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  • How to change what you charge as a Fitness Professional plus more helpful reading

    Firstly thanks for everyone that contacted me
    regarding my BLOG yesterday on
    charging what you are worth.
    So many people wrote to me and said…….
    “I KNOW I don’t charge enough, I am not making a living
    so how do I put up my fees without
    upsetting my regulars?”
    The big thing to consider is if you don’t charge enough you have to work a lot more hours just to stand still in your business or you simply don’t make enough to make your business viable.

    I received this email from Sharon and I wanted to address it.
    “Hi Rachel, your email comes at a time that resonates strongly with me right now.

    Can I just share with you my story….

    I think I am very reasonably priced in my Group Pilates Classes @ £7 per class, no membership, come when you can, pay as you go!

    I teach in a professional studio that I hire from a performing arts company.

    I made a knee jerk reaction to having a sudden drop in numbers in a class – only 2 people.

    I went home, after making a loss on my hours teaching and wrote an email to my class members.

    I said that prices were going up and that the booking and payment system was going live with effect 1 st July – this I’ve been talking to them about for a while.

    Basically the drop in rate was going to go up to £9, then reduced rates for memberships.

    I received 3 negative emails, questioning my decision and stating they were not happy with increase as they were regulars etc etc.

    I received probably equal numbers of positive nature.

    But probably mostly I had silence.

    After receiving the lengthy negative email from 3 regulars (sending me a joint email from the 3 together), I completely lost my nerve and scrapped all plans and reverted back to £7.

    Most people have been pleased with that response from me, others think I should have put prices up!

    I recognise:

    *My reaction to 2 people attending led me to make a disgruntled knee jerk reaction and slamming price hike.

    *I am very sensitive to peoples negative reaction to what I do.

    *I listen and react to others more than I my own.

    *I’m rubbish with money!

    But, I will keep going, I will learn from my mistakes on all aspects and grow into a better business woman as well as being a great teacher.

    Can you add anything for my growth please?

    Thanks Sharon”

    So my friends what would you do ?

    Here are my Top Tips and ideas

    1:Firstly there has to be a mindset shift.

    YOU have to be physiologically invested.

    You HAVE to believe in yourself and your abilities

    You need to be supremely CONFIDENT about your services and your expertise. If there is an element of doubt anywhere deep in your heart somehow this is transmitted to those around you.
    People will pick up on this and on a sub conscious level pick up on the fact that you are not confident about your abilities.

    If you keep telling yourself:

    “ No one around me has any money”

    “No one around me will pay”

    “No one wants xyz”

    Guess what?

    That is your reality and that is what you will experience.

    You have to change your mindset and believe it.
    YOU are good. YOU are qualified. YOU are an expert.

    2: Listening to the vocal few is a mistake.
    Often we are swayed to make changes in our businesses by listening to the vocal few who don’t represent the majority of your customers.

    There are ALWAYS a few people who want you to do classes at a TIME that only suits then and for a price that only suits them, so you shift and change things around to cater for the minority.

    I think this a huge mistake.

    Often the people who love your services the most are NOT the vocal ones.

    YOU HAVE to make your business work for you.

    Choose times / Days / Venues / Pricing that suits YOU.

    It’s YOUR Business.

    Please stop this trying to please everyone mode.

    Choose a price point and demographic that you want to work with and stick to it. Narrow your niche down.

    Sometimes it’s worth losing a few customers who become thorns in your side TBH.

    3: Be smaller and exclusive and charge a higher rate

    Please recognise that many people are buying a “result” from you.

    You DON”t have to attract huge numbers if you charge appropriately.

    Market your self as exclusive/bespoke
    Attention to detail.
    GO the extra mile.

    Be a SPECIALIST. Not a Generalist.

    The cheaper you are the more customers you have to attract to make a living.
    4: Sell your classes in courses, packages or blocks.

    If you have always taught pay as you go you may need to set up a new class/course/package on
    a different day, time, class and trial selling it as a course or package.

    It is difficult to turn an existing classes that has always been Pay as You Go into a
    new “Exclusive” package or programme.

    If you offer lots of pay as you go classes on your timetable then offer a monthly direct debit membership
    but reward people for signing up this way with a discount, or discount on other local businesses you have partnered with, free T SHIRT, or whatever – Make this an exclusive club to be part of.
    5: Marketing and Positioning.

    I totally get it that you got into fitness because you want to help people and your love teaching.

    BUT if you don’t sharpen your skills in marketing and really look at your mindset and your self talk then its hard to get people to attend your classes,
    no matter how good you are.

    It becomes difficult to make a living….. I know thats sad 🙁

    We live in a world of branding and marketing and social media.

    Old style ways of marketing and sales don’t work but it is actually really straight forward to learn and understand how new media works and how you can real harness it’s power.

    There really IS enough people to go around for all of us.

    There are no shortage of people wanting to get fitter, healthier and join in happy fun classes led by positive, confident professionals.

    There is a plethora of willing customers right on your doorstep who want to come to you.
    What do you think?

    Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 07.46.46

    Here are a few more interesting articles to get you thinking:


    Having been a freelance instructor for many years and now responsible for group x within Energie Group, the UK’s leading fitness franchise with 93 clubs, I have a fairly unique viewpoint on this recent tech development that’s beginning to re-shape our industry. Here are my brief thoughts:

    Virtual could never replace the live experience and as fitpros, I know you’ll be familiar with the list of reasons why. No Studio/Fitness/Club Manager would be foolish enough to remove a good instructor with a loyal following simply to reduce costs as this would denigrate the customer experience and result in dwindling attendance numbers. With this in mind, then, I’d recommend taking a glass half full approach and use the introduction of virtual to spur you on to improving your skills and range. Like Rachel is regularly advising through this newsletter, it’s vital to commit to constantly educating yourself and developing your classes and by so doing, you will make it very difficult for anyone to remove you from their timetable.

    At the end of the day, it has to be remembered that clubs have to make money and controlling costs is a primary KPI. It often isn’t financially viable to bring in a freelance instructor to teach to a class of 4 members in the middle of the afternoon so virtual affords the opportunity for operators to broaden the class timetable without increasing the associated costs. This shouldn’t be seen as a negative impact on instructor earning potential, as classes like these simply wouldn’t be there without the virtual facility.

    Virtual not only gives the opportunity to schedule classes in the traditional off-peak times such as mid-morning and afternoon but also late at night and very early in the morning which, with the growing number of 24hr clubs, is the only way to service this need….unless you really do fancy teaching a 2am spin to 2 members in their break on the night shift!

    I think this is a moot point as it suggests that all live instructors are 100% on the ball in issuing the perfect technique instruction, observe everyone all of the time and correct every participant, every time it’s necessary. It could be argued that a virtual class presented by an excellent instructor carries a lower injury risk than a live class taught by a bad instructor and as with any other line of work, we have to accept there are always going to be good and bad practitioners.

    A hugely beneficial feature of virtual is the on-demand option that enables members to pick the class theme and the time to suit them. At 2pm in the afternoon 3 ladies might decide they fancy a 15mins BLT class and now they can have it. Clearly the idea of a live instructor being available at the drop of a hat and armed with the ability to teach every possible class on the timetable for any duration, is a non-conversation.

    As an operator, it kills me to know we have studios sitting empty in our clubs when we’re paying for square footage. To have just 1 member taking a virtual class that keeps them coming back is a much more preferable scenario.

    Virtual classes enable those new to group X to dip their toe in the water, maybe join the class for just 20mins if new to exercise, with the freedom to leave the class when they wish. I’m pretty sure that, like me, you wouldn’t be too keen on members regularly walking out of your class whenever they feel like it but this is clearly a more flexible, bespoke service and therefore one that many will appreciate.

    A recent study showed that if a new member makes just 1 friend at the club they’ll be 40% less likely to leave. In a virtual class, without a live instructor to interact with, it may well be that participants talk more to each other. This will lead to better retention, ie more members around to join your live classes.

    Like it or not, a significant percentage of the public view the studio as a fitness church with the live instructor preaching from the gospel according to Zumba, Les Mills, etc to a congregation of the already converted. We have to accept that for some, whether we like it or not, we instructors might be the barrier and so the opportunity for them to start their journey without us intimidating them (even when we really don’t mean to) means they are more likely to stick with their journey and almost certainly then end up in our live classes when they have more confidence.

    Research shows that members who participate in group X stay longer so anything a club can do to encourage them to take this route is good for business. Adding outdoor to indoor sessions, exciting new workout themes, quirky new equipment and yes, virtual to live classes will lead to an increased level of service that is good for the member and ultimately good for the success of the group X programme……and therefore also good for the job security and longevity of the live instructor.

    As just 2 examples amongst many – on a global scale, 24hr Fitness are rolling our virtual in their 650 clubs whilst here in the UK David Lloyd have just begun to do the same across their estate so I think it’s fair to assume that virtual is here and probably here to stay. As a lover of group X I wholeheartedly embrace it as a compliment to live options and a route through which we can achieve our ultimate collective goal of getting more people, more active, more often.

    I appreciate that not everyone will agree with me but, hey, a broad, rich, diverse range of philosophies is what makes our industry so exciting, so I’d love to learn your thoughts?


    Price High & Justify…..!!!
    By Andrew Crawford

    In Out, In Out & Shake It All About…….Should We Go or Should We Stay ….??

    What price will we have to pay for the wrong or right decision?

    Remember the last important time the people of Britain ‘VOTED’ …?

    It was a UNANIMOUS…..‘NOT To GO TO WAR’??? The price was too high to Stay Out..!!

    What did this Democratic country do….I say country…but I really mean a handful of individuals, called Politicians, one in particular, who were elected to represent the PEOPLE’s views?

    Basically it was………“Stuff you…We’re sending our boys in..the price is right…we are justified..!!”

    This was the democratic answer to….

    ALL the thousands upon thousands of people who travelled the length of the UK to London in coaches, trains, cars, bikes, & on foot pleading…begging..demanding & petitioning that we do NOT send our brave Boys & Girls to fight in a War we really know nothing about……..

