Some clubs will list dozens of features that they offer to make them seem like the best choice. But just because the club's ads or literature says it's fully loaded with the best equipment doesn't mean all those things actually exist. Do yourself a favor and make sure to get a list of everything the club claims it has to offer, then demand to check out each area personally.
During your tour, ask yourself these three important questions:
1. Do I really need this area?
Just because you have no interest in using their fancy Olympic-size pool or free childcare service doesn't mean you're not indirectly paying for them in the total cost of your yearly membership fee. If more than half of the services they offer aren't really what you need, there may be a different club that offers more of what youneedandlessofwhatyoudon't...atamuch cheaper membership price.
2. Is this area really as impressive as their literature or salesperson claims?
You're told they have a juice bar and a special area for stretching. But all you see is a vending machine and some mats thrown down in the darkest corner of the gym. The point: If they aren't being honest about things you can easily recognize, keep in mind that some of the features you may not see or quite understand (such as their claim that they have state-of- the-art equipment and hundreds of exercise classes) may also be exaggerations of the truth.
3. Will I be charged separately to use this area or is this service free?
Some gyms show you everything they provide, but forget to tell you that many of the services may be à la carte or part of a more expensive "gold," "platinum," "enhanced," or "upgraded" membership plan. If you see any class, service, etc., that you're interested in, ask if it's included in the membership, and if not, find out what it will cost. Then, estimate how many times you'll need to pay extra for that in a given year. Finally, remember to add that price to the total membership cost before comparing the fees with other local clubs.
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