Even before you begin pricing your gym, you will need to establish what category your gym will fall under. As in, will it be a value gym with basic equipment and low to mid-range membership prices, or a premium gym with top-of-the-line equipment and higher membership fees?
The reason this question is so important is because there currently seems to be a large demand for gyms charging top dollar for memberships. It may be hard to believe in this economy, but time and again gyms are proving that there are enough members out there who are shopping for gyms based on perceived value- not price.
That’s great news for gym owners like you, because the gym business is no longer simply about competing based on what the gym across the street is charging. It’s becoming more and more important to find that things that make your gym great, what you are good at (group training? one-on-one training? specialty classes?) and what the demand is, and then matching those factors together.
All too often small businesses, including gyms and studios, fail to understand the crucial need for distinction. This is true for the gym business as well as across all industries. For those who have the capital to invest, and the drive to open up a gym, it is actually very easy to do. However, a full understanding of what it takes to succeed in the industry from better service and better branding to unique programs can make a very big difference in the value you can give to your members.
Also Read: Marketing Your Fitness Club
Things such as oil, livestock, and wheat are considered commodities because their value is assumed to be identical and interchangeable for every seller in any given market selling the exact same thing. To put it simply, you don’t want to run your business like you’re selling livestock! You can probably guess why you wouldn’t want to do that for several reasons, but one in particular comes down to the fact that providing an undifferentiated service means offering what the rest of those in the market provides. Therefore, you are effectively treating your service like a commodity. This is an unfortunate method because charging the same as everyone else then it turns a race to zero profit. Definitely not good.
Members with a disposable income are looking for premium gyms to help them either start or stay on a healthy fitness path. For this reason, the future of premium gyms is fairly bright. However, these premium gyms have to have what the members are looking for- value. They have to change their lives in some way and add value to their sense of wellbeing.
There are numerous ways to add perceived value to your gym – one of which is associating your business with other successful and popular programs. For example, include specific programs in your group schedule or add popular trainers to your roster. Of course, there’s something to be said for originality too, and the more you can creatively match your ideas to what your members are seeking, the more successful your business will be.
In a perfect world, everyone will shell out hundreds of dollars every month for a gym membership. However, even with the most exclusive studio in the area, that won’t ever be the case. There will always be people who don’t see the programs you are offering as valuable to them. However remember to always, always offer great service to these people too! Eventually they may want to join your club down the road. Maybe you will add a class they like, or they decide your trainers really are the best. Whatever the current circumstance, always be engaging and pleasant because even your worst critics may become members one day.
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The best thing you can do when adopting your ideal gym programs and membership plan is to be so creative in your approach that it is not easily copied by the completion around you. Essentially, by creating a gym service that is so outside of the box and very different from the norm, you do so in a way that will be proprietary. Of course this all comes down to the skills of you and your trainers and staff, as well as those leading membership and selling the business.
Ask any business owner in any industry and they will tell you that there is forever a battle between price and service quality. It is up to you as the business owner to find the right combination so you not only maximize the value of every membership, but your gym as a whole. Premium gym memberships place a greater emphasis on value and not on price, which means they are going to be around for a long time – much longer than fly-by-night gyms with less value to offer at a lesser price. The key is for new gyms and small studios to get a leg up by matching premium value at a lower price.