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Old 05-27-2008, 01:52 AM   #51
Randy Tarasevich
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

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Originally Posted by Gant Grimes View Post
Finally.

Affiliates, take note. Getting ****ed off every time this comes up is not the answer. Randy, you asked if doctors and lawyers get questioned about their rates. Yeah, they do. Every single day. And their answer--to the client--never includes their overhead or expenses.

Clint went by an affiliate, was put through a "Cindy-type workout," and was shocked that they wanted $20. He doesn't need to search threads. He walked in off the streets, paid his money, and was left wondering where the value was. He asked a fair question.

When I walked into Rip's, he took me to the side and put me through Cindy. He said it was a different way and asked me to keep an open mind. Twenty minutes later I was hooked. By the time we got to it, price was an afterthought. Rip showed me the value, while Clint's affiliate failed him.

You should never be offended when someone questions your pricing. If you're defensive, it's because you're worried more about your expenses than you are about providing a valuable service. Indeed, the pricing question is your first opportunity to explain why you're so much better than the next guys (hell, by the time I teach you how to eat correctly you'll be saving $200/month in restaurant charges).

I have nothing but love for the affiliates, and I hope you all succeed. Joe W., your gym sounds like my kinda place. I will definitely look you up if I'm ever in your area.

People are asking this question because they want to know. Would you rather they just cruised by?
Gant, you bring up some good points about getting a chance to explain why my pricing is the way it is. Really, getting irritated or ****ed doesn't help either me or prospective members. There are some things that I do think your are dead wrong about though.

1. I don't how you, or anyone else, can say that pricing does not include overhead. You may not say this to the client, but of course it does. That's Business 101, at least where I learned from. It's called Cost of Production and is a very valid accounting principle. Also, the people that ? MDs and lawyers about their rates will most likely want discounts evrywhere in life. I never ? my MD or lawyer about their rates. Maybe I should start

2. I am defensive because I am worried about BOTH paying my bills AND providing and excellent service. If the bills don't paid there won't be a place to provide a service. I'm a brand new business and if you think for a minute that as a new business you have the luxury of sitting back and not worrying about paying the bills, or just being the trainer, than you obviously have not been in a bus. owners position. I LOVE doing what I do (CF) and I want to continue doing it by any means necessary.
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Old 05-27-2008, 02:29 AM   #52
Randy Tarasevich
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

"you have to charge more money than the service is actually worth, more than you're morally comfortable with (if you have any morals), or your clients will not value your information or take your advice seriously." - Mark Rippetoe (Strength Mill Forum)

I'm done with this thread.
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Old 05-27-2008, 04:59 AM   #53
Randy Tarasevich
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

Upon further review, I realize that I have communicated my message in the entirely wrong manner. I came off in a hostile manner, and directed all of my recent frustrations with my business at this one thread. Clint has a very valid question, there was never a doubt about that. I just became frustrated because I have been having to deal with this issue not only on the Internet. I will take this opportunity to learn from my mistake and start looking at price questions as times to explain why I charge what I do (because I'm better).
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:01 AM   #54
Brandon Oto
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

This is not meant to be an insult to anyone here. (I'm not going to fall over myself repeating that either, though.)

I think that part of the problem some CFers have with paying affiliate fees may stem from the message coming from HQ, which is that "you can come to a CF cert, become a trainer, and make a WHOLE BUNCH OF MONEY doing something you enjoy and helping people."

Most of that is fine but one of those things has a problem with it, and it's capitalized. Most of us who aren't rolling in income aren't really prioritized around helping our service providers make a whole bunch of money. It's a great message for potential trainers but kind of a weird angle for prospective clients.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:19 AM   #55
Matt DeMinico
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

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Originally Posted by clint reach View Post
I could be way off here but after doing a little research it seems to me that CF affiliates charge a fee that only the well-off could possibly afford (which seems pretty "un-crossfit" to me). I've been doing CF for a couple years now and am kind of in a lull at the moment, needing some outside motivation to get me back into it. I found that places in this area (DC) as well as elsewhere are charging around $200/mo. Does that seem high to anyone else? Considering CF typically caters to military, police, fire, etc., I don't see how they could possibly afford those rates (I'm in the military). I went to another CF gym once and did a Cindy-type workout and was charged $20. I thought the guy was joking when he gave me the price. I was only there for a half hour tops. To me, buying all the gear and building your own gym is the only way to go but at the moment, that's not an option for me due to lack of space. I want to get others' take on this issue. What am I not getting here?
I run an affiliate, and to be honest, if there were another affiliate next door, I'd pay them $200/month to train me. The coaching is invaluable by itself, let alone the group atmosphere.

And why it costs so much is because a human being's time is expensive. Say there's 7 people paying $185/month to come to class 5 days a week, and there's 2 hours of classes available each day. That's $32 an hour for the owner, and that's BEFORE his utilities, rent, insurance, affiliation fee, personal education, etc. AND before the cost of outfitting a good CF gym (heck, five good bars alone is expensive, let alone 2 or 3 sets of bumpers, a set or two of dumbbells, medicine balls, rings, pullup bars, iron plates for deadlifts and bench, rowers, GHD's, etc).

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Old 05-27-2008, 06:34 AM   #56
Tom Fetter
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

IMO, a service should be priced at it's value. Whether I personally have the resources to buy it, or not.

