gym management software can only make running your business more efficient, ensuring optimal retention, management, and communication between employees and customers.
The future is up to you. Truthfully though, you’ve come this far. You’ve beaten the odds. You’re a successful business owner. Now, just take the next step and keep income ahead of expenses.
We’d love to hear from you. We’re a gym management software company designing the best, easiest-to-use member management tools in the business. Contact us at 1-855-FOR-GYMS and speak to our awesome sales guy Anthony. He can hook you up with our podcast
“The Gym Owners Podcast,” where we discuss what it takes to run a successful fitness center. Thanks for reading our blog and see you next week!