There are far more former members of health clubs than there are current members. The renewal rate at most health clubs hovers around 30 percent. In addition to the membership dues, health clubs offer personal training packages. You get a free training session if you sign up for a package. You buy the larger package to get the most cost effective rate. If you are lucky, you will get the personal trainer most suitable for you. Often that is not the case. At the end of year the only thing lighter is your wallet.
Health clubs often run specials. They waive the initiation fee. You sign for a year to get special rate, and the automatic bank draft begins. You are faithful at first, but eventually your attendance becomes sporadic. You miss a couple of weeks, and then you miss a couple of months. You might return with the intention of really buckling down, but for most this never happens.
You decide to cut your losses and cancel your membership; that often entails an expensive processing fee. You realize that there are just a few months left, so you ride it out cringing when you look at your monthly credit card bill for service you did not use.
In the fine print there is often a clause that states that the contract will be renewed automatically unless a letter requesting termination is received. You send a certified letter requesting that the contract be terminated with the thought that the bank drafts will finally stop - not necessarily so.
You call the health club to inquire and you are informed the following, "When you gave us written notice that you did not want to renew your contract we automatically switched you to a month-to-month membership". Now you decide to pay the processing fee.
Yearly health club memberships are a great value - if you use them. The fault lies not with the health club but with those who set themselves up with high expectations of consistent attendance that, for most, is not going to happen. It might be better to try exercising where there are no membership contracts first to see if you can stick to an exercise regime.
At our Austin’s Kelly Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness Training locations there are no contracts, and the first two sessions are free without signing up for a package. Why two free sessions with no obligations? So you can make an informed decision to see if this is something you want to pursue. Without contracts we have to deliver results to keep people coming back. It might not be the conventional health club business model, but we think it is the right way to do business.