A great article by our friends at CrossFit Kings Point in Orlando!
A few years ago, if you would have asked me about Groupon, I would have answered differently. We ran one deal, but were overstaffed at the time and made sure we structured it in a way that we could handle the influx. We made it work, but overall it was a frustrating experience, and decided we’d never do it again as it de-valued what we had to offer and de-valued the experiences of our members. The landscape is also a little bit different these days.
As more and more CrossFit affiliates pop up in the area, the more tempting it is for affiliate owners to run a Groupon deal. But Groupon and other discount coupon sites aren’t exactly the best fit for service oriented businesses, such as CrossFit. Here’s 6 reasons why you should think twice before purchasing one of these deals:
1. CrossFit Gyms are Under-Staffed to Handle the Load of a Groupon Deal
Most gyms are under-staffed to handle the large flow of new clients that a Groupon deal will bring in. What typically happens is the gym will offer 1 month of unlimited training for a ridiculous deal(example: $29 for 1 month unlimited classes). Let’s say 150 people purchase the deal, but the gym only has 70 members at the time, and factor in that typically only half will redeem the deal, this is still DOUBLING the amount of people the gym has to manage in and out of their doors on a day to day basis. In order to get the same experience, they’d then have to DOUBLE the staff to handle this load, which isn’t going to happen.
2. The Gym Won’t Have the Equipment to Handle All of the New Clients
This goes back to and expands a bit on #1. The best way to grow a CrossFit gym is via slow and sustainable growth. This allows the gym to keep up with demands in equipment and space during peak times. When a gym gets flooded with new clients via Groupon they will find themselves not having enough barbells, boxes, kettlebells, etc. This leads to a watered down experience, which will be more like a typical bootcamp class at a globo gym rather than true CrossFit.
3. Injury Rates will be Higher
Again, expanding on issue #1 and #2. In CrossFit, we do a lot of technical movements, deadlift, snatch, clean & jerk, to name a few. Most CrossFit gyms will start people off in a foundations or on-ramp program, in order to teach newcomers these lifts safely and efficiently. Since the gym will be understaffed during this period, one typical method of handling the load of new people is to not have them go through the on-ramp/foundations program, throwing them straight into the group classes.
Also, the trainer to athlete ratio is thrown off, so now instead of 1 trainer working with let’s say 5-10 clients, he/she now has to work with 10-20, which can lead to pure chaos, especially if there has been no on-ramp program.
4. You Get What You Pay For
This goes for everything in life, and rings truer the older I get. We understand that cost can be a factor in choosing a CrossFit gym, so we encourage everybody to check out a couple gyms in the area, and choose based on QUALITY of the instruction, the coaching staff, and the facility. If a gym is REALLY confident in what they have to offer, they don’t need to run Groupon deals. If a gym has a strong community, members will do all of the advertising for you and refer their friends. Word of mouth is the best way to grow a gym. Our trainers paid serious money for their education(which goes way beyond the minimum CF L-1 to open a gym), are constantly re-investing in themselves and are paid higher because of it. Our prices reflect this, but our results do as well.
5. It De-values the Service and Alienates Existing Full Paying Clients
If classes suddenly fill up with members not paying full price, the thought process going on in existing clients goes like this: “If half of these people are paying $25 this month, why the heck do I have to pay close to $200.” The BEST thing about becoming a member at a CrossFit gym is the community and getting to know the people you are working out with. Trying to integrate in with an alienated membership is tough.
6. You Won’t Get Treated the Same as Somebody that Pays Full Price.
Gym owners know that most people that purchase a Groupon deal aren’t going to stick around. With the overflow of new clients, the trainers know that somebody is going to get ignored. Is it going to be the person that pays full price each month or the person that probably won’t ever pay full price?
I encourage people to choose a CrossFit gym based on quality, and not price. Don’t let cost be the only factor when investing in your health & safety. Don’t just take our word for it. If you’re interested in checking out a gym that prides itself on quality, and the strength of its community, come check us out.