Navigating Benefits

3 Tips for Securing Employee Discounts on Gym Memberships


  • Create a list of possible gyms or fitness centers you can partner with for fringe benefits, such as employee discounts

  • Survey your employees to find out what they want from the place they exercise

  • You may or may not be able to negotiate the terms of a partnership with a fitness center, but it's worth trying

Posted by December 17, 2017

You’re working hard to create and deliver an employee wellness program that keeps your employees healthy and gives them a better work-life balance. Your employees seem to appreciate the effort, too.

The next step is finding local fitness centers to partner with, so you can offer employee discounts on membership costs. But where do you even begin?

Finding a local gym and negotiating the terms of your partnership may feel overwhelming at the start, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are three tips to help you go from simply considering a fitness discount for your staff to actually offering one.

1. Locate Your Options

Life was easy when you could flip to one page of the phone book and determine how many gyms were in your area. That isn’t to say you can’t do a quick online search to find a number of nearby fitness centers, but taking some time to create a detailed list will help you in the long run. The more options you have, the better chance you’ll find a fitness center to partner with that matches all (or most) of your employees’ wishes.

Once your list is ready, call or email each place to find out if they currently offer wellness partnerships with businesses, and if so, how their programs are currently designed. If they don’t have a partnership plan in place, ask if they would be willing to test it out with your company. Being the first may lead to extra perks or unparalleled pricing.

2. Survey Your Staff

Now that you’ve compiled a list of facilities where your staff can get employee discounts, it’s time to find out what your staff really wants from a potential fitness center. Employee discounts are great, but if no one is using them because the facility doesn’t offer group classes or their open hours are inconvenient, then what’s the point?

By knowing what your staff wants, you’ll be able to narrow down the list of locations to a small number of potentially strong candidates. Do employees want a gym that offers more wellness options, like access to a nutritionist or holistic practitioners? They may want to work with a personal trainer or have online access to prerecorded workouts they can do from home. What type of exercise machines do they prefer? Have employees finish the survey and rank their wishlist by importance so you can find a facility that meets their needs and maybe their wants, too.

This list of must-haves and nice-to-haves is also vital in helping you maneuver through the next step: negotiating what the employee discounts will include.

3. Negotiate With Potential Fitness Centers

It’s important to remember you may or may not be able to negotiate the terms of your partnership. Some companies—especially larger corporations—have already designed programs for employers and won’t budge on any requested changes. However, others will consider negotiating the price or perks. This is where you can get creative.

Does the fitness center offer a great deal for employee discounts on membership fees, but charge for classes or private instructors? If you ask, they may throw in one free class or training session. Or, they may offer a discount on those services for employees who are part of the program.

But you’ll never know until you ask.

So ask! Your employees will have a new place to get healthy, and you’ll have a new fringe benefit to add to your list of employee wellness perks.

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