How To Negotiate Your Gym Membership Contract
If you’ve decided it is finally time to take control of your health and make exercise a priority, chances are your first step will be to join a gym. In most parts of the country the weather doesn’t always allow you to exercise outdoors, and if you want to maintain a consistent workout routine, you’ll need that well-stocked gym to help get you there. But while gyms are often excellent partners in your quest to maintain a fit lifestyle, they can also be incredibly expensive. You may be able to take advantage of a free trial period, but after that, you’ll need to sign a contract. And depending on the options, you could end up locked into a bad deal. To avoid these issues, you have to remember that just like everything else in life, the gym membership price is negotiable. Once you’ve zeroed in on your gym of choice, here are a few things you can do to successfully negotiate your gym membership contract.
You may be tempted to go in there and deal with the gym’s salespeople face to face, but try calling first. It’s going to be easier for you, and possibly more successful overall, to have that heavy negotiation over the phone. You won’t be as easily swayed by a salesperson’s pressurized tactics if you’re comfortably at home, and any contract they want to offer you can be emailed to you for review. This gives you the chance to look it over and continue exploring other options, without their salesperson looking over your shoulder.
Next, remember that the first offer is just that, an offer, and try to avoid taking it if at all possible. It will always be their worst offer, as the gym’s salespeople hope your excitement over getting in better shape will sway your better judgment, leading you to agree to any price they put out there. Keep in mind that everyone in the gym is there paying a different price, and the ones who held firm are the ones who got a deal. The gym makes their money primarily through membership, and if they won’t negotiate with you, you can simply go elsewhere. They will lower their price if that is the alternative.
Whatever price you do end up getting, make sure you have it in writing. Salespeople come and go at gyms, and an oral promise will not be honored further down the road. You should be given a physical contract, and take the time to read all the fine print. There may be some hidden fees that you can sniff out, or automatic contract renewals you will want removed. Just get it all in writing, and review it completely before signing.
To save yourself some cash, do your best to get them to waive the membership or sign up fee. They will try their best to convince you it is necessary, but you should never have to pay a fee simply to join. Remember, you’ll be paying them every month, so what exactly is that fee going to? In addition, don’t lock yourself into a contract that’s longer than a year. Your motivation for the gym will come and go, and you can’t be sure where you’ll be over a year from now. Also, you may not end up liking the gym very much, and you don’t want to be locked into that decision for longer than year.
Finally, avoid the fees by paying your membership off in full if at all possible. Chances are your gym will offer a discount if you pay up front. If the signup is online, ask for promo codes that cut out interest or lower the monthly payment for canceling out your balance. Depending on your gym, this could save you hundreds of dollars a year.