How To Negotiate Your Way To The Cheapest Gym Membership

The fitness industry in Australia has an annual revenue of $2 billion buckaroonies.

Market research shows this number is climbing by almost 10% annually. The average Aussie spends $1406 on wellness every year. 4.6 million Australians have gym memberships. The number of people employed as a ‘Fitness instructor’ has more than doubled over the past decade.

If facts and figures aren’t your strong suit, believe me when I say that’s a lotta moving, nourishing and believing.

The key takeaway for consumers is that fitness is an industry. It’s a business. And a highly profitable one at that.

On the whole, gyms are notoriously secretive about what each of their members are paying per week. The worst is when you find out you’re throwing down $20 a week and a mate’s getting the same treatment for $13.

Believe it or not, signing up to a gym is a lot like buying a car. The sales tactics both professions use are almost interchangeable (as an ex-employee of a car dealership, I can say that with surefire confidence).

Here are some of the tried and tested methods you gotta use if you wanna avoid getting stung with an inflated rate.


Most gyms offer trials so you can test out the digs before you lock yourself into a binding contract. F45 is a brilliant example; they’re so confident you’ll like their service that they all offer 2 week, no-strings-attached trials.

Take advantage of these offers before you sign up, and you’ll save yourself a pretty little packet.


No one would go into a battle against a beast empty handed, and this absolutely applies to signing up to a gym.

You might have a club in mind that you’re set on joining. But first, research gyms in the area and take the time to go in and ask about fees. It’s best to find a club that’s most comparable to the one you want to join – e.g. if the gym you want to join has a pool and the one you’re comparing it to doesn’t, this isn’t a fair comparison.

This tactic is even more powerful when you’re moving from one gym to another. If you can prove you’re paying a certain amount of money, this is probably the most effective negotiation tactic.


Sign-up belong in one place and one place only: the bin.

A mate of mine decided she wanted to join my gym last week, so I went with her and came along to witness the sign up process. The gym was offering a ‘discounted’ sign-up fee at the time, taking it from $200 to $150.

I asked the gym employee who was doing the pitch what this fee was for. She shrugged and told me she didn’t know. She didn’t know why the gym charged that rather large once-off fee. She couldn’t even cook up a half-arsed excuse; proving, to me at least, that these fees are straight up robbery.

This fee is also sometimes considered an ‘administration fee’, which one can only guess refers to the effort it takes to plug a new member’s deets into a puter.

It’s a clever tactic, sure: hitting you with a once-off fee instead of spreading it out across your weekly membership makes the figures a bit more palatable. But if you do the math, a $150 sign up fee spread out over a 6 month membership is an extra $6.25 a week.

To avoid this fee, you have to learn to play it hardball. All memberships are negotiable, and often the sign-up fee is there to give gyms some wriggle room when agreeing on a price. Your first port of call should be to adopt a bulldog-like demeanour and flatly refuse to pay the fee.

If that doesn’t work, leave the gym and don’t sign up straight away. If the salespeople employed by the gym are worth their salt, they’ll do a follow up call where you can hit them with an ultimatum, like, “I’ll sign up right now if you drop the fee.”

Act like you’re Gordon Gecko reincarnate. Confidence is key.


Most big gyms have sales targets they’ve got to hit every month.

The best way to wrangle a good deal is to sign up at the end of the month when the budgets are going down to the wire and the team’s hungry for a sale.


To be fair, sometimes gyms can’t move on prices. Maybe they’ve got expensive rental fees to pay, or perhaps they offer a unique and sought after service. You get what you pay for.

If they don’t budge on price, you can ask for other freebies like personal training sessions or massages. Bigger gym chains often have ties to other businesses (like discounts at local health food stores) so you should ask them what member privileges they offer to sweeten the deal.

If you never ask, you’ll never know.


Considering you’re reading PEDESTRIAN.TV there’s a fair chance you’re a student. If you’re savvy, you’ll be accustomed to using your student status to your benefit with programs like UNiDAYS.


If you’re a yopro, your workplace might have discount deals with gyms as well. Fit employees are happy employees.

And if all that fails? Go for a run outside.

*The above article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent financial advice before making any financial decisions.

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