Club Insider

Are You Charging Enough For Your Membership?

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Michael GelfgotMichael Gelfgot

High Volume, Low Price (HV/LP) clubs are on the rise, but the market is willing to pay more. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sports Association (IHRSA), between 2005 and 2014, average monthly spend for a membership was between $33 - $37 per month. In 2018, it was $43. As of 2018, Planet Fitness, the largest HV/LP club chain, had over 1,800 units, but the average monthly rate of a membership keeps increasing. The question is how can you justify increasing the cost of your membership when HV/LPs are popping up left and right?

1. Do you know the people who you do your best work with? The biggest challenge with a lot of gyms is that they are a place for everyone. Casey Conrad, President of Communications Consultants, says you get rich in the niche. What's your niche? You can't be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to someone. For example, there is a small 3,400 square-foot gym in a town of 18,000 with an average household income of $43,000 that's charging $56 per month for a membership. There is a large HV/LP club in town along with a YMCA and a Mom and Mop place that's been there for decades. This place is known more for wellness vs. fitness, meaning what this place specializes in is working with diabetics, folks who are struggling and living with obesity, and people who have heart disease. They have a four-point plan that they offer as a unique selling proposition to show customers walking in that they have a real solution to a real problem. They offer an initial visit discount on enrollment and $5 off of bi-weekly installments. The point is this: if you want to raise rates, stop generalizing and start specializing.

2. Become an authority in your specialized field. This raises value and justifies a cost increase. We all know this, but very few of us actually do it. Here are a few ways on becoming an authority:

  • Write a book. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. In that same town, the gym that charges $56/month specializes working with folks who are 55+. What makes them special in working with that population is that they aligned themselves and got certified through the Functional Aging Institute. Since that relationship was formed, they decided to co-write a book, which anyone can do using this service:
  • Showcase your education in your facility and talk about it at point of sale. Just remember not to make yourself the hero. But, it's totally okay. In fact, it's very useful in letting your customers know that you understand how they feel. Many of your members felt the same way when it comes to exercise and nutritional advice, which is why you decided to get all of this education and align yourself with the best of the best in the business to take all the guess work out of exercise and nutrition. The idea is to help your prospects feel hopeful and secure that, this time around, they are working with a true professional. With all the noise in the business, not everyone will have the education that is required to specialize to work with a special type of an individual. This is not only a way to showcase your authority, it's also a way to differentiate yourself from the competition.

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