If you own or manage a gym or fitness centre, you can easily find that your finances are not quite as healthy as your members.
The exponential growth of such facilities in Australia has left competition high and many gyms struggling to get ahead of their rivals.
There are more than 2,800 businesses that fall into this category, thanks to an annual growth of 3.3 percent between 2010 and 2015, IBISWorld has found.
In an industry that is worth in excess of $1 billion, there is clearly substantial room to make a fitness centre a success, and financial gains for doing so. However, with more people wanting to sign up and use gym facilities than perhaps any other decade in history, a gym manager will need to take the right approach.
So, if you find yourself struggling to increase your membership figures and find the real value each individual can bring to your business, here are three solutions to give it a sustainable boost of cash.
1) Utilising eCommerce
More people are online than ever before, and a gym that does not use the power of the World Wide Web will be missing out on a huge source of publicity and revenue.
Not having a company website is like trying to run a gym without cardio machines. Sure, you'll be able to offer your members 'something' but the best business – the one that will win customers' precious membership dollars – will need to offer them 'everything'.
This means that even if you have a website, making it into a rich resource in which time-precious members can use your services will play a significant role in attracting and retaining their value.
For instance, do you allow people the opportunity to buy additional goods online, which they can either have delivered or pick up in store, or book gym classes online? An eCommerce payment solution will make it easy to integrate this into your website with minimal fuss and maximum reward.
2) Software payment integration
The less time spent wrestling between your current payment software and your everyday management programs the better. It means you can focus your efforts on improving your core business, rather than on admin work.
A cloud payments platform can be used to seamlessly improve the functionality of your software. This means you can choose your software and your payments provider and you'll immediately have more resources for managing member payments.
A program that is designed to collect payments in your current software should be easy to set up and use, have the ability to take a variety of payment types and work on a granular level to give you the most control. If yours does not have such a high level of functionality, an upgrade is simple and cost efficient.
3) Direct debit
Direct debit is the recognised way to pay for a gym membership. This allows a customer to focus on their fitness goals, not their weekly, fortnightly, or monthly payments. It also gives businesses a way to attract and manage their customer payments.
If your business does not yet offer direct debit to customers, you may even be putting them off signing up in the first place. Few will want the added hassle of paying a regular fee when a simple subscription can be placed in its stead.
Other benefits of a direct debit platform include lower customer churn, more management and control over individual payments, and a significantly lowered chance of late or even missed fees.The chances are, you already use direct debit as the main source of revenue at your gym; but to ensure you're receiving maximum financial gain, ask yourself: is it designed to save you time and increase funding with as little hassle as possible?