    The price was too high.

    Didn’t your representative you send to search ‘their’ land come back after extensive scrutiny and categorically said…..

    “..There are NO weapons of mass destruction…??”

    Indeed he did…Dr Kelly I think his name was…..the weapons Inspector..!!

    Unfortunately, I don’t believe that was the answer some people were expecting, however, no one could question him about it because he was found murdered….oppps ……I meant he committed suicide, so the media ‘tells us’ yards from his house, so he couldn’t be cross examined…in fact…didn’t his body ‘turn up’ just yards from his house? ..his wrists slashed and his body containing painkiller tablets.?

    Even the highly trained sniffer dogs, forensics & trained police ‘missed the body’ after searching for a few days..!! Miraculous..!!

    He paid the ultimate price.

    There MUST have been SOME truth in his statement…


    Because as of today, Thursday 30th June 2016 after more than 12 years and after many unnecessary military deaths, civilians, mutilations and injuries, including many innocent women & small infant children, some newly born, soldiers returning with PTSD, including those who unbelievably can’t get jobs or housing or support services after returning from the bloody battlefield, fighting for GOD (Gold, Oil, Drugs) after being totally ignored by the same people who sent them across the seas……no weapons of mass destruction have been found……YET..!!

    So last week we came to another important decision…I ain’t going into that here so….I hope you used your vote wisely… (As if it wasn’t decided already..!!)

    I’m not into Politics. These are just my independent observations of Democracy in action….otherwise known as ‘Lip Service’. (The illusion of being in control & that your vote matters).

    So Andrew….

    What has Price High & Justify got to do Accountancy & Tax?


    This week I was engaged in an interesting conversation surrounding price.

    My Philosophy is to ‘Price High & Justify’….!!

    This European thingymijig has ‘Opportunity’ written all over it.

    The media has you believing in fear, …I remember in one of my articles I asked you to look out for the number of times they use the word ‘THREAT’…once fear grips you, everything becomes negative.

    Anyway……back to the conversation…

    It transpired that this lady was owed money from work she had already done. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the Beast…..or is it??

    I advised her that she should change her payment terms and conditions from a 30 day invoice to a 3 day invoice, even better is payment terms where it is ‘payable on receipt’ of the invoice. I actually learnt that one from the Big Boys..!!

    Your payment terms are not set in stone, they are yours.

    What about your price……are you INCREASING it EACH year due to inflation??

    If not…why not?

    Are you cheap or expensive….OR… you Price High & Justify..??

    It’s an amazing thing this price subject because the more you charge the more your service is valued.

    It’s strange…take a Consultant for example going into a company.

    Consultant 1 charges £175 a day. They go in do their stuff and leaves giving the owner an action plan. The owner doesn’t act on it. Therefore nothing happens . The owner thinks that it was a waste of money.

    Consultant 2 charges £2,000 a day. They go in do their stuff and leaves giving the owner an action plan. The owner acts on it. Things start to happen. The owner thinks that was a great investment of money.

    Your clients are not buying your time, they are buying a RESULT.

    So…. STOP selling your services on the TIME it takes you to do it.

    Price High & Justify

    The Fitness Industry seems to be the only industry where you are NOT paid for your years of experience or qualifications.

    You have to have a thousand different qualifications to teach, update your knowledge each year through CPD’s but are not compensated for it.

    In other industries, your money goes UP ….
    I’ll test it to see if my theory is right. Here’s a scenario.

    Instructor A has 20 years’ experience, has many varied qualifications, has been to many different conventions gaining valuable knowledge. Can do any type of class you put in front of them, has seen the industry change, so has to flex with the industry. Got the lycra, worn the floppies and still has sweatbands & a bull worker in their cupboard. (ha ha ha,,If you remember those..!!??)

    Instructor B has just qualified.

    2 positions come up at the local leisure centre which they both want. They both go for it.

    Who gets paid more???

    That’s exactly what I mean. They get the SAME……what kind of Ball Ox is that..!!??

    This is where you are NOT in control of your prices. Is the market going to determine your prices OR are YOU going to construct your own?

    Another strategy you can employ is to offer 3 versions…eg Bronze, Silver & Gold services. You’ve seen this in action many times….so it must work. These will suit different budget levels each level/package will include a more valuable additional service.

    Ahhh…before I forget

    You are also selling your knowledge. This valuable knowledge that has taken you all your life to gather, from attending courses, reading books & magazines & revising your subject area. Are you gonna Price cheap/low and regret or…….Price High & Justify…!!!

    That brings me onto the last topic very briefly….if your competitor here in the UK or from overseas is cheaper than you don’t try to compete on price.

    Instead…compete on differentiating your service so that you can……

    Price High & Justify.


    It’s Wimbledon……….!!

    If you are going, have a great 2 weeks with all this rain, strawberries & cream, drinking, partying & frivolity (whatever that means).

    I was once a Ball Boy there.

    Oh…just before I go…

    I launched a new service on the weekend. Please like & share my new FB page.
    Andrew James Crawford



    Thank you for reading! Please share your feedback/ thoughts with me, it is really helpful and appreciated.



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