THE MEMBERSHIP TRUTH
Is your gym about building a community or are they more interested in your $? All gyms operate differently, I understand that, but they should always have the customers best interest at heart after all word of mouth is the number one form of building a solid reputation and best way to generate leads.
This may upset a lot of gyms, so if it offends you I'm sorry about that, but I am more than happy to discuss what you should be paying for and what I believe to be wrong when it comes to memberships.
After spending years and years in the industry and familiarising myself with what members are happy with and aren't, majority of complaints came from not so much the facility itself but more so membership fees and terms.
Here are the most asked about and where most complaints come from and here are the real answers.
SHOULD YOU EVER HAVE TO PAY A JOINING FEE?
NO, it holds no value. Anything that can be 'on sale' for "$0" should show you this.
$0 Joining fees are simply a way of getting you into the facility thinking you are saving money. This fee does not need to exist at all, and it shouldn't.
SHOULD YOU EVER HAVE TO PAY AN ADMIN FEE?
NO, as above
SHOULD YOU BE LOCKED INTO A CONTRACT FOR A GYM?
NO, if you no longer require the service why should you be be forced to stay? Most franchises have a business model created for investors to ensure a solid return so the contract allows $x amount per person. More and more gyms are becoming more flexible with this as time goes on, knowing that people don't like to be forced into something that they don't want.
SHOULD YOU PAY A PRO RATA?
Some gyms waive and some don't, if they don't it's totally OK and don't be alarmed the pro rata is for usage of the facility up until the next direct debit. This is a valid payment so if the gym you are joining asks for this it is fine.
SHOULD YOU PAY FOR AN ACCESS CARD?
YES, of course, although prices vary this price is up to the facility. The access card allows you just that and is also your profile on their system. Access cards can be discounted but normally are never a waived fee as the card holds value and cost the business money to purchase them.
SHOULD YOU PAY A CANCELLATION FEE?
Some gyms have them and some don't again it's up to the facility. Are they necessary? No they aren't. Gyms often have a $x cancellation fee plus x% of the remainder of your contract to get out of it. If your in a contract unfortunately you will have to pay for it, the joys of being forced into a contract even when you want to leave they want to empty your pocket, sorry but it's true. There is usually a relocation clause if your moving to a place where there isn't another franchise, and medical exemptions which require a doctors certificate or even in some cases specialist certificates! Pretty extreme.
SHOULD YOU PAY A TRANSFER FEE?
Some facilities just allow a straight transfer but some require a $x Transfer fee. This falls into the same category as an admin fee so, no, you shouldn't need to, at the end of the day they are receiving another individual take over your contract.
SHOULD YOU PAY A DEFAULT FEE?
Absolutely! It is your responsibility to make sure that your gym membership is paid. If a direct debit is attempted to be taken out but there is an issue not allowing the deduction the facility will be charged a default fee, this fee is then passed on to the member to pay.
These are a few of the main terms that concern most of people when joining a gym so make sure you take note and read the forms before signing. It is important that you are comfortable with all the terms and conditions when you join a gym.
A rule of thumb is to visit all the local facilities and see which is best suited to your needs and goals. You want your fitness journey to be a happy positive experience.