Intro to Gym Management Software
1. What is Gym Management Software?
1. Member Management:
The main purpose of member management is to make being a member at your gym easier, which can include a variety of things. Consider your check-in process. It’s easy for long lines to form at the check-in desk, especially during peak hours, which can frustrate members as they feel they are wasting time standing in line. Use fingerprint scanning, key tags, or make searching by name accessible through gym management software to get them past the front desk faster. Giving members access to a member portal to manage their own personal accounts and information online, set up fitness goals, schedule personal training times, and sign up for fitness classes also works towards that same idea of making tasks easy and accessible for members. In addition, it acts as a simple way for members to track their payments and receive alerts if payments are past due, taking away much of the stress and hassle of delinquent payments. Some tools even allow for verification of children for members that bring their kids to the gym as an extra form of security.
2. Employee Management:
This component is meant to make it easier to conduct some basic administrative tasks. It can include anything from scheduling work hours to collecting satisfaction surveys. If you are able to group employees into different departments, it allows for better organization and makes it simple to set security levels for those departments. Managing timesheets, availability, and scheduled events for employees are among some of the other tasks that can be managed with gym software. The more you can keep your employee management tasks under control, the lower amount of stress they will feel, and the happier they will be while working there. And remember, happy employees lead to happy members.
3. Sales Management:
When it comes to owning a gym, having available data on your gym’s members and their behaviors is more valuable than you might think. You can start to track how often each member visits your club or what classes they sign up for, providing more insight to guide your future sales and marketing plans. For example, you might consider emailing members about new classes similar to what they have enrolled in before. Sending regular, relevant emails through gym management software keeps you engaged with members and strengthens your efforts in retention.
In addition to managing the sales of existing members, you can also better the sales process for prospective members by tracking marketing campaigns, monitoring conversion rates, and discovering why a prospect visited your club. Assigning priorities to a salesperson gives direction to the employee on who they need to reach out to next and helps to ensure that the prospect is having consistent communication with someone from your club. And with the member enrollment process available online and on mobile devices, it’s easier to convert prospects to members.
4. Financial Management:
The reporting features you have with gym management software can go a long way in helping you understand how your gym makes money. Using real time data, you can be informed to make better decisions. When you set up unlimited custom reports to run automatically, viewable in Excel, PDF, or CSV file formats, it makes it easy to stay up-to-date on your gym’s performance and to share the status with others. Dashboards are extremely useful to get a view of your reports at a glance with easy-to-read graphs and charts, helping communicate general performance updates with other employees and stakeholders. Reporting should be done on a regular basis, and there are five financial reports critical to measuring success:
- Daily revenue and deposit reconciliation
- Daily billing statement
- Daily delinquency
- Invoice detail
- Month-to-date membership sales
Who Should Use It?
The great thing about gym management software is that it can work for a club of any size! Nearly all gyms conduct the same routine, operational tasks, such as payment processing, member check-in, and employee scheduling. In addition, member retention, financial reporting, and making future business decisions are challenges all gyms face. Using gym software can help your gym solve these challenges and conduct business more efficiently.
Why Use It?
Increase in Industry Competition
Fitness center managers have a very unique need for member management and payment processing in order to stay competitive in the industry. Over the past five years, the fitness club industry has experienced about a 3% growth rate annually, meaning the number of your competitors is growing and you need to ensure your gym is running as efficiently as it can, in order to stay ahead of competition.
Need for Member Retention
Much of the revenue within the industry is derived from membership fees, and data shows it is 5-25 times more costly for a club to acquire a new member than to retain a current member. This exemplifies the importance of member retention in order to sustain and grow a profitable club.
Desire for Personalization
Building trust is essential to growing your customer base, and comes from truly understanding your customers and building a relationship with them. Modern customer communication requires personalization and great service, both in marketing techniques your gym uses to gain and retain members and in one-on-one time spent with members at the gym. Using the customer reporting data available to you through gym management software to gain insight into their behaviors, and get to know their likes, dislikes, and goals through personal conversations; will help you better target different products and services towards your members and will go a long way in building trust.
How Gym Management Software Helps
Streamlining your daily processes with gym management software is a more efficient way to run your business. It tracks your finances in real time and incorporates payment processing to ensure member fees are collected when they are due. With all of the visibility in analytics this software can give you, you are easily able to see what works and what does not and use acquired data to guide your future business decisions.
2. Pros and Cons of Gym Management Software
Gym management software, like any company update, comes with its pros and cons. As the manager of your fitness center, you will need to weigh these options before deciding to invest. To get it out of the way, we will start with the cons. Don’t worry, there is not too many of them.