The cold reality is that some of us can re-arrange our finances and/or priorities to pay what the service is worth, while others can't. Lots of worthwhile things I wanted when I was a student. Couldn't get them. It sucks, but it is simply a reality.

Others aren't willing to shift their existing priorities - but that doesn't give affiliates an obligation to change their fee structures either. For instance, by now I could pay for four memberships at our local affiliate for my family members who do CF, but only by stopping pretty much every other extra-curricular activity my family's doing ... music lessons, soccer, karate, rowing, etc. That's not going to happen - there's more to life than 1 activity, however splendid.

Many of us are afflicted by that reality; our affiliate's introduced a punch-card system to help. As I look 'round the affiliate, most full-time clients are themselves wage-earners ... one average wage seems to generate enough disposable income to support one membership, when priorities are wiggled acceptably.
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:21 AM   #57
Matt DeMinico
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

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Originally Posted by Mark E. Wallace View Post
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
Mark, inherent in that is the fact that they get paid for taking a risk. If they weren't taking a risk, everybody would be doing it, therefore they're getting paid for taking a risk.
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:08 AM   #58
Lisbeth Darsh
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

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Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
I think that part of the problem some CFers have with paying affiliate fees may stem from the message coming from HQ, which is that "you can come to a CF cert, become a trainer, and make a WHOLE BUNCH OF MONEY doing something you enjoy and helping people."

Most of that is fine but one of those things has a problem with it, and it's capitalized. Most of us who aren't rolling in income aren't really prioritized around helping our service providers make a whole bunch of money. It's a great message for potential trainers but kind of a weird angle for prospective clients.

Brandon, I don't have any problem with what you've said. We've all watched this same subject come up repeatedly on this board. I've restrained myself from this particular thread because I'm tired of the repeating and defending myself on this subject but your choice of words can perhaps help to clarify this subject, as least from my point of view.

New affiliates aren't "rolling in income" or "making a bunch of money." We're barely making any salary, if that. It's not the CF model, it's the nature of a new business in general. As my landlord likes to say, "Anybody who thinks they're going to make a lot of money their first year in business is just fooling themselves." There are start-up costs and all sorts of considerations -- but NONE of those are the concern of the member. They're my nugget and my responsibility.

What is the concern of the member? That the service they are receiving is worth more than the money they are paying. Ask any one of my members and they will, without doubt or hesitation, tell you that it's an absolute steal for them.

That's what this entire thread can be condensed to: Is the service worth it? If so, buy. If not, keep your money in your pocket.

We all make the same decisions every day, from the Starbucks latte to the magazine at the newstand to the gas pump. The only difference is that CF affiliate membership is a new concept and that this board is a forum where the consumer and the service provider can interact and ask/answer questions. That's a fabulous thing. We can all learn here.

And, Clint (since you opened this line of questioning -- and I applaud you for asking a question and seeking the answer, instead of just writing us off) if you find yourself in CT and want to see if my words have merit, stop by and I will show you how my service is worth every penny and more. You will sweat, struggle, laugh, and think more in 50 minutes than you have in years in the gym. And you'll walk away amazed at the bargain you just got and you'll want to come back for more. I guarantee it.
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:07 AM   #59
Sean Dunston
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

Clint-
Since you are in the DC area, come over to CrossFit Alexandria one of these days and you will see a very well-run affiliate where the trainers and members are very enthusiastic about CrossFit.
Yes, at $199/month it would appear that the monthly fee is high when looking at the total nut - compared to $29/month at a Globo.
But I would say that every member willingly pays their membership fee each month.
Our gym operates on an "unlimited" classes basis and the last I checked there are 28 group classes offered per week.
I go on a 4 on, 1 off, 1 on, 1 off basis - so that is 5 times per week or +/- 20 times per month. At $199/month that is less than $10 per class.

Worth it -- without question.

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Old 05-27-2008, 10:18 AM   #60
Neil Khant
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Re: How Does Anyone Afford CF?

I am looking down the barrel of affiliation now. There have already been a few occasions where I have looked at all of the affiliations out there and questioned if I could justify charging similar rates as some of these other affiliates.

The answer does keep coming up “yes”. But the justification for this does not come from how much my overhead will be, how much my equipment will costs or how much I will have to pay my employees. The justifications come from what it is my affiliate will bring to the client. Will I be able to bring them services that exceed the cost that I plan on charging? As many of the affiliates that have chimed in on this thread and many others like it have said: They feel that what they are able to bring to the table exceeds the costs. And many of the members that have also chimed in agree.

If you go to a place and receive less than adequate service, you will probably not return let alone pay any costs whether low or high.

As affiliates, I understand that it seems like common sense to justify a membership rate based on the overhead, equipment and pay rates. But as a potential client, most are not interested in your financial situation, as you should not be entirely interested in theirs.
(I know there may be special circumstances where you would be willing to help some potential members, but not as a rule.)

Whether you have $1 in equipment or $100,000 in equipment, a pretty facility or working out of a park; make what you do worth the cost that you charge.

Now I do understand that a business must look at their expenses and the market value of services rendered. Once the dollar amount is determined then it comes down to volume necessary to break even. It is recommended by Crossfit to start small and increase capacity and equipment, as you need it.

Bottom line:
Affiliates need to justify their rates based on the fact that the services provided are worth the costs.

Customers need to feel they are getting value from their dollars spent.

And if there are customers that truly can’t afford the service or think they can do better on their own; Crossfit HQ provides this web page and forum as a free service to you.
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