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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 05-26-2008, 08:58 AM   #21
Wade Smith
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

Randy & Affiliates, your points are well communicated and well taken. I don't believe anybody here is questioning the importance of your training(s), certification(s), and financial/time investment in your businesses. Kudos for all the great work you are doing in changing lives and bodies.

Two thoughts:

1. Let's be careful how we define "elite" in "Forging Elite Fitness". I'd suggest the intent in the motto is likely meant to be more related to athletic rather than financial eliteness. If only the upscale folk can afford affiliate membership, that's okay... but let's not dismiss the disgruntled/disappointed voices of the middle class masses as inconsequential. Many would like to join CF affiliates but can't afford it.

2. An analogy re: pricing --- If I changed my career, put everything (my family and my money) on the line, put myself through the best cooking school, invested a sizeable amount of money in a particular restaurant (equipment, location, food) because of a passion I had for this particular type of restaurant, and then tried to pass on those high costs to my potential customer(s), at a certain point the market would speak on whether those costs are justified or not. At some point, it doesn't matter how much I've invested in my restaurant if people are complaining about how much the food costs (even if service is excellent). At that point, only the upscale could afford to keep me in business. That's okay if that is the business plan. If it's not, I'd need to rethink my pricing.

I know my analogy isn't perfect and I write as one who highly respects the work the affiliates are doing. Good luck to all.

No need to defend. Let the results speak for themselves ... or... let the market readjust the price points.
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:46 AM   #22
Andrea Johnston
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

Personally, I understand the needs for the costs (facilities, equipment, trainers, all that jazz) but there are gyms that offer trainers equipment and facilities for 50-100 dollars a month and they have rings and olympic lifting equipment. I am fortunate enough to work out at one currently, however next year I will only have access to a Uni gym because I am moving and as a student can not afford equipment or a gym membership that sucks 200 a month out of my pocket.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:19 AM   #23
Emily Mattes
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

I have little doubt that, assuming a personal training business model, affiliates need to charge what they charge in order to survive.

However, I think it's wrong to assume the only way to recoup equipment costs, no matter whether you use a drop-in commercial gym model or a personal training model, is by charging $100-$200/month. If you are using a drop-in model, like most commercial gyms, you still make a profit charging $50-$100/month for memberships even though you have more expensive equipment than most Crossfit affiliates. This is because your lower prices attract more consumers, and you don't incur the same labor costs.

Also, the argument that small business owners--or any business owner--somehow "deserves" to charge more because they've put more heart or risk into their venture is definitely not one that works with any free-market system. There are consumers who will pay more to frequent a small business because they like the idea of supporting that model. But you certainly shouldn't be running your business with the assumption that this is going to happen. If you want to live in a free market world, you are going to have to accept that at some point small and large businesses compete exactly the same way, with value judged by the consumer, not by the business. Every small business owner, whether it's a Crossfit affiliate, a guy running a gym full of Hammerstrength machines, a bakery, whatever, is taking a risk when they make their venture. That's the nature of small business. Charge more if you need to charge more--but don't get upset if someone decides to take their business elsewhere because they can't afford the higher prices. It's not a personal attack against you, it's a financial decision.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:19 AM   #24
Mark E. Wallace
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Tarasevich View Post
Affiliates should also be compensated fairly for taking the entrepreneurial risk of starting a small business.
I disagree. Affiliates (or any other business owner, frankly) should be compensated for the service that they provide, and that's it. Maybe it's a matter of perspective, but you taking an entrepreneurial risk isn't a service to me. What you do for me day in & day out in terms of helping me get in better shape is a valuable service to me, and that's all I'm willing to compensate for. Whether or not you're taking a risk in starting a small business is your problem as the owner, not mine as the consumer.

(Not you personally, Randy, of course..."you" in general.)

- Mark
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:22 AM   #25
Steven Low
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea Balutis View Post
Personally, I understand the needs for the costs (facilities, equipment, trainers, all that jazz) but there are gyms that offer trainers equipment and facilities for 50-100 dollars a month and they have rings and olympic lifting equipment. I am fortunate enough to work out at one currently, however next year I will only have access to a Uni gym because I am moving and as a student can not afford equipment or a gym membership that sucks 200 a month out of my pocket.
They have many more customers than most CF affils that they can afford to do that though. Again, depends where you're living as well. I don't know how expensive gyms in Calgary are but yeah. Rent down here in DC metro area is ridiculous both for apartments and gym space.

