How Big Box Gyms Make Money (And It’s NOT Good!)


How Big Box Gyms Make Money (And It’s NOT Good!)

One of the goals of HIT Fit is to offer our members the highest quality training, equipment, and support at a fair and reasonable price. While we only offer gyms here in Riverside, Murrieta & Temecula, we understand how the big box fitness world works. Now, we have a vested interest in every single one of our HIT Fit athletes. Whether it’s weight loss, muscle gain or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, we want our members to reach their goals in an effective and exciting way! There are obviously many ways to go about reaching your fitness goals, and many gyms out there that will help you do so. However, some corporate Big Box gyms (“some call them Globo Gyms”) really don’t always have your best interest in mind, physically and financially. At HIT Fit, and at many Crossfit and other what we call “1 on 1” gyms, every client is important, to be valued, and a member of our family. When our clients don’t show up, we call, we text, we provide accountability.

Here are just a few ways big box gyms make money:

  1. Some make BIG profits when you don’t show up

It’s no secret that fitness is a huge industry in the United States. Many big box/corporate gyms make more money when you don’t actually come to the gym. They are what we call in the industry “oversold.” The idea is to sell a lot more members than they can support, but to do so at such a low price point that you don’t actually cancel. The actual idea is to make the bulk of the profits on the people who don’t show up every week. What does this mean – the more people that the big box gyms can get in the door, and then not come, but don’t cancel, the more they make. It may be a great way to make money, and there are plenty of gyms here in Riverside, Temecula and Murrieta that do just this, but it’s not something that we can live with. Here is one article about Planet Fitness which attracted a lot of interest a few years ago.

  1. Contracts and Cancellation Nightmares.

I’ve heard lots of horror stories about people getting locked into gym contracts. When big box gyms sell a client on personal training or group fitness, these programs often come with a contract. This locks the client into a set amount of time with the program even if it is no longer working for them or they cannot continue to afford it. In addition, some of these contracts are so complex that they are impossible to get out of, even through legal action. HIT Fit does not force any client into a long term contract, because we see that our programming and training works for our clients and don’t need to trap them into a commitment. We don’t want our members to workout at the gym because they “have to pay for it” or as a financial obligation. We want our members to enjoy their fitness program, and WANT to be here, not because they were made to. 

What’s worse than the contract is what you have to do to actually cancel. Often you hear, “well, you need to come in to the gym to cancel your membership., or our favorite, “you need to write a letter and send it to this address so we can process it.” The harder they make it to cancel it, the better. And it’s even worse if you’ve given the Big Box your actual bank account #. Good luck!

Do you know EOS Fitness has a 1 star rating from the Better Business Bureau? 1 star.

  1. Inflated Prices on Personal Training

Unfortunately, big box gyms have been known to charge an incredible amount of money for personal training. At the same time, they pay their trainers absolutely peanuts or have total rookies. I’ve seen gyms charge people up to $1200 a month for personal training with rookie trainers. In addition, big box gyms will take 65-75% revenue away from the trainer whom you are training with. If the trainer is not being paid enough for his/her services, that trainer will likely not provide the best services possible. They suck you in with a $9.99 membership but then you are paying $75-85 per hour for instruction from a rookie-first year trainer who spends half of your session on his cell phone.

  1. Hidden Fees

Big box gyms tend to hide a lot of hidden fees in their contracts that they fail to mention to new members and point of purchase. For example, many gyms have annual fees, service fees and cancellation fees. Although their membership rates may seem low, it is through these hidden fees where they will make the most money. We don’t charge any annual fees, service fees, cancellation fees or any other hidden fees to make you feel tricked!

Check out this crazy article from USA Today on gym membership cancellation fees.

Although it’s important for a business to stay healthy financially, it is even more important to treat the clients of the gym with respect and offer them fair and transparent pricing. All of our HIT Fit members are family and we want our community to feel like a family. Nobody here is just a number, and we want every member to know that allowing HIT Fit to be a part of their fitness journey is truly honoring and inspiring.