The First Question to Ask when Shopping for a Gym
So, you're shopping for a health club. The first thing that 99% of consumers do is to call local gyms and ask "what's your price?" Now, I could tell you that's sort of useless because all gyms are NOT created equal
. You should visit any club you are interested in. Try it out. Meet the trainers. Take a class or two. Determine the value of the facility to you before you worry about the price.
But, sigh, I know you don't really want to do that. You want answers and you want them now. So, I'll tell you a secret. Try this...
What's your cancellation policy?
Not only with that freak out the gym employee (nobody ever asks that), but it will tell you quite a bit about the facility you are calling.
I know it might sound odd to focus on how you'll end this relationship before you've even decided to start one. Sort of like writing a pre-nup before you've even gone on a date. But, here's what you're looking for...
1. how far in advance does a cancellation have to be submitted?
2. how long do I have to be a member before I can cancel?
The answers to these questions will tell you how customer-friendly this facility is. The answers may also help determine how much you'll spend with this gym, perhaps more so than the monthly price will tell you.
For instance, I once spoke with a club owner who told me that his club has a month-to-month membership...but they also have a 60-day cancellation policy. So, their month-to-month membership is really a rolling 3-month commitment, and just considering the monthly price is misleading.
Or, let's say you join a gym with inexpensive monthly dues, but it has a one-year contract and a requirement for 45-days written notice, sent via U.S. mail, in order to cancel. So, your total investment will be at least a year's worth of dues. Then, if want to cancel, your letter will have to arrive 6 weeks before your contract is up. If your letter doesn't arrive on time, you will likely be obligated to pay another month, or whatever your contract says will happen after your first year.
Is there anything wrong these scenarios? Absolutely not. As long as a gym makes clear its policies, and honors the process, then it will be your responsibility to manage your account.
But, from a consumer's perspective, 14-day lead times are better than 60. Written notice in email is easier than certified U.S. mail. Month-to-month contracts provide more flexibility than annual contracts.
Understand how a gym allows you to end your relationship and you'll be closer to understanding if you even want the relationship!
*For more help with finding a health club that's right for you, please consider downloading our free special report How To Choose A Quality Health Club.