imagine a free gym

It’s funny after reading a book on a topic, you then seem to focus on that aspect on  everything else you see in the world. Recently, for me, its been the free concept.

Free by Chris Anderson gives an awesome explanation of economics and marketing in 19th and 20th century and then about how companies can make money from things that are free.

One of the cool ideas he mentions in passing is a free gym chain in Denmark. Imagine if a gym charged you for not showing up? Otherwise was free as long as you went every day. Punishes you for not being healthy, and basically rewards by not paying at all! Sounds like something from realm of behavioural economics (well guess what? it is!). Chris Anderson explains the psychology behind it:

When you go every week, you feel great about yourself and the gym. But eventually you’ll get busy and miss a week, you’ll pay, but you’ll blame yourself alone. Unlike the usual situation where you pay for a gym you’re not going to, your instinct is not to cancel your membership; instead it’s to redouble your commitment.

What else can you do?  You charge  for the strength training classes,  since the kind of people who go everyday love being healthy, so probably be willing to pay to make stronger muscles! Put a juice bar in there to also monetize on the freemium you used to market to these gym loving fanatics.

If they fail to make the 2 times a week schedule (got busy) you ding them 60 dollars for that month. So in reality if say you missed just 2-3 times a year, you would still be paying less than a full year membership! Why? Because  most gyms today actually make money on you NOT using it. The pricing depends on the particular costs of setting up the gym, etc, but this is the gist of this radical idea.

5 thoughts on “imagine a free gym”

  1. So I just discovered your website, which is quite intriguing. This whole idea of penalizing those who do not regularly attend the gym seems phenomenal as I see many gym memberships going to absolute waste. Given how insanely busy our current society is, it could be the necessary push factor to encourage them to be in regular attendance. I do however question how this gym in question would pay for start-up and maintenance costs solely based on revenue from the juice bar and individual’s who don’t show up. It would also be a little unpredicatable so if the gym wanted to make a financial projection, it couldn’t do so very accurately. Do you have any idea how this gym in Denmark pulls it off? Just curious because it is otherwise a really good idea.

    1. Uravi! Yeah it was pretty insane when I came across it.

      And your right, it would definitely depend on the projections they make for the gym. I’d assume they’d have an initial application fee at the very least for anyone who wanted to be part of the gym! Plus there is the hardcore gym people who’d pay up for classes. I’d definitely wanna visit that gym in Denmark.

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