The Business Etiquette Behind the Drop-in Fee

Can you benefit from drop-ins?The drop-in fee is despised by some but commonplace for most. Whether you believe in it or not, it is here to stay for most Boxes. However, how you use the drop-in fee may be helpful to your business.

Box owners understand the demographics and socioeconomics of the town that their Box is in and make decisions about the drop-in fee based on that. For most owners, the drop-in fee was randomly created or taken from another Box. The thoughts behind the drop-in fee are not too intricate. This is not an exact science, but there should be some consideration when developing your procedure for drop-ins.

Let us take the perspective of a Box that is in a busy city like New York or Miami. High traffic areas such as these are going to experience a higher volume of drop-ins. This can become a huge hassle but also another revenue stream. It is important to track your drop-ins to determine just how many athletes are entering your Box on a monthly basis. It is a no brainer that the business of the drop-in fee is lucrative in cities.

A business etiquette fee of $20 is a perfect number. Most people understand that this price is commonplace. For a Box that is receiving about five drop-ins a week, you have another $400 in extra revenue per month. The $20 cost makes you look professional and affordable. Most people will not mind going back to your Box based on cost alone. If you offer drop-ins for open gyms, we suggest lowering that price to $10. If you don’t have to coach that athlete then the cost should be lower. Depreciation on equipment does not happen at a fast enough pace where drop-ins from open gym will affect it that much. It is also good business etiquette to lower the cost for visiting Coaches or owners. For most Boxes, the success of your business from the financial side is not affected by drop-ins. However, the professionalism and feel of your Box can make or break a visitor’s trip. When someone is in a pinch or on vacation, it is tough to have to come out of pocket for a drop-in.

For those Boxes that receive drop-ins once every month, there is even less need to charge a drop-in fee for first time visitors. The $200 you will generate throughout the year will go much farther in the lives of the athletes that will be appreciative of your generosity. The feeling of knowing you are helping another athlete that shares the same passion and is a part of the same community as you is heart warming.

Above all, Box owners can understand the need to get a workout in. With that being said, most Boxes can get away with letting the occasional visitor get a free class. It is much more valuable to that person than it is for your financial success. Sometimes we need to understand that visitors are just like us and share the same addiction as we do. The $20 discount you are giving them is just marketing dollars. These athletes will be more likely to share their experience and happiness with others.

CrossFit was built on the backs of those who created communities and environments that based its core values around generosity and giving to others. The almighty dollar sign has blinded some owners of this. Every dollar and cent does matter for some Box owners, but ultimately people come first in this community.

Ben Isabella
In 2009, Ben Isabella received his C.S.C.S from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. As well as being a strength and conditioning specialist, bootcamp instructor, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, he is a physical education teacher at Sayreville High School. Keep up to date with current fitness and nutrition info by following him on Instagram @Ben_Isabella.