Some call them inspectors, auditors, mystery guests or shoppers...
Here at The Fit Guide, we call them “Experience Evaluators” (EEs) and their job is to anonymously visit the world’s leading fitness clubs and studios and evaluate the complete client journey.
If you’re a fitness enthusiast who loves to travel, then getting paid to do so for The Fit Guide might seem like a dream job. But do you actually have what it takes? There’s much more to being an Experience Evaluator than most people realize.
In this article we give you the inside scoop on what it takes to join our evaluation team and what the job is really like. And if you still think you’ve got what it takes once you’ve read it, then we’d love to hear from you.
Applying For The Role
We get lots of applications from people who love the idea of getting paid to workout in their spare time. But once they learn how intensive the training is and how demanding the job itself is, many realize it’s not for them.
Others have the impression that it’s going to be great fun visiting lots of gyms and studios and getting your workouts in. Whilst enjoying a session is a bonus, our evaluators are there to do a job.
Those who are still interested complete an application form which gives us an indication of how suitable they are for the role and whether they have the necessary experience and skills.
Background And Experience
A keen interest in fitness is a must, and being familiar with premium fitness clubs and group class concepts is an advantage. It is not a requirement to have worked in the industry, however.
In fact, we find that because fitness club coaches, managers and owners often have strong opinions on how things should be done, and have favorite brands/concepts, some find it difficult to be completely impartial. We expect our EEs to assess the experience as an average, albeit highly attentive and exacting, client.
It’s a job like no other, so no specific experience is necessary, however, several of our current EEs are former hotel and restaurant evaluators, and this certainly gave them a head start.
We welcome applications from people of all ages and backgrounds.
What Skills Are Needed To Be An Evaluator?
EEs must be able to evaluate objectively and unemotionally. While we don't expect them to be robotic about it, their job is to factually report what is experienced based on The Fit Guide’s standards rather than give subjective opinions or advice.
EEs must have excellent attention to detail, a good memory and exceptional communication skills, both verbal and written.
We find that those with some acting experience often do well as it helps them to naturally blend in and stay incognito during evaluations. Other important skills include good time management and the ability to work independently and under pressure.
The training process is intensive and takes place over several weeks.
Trainees first have to complete a comprehensive online video training course, learning our 250 standards over five categories (Reception Services, Class Experience, Equipment & Studio, Public Areas, Digital & Technology) and developing an understanding of exactly how each should be assessed in a multitude of different scenarios and contexts.
There is also a lot to learn about the evaluation process itself, such as how to book the class, when to arrive, how to take detailed notes and photos, questions to ask, strategies for staying incognito and the TFG writing style.
Trainees are tested after completing each section of the training, and only when they’ve passed can they move on to the next.
The second part of the training comprises several onsite training evaluations with one of our senior trainers. After each evaluation, trainees receive comprehensive feedback on both their conduct and report. Only when the required level of quality has been met do they graduate and get the green light to conduct their first real evaluation as an EE.
The Evaluation Process
Depending on their experience and other commitments, EEs typically conduct between three and 10 evaluations a week.
Prior to each visit they must research the club, conduct a pre-evaluation phone enquiry and conduct a review the club’s online reservation process and digital offerings. They should arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the class to assess the onboarding process and facilities.
The class experience is the most intensive and challenging part of the evaluation as it has the most standards and makes up 50% of the overall score.
After the class, the EE will assess how well the coach and reception staff follow up with them and encourage them to continue training at the club.
The report takes approximately two hours to complete and to ensure that it was written while everything is still fresh, it must be submitted, along with all supporting material, within four hours of departure.
Quality Control And Consistency
All reports are fully edited and checked for quality. If anything is unclear, the EE must provide clarification, and if any doubts remain, an additional due diligence evaluation may be necessary.
Periodically, managers accompany EEs on evaluations to ensure that the highest levels of quality are being maintained.
EE’s performance is measured by how clear, detailed and accurate their reports are, and how professionally they conduct themselves.
How Are Evaluators Compensated?
Our independent contractors receive a per-report consultancy fee. The cost of their class and anything purchased at the club is also reimbursed. In addition, when they have to travel to another city to conduct evaluations, their travel and accommodation is covered.
We think that it’s important to compensate our EEs well because it’s a serious, skilled job. When people tell us they’d be happy to do the job for free, that is often a red flag. While many EEs do enjoy their visits and workouts, their primary responsibility is to accurately and professionally report on their experience, not to have fun.
Do you think you have what it takes to be an Experience Evaluator for The Fit Guide?
Send us an email to email@example.com and tell us where you're based, and why you think you’d be a good fit.