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Owners Put Jackrabbit’s Automation and Flexibility to Work

There is a lot going on at Jennings Music and Education Center. The center offers a few group lessons but the bulk of lessons offered are private. The Center also sells products in quite a large store. There is a large room equipped for bands and Band labs are offered for musicians to work on combining their skills.

AUTOMATION AND SIMPLIFICATION KEEP OWNERS ENGAGED | With so much activity, there is little time for time-consuming data entry and complex class and payment management processes. Levering Jackrabbit’s feature-rich system to automate and simplify as much of the business end of the center as possible is what enables owners Elizabeth and Phil Niverson to be engaged with their instructors and students in a meaningful way.

Offering online registration, auto-pay options and account management through the parent portal, gives parents the self-serve convenience that they want and it allows the Niversons to spend more time with people than numbers and processes.

“Jackrabbit helps us manage the business of our business so we can get our eyes off the computer screen and stay engaged with our real business assets–our students and instructors.”

PUSHING SYSTEM FLEXIBILITY TO MEET ATYPICAL NEEDS | Phil has the advantage of using a powerful system like Jackrabbit but he also has another advantage, he’s a full-time IT consultant who spends his evenings at the center. So he can really push the flexibility that Jackrabbit’s system offers to him. He has been able to take the import template that Jackrabbit provides and utilize it to import class details for each new teacher. When it comes times to build the classes for online registration, this tweak has saved him hours of tedious work. In addition, he is able to utilize the flexible transaction search, templates and export features to quickly calculate paid tuition by teacher to make payroll a 15 minute process.

“The varied class structures and multitude of private lessons common for music schools present a challenge for any class management system but Jackrabbit’s flexibility has allowed me to fit its functionality to my business.”

“Jackrabbit is the best system out there for handling transaction activities. And the report templates allow me to get the unique details of our business presented in ways that help us make decisions based on business facts–and then we can save them and never have to remake them to our unique needs again.”

ORGANIZATION DETAILS | 1 location, 160+ students, 20 instructors, Elizabeth and Phil Niverson, Owners

Jackrabbit Helps Organizations Use Technology to Their Advantage

Perception is everything. Well, almost – believes The Music Studio owner, Cecilia Rowe. How her parents perceive the learning experience they provide and the team that helps provide it is absolutely critical.

CONSISTENCY AND AUTOMATION EXUDE PROFESSIONALISM | There is often angst for owners when putting automation in place, fearing that the personal aspect of their business will be lost. Reality is far from that. Cecilia finds that she and her staff can now spend quality time being engaged with students and families because of the ways that technology has taken rote processes out of their hands.

“Human involvement is fantastic but processes sometimes suffer instead of benefit from it. Jackrabbit simplifies the business end of what we do so we can put our energies toward hands-on involvement in our students’ learning experiences.” Cecilia Rowe, The Music Studio

TECHNOLOGY HELPS REDUCE MANAGEMENT AND HEIGHTEN ENGAGEMENT | Jackrabbit’s single database keeps information organized and easy to access. Automation helps the school to be consistent in how and when things happen. For instance, payments are always collected at the same time, notes and skills are up-to-date and details about classes and facilities are regularly communicated.

“Using templates, auto-pay processes, online registration and the parent portal, we’re able to provide consistent, accurate, and specific information. That gives parents an incredible level of trust in us. We also have confidence in the information that we use – whether it’s to inform parents or make critical spending decisions.” Jody Kuhn, The Music Studio

Jackrabbit helps schools stay out of parents’ in managing their account. Unless there is a change, monthly contact about payment just doesn’t have to happen. Auto payments through Jackrabbit let parents set up their payment information and forget it. And staff is removed from the equation – unless there is a change or problem – because everything is managed by parents in the parent portal.

ROBUST TOOLS KEEPS OWNERS FOCUSED ON STRATEGY | Owners are true beneficiaries of the technology. Jackrabbit’s robust reporting features and dashboard view bring owners back to the strategic view that gives them a foundation for good decision making.

“I’m much more comfortable with my knowledge of the health of my business. Decisions can be made with greater confidence because I have accurate data to use in making them. When owners get ‘down in the weeds’ with day-to-day details, looking at the dashboard and reports is an excellent way to revert back to a more strategic 40,000 foot view.” Cecilia Rowe, The Music Studio

ORGANIZATION DETAILS | 1 location, 267 students, 31 instructors, Cecilia Rowe, Owner

 

Getting Paid Requires Setting a Clear Policy

Collecting on overdue accounts can be a frustrating experience, especially in challenging financial times. The first step to avoiding late payments is to set a standard payment policy with clear terms. Make sure your customers are aware of the policy from the onset – before starting the work. Print the policy clearly on all paperwork (estimates and invoices) and be sure to include any fees associated with late payments.

