Reviewing the average cost of a gym membership is an important step in setting prices. Memberships are the lifeblood of gyms and fitness clubs. So, the right approach to setting the price of gym memberships at your club is essential to your success.

Opening a gym or fitness club? You’ll need to create membership packages. And set prices for each package and gym contract you want to offer.

Creating an effective gym pricing strategy will set you up for success. When you’ve worked out what to charge, you’ll need the right approach to showcase value to members. The correct tools will help you get this right and manage memberships well.

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of gym memberships for your business and members.

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What is a gym membership?

That may seem an obvious question, but it’s worth clarifying the basics. Typically, a gym membership will give an individual (or group such as a family) access to a gym or fitness club with a specified list of benefits (e.g., use of gym equipment, participating in group fitness classes, etc.).

A gym membership is often associated with a regular fee that’s paid monthly. Yet, there are many types of membership models and gym contracts available.

Typical gym membership models include:

  • Rolling or flexible monthly memberships – Rolling monthly (or weekly) memberships have become popular in recent years and many gyms now offer no contract memberships. This is a flexible option, often with a notice period to cancel (often 1 month to 90 days). This is usually a more expensive membership option. Members are paying a premium for flexibility.
  • Contract monthly memberships – These are often for a 12-month period. Members commit to paying a regular monthly instalment (typically by Direct Debit). This type of membership is usually cheaper than a rolling or flexible membership. Once a contract is up, most clubs choose to switch members to a rolling monthly membership.
  • Annual memberships – Paid upfront in full, these memberships suit those who want to commit but prefer not to pay monthly. Are you thinking of providing an annual or other fixed term option? Set up an effective renewal campaign using your gym management software. This type of membership is often the cheapest option.
  • Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) or casual memberships – This type of membership lets members pay on a visit-by-visit basis. PAYG members will pay for each activity or buy a pass that gives access for a specific period only. PAYG prices can help explain the value of paid memberships. If a member uses their membership enough, they know they are getting value for money compared to PAYG.

Consider what you charge both paid and PAYG members when setting membership prices.

The importance of paid memberships

Gym and fitness clubs make most of their revenue from paid monthly and/or annual memberships.

Paid memberships will give your business predictable revenue each month. This is especially important at times that tend to be quieter for gyms.

Paid memberships also help motivate members to attend on a regular basis. So, they get the most from their membership. It’s easier to make excuses when you’ve not already invested money into a membership.

Keep encouraging members to visit more often.

Even one extra visit a month can reduce the risk of a member cancelling the next month by 33%.

Want to help members stick with you? Yes, then help members create a routine by coming for a workout or class at a similar time each week. Research has shown this can help them stick to regular exercise. So, it’s easier to reach those goals!

Having members who visit often will help you build a long-term loyal membership base. They will get to know you and your team. Are less likely to cancel. And are more likely to recommend you to friends. Helping you build a healthy business.

And with members who stay around for longer, comes a higher member life time value. That means your business will become more profitable and you’ll be on track to achieve your growth goals.

How much is the average price of a gym membership?

According to Canstar Blue, Aussies spend an average of $62 per month on gym memberships, while in New Zealand the average spend is $52 per month

Canstar Blue have put together useful breakdowns of the best rated gyms in Australia and New Zealand, including some pricing models.

Calculating membership prices

The average gym membership cost differs between countries, and even between states or suburbs (including at clubs operated by the same chain.) Gym membership pricing is affected by 4 key factors:

  • Location – A gym in the main city grid of Melbourne may charge a very different fee to one in an outer suburb. The location of your gym or fitness club will impact pricing. Overheads are more expensive in urban areas – and members expect to pay a higher fee.
  • Facilities and services – The cost of a gym membership will also vary depending on what’s included. Clubs will have a range of membership options. Each with different activities and services included. For example, gym-only memberships, memberships including fitness classes as well as gym access, etc.
  • Length – most clubs will have a variety of membership durations available. A 12-month membership paid upfront in full is typically cheapest, if available. Usually the longer the contract, the lower the monthly cost. Many operators offer rolling or no contract memberships to give members greater flexibility.
  • Competition – the type and number of clubs near to your location(s) will impact what you can charge members. You’ll need to stay competitive and deliver value for money while remaining profitable.

