If you are finding that working out at home is making you bored and you have tried all the different ways to get fit without a gym membership, then you should give a gym membership a try. Some people actually find that they do, in fact, get motivated to work out more if they belong to a gym.
Many gyms offer cheaper promotional packages and free trials that you can take advantage of. However, you have to be careful about free trials and promotional offers, so make sure that there are no contingencies associated with the offer (ie. get a free month if you sign up for 3 years).
Usually, when gyms give people free trials, they are looking to acquire new customers, especially since such offers do not significantly increase the gym’s operational costs. The reason being is that if the gym’s daily fixed operational costs are $2000, then they won’t change regardless if there are 200 people working out or only 20 people (provided that there is enough space to accommodate 200 people). However, letting some people use the facility for free increases the likelihood that they will join, which follows the “try before you buy” principle.
I encourage you to take advantage of the free trials that gyms offer. This is because what you experience as a free member in terms of service is very likely to be what you will experience if you sign up and pay.
So, if you are on a free trial at a gym, there are a few things to consider before you decide if you want to join. I’ll tell you what they are because I want you to get the most out of your gym membership and I want to help you get value for your money.
1. Is the facility clean? If the gym is dirty, then that means management and staff don’t care about the experience of the members. It’s not that hard to wipe down some equipment, vacuum the carpeted areas, clean the mirrors, wash the floors, put away weights and change the garbage. This type of maintenance should be done daily and it’s not worth for you to join a gym where it’s not being done. A clean facility is pleasant to workout in.
2. Are the front desk salespeople too aggressive? There’s nothing worse than walking into a gym and feeling like you’ve just walked onto a used car lot. Yes, I understand that salespeople need to make money, but knowingly selling customers things that they don’t need (which they will later regret buying) is not the way to go. If the salespeople appear to only care about their commissions and not you, then I recommend that you go to a different place. If they appear like they don’t care about the customers, then chances are they probably don’t. Every question that the staff members ask you should not be directed towards selling you additional bells and whistles for your membership. Don’t be sold, because as a customer you have the option to say “no” to add-ons. You shouldn’t feel guilty for not buying everything that’s put in front of you. Stay within your budget and really ask yourself, “do I need this extra feature, or can I just get away with a basic fitness membership?”
3. How many machines have a sign that says “out of order”? If the gym that you’re trying out has one or two machines that are “out of order” then that’s probably OK. However, if you see a whole bunch of “out of order” signs then that can mean that the equipment will take forever to fix. Do you want to workout in a place where a lot of equipment is “out of order” and doesn’t appear to be fixed? Also, what is the general condition of the equipment?
4. What are the hours like? Do the hours and class schedules match yours? Some people like gyms that are open 24 hours a day, while others are OK with gyms that close around 10pm or 11pm. If the gym’s schedule doesn’t match yours, then it’s unlikely that you will use the facility even if you sign up as a member.
5. Is it in a convenient location for you? If you have to drive across town through a bunch of heavy traffic to get to your gym, it’s unlikely that you will want to experience this hassle. If it’s too far away from your home or work, such an inconvenience gives you an excuse to skip the gym. Why get a membership at a facility that you won’t use?
6. What other services are offered? For example, if you like to tan, get massages, shop for fitness clothing, etc. then it’s preferable that you sign up at a gym that offers all that, or at least the majority of the service that you want.
7. How busy is the facility? This can be both good and bad. Obviously, if it’s very busy, then that means people like using the facility. However, the downside to belonging to a busy gym is that you might have to wait before you can use some of the equipment. For example, I love elliptical trainers and AMTs, but if I come to a gym and they are all taken, I am not a happy camper. I do not enjoy waiting for a piece of equipment when I want to use it and I’m sure you don’t either. There has to be a balance.
8. Are there limits on how long you can use the machines? Some gyms make you reserve your cardio equipment and have a half hour usage limit. Unless the gym membership costs around $20, I don’t see a point in paying for a membership at a gym that places limits on how long your cardio session can be. It’s not convenient and sometimes a half-hour cardio session just doesn’t cut it.
9. Are the front desk staff service-oriented? There is a difference between being service-oriented and sales-oriented (however, if they’re service-oriented, then they’re a pleasure to do business with). Just remember, YOU are the customer and YOU pay their wages each time you buy a membership, renew a membership or purchase add-ons. This means that you should expect to receive excellent service. The conversation with the staff members should be about you and not about what you should buy.
10. Is there some kind of a reward program for referrals and are there any freebies being given away? To gym owners: a great way to help keep customers happy is by rewarding them for using your gym. A great way to do that is to have a referral program where you pay your customers for referring people to your gym. After all, if it wasn’t for them, your business wouldn’t survive for very long. Also, have some contests where you give away free shorter term memberships or free supplements. It doesn’t cost a lot but it could make a big difference for the customers.
How do you choose your gym? What are some thing that you consider?