Trade Your Gym Membership: Former Employees Share the Secrets (2023)

Trade Your Gym Membership: Former Employees Share the Secrets (1)

Joining a gym is one of the best decisions you can make for your health and fitness.

But it can also wreak havoc on your finances with expensive membership fees, annual dues, and more.

That is, of course, if you don't know how to negotiate the best deal.

After speaking with former gym employees, reading firsthand testimonials, and drawing on my own experiences as a regular gym goer, here is my complete guide to negotiating your gym membership.

If you're in a hurry, here's the basic information:

  1. Set your budget.You can pay anywhere from $10 to $100 per month for a gym membership, depending on where you go. Sometimes the best way to get the price you want is to know where to look.
  2. certain timeGym providers often have monthly deals. Towards the end of the month, they will be more likely to close a deal to reach their goal.
  3. Get ready to go.Walking away and letting them cook is often a great way to really get the best price. And if you don't get the price you want, don't sign the papers.

But there's so much more you can do to save money on your gym membership and get the best gym deals.

Here you will find almost everything you need to know, from the most basic strategies to advanced tactics.

The Basics: Set Your Budget

how much does a gym membership costNevertheless?

(Click this link for a full review.)

This is very important information to know when setting your budget and deciding how much you are really willing to pay each month.

The short answer is that you can join a convenient and cost-effective gym for as little as $10 a month. You can also pay over $100 a month to access a top-notch gym.

You should probably pay around $30-$40 per month to join a large, well-equipped gym.

It all depends on the equipment and amenities you need for your training style.

planetafitnessIt'll only cost you $10 a month for a basic subscription, but you won't have much luck lifting weights here, and they hardly ever have a pool, basketball courts, and other amenities like that.

LAFitnessit's a great mid-range gym. They have pretty much all the equipment you'll need, plus some nice perks, and you're probably paying $30-$40 a month.

the YMCAIt's surprisingly expensive for a single person, about $50 a month, but the access and amenities are pretty good overall - the YMCA has a great basketball scene and generally has great pools and other community programs. It's also great to be with the whole family and they have a great nursery.

A top club likefitness for lifeIt will probably cost you at least $60 per month and probably closer to $100 depending on your membership level. But then again, Life Time has the best pools, amazing bars and cafes, an amazing selection of equipment, and the strongest lesson plan.

What you want to do is set a price range for yourself and pick a few gyms in that range that you want to consider.

If you want to keep things as cheap as possible, try a Planet Fitness, a YouFit, and a Crunch, at least initially.

For some midrange options in the $20 to $50 per month range, check out LA Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Gold's Gym, and 24H Fitness.

For a higher level of services, check out Life Time Fitness, Equinox (if there's one nearby), or maybe even your local YMCA.

(and look at mygym comparison guide, where I do individual comparisons of almost all the major chains).

The Basics: When and When to Join a Gym

Knowing when to join a gym to get the best deal is an art.

Let's start with the most obvious part:

Start your first scan at the beginning or middle of the month so that you are ready to go the last week of the month.

Gym vendors, like almost any other type of vendor, typically have monthly fees.

Depending on the season, they MUST sell a certain number of subscriptions to reach their goal.

If you hire them at the end of the month, they will usually push themselves to hit your number and are more likely to give you the best offer.

If possible, attend in the off season (May to August).

Any idea when gym memberships will increase?

If you guessed January, congratulations! You did.

Although many people like to exercise in the summer to gethad, there are lessnuevoPeople sign up when the weather is good.

Active and fit people generally enjoy being outside in hot weather! They are only driven indoors during the cooler fall and winter months.

So if possible, you can make a lot of money by joining a gym in the middle of summer when memberships are at their lowest.

During the slower months, sales reps will have a harder time meeting their quotas and will be more flexible in working with you.

Visit the gym later in the day, closer to closing time if possible

Matt Huey, PT, MPT, Dip MDT (and former gym employee) told me that commercial gyms stack peak hours with their best salespeople.

later at night? Reception is usually handled by the "B squad".

This team is not that good at selling and negotiating. And if you want to play rough with someone, that's who you want to deal with.

(You can also find Team B in the early afternoon on weekdays when the gym is relatively quiet.)

The Basics: Knowing When to Walk Away

This is Deal 101 and definitely something to have in your arsenal if you want to get the best deal and save money on your gym membership.

Matt Huey told me, "Managers told us that a lot of people come impulsively to get in shape, and if you let them go without buying anything, they'll probably change their minds."

So gym sellers are usually VERY reluctant to let you go without signing up.

Telling them vehemently that you are considering visiting other gyms or that you want to talk to your partner before making a decision will usually prompt them to make a concession and offer you a better deal.

Typically, you'll want to use this technique after you've been negotiating with a seller for a while, and possibly even after escalating.

Advanced Tactics to Get the Best Gym Membership Deal

Ok, so we've covered the basics of this process.

Pick a few gyms you like, visit them off-peak and off-season, ask for the best price, and be ready to walk away if you don't like it.

That's probably 90% of what you need to do to have a solid business.

But if you want some extra pocket tactics to really drive things home, check out some of these more advanced strategies:

Negotiate the length of the contract.

All the former employees say they are trained to negotiate first with the longest possible contract.