Collecting on overdue accounts can be a frustrating experience for a small business owner, particularly during the start-up period when every dollar of revenue counts toward staying solvent and repaying debts. It’s not the most pleasant part of being an entrepreneur, but not handling overdue accounts expeditiously will almost certainly endanger your business’s cash flow and long-term viability.

 

The following points show you how to establish a sound and rational policy for collecting payments.

Do What You Can to Prevent Late Payments

Establish a standard policy for payment and make your customers aware of them before starting work. Some types of businesses may require all or a portion of the payment up front, while others allow terms such as payment within 30 days after receipt of invoice (i.e., Net 30). Your invoices should also clearly state any surcharges for late payments.

Be Careful with Credit

If you provide goods or services on credit, develop qualification standards that are specific, yet fair (e.g., a good credit history from a credit bureau or good bank references). Put your credit policy in writing and make sure all employees understand it. You should also have the policy posted in your store, or available as a handout.

Take the Right Attitude

Your collections policy will do no good unless you enforce it. Do not shy away from a potential confrontation, but avoid provoking it as well. Set your policies and stick to them.  If you’ve met your obligation and a customer has not, you’re entirely in the right.

Find Out Why

On the other hand, don’t assume the customer is entirely wrong. Contact the delinquent account and ask politely for an explanation. It may well be that the invoice has been lost or is awaiting approval. A customer with cash flow problems may request extra time. How you proceed may be very situational. Based on your experience with the customer, you may feel confident enough to allow extra time or installment payments. Make sure you and the customer clearly understand any compromise. Be flexible, but firm; and don’t hesitate to follow up.

Take Stronger Action

If your collection attempts fail, it may be time to turn to an attorney or collections firm. Terms for these services vary; they may require a fee and/or a percentage of the invoice amount, or a retainer. Again, your course of action will depend on the situation. You may decide the amount of the overdue account does not justify the cost and effort to collect. If so, write it off as a bad debt and move on.

Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice

Most everyone deserves a second chance. Should customers with poor payment histories approach you about working for them or restoring credit, don’t immediately refuse unless you are absolutely certain they remain bad risks. Ask them to explain how their situation has changed and decide whether it makes sense to restore the relationship. As a precaution, insist on stricter terms such as advance payment or cash-only.

Leverage Technology to Ensure Payment

Business management software often has auto-pay features that help businesses get the money that they are due into their back accounts. For example, Jackrabbit’s auto-pay features enable its business owners to set up (via credit card on file or ACH) automatic deposit of funds to your accounts. This alleviates the need for paper billing or emailed invoices and ensures that you have a much higher percentage of your invoices paid by the date that you establish. The only payments that would fail to be fulfilled using this process would be any invalid credit cards or accounts with insufficient funds. Those with experience using such processes are ecstatic with the results they see almost immediately including improved cash flow, elimination of collection processes and elimination of an invoicing process. Most parents either prefer or are happy to accept auto-pay terms from those they do business with because it makes paying their monthly bills easier. In fact, many organizations are setting policies that accept only auto-payment using either credit cards or ACH processes or offer it as an option. Many of those setting an “only” policy are also using auto-payment processes to help them to become paperless.

Read more about auto-payment and how it enables you to automate your tuition collection process

Auto Payment Features Transform Fun & Fit Operations

Customer Highlight: Fun & Fit Gymnastics Centers

www.funandfit.com

Fun & Fit’s owner, Jeff Lulla began his relationship with technology in 1985 when he managed his facility using a program based on Lotus spreadsheets. But – even after several program iterations – the program never became a system that supported all of Jeff’s business needs. There was also a confidence issue. Jeff’s existing program suffered downtime and was unreliable and to top those two issues, support was just not reachable in timeframes that would actually help when the problems were happening.

“Jackrabbit has renewed our confidence in our operations. We don’t worry about downtime or outages because they just don’t happen with Jackrabbit. We are more professional and better equipped to answer questions for customers,” comments Jeff Lulla.

After sharing his challenges with some of the industry’s most experienced activity facility owners who are Jackrabbit users and Jackrabbit’s team at USAG Congress, Jeff decided to implement the system for managing his two facility business.

Jeff was eyeing Jackrabbit’s automated payment features because he wanted, more than anything, to automate these processes. They consumed vast blocks of time that his staff could be using to nurture customers.

Implementing Jackrabbit gave Jeff’s staff freedom from manual processes of credit card entry. Today Fun & Fit’s entire billing and collection processes – which previously took two entire work days per month – is completed instantaneously.

Fun & Fit loves Jackrabbit because its:

  • Auto-pay features simplify and streamline
  • Web-based platform makes this an anywhere, anytime system
  • Reporting keeps owners informed
  • Company leadership is trustworthy

Read the Fun & Fit Gymnastics Centers case study.