Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Understanding a Membership Contract


Before we leave our discussion on choosing a health club, it's important to mention the membership contract. One of the most frustrating issues a health club manager has to face is with people who don't understand the membership papers they've just signed.

Membership contracts can come in various forms. You need to understand what type of membership you are buying. Is it a multi-year contract, an annual membership, or a month-to-month agreement? Generally you will get a different price per month depending on the length of term. Know what you are getting into.

I can't tell you how many people I have dealt with over the years that call me after several months and say they want to cancel their membership. That's fine if the membership is set to expire; however, many of them want to cancel in the middle of their contract. When I tell them they still have a given number of months remaining on their contract they get defensive and tell me they didn't remember signing anything that says they are obligated to a certain number of months. It's an easy argument for me; all I do is pull out the membership agreement and show them what they signed.

Also, I would suggest you ask the club if there are any circumstances that would allow you to get out of a contract if necessary. Some examples may include when you move out of town or if you develop a medical condition that prohibits you from using the club.

It all boils down to reading the membership contract and asking questions if there is something you don't understand before you sign it! And yes, that means reading the fine print. Neglecting this may come back to haunt you someday.