Looking at the price of a gym membership at your club? You need an effective gym pricing strategy that accounts for these factors and more.

Joining fees = an important element of average gym membership cost

Although they are one-off, joining fees are an important part of the price of a gym membership. Some gyms and fitness clubs also call these fees:

  • Admin fees
  • Activation fees
  • Upfront fees
  • One-off fee

When calculating membership prices, consider what to charge members upfront when joining. A joining fee usually covers:

  • What it costs to attract a new member (gym marketing etc.)
  • The admin work needed to get a new member started at your club
  • The risk of a member cancelling soon after joining (covering inductions, payment set up and any perks given upon joining that you won’t be able to recoup the cost of)

The higher the price of a gym membership, the higher the joining fee will be.

What’s the value of a gym membership?

There are so many fitness and wellbeing options available to choose from today. So, how can your fitness club stand out and deliver unquestionable value?

Cheer members on

Consumers have high expectations. They want a helpful, trustworthy service from the gym brands they choose to invest in. Showcase the value you offer from the moment a prospective member discovers you. Getting it right from the start is vital. That means you need an effective new gym member onboarding process in place.

Members join for a reason, with a goal in mind, you need to help them set and reach that goal.

Your onboarding process will help set you up for success with each new member. And that includes making sure members remain engaged. Working towards their goals, even when setbacks happen, or life gets in the way.

Keep gym member motivation high. And the more value your members will get from their membership. Encourage members to:

  • Articulate what they are looking for from your club
  • Set specific goals, with achievable milestones to track progress. And refresh these goals often
  • Try out everything you have to offer. From classes to different workout equipment, and everything in between. The more members try, the greater the opportunity to find what they enjoy. And the less likely they are to get stuck in a rut
  • Attend often – members who visit more often are more likely to remain a member for longer. If they can get into a routine of attending at specific times on specific days, it can help members create a habit. Be sure to encourage members that a missed session won’t hurt, it’s getting back on track that matters

Help members achieve their goals and motivate them to keep up healthy habits over the long-term. And you’ll stand out against less structured digital and outdoor options.

Build a community

Create an inclusive fitness community. This will also help you deliver value for money and help make a membership non-negotiable. There are many ways you can create a community. A community that helps members feel valued. Form social bonds. Visit more often. And feel a part of something bigger than ‘just the gym’.

When you have happy, engaged members, you’ll have members who will become advocates for you. Offer guest passes so they can bring a friend. Create a gym member referral programme to reward members for recommending you to others. This can also add to the community feel of your club.

Managing the price of gym memberships

We’ve looked at gym membership pricing and joining fees, and how your club can deliver value for money. To successfully manage membership packages and prices you need gym management software.

It should be an all-in-one fitness club management system. One that makes it easy to create new membership packages and adjust prices. It should include gym billing software. So you have the flexibility to give members a choice of payment dates. And can remove the need for large pro rata payments upfront when first joining.

You should be able to create promotional offers and discounts across your memberships. So, you can make the most of marketing opportunities as they arise. And you should be able to set up a refer-a-friend programme that rewards existing and new members.

Set up targeted email and SMS marketing campaigns straight from your software. Increase member engagement with timely, relevant, and personalised communications. Helping members get full value from their membership with you.

With everything all in one easy to use place, you’ll be able to report on business performance. That includes understanding how well your membership packages and prices are performing. So, you can make quick adjustments if needed and keep up with what performs well!

The wrap up…

Memberships are essential to the success of your fitness business. There are many different types of membership you can offer. Each has their own advantages and role to play in your business.

Paid memberships are important. When members sign up to a monthly membership for a specific period, it’s easier to predict revenue.

The average gym membership cost differs. The type of club, facilities, and services available, and geographic location impact price. Even across the biggest chains, prices for the same type of membership can be quite different.

Most gyms and fitness clubs will charge a joining fee. This can be an important element considered part of the cost of a gym membership. It covers the cost of acquiring a new member and onboarding them.

Members need to understand the value of a membership with you. The best way to deliver value is to help members stay motivated to achieve their goals. Plus, creating a strong community will make your club the place to be.

Software, like Xplor Gym, makes managing gym membership packages, pricing, and promotions simpler. Request a demo to see Xplor Gym in action.

Article by Xplor Gym

First published: 15 January 2024

Last updated: 12 February 2024