Listen this article
Is this time of the year when thinking of going to the gym is such a good idea but, be careful! The gym could become your worst enemy
It is normal that we write new year’s resolutions. With the motivation of starting a year and seeing how much did you ate on holidays, one of the most popular goals has to do with getting fit. To capture this audience, around these dates the gyms introduce suspicious practices that can be very expensive for their new clients. The most important thing, to avoid falling, is to learn to identify them.
According to the Independent website, web traffic from gyms such as Gold's Gym, one of the largest chains in the world, shoots up to 40% between December and January, demonstrating that the public’s attention increases during these dates. However, it does not last long, and that is where gyms begin to enrich with the plans they sold at the end of the year.
The importance of knowing the business model of gyms
The most important thing you should know if you plan to acquire a monthly allowance in a gym is how the business works. Gyms are a special case because they prefer clients who pay long memberships but doesn’t go to the gym.
An investigation by Planet Money podcast revealed that in the case of the Planet Fitness franchise, a single venue had a capacity for 300 users, but they had 6,000 members paying. According to the podcast research, about half of the Planet Fitness members simply do not use the gym.
The main operating cost of gyms is their location, it must be well located to be convenient, it must be large to accommodate all the facilities it requires so the customers can use them comfortably.
For a gym to see good profits, then it is better that few people use it. That way you need less space, less equipment, and less staff. In addition, with fewer people using the equipment they wear less, and people who do use them will be more satisfied because they will not have to wait to use them.
This means that the best client that can find a gym is one that promises to pay for long periods of time, but in the end does not attend.
The difficulty of canceling a membership
Because of this, gyms make sure that canceling a membership is difficult, retaining users who do not use their membership is key to business finances. But it is complicated because they are people who know they invested is not going to give them profits.
The amount of effort required by gyms to retain members is big because those customers are the key to the business. Members who want to cancel their membership are often persuaded, thinking that in the future they may need the membership and that there is no need in canceling it.
Many gyms, for example, do not allow canceling memberships by phone or internet, instead, it is common that the client sends a letter explaining their reasons for withdrawing and expressing the desire to cancel, as well as committing to pay the outstanding balance with the gym. Often these contracts oblige the customer to pay each month in advance, then canceling generally involves paying for the month following the cancellation.
Because of this, it is important that before you let yourself be motivated by the end of the year and commit to a membership, read the cancellation requirements, since leaving this payment plan tends to be a nightmare.
Here are some tips so you do not get caught paying a membership you could never use:
1. Start with the exercise at home
With the huge variety of applications, gadgets and online exercise plans, it would be smart to start working out from your home. The financial commitment can be almost nil, and you can enter the routine without paying. Later, if you need it, you can acquire your membership in a gym knowing that you will be able to take advantage of it.
2. Acquire membership with someone else
Many gyms offer couple plans or benefits for enrolling someone else. Achieving a joint plan can result in less financial commitment and the motivation to exercise accompanied can help establish a routine.
3. Investigate the gym you are going to enroll
This includes reviewing the facilities, but beyond that, it has to do with reading the contracts and having clear cancellation policies. You should know that in New Year times the gymnasiums do not offer discounts, as the ZenPlanner industry portal says in its advice for gym owners. This can result in communication and advertising that sells plans at normal prices but disguised as promotions. Gyms are usually intentionally ambiguous during this time of year.
4. Technology can be your ally
If you are tied to a membership, your best option is not to cancel, it is to use it to the fullest. Remembering this is important and to help you meet there are applications that reward you for meeting your fitness goals. Stickk, for example, was designed by Yale economists and helps you not to miss your commitments through financial incentives, you could even earn some extra money while you get fit.
LatinAmerican Post | Pedro Bernal
Translated from: '¡No caigas en la trampa! Evita los engaños de los gimnasios en año nuevo'