For most of us, the idea of having to discuss your rates with clients is a dreadful thought, much less the process of informing them that you are raising your rates. Consequently, MANY fitness professionals are far under charging for their services and show lack luster results in the growth of their income from year to year.
As a business owner, most of your expenses continue to increase on an annual basis, therefore consistent rate increases for your clients are a necessary task in order to guarantee that you not only survive, but also THRIVE as a small fitness business owner. I recommend considering these quick tips below when determining what rate to charge and how to express this rate increase to your clients.
1. Research your market.
In order to determine a fair market rate for your services and to build your confidence in this decision, research the following list of details for the competitive businesses in your market which serve a similar niche client as yours. Use this data to compare and rate your product and services in relation to their offerings. Based on your comparative research findings and the rates for your competitors, you should be able to determine where your pricing should fall.
- Education and skillset
- Scope of practice and specialties offered
- Years of experience
- Facility, amenities, equipment
- Price point and packages available
2. Go Above and Beyond and Your Rates Can Too.
Based on your competitor research, where are the opportunities for you to upgrade your product offering in order to rise above your competitors and better differentiate your services so that a new client will always choose to work with you, no matter what your rates? The more standout product and services you have, the higher rate you can charge. Consider every step of your client process, from intake and assessment to technology and follow-up, as well as the list below when brainstorming your possible upgrades:
- Advanced + Consistent Education upgrades that match client needs and expand scope of practice
- Growth in services provided
- (i.e. Partnerships with bodyworkers, nutritionists, healthy meal providers, etc)
- Upgrades to customer experience
- (i.e. Upgrade to app based electronic programs)
3. Slowly increase longtime clients’ rates.
If your market research shows that you are far under charging for your services, I recommend fully raising the rates for any new clients, while slowly increasing your current client rates every 1-2 years. Be sure to let your current clients know what your current rate is for new clients and that as a ‘Thank You’ for their continued trust in your services, that you are giving them a discount and only raising their rates by a certain percentage. How much is a normal annual raise? This differs by industry, but somewhere between 5-10% annually is a good ballpark to follow.
4. Write a heartfelt rate increase letter.
The majority of our clients continue coming back to us because they have formed a connection with us, so make sure your rate increase announcement letter connects with them. Keep the letter concise and clear, while writing the announcement from the heart. Consider the following points for your increase letter:
- Explain your VISION for future education and business development so that they know what to look forward to during their continued work with you
- Include a sincere thank you for their continued trust and support in your business
- Remind them of the Mission, Philosophy and Values behind your practice
- Include a clear message about the details of the increase.
- Something like this – ‘As of a specific date, I will be increasing my new rates to $$. This increase will assist in covering the cost of my increases in rental fees, increased cost of living expenses, and the increased value my continuing education will bring to each of our sessions.’
5. Provide adequate advanced notice.
Be sure and give your clients ample advanced notice for any and all rate increases. I recommend a minimum of 2 months.
One last thought, keep in mind that MOST of your clients receive annual increases from their work, so they should be fully aware of the common practice of annually rewarding employees that are performing at ‘above and beyond’ levels in their work. Do your research and provide ‘above and beyond’ service in every way and you can be fully confident in your pricing and rate increases.