As in our previous post, 2020 has been a year that has forced numerous fitness clubs to shift to a defensive business strategy or a proactive one that saw them divest into areas which they never previously considered to maintain cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic. From reducing expenses such as staffing and advertising to taking their fitness classes online and selling “online memberships” to accommodate restrictions imposed by governments, the incredible strain of the virus has forced gym businesses around the world to make difficult decisions to maintain profitability.
While big fundamental shifts such as those outlined above may be necessary to get your club operating in the green, there are still a number of smaller tweaks you can be made to the configuration of your gym management software that will also have a positive influence on your club’s bottom line. The purpose of this article is to outline some of these to give your business some additional tools to keep your club’s costs low.
Using and Configuring Gym Software to Save Money.
Consolidating Membership Types
Reducing the number of memberships your club offers can noticeably reduce the administrative work required. Cutting membership types to 3 or 4 variations will not only simplify the processes of signing new members up, reporting, and making business decisions, but it can also be useful for selling to customers. When faced with too many options, such as dozens of membership types to choose from, people easily become overwhelmed which can put people off or confuse them unnecessarily, potentially costing your club conversions.
Reduce the Frequency of Billing
Another aspect of running a gym that is often overlooked is the fees associated with processing transactions, such as billing members for their membership. If you reduce the frequency that your members are billed from weekly to every other week or monthly, you can immediately reduce your transaction costs by 100% or 200% respectively.
Sending Push Notifications Instead of SMS Messages
If you use GymMaster’s SMS functionality to send messages to your member’s mobile devices, you are paying for each text message which is sent. If the message exceeds the single message character limit, you might be getting charged for sending multiple messages, as this is essential because longer messages are being transmitted as two messages.
To get around this, we recommend encouraging your members to download the GymMaster members app. This will allow you to send the same message directly to their mobile device for free by utilizing the app’s push notification functionality.
Choosing the right billing provider
It is important to find the best billing provider for your business and the specific way in which you prefer to have it run. Every billing provider is different, and the way in which they structure their fees can have a significant influence on the amount of money your club is left with at the end of the month. For example, some charge flat-rate transaction fees, while others take a percentage of your turnover, some might take a combination of the two.
Be sure to consider your choice of billing provider carefully, unlike most gym software providers, GymMaster has several integrated billing partners to choose from, giving you extra flexibility to run your club how you see fit.
Making effective use of staff time is another way you can cut human resources costs. Utilizing the gym booking system for scheduling personal trainers and classes which are being run at your club can be a great way to ensure your staff is being maximized to their fullest potential. Setting the availability of a staff member and tracking bookings made for a timeslot not only means your staff knows when to be around for a session, but it also allows you to see what times are most popular for bookings amongst your members and to take this into consideration.
Not only can an effective gym system be utilized to organize staff time more effectively, but it can also track it as well. Having staff clock into the club using their gym access control key tags can be a much more reliable means for tracking hours worked by your team, which means you are able to more effectively pay them for their time and not rely on honesty or their memory when it comes to paying them.
Focus on retention
Lastly, a point that has been revisited numerous times in our previous posts, but a retention focus should always be at the forefront of your mind when running your club–especially when you are looking to reduce your costs. In general, it is considered that acquiring a new customer costs 8x more than it does to retain an existing one.
With this in mind, you can utilize your gym software system to make the most of every opportunity you have to build a stronger relationship with your members and retain them for longer. Make use of automated communications, the gym member app, and other tools you can utilize to increase potential touchpoints between your club and its members, and build brand equity.
Another point to raise is to reduce potential rub points that might cause a member to have a lower level of satisfaction with your business and ultimately to cancel their membership. This includes things like high dishonor fees for missed membership payments or having a popular class forcing members to get up at midnight to ensure they get a booking (for reference, this can be changed in settings > time enrolments open).