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Why do gyms have joining fees?

Tue, Sep 27, 2022   |   Tags : Uncategorized
Gyms have joining fees

A joining fee is a one-time payment that covers the cost of jumpstarting a gym membership. It is a fee paid by members on top of the initial subscription payment before officially receiving the right to enjoy a particular club’s facilities. It is every club owner’s prerogative whether his/her gym should charge for one but the decision-making process isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

Most gyms require a joining fee for multiple reasons. If you’re in the middle of deciding whether you should implement a joining fee in your gym, you first need to have a full grasp on what it is intended for, and potential consequences of doing so. In this article, we discuss the main reasons why gyms impose joining fees.

Reasons why do gyms have joining fees

It generates additional revenue

With the tough competition in the fitness industry today, many gyms operate on low margins. This is especially true with clubs that offer very low-cost membership. Billing new members with joining fees can help boost revenue while also covering the extra admin work it takes to assist a member in getting started.

Initially, people who are excited to join a gym are more responsive to the idea of spending money upfront than they would be later on as the novelty wanes.

It reduces the risk of onboarding

Onboarding a new member is not without time, effort, and money. Signing members up for a club and showing them everything they need to know about your gym has it’s costs to you and your staff. Here are some of the things associated with onboarding a new client:


Regardless of what type of membership a member availed of, holding an orientation for new clients is vital to ensure his/her smooth and hassle-free onboarding. But doing so involves time from your staff and even personal trainers, if applicable.

If your personal trainers are independent, depending on the agreement in place, you likely have to pay them for the time they have to spend orienting a new member. It generally goes the same even if the membership is tied with a few free classes or training sessions.

Adding a member into the membership management system

The sign-up process and the ensuring of proper data entry involved in adding a new client into the system requires time and manpower as well. That is, unless you have an easy to use and well-streamlined gym management system, in which case it’s stress free and this can be a non-factor.


A new membership comes with club key fobs and maybe new merchandise such as shirts, bags, and bottles provided for new sign-ups. If your gym offers such, you will also have to sign the member up for other services such as gamified workout systems and gym member apps - unless they’re included in your all in one gym system.

Every step of signing a member up almost always comes with a cost and the joining fee can help cover these things.

It incentivizes members to not cancel

Once a client spends some cash on the joining fee, he/she is less likely to cancel the membership in the first few months. This can also serve as a motivation for members to keep on hitting the gym to make the most out of their spending.

Additionally, canceling the membership altogether and then changing their minds often require another sign-up fee. This can form a mental barrier for members that will keep them from canceling.


Whether you should charge new members joining fees or not is completely up to you. You have to first assess your gym’s current processes and see if you need the joining fee to help cover new sign-ups or not. It comes with pros and cons so make sure to consider the things mentioned above in your decision-making process.

If you’re a gym owner looking to sell gym memberships, it’s recommended you look into a gym membership management system that offers high flexibility over how your memberships are structured and how benefits are tracked and assigned to members. To learn more about this, click here.