Following yesterdays post, introducing the three major gyms in Singapore in detail, todays topic was a logical follow up for me, to show you what dangers and traps you might encounter when deciding to sign up for a gym in Singapore.
One might expect this to be a no-brainer process, with a monthly fee to pay, and thats it. Behold, its not that easy.
Read the following 10 Steps to get the most for your money, and avoid ever getting cheated again when signing up for a new gym in Singapore!
1. Gather Information
Before you even set foot on any gyms doorstep, get all your information.
Read my post about Singapores Gym in general to get the basics. Then speak to friends who are already gym members and ask them about their fees, their package, length of contract etc.
Search for relevant information online and in the main expat forums, there will definitely be threads discussing quality, experience, equipment and fees already.
Just make sure, you know exactly what you want before even signing up for a Trial session. This will avoid any (later to regret) decisions made under the pressure of the gym staff standing around you handing you paper after paper to sign … and later of course to pay.
2. Make A Decision List
There are many points to consider when signing up for a gym membership in Singapore, and it is not “just” a monthly fee that you will have to pay. Think about the following points and again, decide before you go, which are your priorities.
- Length (6 month, 1 year, 2 years – The longer you sign up for, the cheaper your overall fee will be, but the longer you will be bound, and the more likely have to pay a cancellation fee when leaving Singapore)
- Locations (Is one location, near your home or workplace, enough, or do you really need the full package, with access to every club on the island?)
- Payment (Its either monthly or you pay the accumulated fees in advance (which again will give you a cheaper price, but although the danger of losing your “prepaid” money)
- Personal Trainer (I will get back to this point later, but consider this one as the most important, do you really need one? Don’t sign anything you don’t want or need)
3. Get A Tour Through The Gyms
What I did before even going for a trial session (which I would recommend to do only at the gym you already decided to sign up for, since they usually come with long advertising and sales conversations) is to just go to the gyms nearest outlet and ask to get shown around the rooms and facilities.
There will always be staff thats happy to do that for a potential customer, and you get a pretty good impression of the gyms quality, without getting involved into any long sales meetings etc.
TIP: Do it during lunch time, then you always can use an important meeting at work, as an excuse to leave early.
4. Before Registration – Check the Promotions
There are always promotions by the gyms in Singapore, either about monthly fee reductions, registration fee wavers, free personal training sessions and so on.
Once you have decided which Gym you want to sign up for, check their promotions in the newspapers and online, and then sign up when you think you get the best deal.
But be warned, even if it says 2-month free membership etc, the extra fees like described in point 8, are never subject to any promotions. So be careful when you can safe 2 month member fee of 80 SD each, but the Joining Fee is 500 SD!
5. Ask If any Friends Are Members Already
If you have friends who already signed up for the gym of your choice, there is a good chance they still have the contact of their “gym agent” they signed up with and can contact him for a good/special price.
Especially if your friend already referred more people via him or signed up for a relatively expensive package, giving him good commission, he might be willing to offer you a special price, you wont officially get.
6. Go With One Of Your Local Friends To The Contract Sign Off
I only made good experiences with bringing a good local friend with me, making sure you wont get cheated.
There is no question that the overall picture of expats in Singapore is that of a rich person, so its common practice to raise the prices by some percent. If you have help in form of a local friend, you can be sure the guys will think twice before trying anything stupid.
After all, your friends can understand what the guys just yelled over to his buddy at the counter.
I was quite surprised when my colleague told me not to forget bargaining your monthly fee. It feels like bargaining for your utility bill… but its worth it.
And it works. Just be consistent and if you don’t like the price they offer you, say you check out the other gyms and come later. You will most likely get what you want.
8. Watch Out For The Extra Costs
There you go, you missed the little letters at the bottom of your contract and now you got a bill over 2000 SD, instead of the expected 80 SD and you don’t know why.
(Read: Latest Newspaper article about Selling Tactics of Singapore Gyms)
Be very very thoughtful about the, probably not yet mentioned, extra fees.
Be sure your agent tells you everything about the applying Cancellation Fees, in case you have to leave Singapore, general Registration and Joining fees, which are usually between 100 and 300 SD, Late Payment fees, and fees that come even more hidden, like fees for the (one might expect) usual body analysis before your first workout etc…
9. The Issue With Personal Trainers
Last but definitely not least, the Personal Trainers.
I recently read a very good article discussing the need of Personal Trainers with the conclusion that they are nothing more then Tinkerbell, the little dog, is for Paris Hilton, a nice to have for the rich, but mainly useless.
The Pros are, that anybody, who really has no general understanding of fitness and combines that with a motivation of a marmot, really needs one. They will provide you with a workout schedule and kick your ass if you don’t get that push up the right way.
The cons are however outnumbering the pros easily.
In general I already get annoyed when I get the feeling that my gym is more a sales house then a workout place, getting approached every 20 minutes by another Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wants to sell me his services. No thx.
They are expensive (with 100 SD per hour as the cheapest rate, more then double I pay for my whole monthly membership), most of them seem to lag motivation, and in todays online age, you can get every training plan for free from the Internet.
10. Your Personal Experience Please!
Considering all the points above, in the end, personal advise is the best source of information you can get. So please let us know of any bad or good experiences or other tips you have, and post it in the comments!! Thanks!!