I own a small (400 member) 24 hour health club and we have charged for classes since the day we opened 5 years ago. In celebration of 5 years we are considering switching to free classes. Our reasoning is to increase the number of paying members, increase the size of our classes (currrently we have about 4-6 averaging in every class) and broaden our market base. Our current class goers love the classes and feel they are a great value, but we are competing with the free classes at our local Y and the fee based boutique classes at the smaller gyms in town. Doing so will result in a 15k per year drop in revenue for us which is super scary! (That 15k could be recovered by signing up 26 new full price members.) Has anyone ever had experience with this? Are we crazy? Any advice on how to implement this successfully?
I think the bottom line is to do your numbers and do what is best to build your business.
Have you consulted with a business consultant?
I think you have to build your own niche and not necessarily base your business decisions on the competition only. What do you offer to your clients that is unique? What is your specialty?
Maybe you can offer free classes on weekends only?
Will more people come to the classes if they are free? Have you done a survey? What if 26 new people don’t sign up? Is there another way to increase revenue?
Food for thought!