Fitness clubs are a great way to find community and motivation. Often, people will join a gym as a way to stay in shape. However, many hidden gym membership fees occur after patrons sign on the dotted line. Below are six of the most common charges that surprise gym members.
- The Unmentioned Annual Fees
Sure, the radio ad says that you can join for only $10 a month. What it failed to mention was that you also had to pay an annual fee. Yearly renewals are costly, most being over $75. It’s how the gym ensures it recoups its money. Before signing any contract, look for terms specifically about the annual surcharge. Additionally, ask the gym owner about the policy.
- The obligatory registration fee
Hidden gym membership fees also come in the form of registration. These fees tend to be on the lower side, however, you should still be aware of them. They are non-refundable, so make sure you like the gym before paying.
- Locker service and charges
Lockers are convenient and often more secure than leaving your belongings in the car. Take note, though, that not all gyms offer free locker service. Some require you to purchase padlocks or locker assignments. Ask ahead to plan where you’re going to keep your stuff.
- Termination fees
No one signs up for a gym membership to quit right after, but it does happen. When comparing different places to work out, you should understand their termination policies. There’s nothing like canceling a membership, and still having to pay an additional month thereafter.
- The personal training funnel
When you join a gym, most provide one free personal training workout. If the session goes well, the trainer will offer to make you another appointment. Understand that the sessions afterward are not free, and most trainers will put the workouts on your tab. You don’t want to get an invoice a few weeks down the line that you can’t afford.
Before working with a personal trainer, ask about their hourly rate. Staying in the know will keep you from accidental charges.
- The Classroom Extras
These costs are not necessarily hidden, but they can still be an added expense that you were not prepared for. If you are attracted to a gym because of its personal trainers or fun group classes, you need to recognize that the costs will be a little higher.
Some gyms charge a per-class rate that can really add up, while others may require you to pay for a higher tier of membership in order to qualify for classes and training.
- Quitting Fees
It might be a bit grim to think about stopping your workout routine before you even start, but it is a good idea to check and see what a gym’s quitting fees are before you sign up. Even gyms that say they have no quitting fee often have a clause in the contract saying that you owe them one to three months’ worth of gym dues if you quit too soon.
Quitting fees tend to be higher if you leave the gym before being a member for at least a year, but they are always unpleasant. Read the contract carefully because you may be able to avoid paying a quitting fee if you are quitting due to a valid reason like pregnancy, an injury, deployment, or moving.