An exercise in bargain hunting.
February 6, 2007 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Best deal at a 24-Hour Fitness center?

I realize that getting a gym membership falls roughly in the realm of negotiating with a used car dealer, so I'm looking for tips in navigating the process; the when, where and how.

Any insight or anecdotes from past experiences would be much appreciated.
posted by jazzkat11 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Summary: I went in to a 24hr with a fistful of cash and negotiated my way to $40 a year for any club in the country.

They'll try to sell you a range of absurd stuff you might not need or want (tubs of protein powder &c.) at a particular rate. The key was running the same patter as they do: "so, $X gets me a year, AND the powder, and a crate of bars. Let's take off the protein bars to make that $Y, and then I don't need the powder, take that off, make it $Z. We'll say an introductory meeting with a trainer for $A instead of a package of six". and so on.

Don't be afraid to con your way into a ridiculous deal, basically. Don't be afraid to say "we're done here" and get up and leave to consider the deal away from the club.
posted by boo_radley at 12:11 PM on February 6, 2007

Does your employer offer fitness club discounts? Large companies often pair with several of the larger clubs to offer quite generous discounts with little to no enrollment fees.
posted by Asherah at 12:12 PM on February 6, 2007

Asherah brings up a good point that might fit your situation.

I was surprised to find out that my employer had a deal with them that saved me some major enrollment fees. On top of that, I declined a lot of the perks they were offering me to get lower monthly dues (I don't travel often, so the ability to go to any club in the nation doesn't help me out).

The gym certainly isn't perfect, but I guess it's worth it if you get a good price. I'm actually trying to quit 24 Hour at the moment (upgrade to a nicer gym in town), which is a bit of a headache, but should be manageable.
posted by adamk at 12:19 PM on February 6, 2007

Go on the last day of the month, at the end of the business day (but not at night). They'll want to make monthly quotas, but the manager will need to be there to sign off on any unusual deals.

Don't be afraid to play one club's salespeople against another's. Bring business cards from one club to another. "Yeah, if I talk to this guy right now, are you sure he won't give me a better deal?"

Ask for any discounts that might be offered to other companies. "So, the employees of Large Nearby Software Company get deals on this ... why can't I just get their deal?"

posted by frogan at 12:34 PM on February 6, 2007

The "deal" I got at my local 24 Hour Fitness was $19.95/month with 2 catches that work fine for me:

-I can only go Mon, Wed, Fri and Sun (they also offered it for Tues, Thurs, Sat and Sun)

-The offer is good at one whole location worldwide (when I tried to use it in San Diego while on vacation a couple of years ago, I paid my monthly price for one workout)

I don't know if they still offer this, but they still honor mine five years later.
posted by Asbestos McPinto at 12:58 PM on February 6, 2007

Also, I didn't mention my deal, but my b/f and I (they consider him my "husband" as family can only get in on the corporate add-on deal) have an Active level membership for the two of us at $15/month or $7.50 per person, any Active clubs, no enrollment fee.
posted by Asherah at 2:52 PM on February 6, 2007

If you can afford it, sign a three year contract. You will get unrestricted access to all clubs, worldwide, excepting Ultra-Sport clubs, of which there are only a handful in the whole country, and when your contract is up you can continue monthly payments at your three year rate. I paid $700 for three years, which averages out to $19.44/month.
posted by chudder at 3:18 PM on February 6, 2007

We (wife and I) did the same as chudder and bought a 3 year contract. We also purchased 6 personal training sessions for about $900 and then added the second person for $20 a month.

My wife also worked at 24 Hour Fitness in the kids club for a few months when she was in college. They are VERY flexible in their deals so just keep working them.
posted by Octoparrot at 7:10 PM on February 6, 2007

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