The rise of both budget gym chains and expensive boutique studios has put pressure on the mid-tier fitness service.
Experts have advised many of the reasonably priced gyms to either style up or strip away the trimmings. But is yoga on surfboards anything more than a fad? Will people tire of bringing their own towels to a bare, cold and soulless budget gym?
Pricing your gym memberships is a difficult decision. A successful revenue model will return healthy margins; get it wrong and you could be in for early closure.
If you’re struggling to decide on a membership pricing model, here are some key points to consider.
Location, location, location
Chicken or egg, business model or location; it doesn’t matter which came first, but you cannot consider one without the other.
- Check out the competition. A single street does not need three budget gyms, but the neighbourhood may benefit from two. You need to determine if you should price your gym similarly to the competition- perhaps there is a high demand for another budget gym- or if you will opt for a different pricing strategy. If you choose to veer away from the competition, ensure that there is demand in the area for your model.
- Who is in the neighbourhood? Are you planning on opening up on the corner of 5th Avenue or in a small town upstate? Rent alone will force a very different price mark, but so will your target market. Single business people and wealthy families may have similar spending limits, but their desires are different.
Consider the services you offer
- A budget gym will offer the essential fitness equipment and changing room facilities, but all will be fairly basic- a meat no trimmings service. Often long hours or even 24/7 to cater to shift workers. Classes are basic and usually provided by on-site instructors or the occasional freelancer. Minimum staff overheads are attainable by using access control technology like membership pins, barcode apps or keycards. A high volume of memberships provides a healthy profit margin.
- A Mid-tier will offer an array of classes taught by good, reliable instructors. There will be plenty of on-site staff on-site to assist members and create a warm atmosphere. A medium range gym will most likely have a swimming pool- although not in a high-rent location- and should provide towels.
- A high-end gym will cater to specific needs. Childcare, on-site physio treatments and a well-run cafe mean that this is more than just a fitness facility. Swimming pools and sports facilities, as well as coaching academies and expertly-taught classes, add to the prestige and validate membership costs. Staff should make an effort to get to know members, creating a community feel that encourages members to lounge after workouts. Keeping the clientele in mind, you might add services to suit business people or wealthy families- squash and tennis are popular with both of these demographics.
Offer a variety of prices
- By time: You will need to offer a variety of pricing options. The most obvious example of this is an off-peak membership, which allows users to enjoy the club for cheaper at less popular times. This will benefit the club by optimising usage and controlling peak times.
- By genre: Some clubs restrict access to certain services, such as offering a Gym-only membership, a Gym and Swim, or Sports pitch access.
- By clientele: Discount models open up your gym to those who otherwise couldn’t afford to be members. While some high-end gyms want to remain uber-exclusive, a discount structure could boost your revenue. Students, corporate, family and elderly discounts can be as effective as off-peak and peak memberships in evening out usage. These demographics are all on different schedules, meaning you can bulk up mornings and take the heat of the peak 6 pm rush.
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