Why Planet Fitness Is So Cheap? (Here’s the Truth…!)

The luxury of working out at a well-equipped gym does not come cheap in the United States of America. On average, regular gym-goers dish out a noticeable $50 every month to work out within their preferred facilities.

In such an expensive industry, the Planet Fitness franchise is almost a godsend. With classic memberships starting as low as $10 per month, PF gyms have given the regular folk a cheap and affordable option to achieve their fitness goals.

More often than not, you would expect a reduction in the quality of services and facilities offered by a gym if they are handing out their memberships at a low price. But that is really not the case with Planet Fitness.

With a well-defined cardio section stacked with machines and equipment like treadmills and ellipticals, the purplish-yellow interior of any PF branch is brimming with class. The strength section is no less, offering a range of machines like cable towers, smith machines, and a variety of weight-based machines.

With so many facilities offered at such a low price, one has to wonder – how come Planet Fitness is so cheap?

Let’s find out.

Why Planet Fitness Is So Cheap?

Why Planet Fitness Is So Cheap
Felix Mizioznikov / Dreamstime.com

Planet Fitness memberships charge as low as $10 on a monthly basis. Their basic rates haven’t increased in the past 30 years or so, even after so much inflation.

So, what’s the secret to their recipe? Because running a successful gym franchise while selling memberships at such a cheap price sounds almost impossible. But that’s what Planet Fitness has been doing all along, and recording enormous profits in the process.

The secret to their success is simple enough – their target market and marketing strategy. See, Planet Fitness, as a brand, is not designed for professional bodybuilders and experienced lifters.

In fact, the franchise discourages what is normally perceived as the “obnoxious gym bro” behavior. That entails loud grunts while lifting heavy weights, dropping the weights on the ground, and other activities that could disrupt the comfort of the gym.

Planet Fitness is primarily meant for beginners. It also targets regular folk who are constantly working and don’t get a lot of time to spare at the gym on a regular basis. So, they provide facilities for such people to come in and exercise whenever they can to stay fit while also not compromising their daily schedules.

The perfect marketing strategy, therefore, allows Planet Fitness to work on a Low Price, High Volume model. While the gym membership costs are low, there are so many people enrolled in a single facility that the franchise earns a lot on an annual basis.

And because they don’t attract professional lifters and regular gym-goers, they don’t have to worry about the space being too cluttered because of the large number of memberships being sold.

To give you a fair idea, in one of the gym facilities affiliated with Planet Fitness, the total number of members reached around 6,000 members. But they never had any space issues because not all the members train at the gym every day.

Planet Fitness is marketed as an affordable alternative for regular people who can’t hit the gym as regularly. So they are okay with dishing out a meagre price of $10 a month to have access to training facilities whenever they want, making the business a huge success.

Is Planet Fitness Always $10 a Month?

When you think of Planet Fitness, the first thing that comes to your mind is its affordable pricing model. You wouldn’t find many gyms offering a membership at just $10 a month. And if you did find them, their condition wouldn’t be so great.

Planet Fitness has been taking care of this problem for years. They have been marketing themselves as a $10/month-gym for the past thirty years. In that time, they haven’t increased their classic membership price once.

But the $10 monthly plan isn’t the only program offered by Planet Fitness. They’ve recently introduced the PF Black Card Membership for a monthly cost of $24.99. Members with a Black Card can avail additional benefits like open access to any PF facility worldwide, use of tanning facilities, access to the HydroMassage chairs, and so on.

You would expect that Black Card holders would contribute to a minority of the Planet Fitness population. But more than 60% of members at PF gyms have the Black Card membership. The average amount spent by a PF member on a monthly basis is around $17.

Despite the growing popularity of the Black Card Membership program, PF is still widely renowned for its classic $10 package. As such, the brand is not going to hike up their classic pricing model anytime soon.

How Does Planet Fitness Stay so Cheap?

Planet Fitness does not lack any proper training facilities. It’s also fully stocked with all kinds of resistance and weight-based machines and equipment. They also have free weights up to 75 pounds to help beginners start their bodybuilding journey.

So, the question arises – how can Planet Fitness still remain so cheap and profitable at the same time?

The answer is simple. They have targeted regular, working professionals who can’t visit the gym as frequently but still want to accomplish their fitness goals. That makes up a huge part of the American population.

As such, Planet Fitness has a high volume of members, recording a whopping 16.5 million members last year. And the number of people opting out and cancelling their membership is low, as people hardly mind spending $10 a month to have unlimited access to training facilities.

So, Planet Fitness can afford to stay that cheap because they have a large number of paying customers. And because they don’t have any high maintenance costs to worry about, their pricing model is almost perfect.

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How Does Planet Fitness Make Money?

Planet Fitness recorded an annual revenue of around $800 million in September 2022. It’s a huge figure for any gym brand. The question is, how do PF gyms make so much money while keeping their membership prices as low as $10?

They do so by following a volume-based model. Planet Fitness targets the non-bodybuilding community by giving them a judgment-free zone to reach their fitness goals. These involve working individuals, people starting out their bodybuilding journey, or anyone else who might be intimidated by the regular gym atmosphere.

As such, millions of people flock every year to purchase gym memberships at Planet Fitness. Not all of them visit these gyms regularly, so PF does not have to spend a lot of money on increasing the capacity of their facilities.

With a healthy customer retention rate that is supposedly over 80%, Planet Fitness invites more members per year than they lose through cancellation. So, their profits is always going up.

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Final Words

For $10 per month, you can have unlimited access to a well-equipped and comfortable training facility, courtesy of Planet Fitness.

The low pricing model would make you think that PF would hardly be making any profits. But that is far from reality. As one of the most successful gym franchises around the world, Planet Fitness has definitely left a mark in the fitness industry. All thanks to their excellent marketing.