The people at Planet Fitness want you to join their organization, but it is clear to me that they want you on the easiest possible terms: $10 per month, and no long term contract. In fact, if you want to quit your membership for any reason, just pay for the current month, and that’s it.
I make such a big deal out of the terms because over the years, I have done scores of television stories about customers who get talked into long term gym memberships, only to wish they’d never set foot inside the gym in the first place. They wind up being sued by the gym over the contract – – and losing.
That’s not the case at Planet Fitness. In fact, their business model obviously takes into account all the bitter feelings customers have had about gym memberships. Their motto is “No Commitment, No Kidding.” Judging by the attitude of everyone I’ve met at Planet Fitness, I am proud to endorse the company, and declare Planet Fitness Gephardt Approved.
“It is fun to hear the fitness success stories of people,” says managing partner Keith Larsen. “My passion is developing relationships with people, and watching them meet their goals over long periods of time: maybe they lose 100 pounds, or find they no longer need their blood pressure medication.”
Keith says the whole concept of Planet Fitness stems from changing three things customers traditionally don’t like about gyms and fitness centers: contracts, environment, and expense. So, they changed everything. There are no contracts. I find the environment is always clean and refreshing. Also, everything works, and the monthly fee is not $50 or $60. It is $10.
“We really mean we have a judgment free zone,” says Keith. “People were intimidated to come into gyms because there were weightlifters and lunkheads. You won’t find that at Planet Fitness. We cater to the fitness of the general public, everyone, no matter what shape you are in.
“80 per cent of our members who joined us had never joined any other gym or fitness center before in their lives,” says Keith. “We have grandmothers, and moms, and grandfathers. No judging. The three barriers to intimidation are gone here.”
Keith tells me he wants fitness to fit into a person’s general lifestyle. To encourage that, for example, all Planet Fitness locations have free pizza on the first Monday of every month, and free bagels and cream cheese on the second Tuesday of each month. “Normal people eat at Crown Burger. Normal people eat all kinds of stuff. People eat pizza and bagels as part of their lifestyle. They can do that and stay in shape. Lifestyle.”
Then there’s the staff. Jared Pearson is the manager of the Downtown Planet Fitness location. “My goal is to figure out how I can train staff better. I try to motivate them to keep the gym cleaner and friendlier to everyone who comes in. I ask my staff to try to remember everyone’s name. Members become more than members. They become friends.”“Our people are crucial,” says Keith about the 600 people who work at the seven locations. “Every club has walls and machines, but for us, we must have great people to develop relationships to gently motivate people.”
Here’s something you might not know about Planet Fitness: their employees receive no commission whatsoever from new members. “Our people receive commission by keeping the clubs clean and making sure the equipment works. That’s how they make extra money.”
So, there you go: Planet Fitness and its seven locations throughout northern Utah and Idaho. Keith says he’s just trying to reach more people so he can have a chance to have more success stories. Now you know about their business practices, most important how they treat their members and now you know why I trust them.
~ Bill Gephardt