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8 Secrets to Getting the Lowest Price on Gym Memberships

Getting fit certainly isn’t cheap—at least not with the high-tech, large-scale gyms that have popped up everywhere. But we’ve got your back with 5 formerly secret tips on how to beat the bulge without breaking the bank.

1. Leverage Group Buying

Gyms, and their salespeople, are much more likely to negotiate with you if you bring more to the table. A great way to source a larger group to leverage into group buying is to ask around at work or even ask your HR department to get on board.

2. Refuse Initiation Charges

Gyms charge steep initiation fees to make a quick buck off the people who quit going to the gym after a couple months. The fee is ludicrous given that you’ll be paying them in monthly installments. They know it, and now you know it. So refuse to pay the initiation fee. This tactic won’t work every time but you can use it to shop around.

3. Negotiate the Initiation Charges

Outright refusing to pay the initiation charges doesn’t always work—especially if the salesperson’s commission is dependent on it. If refusal didn’t fly, then try negotiating for half (or less). This type of negotiation will likely require you to leave the negotiation table to show them you are serious. Many salespeople will go for the half-off deal simply as a way to compensate themselves for the time they’ve spent pitching you.

4. Go Short Term

Aside from the initiation fees, lengthy contracts are how gyms make their money. They will often put expensive cancellation policies in place to discourage people from leaving the gym and end up making a fortune. To save yourself more money in the long term, negotiate for a short-term contract. This will free up your options to weigh your options and take advantage of promotions at other gyms when they pop up.

5. Ask the Right Questions

Far too many people get swindled by gyms by not asking the right questions. Be sure to ask things like, “How long is the contract?”, “What cancellation fees are there?”, “How much is due, total, at signup”, and “Are there any maintenance, upkeep, banking or other fees?”.

6. Read your Contract (Thoroughly)

All that stuff we just said above goes double for the contract. Counteract the snake oil-salesmen tactics by ensuring that the contract expressly states exactly what they sold you.

7. Ask What You Get for Your Money

Many gyms have moved to a get-what-you-pay-for model, so to avoid paying costly additional fees, find out what costs more. This includes things like fitness classes, spinning classes and female-only areas.

8. Pay Less Per Month

This one is a no-brainer—ask the gym for a lower monthly fee. This one rarely works in conjunction with a low initiation fee though so you’ll have to pick one or the other—unless you’re the Donald Trump of gym negotiations.

Best of luck to you and have fun with the negotiations—but be sure to save SOME energy for your fitness workouts.

There are always ways to save money on a gym membership. Don’t miss out on a bevy of discounts, deals and perks just because you don’t know the lingo. Try out these avenues for saving money, lowering or nixing initiation fees, and negotiating for a lower monthly rate.