Pricing your in-person fitness classes is probably one of the most difficult decisions you have had to make for your business. Here, personal trainer, Anna Martin shares her top tips on setting your prices right.
Know your area and your target market
Every area has a price ceiling. This is going to differ depending on where you are and your local demographics. So it’s important to benchmark your price against other local fitness providers. The closer the service the better the comparison.
For example, while you can compare the price of small group training at a gym to the price of a dance fitness class, you have acknowledged that it’s a different experience and market and the client’s willingness to pay will differ. It’s important to understand what’s driving fitness consumers’ decisions to buy your services.
Most of us want to charge a fair price: provide a great service that offers the client value, but which also makes us feel valued, appreciated, and attributing a price to your own effort, skills and experience.
Within reason, price is not among the primary factors when clients are buying fitness. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that as long as you’re cheap, you’ll get full classes.
Value your skills, education and experience
If you’ve been teaching for a while, you have accumulated a set of skills. Those skills are a combination of the education earned as well as the experience you’ve gained from all the days in the trenches helping different bodies stay fit and well.
This should be considered when setting up your prices. Just because someone locally is charging less than you, don’t feel you need to price match. If you’re offering something better, charge more!
Likewise, if you are supplying quality equipment to do the class you should charge for that (and make sure your clients know they are getting the best kit). Similarly, if you are providing a service that is capacity-constrained, and therefore are restricted on numbers, that will probably also mean that you will need to increase the class price.
Don’t be embarrassed at increasing your pricing for your fitness classes. You’re not ripping-off customers: if you’re providing a quality product your client base will have no problem paying a proper price for it.
Keep a close eye on your overheads
Work out what you need to make from that class in order to make it worth you doing it (after all you have bills to pay too) and then calculate any per head or per hour cost that you may need to charge in order to make it profitable.
Include all your overheads too. Your travel, your admin time, your client support outside of the class, marketing, insurance, licenses etc.: it’s not just the hire of the venue and the time spent at the front of the class which your clients need to pay for.
One of the worst things you can do is to go in too low because you’re scared to ask for more. It breeds resentment and it’s also self-defeating. And that is the LAST emotion you want to have walking into a room full of people who are there waiting for you to bring the magic.
Your prices will go up, this is a fact of life. You can’t make yourself immune from inflation.
From experience, most price increases in group exercise happen when we need to, not because we would like to. It is unlikely that your price increase isn’t fair, one of the few drawbacks in this industry is that we tend to undersell ourselves when we should value ourselves more.
Increasing your prices is just a matter of good communication. Let them know face to face that it’s going to happen and then email them, giving them plenty of notice (as in weeks or even 1-2 months rather than days). But don’t make a big deal of it.
Make sure everyone knows in a thorough way, let them know when the prices will increase and to what, then move on. What you don’t want or need is spending months or weeks talking about your prices.
It’s a distraction and it’s boring and it’s not what your clients are paying for. You might lose the odd client. But it’s far better to lose the odd client at your new price than hang on to those clients charging an unsustainable amount.
Keep things simple
A common mistake that fitness instructors make is to create overly complicated pricing structures, often to try and be all things to all people. This is often self-defeating.
While lots of us are creatures of habit and show a bit of reluctance to change, you should not tie yourself to running your business in a way you don’t want to, just because you are worried about changing things up for certain clients.
Communicate clearly, explain why you need to change the way you run your business and your clients will understand and change. Spare yourself, bespoke pricing, making bookings for people, bank transfers etc. Advertise a fair, simple, and transparent price structure and ask clients to get onboard.
If you don’t give them a choice they will. If you are timid and do give them a choice, people will instinctively want to stick to what they know. That’s not because the way they do it is better, it’s just because it’s what they are used to and they don’t like change!
Lastly, now that you have worked out the right pricing for your fitness classes is time to think about your lead generation strategy and how to get more customers through the door.
Owner of AMF World (instructor choreography library & education solution) and Anna Martin Fitness. With over 16 years experience in dance & fitness, Anna’s focus is spreading the love of resistance training in the group exercise community – to both clients and instructors.