Fitness First has quickly become the number one gym in Australia, with more locations and better facilities then many of the other gym franchises. As Fitness First gets bigger, seamingly do their membership prices.
Each month we get a number of emails asking about ways to save money on Fitness First membership prices – it seems that that going rate for a Fitness First membership can drastically change depending on how good you are at bargaining, getting a better deal and playing off the sales people.
The truth is, each Fitness First has the ability to give out discretionary discounts on Fitness First prices and memberships; you just need to know how to get them.
Here are a few key points to keep in your mind when trying to get a discounted Fitness First membership (or any cheap gym memberships for that matter);
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Fitness First family and friend’s discount
This is your best chance of getting a low monthly membership rate. Each employee of Fitness First is given a set number of family and friend passes to give out. These passes tend to entitle someone they know to a discounted rate of $14.95 per week instead of upwards of $25.95 per week, a saving of $11 per week or $572 per year.
It is unlikely however that you will know someone at Fitness First, so here is how I managed to save $572 a year by just playing the negotiating game, remember – stick with you guns and play the waiting game. Fitness First consultants are incentivised by sign ups, so you are actually worth something to them.
Here is how to get your cheap gym membership:
- Ring your local Fitness First.
- Tell them you are considering switching gyms and your current rate is $15 per week.
- Tell them that you heard Fitness First can match this with a family and friends discount.
- They will likely try and play hard ball and tell you there are none available.
- Let them know that the only way you will sign up is if this rate can be matched, even if it means you have to sign a 12 month contract (this way you are both giving each other a trade off)
- If they do not put you on hold or say yes, tell them that if they could ask around with their colleagues and ring you back, you would greatly appreciate it, otherwise you will just stay at your current gym.
- I did this and was rang back the next day with the rate I wanted.
How much money did the discount save me?
A saving of $572 a year, not bad for 5 minutes of time right?
Fitness First have monthly targets – use this to your advantage
Fitness First use highly strung sales tactics with their teams; they have quotas to meet and like many businesses can discount their rates towards the end of the month to help them meet their targets.
Don’t be afraid to ring them a few days before the end of the month and request a lower monthly rate, perhaps even at the family and friends discount. They will try and say it can’t be done, that they won’t make any money at this rate, etc, etc, etc – just ignore – it is them trying to put the sales blind fold over you. They will likely want you to come in to discuss, a tactic that puts them on the upper foot. Instead, ask them to match the rate you have ‘heard about’ and tell them you are willing to come in and sign up right away if they can do this. If they still won’t accept, tell them you will have to try elsewhere politely and ask them to call you back if they can find a way to accept your offer.
Odds are they will call back on the last day of the month!
Fitness First passes on eBay
When people have special discounted weekly rates, the offer will continue to stay alive even after they decide to cancel their gym membership. This is why people put their passes on eBay for sale. I suggest that if the above two methods of bargaining don’t work for you, spend a couple of hundred dollars and buy someone’s existing membership – just work out how much you will save by doing so. A good rule of thumb is that you should not pay more for the purchase of the membership then the savings you will get from 1 year at the normal rate.
Update: This may not be allowed in the terms and conditions of Fitness First any more, so be very careful before to check whether this tip will work before paying anyone anything.
Fitness First rates & fees
- Joining fee (this is normally removed; don’t be afraid to request them to drop it). In my opinion, you shouldn’t have to pay a company to join, especially when you are on a contract.
- Admin fee (this is normally around $70 or so and is normally just a sales commission for the person helping you, which is why they VERY RARELY drop it. They will effectively have no incentive to convert you into a member, so I recommend not trying to negotiate on this)
Fitness First deals & offers
Something to add to this topic is that many Fitness First gyms offer discounts, deals and offers based on seasonal points in the year. For example – on January 1st it may be the ‘new year, new body’ special.
It is wise to note that while these seasonal deals and offers may save you a little bit of money, the above negotiating tactics will better place you for a cheaper Fitness First membership than a once off special.
Another place to look for Fitness First deals is Google – do a search for a free trial pass to Fitness First and you will be able to print a once off ticket entry to Fitness First. I may or may not have heard of people doing this for many visits.
How to get even better gym membership deals
Remember, the tips above are not exclusively for Fitness First – instead see them as a 101 course in getting a better gym membership deal from anywhere. I find these tactics work on all gyms – including some of the newer franchises I see popping up around Australia.
We would love to hear your stories about joining and saving money on gym memberships, any tactics we have missed?