How should I charge customers? Top 5 Sports Business Pricing Models

When it comes to operating a sports facility or training academy, one of the most important things to consider is finding the right sports business pricing model. The right pricing strategy can impact client acquisition and retention. As the youth sports industry continues to evolve, so do sports pricing models.

With so many pricing options available, how do you know what is the best pricing model for your business? Here, we’ll take a look at a few of the most popular pricing models in the youth sports training industry.

5 Pricing Models for Sports Training

Pay as you Go

Clients purchase one-off lessons, camps, sessions, etc., as needed

With the “pay as you go” pricing model, your athletes only pay for what they use. This model provides customers with the freedom to pay for individual training sessions, lessons, or other programs as needed. This offers an appealing level of flexibility for clients, as they can choose and pay for lessons or sessions on a per-need basis. Additionally, this is a viable option for beginners or newcomers, as it offers a low-commitment entry point to gain exposure to sports training, and promotes exploration and diversity of training.

This pricing model, however, is generally not advisable as a stand-alone plan, as it results in inconsistent streams of revenue for the business. The unpredictability of cash flow may pose challenges in managing your facility’s operations or planning for the future. Additionally, as it relates to building a community of athletes and families, the pay as you go pricing model may hinder customer engagement and loyalty, in part due to the lack of a long-term commitment.

So, the pay as you go model is a popular and convenient option for sports facility owners, particularly when coupled with additional streams of revenue to increase stability and client loyalty.

Bundled Pricing

Buy a package of sessions at a slight discount

Another popular pricing model in the sports facility and sports academy industry is the bundled pricing model. This approach allows clients to purchase a package or “bundle” of training sessions or lessons, often at a slightly discounted rate. The bundled pricing strategy often leads to increased client loyalty and retention, as clients are incentivized to commit to multiple sessions upfront. And, from the facility’s perspective, bundled pricing leads to a more steady income stream, thus allowing your facility to plan its operations more effectively, and allocate resources more efficiently.

Not only does this provide more stability for your business in terms of revenue or client retention, but it also helps your athletes see more improvement in their sport. Clients who purchase a package of lessons up front are more likely to commit to regular training, which makes it easier to build on the progress they’ve made from past sessions. The more an athlete can track their progress and see results, the more motivated and committed they may become to improving their craft.

Let’s say you offer private lessons for $60/ hour. With a bundled pricing strategy, you may choose to offer a 4 pack of lessons for $200. When broken down, each lesson breaks down to $50. While the cost per session sees a slight decrease, you’ll see higher average purchases, and more predictable cash flow.

The bundled pricing plan provides an attractive option for customers who are committed to regular training; however, it does reduce flexibility, which could pose a risk of underutilization of your services. So, it’s important that you evaluate your business’s customer base and purchasing habits in order to effectively implement this pricing model.

Related: How should I price my sports lessons?

Membership pricing model

Clients pay a monthly recurring fee for access to perks and benefits

Memberships are another popular sports business pricing model, and for good reason. This approach focuses on building customer loyalty and long-term commitment, as clients are enrolled in an auto-renewing program in exchange for benefits and other perks.

One of the biggest benefits of a membership pricing model is the creation of a recurring revenue stream. Customers who enroll in a membership program are agreeing to make regular payments to your business, providing you with stable and predictable income. This stability allows you to plan for the future, invest in resources, and provide consistent services. Additionally, memberships promote a sense of brand loyalty and community, as customers “regularly” come to train, or take advantage of the benefits you are offering.

Membership benefits can, and should, vary depending on the offerings of your business, but often include a set number of session credits to be used towards specific offerings, or discounts on retail items of certain events (like camps and clinics). Another best practice when building your memberships is to take a look at your clients’ buying habits. For example, if your athletes tend to come in once per week for private lessons, create a membership that offers 4 session credits to be used towards private training.

While memberships have a number of substantial benefits, they may not be the best fit for every business. It’s important to consider how you will fully engage your clients and encourage them to maximize the use of your offerings. Additionally, some clients, especially those first exploring youth sports, may be deterred by the commitment and investment in a membership. So, you may want to couple this pricing model with some of the other pricing models we’re discussing in this post.

Dynamic Pricing Model

Pricing adjusts based on specific factors

A more complex pricing model in the sports facility and training industry is the dynamic pricing model. Dynamic pricing involves adjusting the price of services based on factors such as demand, the time of day, instructor, or other variables. The goal of dynamic pricing is to optimize revenue. For example, you may choose to charge more during peak hours or for high-demand services, and less for off-peak times. Similarly, as we’ll discuss below, some of your more tenured staff may have higher rates than your newer staff and instructors.

Dynamic pricing provides customers with flexibility to choose the pricing or timing that best meets their needs. But, this pricing model can be complex and confusing. When not properly executed, this pricing model can lead to customer dissatisfaction or the perception of price discrimination. So, if considering this plan, it’s important to effectively communicate with clients to ensure client satisfaction.

Instructor-Based Pricing

Pricing varies based on the instructor

Instructor-based pricing is another popular sports business pricing strategy in the youth sports industry. This pricing model involves charging different prices for lessons or sessions based on the instructor’s experience, expertise, or reputation. This approach allows customers to choose instructors according to their preferences and budget, and also acknowledges the varying skill levels and expertise of your hard-working staff.

With an instructor-based pricing model, you can open the door to allow customers to make informed choices when choosing which staff member to train with. It may also create an opportunity for premium services – for example, an instructor with a higher rate can offer more specialized or advanced training. Alternatively, a newer instructor who is looking to build a client base or gain more experience may offer training at a lower rate to attract more clients to book with that individual.

Similar to the dynamic pricing model, this pricing model can often become administratively complex. It’s crucial that you have the right technology, sports scheduling software, and other tools to effectively implement this pricing strategy. Additionally, you must consider price sensitivity in order to maintain customer satisfaction. While this is a great way to increase autonomy amongst your instructors, and encourage them to charge what they are worth, it’s important to consider the simplicity of an even-playing field.

So, which pricing strategy should I implement?

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to price your sports business offerings. Ultimately, the right pricing strategy is the one that meets your clients’ needs, and supports your business offerings and goals. You may also find that the best solution for your business is to offer a combination of the pricing strategies we’ve discussed.

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