It seems like a win-win situation. These long contracts usually offer the best monthly price and the gym keeps you longer, which means you earn more money.

A long contract isn't necessarily a bad thing if you like the gym and like the price, but know that this is how they get the most out of you.

You could also put yourself in a really bad situation if you sign a 3 year lease on your gym and have to move or get injured and can't train etc.

This should definitely be a bargaining point. There's no reason you should be locked into an incredibly long contract just to get a reasonable price.

If possible try to get the 3 year price for a 1 year contract.

Consider application fees, registration fees, and other annual fees

Simply put, you almost never have to pay a membership or application fee to join a new gym.

These can range from $50-$200 and are ALWAYS negotiable.

In fact, this is the main area where gym salespeople and managers have leeway.

Matt, the former employee I spoke to for this article, told me, "[The fee] was usually $50, but we could cut it in half first, but if they didn't want to sign up, we could tell them no." They usually made sales that cost $0 to sign up anyway, so they never bothered with that fee.

If you can't get them off the monthly price, DEFINITELY get them to take one of those upfront fees.

Most of the time, the cost of the membership is a direct profit for the gym and has no real purpose other than to give them a bargaining chip.

Go somewhere less popular

Here's a fun tip.

Remember how we talked about desperate sellers hitting their quotas?

Those in really popular locations (eg busy city centers) will have a much easier time completing their objectives, albeit more.

Quieter suburban locations, for example, will generate much less overall volume and be much thirstier for a new sale.

If you live next door to (for example) an LA Fitness that is incredibly busy, consider venturing out to one a bit further just to close your deals and possibly get in on it.

You can still go to whatever is convenient for you when you become a member (assuming you are a member of multiple sites).

Tell them you're interested in personal training (even if you're not)

Here's a progressive tactic from a former gym sales executive:

Mention to the seller that you are interested in personal training.

This suddenly makes you a LOT more profitable for the gym and they will be even more interested in signing you up.

They may be willing to make a special offer on the membership price if they think they will get more out of you later on.

Remember, don't sign up here for personal training sessions unless you're really interested.

If you are interested in personal training, be sure to use it as a bargaining chip for a great price.

It takes a lot of time for the seller

I know you're probably busy and don't want this to go on forever, but so are the vendors.

Take a tour of the gym. ask a lot of questions

Put them to work for this sale.

If you talk to them for a while and take some of their valuable time, they will worry about sunk costs.

You don't want to miss out on the sale, and you may be more willing to make some concessions.

Search discussion forums like Reddit

If you do a quick search on Google or Reddit, you'll find countless discussion threads where people openly discuss how much they paid to join a certain gym and how they got the best deal.

It's like those websites that tell you how much you should really pay for a car before you go to the dealer.

Knowing that some people only pay $25 a month online for 24-hour exercise with no subscription fee (this is a made-up example, by the way), you should feel confident going in and trying to match the same price.

Tell them why you can't pay full price

It could be a sad story ("I got fired and I'm out of a job") or it could just be a fact of life ("I'm a penniless college student"), but if you tell them how much you love it, tell them if you love the facility and why. If the indicated price does not suit you, they can help you further.

(Just, you know, don't lie outright. That's not cool.)

Many commercial gyms have student rates, corporate rates, military discounts, etc.

If they like you and you can get them on your side, maybe have them apply one of these special rates to your subscription.

Pay the entire contract in advance (if you can afford it)

If you have the money to pay for a full year at a time, this can be a great way to get monthly prices you might not otherwise get.

It's a lot to invest up front, of course, but a great saving technique over time.

Step-by-step guide to negotiating your gym membership fee

Let's summarize everything.

If I was going to a gym for the first time and knew what I know now, I would negotiate my gym membership like this:

  1. set my price point(for example, less than $40 per month)
  2. at least choose3 gyms nearbyin this area
  3. visit each of themand possibly do a guest workout to see which one I like best
  4. Do not register on the site, even if they want to. I'm still buying and not ready to trade.
  5. after my walksdecide which one I like more. The seller may have asked me if I already made a good offer. Unless…
  6. visit a quiet placeVisit this gym off-peak and look for B-Squad providers. Mention in passing that I may be interested in personal training later.
  7. start negotiations. I want the best price for a short contract and I don't want to pay any registration fees.
  8. If I stay with the official,escalate to a manager.
  9. If I still don't get what I want, tell them I need to think about it andget ready to go.
  10. If they don't make me a reasonable offer on the spot or in a follow-up meeting, I will too.Pick a different location to try it out, or pick a different gym entirely.
  11. Never sign up for a subscription you can't afford!

To involve

So here are all the tools and techniques I can find to help you negotiate your gym membership.

I haven't even found legit ways to get discounts like B. Join a friend, recruit new members, do part-time subscriptions, etc.

But when it comes to negotiating a default membership, it's a pretty comprehensive arsenal to work with.

Remember, it's more of an art than a science! Every gym network and provider will be different, so I just wanted to give you a few different strategies to choose from.

What do I lose? What are your top tips for getting a good deal on your gym?

Let me know in the comments!

And I hope this helps everyone!

(PS Before you go, check out my guide on what to do ifCan't afford a gym anymoreIt's inThe best free training plansNow you can start without a gym!)

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