Good software that does everything you need could be expensive. Even though it accomplishes so many tasks and helps save money in other areas, the upfront costs might seem a bit startling. Budgeting for this technology will relieve some financial stress as you wait for the return on investment.
You might encounter some fees that typically be combined into one annual payment or broken down into monthly installments. Whichever sort of payment plan you choose, always remember to stay aware of when your subscription ends. You do not want your entire gym management software to expire in the middle of the week when you were not expecting it.
Not all people like change, so convincing your staff to refocus their skills to another aspect of your gym can be tough, even if it does have long lasting benefits for your gym. For example, if you reduce the amount of administrative work employees have to do by implementing gym management software—such as billing, scheduling meetings, or file management—they can focus on driving more membership sales. Before you might have needed three people to manage checking members in, but now, from implementing gym management software, you may only need one. Who amongst those three could be potential personal trainers or employee supervisors?
The main concern that comes along with this change is how to best train employees for using this new technological tool and for their new position. Truth is, there are an infinite number of methods, and some companies even have teams and support dedicated to helping your gym get onboarded with using the new software. The main point to keep in mind is these changes are an investment. It will take time to get everyone up to speed, so be supportive of your employees as they begin to transition, and know your focus is on long-term profitability and growth rather than short-term performance.
Every gym owner wants to assure members will pay on time without having to chase them down via phone calls or in person. Automated email reminders sent to members before every due date help prevent delinquent payments from occurring. Access to reporting data allows you to see gym payment activity, account reconciliation, and daily delinquencies that occur, so you know where problems are taking place and can address them head on.
Grow Membership Sales
Gym management software can help you grow your membership sales in a few different ways. Briefly mentioned before, it takes away some of the administrative burdens of employees, giving them more time to focus on driving new member sales and upgrading existing memberships. In addition, having a digital application available online or on mobile/tablet devices makes membership status more accessible to potential members, allowing you to sign up new members anytime, anywhere. Finally, with email marketing services, you can send recurring emails to continuously engage with prospects and entice them to commit to the membership.
Increase Member Retention
Holding on to your current members is critical to sustaining your revenue and keeping costs low. A great deal of retention comes from having a true understanding of your members. Gym management software allows you to track your members’ behaviors to understand their likes and dislikes. This insight guides the way you communicate and engage with them in the future, making it more personable and memorable. If they know you care about what they like, what they dislike, their goals, and so on, they start to develop a trust with you they cannot find anywhere else.
Better Decision Making
Reports on member traffic and peak workout times give valuable insight on how to best optimize your equipment and the experience of members. Detailed member profile reports shed light on understanding what type of member you attract and why. This information can be used for marketing and advertising campaigns, growing your gym in ways you never thought possible.
Spending reports are important for those on a tight budget, while reports on the types of classes your members take can drive marketing campaigns and grow your business without wasting time experimenting on new workout fads.
3. Overcoming Challenges
As with running any business, there are always challenges owners and managers face, but here’s how gym management software can help you overcome these challenges:
Efficiency is consistently a challenge, especially because time means money. Extensive manual labor, loads of paperwork, and manual billing and check-in processes are no longer efficient ways to run a gym. Instead, automating these processes gives gyms the easy, fast, streamlined method they need to organize their business and keep things running smoothly.
Keeping employees happy is made easier with the employee management features available in gym management software. Creating work schedules that please everyone and making sure all employees are developing a consistent and positive member experience is difficult to do. Having a platform to better manage departments and employees, their schedules, and their tasks helps to ensure employee satisfaction.
Each member at your gym wants a slightly different experience because they each have unique needs, making it difficult for you to satisfy everyone. And of course, satisfaction is linked to retention, so it is imperative you are focused on increasing satisfaction. One great way to do this is by sending out surveys to members from your gym management software. Some questions you may want to ask are: how satisfied are you with the staff, equipment, hours, classes, and cleanliness of the gym? What classes or equipment would you like to have? What recommendations can you give to the gym and staff members to improve your member experience? This not only helps you determine the level of satisfaction they currently have, but also provides direction as to what changes you need to make to improve their experience.
This challenge is also linked to member retention, as most revenue for gyms comes directly from member dues. Keeping the members you currently have will help to bring in a consistent revenue. Giving members the ability to manage their accounts, their payment plans, the classes they sign up for, and their membership status can help with retention. For example, if a member is not satisfied with the current membership they have, they can easily switch to a different plan through their account rather than canceling the membership. However, it’s also necessary to note the importance of understanding your financial reports. Organizing finances so you can gain insight into what’s working, what’s not working, and where to make improvements can go a long way in bringing consistent revenue to your business as well.
