Offering discounts to family members has been common practice throughout the history of the fitness industry.  Nearly all gyms offer a discount for additional family members, but it is very important to determine just how much of a discount to offer.

When you think about it, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense to discount memberships for family members.  Your local movie theater wouldn’t offer you a discount for buying an additional movie ticket for your spouse.  Nor would your local Starbucks give you a discount on your second beverage because you say it’s for your mother.

One might also argue that by offering a discount, you are decreasing the perceived value of your memberships.  Why is one member entitled to a discount simply because they are married?  These are all reasonable considerations.  Why then would we offer a family discount in health clubs?

Well the simplest explanation is because it’s the way it’s always been done and it is now
While it’s not always best to continue decade-long habits in the fitness industry, the practice of offering a discount to family members still makes sense.  But the key is to not get carried away and offer too much of a discount.  Some gyms will have a price of $39 for the first person and discount a second family member to as low as $15 and additional family members for $5-10.  This is a bit extreme.universally expected.  It is likely that your fitness business offers very similar amenities and services as one of your competitors.  If a prospect and spouse are considering your facility and a competing facility…and your competitor offers a family discount but you do not; chances are good they will join your competitor.  This is especially true if they have teenage children who want to join as well.

As always, you should test your prices to find out what your market is willing to pay, but a good rule of thumb would be to offer no more than a 40% discount for additional family members.  Based on the example above, you wouldn’t want to discount more than $15-16 on a $40 per month membership.  Your members will be appreciative of any discount you offer.  Don’t decrease the amount you earn per member more than you have to!

And if you allow teenage children of members to join, it is ultimately up to you to offer an additional discount for a third family member, but no more than a $5 discount would be a good rule of thumb for all additional family members.

If you operate a discount-membership club, with rates of $19 or less per month, you should not offer a family discount.  There are some club chains now offering primary memberships for $10/month.  Can you imagine offering a spouse’s membership for $5?

Alternatively, if you operate a high end health club, you should consider having a limit on the total amount you charge for a family membership.  If the primary member is charged $89/month and a spouse is charged $59/month, they’re already paying a lot for their membership.  Consider allowing their eligible children to join for free.

If you feel you are currently offering too dramatic of a discount for add-on memberships, that problem is easy to fix.  You can allow all of your current members to maintain their current rates, but all new add-on memberships can be sold at a slightly higher price point.  Your new members will not know that your prices have historically been lower than what they were offered.  Rather, they will be thrilled that you offer a discount at all.

A discount for family members is always a nice gesture.  You don’t want to be the only one in your community unwilling to be family friendly.  But you also don’t want to discount too heavily and you always want to test and retest to determine the best prices for both primary and secondary members.  Recognize that no matter what, your prospects will be appreciative of any discount you offer their family.

Do you offer a family discount?  Do you agree or disagree with me?  Comment below…