Why do Gyms charge an Initiation Fee?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by matt121matt121, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. matt121matt121

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    Just curious if anyone has any knowledge about why gyms such as LA Fitness, etc, charge an initiation fee to join?

    I mean I can afford the monthly fee, but don't want to have to pay a huge initiation fee, in case I'm not able to remain a member for a long period of time, or just don't like the atmosphere there and want to change to a different club.
     
  2. OCMuscleJock

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    some will let you join ...no fee and pay monthy no contract. Check all the gyms in your area that you'd want to go too and explain what you're looking for and say...what can you do for me... with the economy now...lots of gyms are desperate and will give GREAT deals.
     
  3. bendigoboi

    bendigoboi New Member

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    Mostly they have a joining fee because the first thing they should do is take you through a full fitness assessment, and design a program to help you meet your fitness goals. The fee is the way they recover their costs.
     
  4. D_Brecock Evileye

    D_Brecock Evileye New Member

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    Because it is a good way too get more money out of you lol, and it covers the cost of the startup paper work.
     
  5. scottbud

    scottbud Active Member

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    I have always hated they way gyms do business. Why should I have to pay for them to do the paperwork required for them to have a customer? is that not a fairly forseeable cost of business?

    Does a shop charge you a fee to keep a record of your purchases? no. They are required by law to keep good records anyway.

    Why should I have to commit to give them money for two years? If they want me to stay a member for two years they should be working their asses off to make sure I stay happy with them.

    For that reason they will never get any money out of me untill they rethink their strategy.
     
  6. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    The initiation fee is the commission to the sales guy.

    commission

    commission

    commission
     
  7. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    It's so simple. If they can get you past that hurdle, get you to make that commitment, the rest is gravy. At every point when you think "I'm not really using the gym that much; I should give it up", you'll think back to the initiation fee and think "Oh, but I don't want to throw that away" and keep on paying that monthly...whether you're using it that much or not. It's a brilliant, long term sales hook.
     
  8. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

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    O, star, no it's not. Where do you get your information? A piece of it yes, but really. :rolleyes:

    For the love of god, sometimes with you and your blanket statements.:rolleyes::rolleyes:
     
  9. matt121matt121

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    scottbud,
    You hit the nail right on the head.

    I just don't like high pressure sales, I mean I know I want to get fit, but I like to be able to just know how much something is going to cost, fully read and understand the paperwork on my own time, and pay for it. The internet is great for this, I stayed away from getting a real cell phone for a while exactly for this reason, because I didn't want to get attacked in store. I don't know what I'm going to do when i have to buy a car, since can't really buy one of those online.

    How much can it really cost to print out a few forms and have you sign them? I mean stores don't charge you an extra fee to buy something in addition to the purchase price for most items.

    And someone mentioned that they charge it for some type of fitness assessment, what if I just want to work out and not deal with any of the people there and do my own workout strategy. I mean my main purpose is just to get some activity back in my life, and just get back to a more normal level of fitness, its not like I'm training for a marathon or anything, so shouldn't they just make the fitness assessment an optional thing.

    I didn't know gyms had 2 year contracts, but I wouldn't doubt it. I totally agree rather than locking people into a contract especially with the way the current economy is, they should just work to keep people happy.

    I know I worked as a lifeguard at a gym for a while, and heard all the horror stories of the way that they would mis charge people and made it practly impossible to cancel, and I had my own issue when I stopped working there as they tried to continue charging me for the membership though they weren't paying me for it anymore, it was weird but they wanted to count employees as members, and I called several times and never got a resolution until I called corporate, and talked to the person in charge and they were like this would have to go across my desk and it never had, so they were just trying to scam me.

    I totally think a rethink is in order!!, Have any contacts in the business industry? we should open an all male non gay gym, that treats customers the way they should be treated!!

    Nick8, I think you totally got this right, since alot of people sign up in January for there new years resolution, and then by the time like March or April comes around, they are so not going to the gym anymore. Least that's what happened at the gym I was a Lifeguard at for a while.
     
  10. Meniscus

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    I agree with scottbud completely, and also with Nick8's point that it's a long term sales hook.

    YouTube - Friends - Chandler (gym)

    Getting back to the OP's original question, it's my understanding that gym's regularly have special offers such as reducing or waiving the start-up fee and/or lowering the monthly rate for a fixed term. If there's an off-season in your area, that's when the gyms are likely to often good deals. For example, in college towns they'll often waive the start-up fee during the summer months to get locals to join while the students are away, but you'll pay top fees if you join in the fall when students come back.
     
  11. Meniscus

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    One of the local gyms here offers two types of less expensive "off-peak" membership.

    Early Bird: access from Open-2pm
    Nite Owl: access from 6pm-Close
     
  12. AG08

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    It's nothing more than a cash grab. I don't do business with gyms anymore that have initiation fees and contracts. This is why I use the athletic centre at my university to work out now. No initiation fee or contract. I pay month to month, and I can quit at any time that I like. Most private gyms though use these tactics to get people to commit because most people will usually stop using the facility after 2-3 months. New Year's to the gym industry is like Christmas to the retail industry. People make resolutions to get back in shape and then give up a couple of months later. I heard that something like 70% of people who join a gym will quit within the first couple of months. A friend of mine used to own a gym and told me that these people were her best customers. They would have to pay for the entire year, but they stopped coming after a couple of months. This was pure profit for her gym.
     
  13. b.c.

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    Assuming this isn't a trick question let me take stab: Because dummies pay it?
     
  14. rob_just_rob

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    There's your answer.
     
  15. BiItalianBro

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    A good friend of mine started his own personal fitness studio (he has advanced degrees in exercise physiology and nutrition) because he was fed up with the business practices of a major national chain. The financial screw-job is not just limited to members...professional staff are hamstrung with contracts and tough performance metrics.

    OCMuscle is right on, given the decession's impact on discretionary income (whats that? lol) most gyms would rather get something out of you and work around your needs. Also, check out colleges in your area, lots of schools are hurting for cash and have opened up their fitness centers to non-students/alumni to generate income.
     
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