4. How Payment Processing Software Works
When it comes to collecting member dues, you need to have a systematic, organized way of ensuring you receive payments on time. The importance of this cannot be overstated to maintain a consistent revenue stream.
Processing payments manually is an inefficient cost you cannot afford, especially in today’s competitive landscape. As your gym continues to grow, it will become even more difficult to keep track of payments, making it a hassle for your members to turn in a payment every month. Manual entry also is prone to human error; members could be overbilled or miss a payment, leading to imbalanced accounts. Payment processing goes hand-in-hand with gym management software and provides a simple solution to eliminate human error and save your business time and money.
Security is always a major concern when it comes to online payment processing. Therefore, to provide peace-of-mind to your members, utilize a Level 1 PCI compliant payment processing system, to ensure it is built to handle a very large number of credit card transactions annually in a secure environment.
Want to learn more about security in payment processing software? Check out our whitepaper on end-to-end encryption!
Automating billing processes and electronic fund transfer services frees up your time and resources so you can focus on improving your relationships with your club members. Give your members the option to customize their automated payments to help them feel more comfortable. Let them choose to set up payments to be made weekly or bi-weekly, especially for the members that tend to be delinquent on their monthly payments.
5. Ways to Implement Gym Management Software
Implementing Your Chosen Gym Management Platform
Making the decision to implement gym management software is only the very beginning of the journey to a more operationally-efficient and member-friendly environment for managing a fitness center. In fact, the implementation of a gym management tool will ultimately dictate the success of the software and the return owners and managers get from their investment. The most feature-robust platform will become ineffective without proper implementation, so the implementation process and team should factor significantly into the ultimate purchase decision.
What Does It Involve?
Whether you are a brand new gym owner opening your first club, or a seasoned vet expanding to your tenth location, gym software implementations can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. Despite these challenges, it is necessary the software is successfully implemented to fully experience the benefits and drive the return owners and managers desire. The following are foundational components of an implementation:
Conversions are less of a concern for brand new clubs; however, if you are an existing or expanding club then data conversion should be at the top of your mind when it comes to the implementation plan. The data conversion process ensures any existing member, financial, and operations data you use to run your club(s) is converted to your new gym management tool. Whether you currently use spreadsheets, paper and pen, or a software platform, converting existing data into your new platform will ensure your member experience is not damaged during your transition to a new tool and you fully leverage the features of your new software.
Although your gym management software can, and should, cover many of the core operational functions of your club, there are likely existing systems you will need to integrate with your new software. Be sure your new tool has integration capabilities during the selection phase, and make certain those integrations are functional during the integration phase as well. Potential integrations you need to be aware of include:
- Employee management, payroll, and benefits systems
- Member feedback and survey tools
- Data and business intelligence platforms
- Member marketing and communication tools
- Collections solutions
Before an implementation can be checked off as complete, the club employees using the new gym management software must be trained on how to use it. Having a clear training curriculum and even an “internal certification” program can helps ensure employees are well equipped with the new tool before using the platform in a live setting.
Who Should Be Involved?
Software implementations will vary from club to club, but working with an expert team familiar with the software and has conducted complex integrations before will increase the odds of success. Some software providers have a dedicated implementation team, others may recommend implementation consultants, and some may even say their tools do not require an implementation team because they are so easy to use (please don’t listen to them).
Since implementation is vital to the success of your new management software, we recommend the following team structure:
- Upper-Level Management
- Your new gym management tool needs to have the support and buy-in from upper-level management.
- This should be a person, or a small team of people, from an operations capacity that has a voice for the employees and is a daily user of the new system.
- Having a technical contact on the implementation team will help with conversions and integrations and will make sure the technical components are covered.
- As mentioned, different providers offer different levels of implementation support. For example, ABC Fitness Solutions staffs hundreds of conversion and training specialists and offers customers a dedicated implementation team.
When To Expect a Return?
A new gym management platform is an investment, and as with any investment, you will want to know you can generate a positive return in a desirable timeframe. As mentioned before, implementing a new platform is a significant, complex, and often costly endeavor; however, that does not mean you need to wait months or years to start to see a return. In fact, the new gym management tool should start to drive a return on investment almost immediately as the cost savings from task automation and improved operational efficiency can be significant. These efficiencies will allow your employees to focus more on member engagement, leading to improved member satisfaction and, ultimately, more new members.