How Can You Run a Profitable Gym? Listen Up. 

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  • How Can You Run a Profitable Gym? Listen Up. 

In our latest Gym Owner’s Podcast, “Your Burning Questions Answered,” sales managers Anthony Pasquale and Natalia Schulte cover common questions sent in by gym owners as they struggle to balance customer service and growing a profitable gym. For a full listen, go to our YouTube page at The Gym Owner’s Podcast. Check back often because our sales duo will take on your questions again soon.

Q: What do I do about members who don’t want to leave a card on file? 

This often happens in gyms that start without software in place. And since many members don’t use the gym after the first several visits, the owner loses the extra cash when payments are not on auto debit. In these situations, owners need to give these members choices, so they understand it will be more expensive to not keep a credit card on file. 

Member options could include:

  • Month to month, no card on file. The monthly payment will be higher, due to the extra cost involved with essentially re-registering them every month.
  • Month to month, card on file. The rate drops significantly and the client is still able to pay cash, and cancel without complication.
  • Twelve months paid-in-full. Rate reflects the 12-month term. Card still on file.

Frequently new members are hesitant to put a card on file because they have commitment issues and are afraid it will be difficult to cancel. In these cases, management should reassure the member of how easy it is by showing them the cancellation process on the computer. Just click the cancel button and ask them the reason they are canceling. Then it takes about five seconds. Once you’ve calmed their fears about canceling and they know they can still pay cash before the next billing cycle, you shouldn’t have a problem with getting a card on file. 

Q: I run an hourly gym, but I want to go 24/7 because a new gym just opened up nearby. How do I make that transition?

That’s a great decision, because if you wait too long, you could lose a lot of members to the newer gym. Even clients who don’t go to the gym regularly might use that as an excuse to quit. 

There are a couple of different ways to go about setting up a 24/7 access gym. 

  1. A stand-alone door controller system. It works, but there is much more administrative work on the part of the owner, because the system is not connected to your database. Every time a membership is canceled, you have to remember to go to the door control software and lock out that key. Or, conversely, unlock the key for some reason. All extra work – and extra angry customers when you forget to do something. 
  2. An automated system. This is integrated into your gym’s software and automatically declines the key when the membership is frozen. With Gym Insight software (which uses no third-party companies), you can choose either a barcode system or our Digital Keytags, depending on your budget.

If you have a really limited budget, go with an inexpensive barcode door controller. You can buy barcodes off the internet and pair them with our barcode door controller system for about $500.  So, for $500, you’ve got a gym running 24/7. Either way, whether you go with digital keytags or barcode scanners, by using an automated door control system that is tied to your gym’s software you will find business runs on autopilot. 

Q: Now that I am 24/7, how do I keep people from sharing keys or sneaking into my gym? 

This is a two-part answer. No software can completely run your club for you. First, you have to set up rules and regulations for your club. At sign-up, or through a digital document on the website, have members sign off on the club rules and codes of conduct, as well as the membership contract to help minimize customer service issues. For example, one rule can be “Don’t hold the door open for someone else. Everyone shuts the door behind them.” Although this sounds rude, it forces every person coming in to scan their card or digital keytag, and shortcuts sharing keys.

Additionally, you can involve members in reporting suspected abuse, or implement a fine for sharing keys. Use it to your advantage by telling the guilty member they’ve just earned a $100 credit to signing up their friend for a membership. 

Digital keytags to the rescue!

Second, our digital keytag completely takes care of this problem. Our digital keytag has a rollover QR code system that allows you to program how often you want the QR code to expire. It can expire in 10 minutes or never. The choice is up to you. But with a constantly changing QR code on their telephone-based app, there is little chance of customers taking screen shots and sharing the code with friends. 

Use a Member Usage Report to track down key theft abuse.

This report lets you set a date range to see how many times members have scanned. If it turns out, for example, a customer has scanned 24 times in a week, that’s a red flag. Then you can go into their check-in times (with photos) and compare it to the driver’s license on file. This report alone will cut down on 99 percent of people sharing keys. 

Q: How can I track how much money my club is making each month using software?

This is a really important part of successfully reaching your club goals. If you don’t know where you are in relation to your goal, it’s unlikely you will ever achieve it. It’s a lot like eating an elephant one bite at a time – you have to take it step by step. In our Gym Insight settings are goals you can set for your gym. 

These gym management goals include:

  • Monthly goals — outlines only new account sign-ups. It does not include monthly revenue. 
  • Revenue setting — covers all the money your club has made for the month. 

The setting’s flexibility allows you to tailor the software to your gym’s needs. How much do you need to break even and cover overhead? How much do you want to make on top of that? A side graph illustrates these stats as they tick up or down. 

A good report is worth its weight in time.

To help you gauge all these numbers, Insight includes a location performance report. This report delivers month-over-month comparison on how well your club is doing. 

The Location Performance Report provides information such as:

  • Account start-ups
  • Accounts canceled
  • How long members keep their memberships
  • Whether these numbers are going up or down

Deep dives such as these let you see problems as they are occurring. For example, if the number of average months of your memberships drops from 42 to 12, it’s time to do some research. Did another club open nearby? Is an employee being rude? Are you being canceled on social media? All the cold, hard facts are right there. By knowing the numbers you’re able to right the ship before it sinks.  

Recently, a Gym Insight customer called in and said there must be a glitch in the system. He had just signed 150 new customers during a promotion, but his bottom line had not changed significantly. The location performance report showed he had lost 130 accounts the same month, netting only 20 new customers. Now he knows to focus his efforts on limiting cancellations, rather than on big expensive promotional pushes. 

Generating good information is the basis of our Gym Insight software. For more information on how to improve the performance of your health club, feel free to contact us or leave a comment on our YouTube post. 

Gym Insight

At Gym Insight, our gym membership software provides a clear, transparent picture into your company’s financials, and offers a platform from which to run your business effectively. Our software is built in-house, by fitness club owners. There are no cumbersome third-party plug-ins or complicated protocols, and it’s available for a single, low monthly subscription price — no hidden fees, no links to your payment processor. Call us today at 855-FOR-GYMS for a free demonstration on how we can lower your software management costs and free up time and capital.