The following article was recently published by the MSCPA.
Over 45 million Americans belong to health clubs, according to the IHRSA, an industry group.
Before you sign up, however, the Massachusetts Society of CPAs recommends you ask these questions to ensure you spend your money wisely.
Can I Start On a Trial Basis?
Many people join health clubs with great intentions, but they find that they don’t really use the facility as much as they thought they would. With that possibility in mind, ask if you can try out the club for a week or more to see if you like working out there and if it’s convenient for you. In the same vein, when it comes time to sign a contract, don’t automatically accept a one-year membership. Instead, ask if you can join for a shorter period so you’re not committed to paying for months of membership that you may not actually use.
Can I Have Some Time to Read the Contract?
There should be no need to sign a contract on the same day that you first visit the facility, so don’t feel pressured to do so. Instead, take the paperwork home and read it over to be sure you understand what you’re agreeing to. Make certain that the details in the contract match any promises made during your visit. If you have any nagging doubts about joining, check to see if the contract allows a grace period in which you can change your mind without violating the agreement. Educate yourself about the club’s cancellation policy. Will you be able to get your money back if you are injured, move out of the area or can no longer use the facility for some other reason?
How Busy Is It?
If the gym has no limits on the number of members who can join, it could become a very busy place after work or on weekends. Try to visit during peak hours to find out whether there are lines or sign-up sheets for the equipment you want to use or if classes you plan to take fill up early. Make sure you know the hours of operation, too, to confirm that they are convenient to your schedule.
What’s the Club’s Reputation?
It’s a good idea to talk to friends or neighbors who use the facility to see if they are satisfied, but don’t stop there. In addition, contact the local Better Business Bureau or state attorney general’s office to see if there have been any complaints made about this club. If they have received reports from dissatisfied customers, find out what kinds of problems have arisen.
Your Local CPA can help Investigating the best health club options is one way to ensure you make the best use of your money. If you have other questions about financial issues, contact us at 508-830-0007.