So, we were having a chat with someone the other day about how and why we run our gym the way we run it. At the end of the conversation the gentleman we were talking to said “Do people know all this? I mean, are people aware that there is a reason behind the things that you’re doing or do they just come to know it of their own accord?”
In the spirit of this, we’ve decided to launch our “But-why-Wednesdays” where we will explain some of the method behind the madness starting today with why we don’t do lock in contracts.
In a nutshell, would you consistently pay for a coffee that you weren’t drinking? Would you pay a “joining fee” to the cafe so you could drink coffee there? Furthermore, if you were paying for that coffee, not drinking it, and decided you wanted to stop paying for the coffee, should the cafe be allowed to charge you a cancellation fee for choosing to stop donating money to them for nothing? Of course not. Why should it be different for a gym membership?
We are aware that it would make things “easier” on us and we are also aware that is the way “most gyms” operate. We aren’t most gyms though. We’ve had multiple people try to explain to us the beauty of lock in contracts and can we just say that we are indeed aware of how the business model works, we just think it’s a little “scammy” (i.e. a scam that’s scummy). If you need to keep members loyal with the threat of cancellation fees or because they “may as well get their moneys worth until their contract runs out”, you’re doing something wrong. We’d much rather keep our members coming back because they enjoy and value the results they get and the atmosphere we’ve created.
The most in depth membership we have is a weekly EFT controlled from the member’s end. Our unlimited members pay for the upcoming week of their training. They are rewarded for this with a cheaper price per class than a 10 or 5 class pass holder. If they know they are going to be away, they can pause their membership. If they choose to leave, there are no penalties or hidden costs. We don’t credit people for weeks they don’t use because we still had to get our arses out of bed to open the doors and we still had to put a lot of thought into our programming and coaching which is only fair.
Would lock in contracts and direct debits be less work for us? Sure. Could we make more money by tricking or coaxing people into signing up for long term contracts and then not caring whether they show up or not? You bet. Particularly at this time of year when so many people are looking to join gyms but will realistically only stick with it for a few months at best.
For us it’s more important to stick to our guns and do what we do ethically. We’d rather sacrifice a few clams but keep the respect of the community we’ve built. That's just how we roll :)