--------------------------------

As for those who want to do something other than the CF/affiliate WOD -- talk to the owner.

If they have enough space where you're not in the way and you're still paying your fees, MOST of them will probably allow you to do other WODs. However, consider that you may not get the encouragement or critique from the owner/trainer as they may have classes to teach or whatnot. I am reasonably sure (as I have done it before in multiple affiliates) that if you want to do another workout and you're not in the way that they will let you IF they know you pretty well and know you know what you're doing.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:28 AM   #26
Tom Fetter
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

I suspect that litigation is one of the reasons that globo-gyms have become oriented around machines, rather than the kind of equipment stocking most CF gyms.

Without instruction and form critique, I'd wager you're more likely to see injuries from cleans, jerks, and (gasp) squats than from leg extensions and pec-decks. Instruction by competent staff costs money.

So eliminate the trained staff, and you've escalated the potential liabilities of the CF gym. In a society where restaurants lose million dollar lawsuits with clients who've slipped and hurt themselves on soft drinks they'd poured on the floor themselves ...

... let's just say that I'm not surprised that instruction and coaching supervision are hallmarks of CF affiliates. As well as keeping people improving efficiently, they also substantially reduce the risk of lawsuits.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:28 AM   #27
Emily Mattes
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

I think it's also worth mentioning that as Crossfit grows, there will be a point where it's commoditized, like everything else in the world, and affiliates will have to start figuring out new ways to lower prices and cut costs while maintaining high quality in order to attract clients. Maybe not now, but certainly five or ten years from now. If this means adopting a split-pricing model, where some people are paying more for training and others are paying just to use the equipment, that may be what has to happen.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:33 AM   #28
Emily Mattes
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

I wouldn't doubt if that were the case, Tom, but it is quite possible for gyms to draw up membership contracts that sign away liability if the gym-goer injures themselves on equipment (provided that equipment is properly maintained). But really, machine-based weightlifting has simply become more popular as bodybuilding-type weightlifting has come to dominate the fitness industry, so I think there's also much less demand from the consumer for barbells and bumper plates. Most people don't want to try to train themselves for those skills when they feel they can sit at a machine and get the same workout (even though in reality it's not comparable).

As for training, you could always require your members attend basic skill classes before attending your gym . . . Some affiliates do this already.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:47 AM   #29
Todd Lynch
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

I would only like to add a few points...

1) Depending on your usage at $150/month it comes out in the range of $5-$8 per session. If you don't feel you are getting that value from your affiliate than simply continue doing what you are doing. If you are saying you don't need the trainer and only need the facility and equipment than the globo gym is perfect for you and that model already exists.
2) The trainer gets a per client rate for each client that gets trained which leaves a total of maybe a couple dollars for the facility it self.
3) As to the "can't afford it" argument.. No one should tell you what you can or can't afford something. That is a personal decision based on priorities and and income:debt ratio. However, some of the people making this argument against the $5-$8 have no problem dropping that on a coffee or sodas throughout the day.
4) I simply can not "afford" to charge less and remain in business. Unless I switched to the "globo gym" model of sign up as many people as possible and hope they never come in and continue to pay their $50 a month for NOTHING.

Lastly for the "affiliate owners getting offended or defensive"... I am neither offended nor defensive. I am simply trying to express my viewpoint as an affiliate owner. I feel we provide an excellent service as well as community to our clients. Believe me when I say the majority of them are not "well off" by any means. I would love to be able to charge them less if I could.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:13 AM   #30
Justin Rovtar
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

I think rather that going back and forth on this all day potential CF clients should do one of the 3 following things.

1) Accept the price the Affiliate is asking if you enjoy the training and location.

2) If it is too expensive or not worth the money, workout on your own using the CF.com WOD and resources.

3) Become an affiliate and truly understand first hand what it takes to get the gym going for your clients.

JR
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