Many gyms, particularly smaller gyms, collect cash from clients over the counter for individual sessions, or they may manually take credit card payments when they first get started.
Other gyms offer memberships that can be paid for upfront. The trouble with this approach is that the memberships typically need to be resold or renewed over and over, increasing the risk of attrition if your clients decide to take their business elsewhere.
If you have ever been to a larger commercial gym you’ll typically see that they offer memberships which are paid for on an automated weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis through recurring payments via a direct debit or ACH provider.
By automating the way your customers pay for their memberships, you will be able to keep gym members longer and improve cash flow. Here’s how automated payments can make your customers super happy and actually make your life better and your business stronger:
What’s in it for them (Customers)?
- More Affordable Memberships – Automating your payments enables you to cut costs in the long run so that you are able to offer more affordable memberships to your potential customers. Offering a variety of membership levels or rates as provides options to a number of different audiences who might otherwise not be able to afford to join your gym!
- Added Convenience – The convenience of payment automation is fairly self-explanatory, but we can certainly see how customers will be far happier not having to remember to bring cash to the gym on a regular basis.It also prevents the hassle of customers needing to hand over their credit card details over and over when all they want to do is get in, have a great workout, and then go home.
- Money is Taken Out of the Conversation – The less you can talk about money and the more you can focus on providing your customers with a more focused service the better. Automating your membership payments enables you to do just that.No one wants to have the same old conversations about membership fees every time they want to work out. Letting the payments run in the background will also help your customers to concentrate on getting the results they desire so that the reputation of your gym can grow and improve.
But What’s In it for Me?
There are even more benefits to you as the business owner than for your customers, as we will see below:
- Sell Once for Recurring Income – Selling a membership plan based on a direct debit payment means that you won’t have to concern yourself with trying to resell the service on too frequent a basis. For those of you who did not get into the business to spend all of your time in sales, this is a big win!
- Increased Membership Figures – One of the reasons mainstream commercial gyms have so many members is because of how easy and convenient they make things for their customers.Offering smaller monthly or weekly payments instead of larger quarterly or bi-annual lump sums will appear far less daunting and far more affordable to prospective clients. Attracting new individuals is an important element for growing your business.
- Business Forecasting – Having the knowledge of your income for any given period, whether short-term or long-term, will give you far greater flexibility and allow you to plan your spending more effectively. Having members on recurring payments (particularly if there is a minimum contract period) means that you can forecast your next 6 – 12 months more accurately. This is great, we all to know there is money coming in. But the real benefit here is being able to plan for growth, whether it’s expanding your premises, new equipment, more staff etc.
- Your Business is Worth More – Simply put, your gym is worth a whole lot more if you have scores of contractual customers as opposed to uncommitted clients who may come for a week or two and then never pay a dime again. As well as improving your business forecasting abilities, automated payments will provide your business with a greater overall net worth.
- Automate, Don’t Administrate! – Payment automation is far, far simpler and less time consuming than having to take small payments manually on a regular basis. It’s even better if you can integrate your payments with your fitness software. For example, Clubworx will allow you to manage all of your payments through an integration with a third party payment provider to allow you to manage your gym simply through a single fitness business software.The amount of time and money saved on administrative tasks will only increase over time as your customer base grows, so start the process early before you become overwhelmed by an ever-increasing amount of paperwork.
Automating your cash flow, encouraging your customers to make slightly longer-term commitments, and staying completely in control of your business expenses will help set up you and your gym for success.
Remain mindful of the bigger picture and remember that business is often about playing the long game, so streamline your cash flow and watch it grow!