Does this sound familiar?
You secretly know you’ve been undercharging for your services. You know you need to put your prices up but you’re scared your clients will leave.
You’ve been watching what your competitors are doing and questioning what you do yourself.
Its a very common problem that trainers face!
The first thing I will say about that is even though its great to know what your competition is doing you can waste a lot of time worrying about it. Put that energy into providing the best possible experience for your clients. And then charge what you’re worth for it!
So how do we raise our prices in a way that feels right and isn’t going to upset anyone.
There’s a few options.
Keep all your current members on the same rate and the new rate only applies to any NEW members that join.
Inform your existing members that you plan to increase your rates and as a thank you for their loyalty you will keep them on the same rate.
But if they refer any friends, family etc – the new member will be on the increased rate.
On top of that, if the member cancels and wants to rejoin later they will have to pay the new rate.
This can be great for retention (as if a member is considering cancelling – they may have a second though) and also makes them feel valued.
Increase the rate for your current members too
This one is a little harder to do but it’s a bigger reward.
Let’s say you’ve currently got 30 members in your bootcamp, each paying you $40 per week.
If you were to increase that to $45 per week, you’d be making an extra $150 a week… or an extra $7,800 a year… without doing any extra work… just by charging an extra $5 a week
If you were to increase to $50 a week, you’d be making an extra $300 a week… or an extra $15,600 a year… without doing any extra work… just by charging an extra $10 a week…
That’s a pretty decent pay bump for you…
But from the member side of things – no one likes paying more for a service that they used to get for a less expensive rate…
So what’s the solution?
Step 1: Explain why you’re increasing your rates logically
This would include things like
- You haven’t had a price rise in x amount of years so you’re going to increase your rates in line with the cost of living
- You haven’t had a price rise in x amount of years and you are now a more experienced Fitness Professional so you’re going to increase your rate so they are more in line with your experience
- Any other logical reason
Step 2: Explain why the rate increase is a good thing for the member
Even though the points above make sense logically, chances are your members don’t really care about them… They are more interested in ‘what’s in it for them’.
So in your explanation you would include things like
- You want to purchase more equipment to make the sessions more varied and a better experience for them
- You want to take more courses so you’re a more educated Fitness Professional and can better help them reach their goals
- You want to hire staff (either Trainers or Admin) to give them a better user experience / customer service
Step 3: Explain any extra benefits the member will get
It can help soften the blow if with the raise in rates, the member also gets something tangible.
Options here could include
- Free piece of equipment (e.g. resistance band / skipping rope etc).
- Free home / gym program (generic ones)
- Free recipe eBooks (e.g. “Clean Eating Recipe eBook”, “Clean Eating Smoothie / Shake eBook” etc)
- Free nutrition eBooks (e.g. “How to eat healthy on a budget”, “How to eat healthy when going out”, “How to read food labels” etc)
A couple keys here
- Don’t add in anything that takes up more of your time (e.g. Personal Training session, Fitness assessment, Goal setting assessment, individualised programs etc) because you may end up earning a little more… but its only because you’re working more – the aim is to make more revenue without working more
- If giving a physical product (e.g. resistance bands) – make sure it’s worth your while. For example if you’re increasing your rates by $5 a week for a 10 week program and you’re giving away a $50 pair of boxing gloves – it doesn’t really make sense to change more. You could argue that your members will stay more than 10 weeks which is a fair point but I wouldn’t leave that to chance. I would much prefer a piece of equipment that could be purchased for $15-$20 (or less), that way you’re still making revenue on the front end
Step 4: Mention the Rate Raise and Meet in The Middle
What I recommend doing is raising your rates and meeting your current members half way. Let’s see your currently charging $40 per week and you want to raise your rates to $50 per week, meet your current members in the middle at say $45 per week – providing they continue training with you. If they leave and want to come back, they are on $50 per week.
This is doing a few things
a) Showing them they are valued and that they are getting a ‘better deal’ than any new members
b) Adding some scarcity to your offer, if a member decides to stop training with you they lose access to the discounted rate. It will make a member think twice about cancelling
Step 5: Deliver the Information Appropriately
If possible I recommend doing this by printing out a physical letter and handing it to each participant at the end of training for week. Just mention to all your participants something like
“Hey guys, I’m going to make some exciting chances to the business over the next couple weeks, before you leave today – make sure to take this letter I’ve got and let me know if you’ve got any questions”
And then hand out the letters that mention the above.
The other important things to mention in the letters include
- The date the increase kicks in (give it minimum 2 weeks)
- What the member has to do (e.g. will their payment automatically increase unless they cancel or do they need to give you written confirmation that they approve)
It’s also worth sending out an email too (and a text message asking everyone to check their email) in case a participant didn’t attend training that week or left early and didn’t get the letter etc
Step 6: Implement the Change
Once you implement the change, you may get some cancellations…
But here’s the thing, if you’re only increase your rates by $5 - $10 a week, chances are any one that cancels due to that was probably going to cancel anyway, this just gives them an excuse to do so.
And if a member tells you “I’m going to go down the road and train with so and so because they are cheaper”…
That’s fine… That just means that member wasn’t necessarily training with you because they loved your training or you as a trainer, they were training with you because you were the cheapest – that’s not necessarily the client you want to have.
And even if you do lose a few clients, chances are you won’t feel any loss because the raise in rates will more than make up for it.
Step 7: Stop Gaps
If you do have a client (or a few of them) who love training with you but just honestly can’t afford the raise in rates. You do have a few options to keep these members.
A: Long term contract: Lets say you’re current rate is $40 x week for 3 months minimum term and you’re increasing current members to $50 x week for 3 months minimum. You could keep the member on $40 a week but they are committing to a 12 month contract as opposed to just a 3 month.
B: Value exchange: Maybe the member could exchange value in another way. For example the member stays on $40 a week but in return they will do things such as leave a 5 star review on Facebook and Google, provide a video testimonial you can use for marketing, post a weekly Instagram story about training with you and tag your Instagram, make a monthly post in your local community Facebook Group promoting the business etc etc
And that’s how to raise the rates
Follow the above step by step and you’ll be fine
And if you’d like more tips building your fitness business at Fitness Education Online we have a business coaching for Personal Trainers program.
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