Here we go.


Gym’s charge money, people have to eat. Let’s examine a few things: “Joining Fee’s”, Personal Training Rates, Group Training Rates, Monthly Dues, Sales 101, “Processing Fee” and wherever else my frustration leads this blog update.

Joining Fee: First and foremost, if you pay this you are a sucker. Sorry, I just gotta say it like it is. Why does a gym, or fitness center, or spa (least favorite) need to charge you $99, $199, $229, or $459 to allow you to start paying them monthly dues? Here’s the deal. The Sales Staff (PC for salesman), or membership advisor, or fitness assistant or membership representative or whatever derivative the name tag says get paid on a percentage of “Cash”. “Cash” is usually the aggregate of all monies brought in at the Point of Sale (POS), this usually includes first month’s dues, last month’s dues (are you renting a house?), joining fee, processing fee, tanning, personal training and anything else they can roll into that wonderful initial experience at the gym. A percentage of “Cash” so the higher that “Cash” number is they make more money. That’s it for the joining fee, it’s just the best way to get “Cash” up so they can get to the higher “Tier” to get a bigger cut of what they bring in. What else could it be for? They’ve already got 4,000 members paying whatever a month, and if that can’t cover expenses, try pawning an elliptical. Sorry I had to 🙂

Ok, now that the “Joining Fee” has been discussed, I’ll move on.


Personal Training Rates: First and foremost, big box personal training like selling used cars is a commission based pay system. Jack Johnson the Wise determines (using a pre-scripted often memorized sales protocol) that you need X number of sessions to get in shape. This many sessions will cost Y dollars. Jack Johnson the Wise will get paid a percentage of that sale right away, and yes it will increase as he sells more and more. Furthermore, he gets paid pretty poorly per hour spent training, in the end if he services all the sessions sold, Jack Johnson the Wise may earn only 45%-50% of what the sessions cost (including the lump commission at the holy POS). This means that if Jack Johnson the Wise is smart, he will spend most of his time selling training, rather than actually training. This is in fact the easiest way to make the most money as a TRAINER is to sell massive amounts of sessions. Furthermore, try this out you’ll flip, the sessions cost upwards of $60 (I’ve heard of LA Fitness charging $92 per session). Go ahead and do that math for 5-6 workouts a week, if Jack Johnson the Wise can even guide you through the WOD…

Group Training Rates: Laughable, most gyms don’t have packages for this, they just lie and make something up, or they just charge the people the same and basically make twice the money. Try this one out too. Crazy.

Monthly Dues: SALE! $9 A MONTH, please sign up. The goal here is to charge you an exorbitant amount of money in the joining fee and then have it be small enough so that you won’t notice it when you balance your checkbook. Seriously. Furthermore, the workout options are so boring that you should quit relatively soon after starting if you’re smart. They blame your lack of discipline, I blame their lack of programming or skills at training, but hey whatever.

Sales 101: Attempt to close, they say “no” which you know is an “objection”. Agree, isolate, overcome, re-close. Agree: “Sally I understand that it’s hard to get to the gym, finding time to workout is hard.” Agree. Isolate: “Now Sally, the cost of this membership is not too much? The location of the facility isn’t too far from where you live? Your husband is excited that you want to start working out and supports your efforts? Do the childcare hours work for you? Okay, thanks, so the only reason that you wouldn’t be able to workout is that it’s hard for you to find the time to workout?” Isolate. Overcome: “Sally, you give time to everyone around you, your husband, your children, let’s work on your schedule for a minute and find what times you could squeeze a quick workout, if you’d like once we do figure out when works, let’s get you a couple of 1/2 sessions with a trainer to get you going quick, sound good?” Overcome. Re-close: “Sally, now that we’ve got that schedule figured out, let’s go ahead and get everything filled out and signed up!”
See that process? Agree, Isolate, Overcome, Reclose. Ice to Eskimos people. Try this sometime, just keep throwing out a different “objection”, I don’t have time, it costs too much, I’ve got to ask my spouse, I’ve got get more in shape first etc. See what they say, it’ll be canned, I promise.


Processing Fee: This is the mack-daddy of “Fee’s” this is the unwaivable corporate fee, the sales person cannot “hook you up” on this one. What does this pay for? $60 Processing Fee, does that really mean that for your membership card (they come in boxes of 100), and for someone to enter the information from the sheet into the database is $60!? Wow. We charge $16.43, and yes that off sets the cost of billing (so you get frequent flyer miles) and Deidra’s time to input it into our database. $60 I don’t think so.

Now, my ire is piqued. We charge zero joining fee, ever. We have a beginners course called On Ramp, that is $195 for 12 sessions ($195/12 = $16.25 each) which could double as a joining fee, EXCEPT, you don’t pay monthly dues when you’re taking On Ramp (subtract $35). Our minuscule processing fee is there to ensure our paperwork gets done well, and that we don’t lose money processing people’s cards. Crazy I know, ours is 1/4 the competition. We have a $45 dollar program if you choose not to do On Ramp which get you TWO hours ($22.50 per session) with a trainer to make sure you have no questions about equipment or movements so that you can use this gym safely. Obviously we recommend that everyone does classes and On Ramp, but we know that it’s tough. Monthly classes are the next step. We teach fitness! $120 + $35 gets you unlimited sessions of training (let’s go 5 days each week, or 20 sessions each month), that means that you’re paying $7.75 each workout. Seven and three quarter dollars for the most innovative fitness program ever, the revolution that is taking over the globe one garage gym at a time.

Know anyone who’s getting absolutely ripped off by a big box?

Jesse Fish

Clan Cheiftan Out.