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Top 10 Ways to Double Your Gym’s Income

There are no shortcuts on the road to success, but there are proven methods that can increase your likelihood of avoiding potholes & detours and at arriving safely (and with some more money in your pocket). I absolutely LOVE conducting experiments in my Gym-Biz Laboratory. Fortunately, some of my experiments succeed (but most fail pretty miserably).

Here is my Top 10 List:

  1. Auto-Pay with Credit Card with 30 day notice of withdrawal

All students are enrolled in our monthly auto-pay system with a credit card attached to their account. Each month we push the magic button to run tuition. We ask for a 30-day written notice of withdrawal so we have time to fill their spot (or perhaps save them from withdrawing).

  1. 100% Money Back Guarantee

We ended our Free Trial Program 3 years ago and replaced it with a 100% Money Back Guarantee. This has cut down on our administrative workload, increased revenue by charging for EVERY CLASS (instead of giving away a free class) and actually builds goodwill when we have had to make good on our guarantee (thankfully this is a rare occurrence). As an added bonus, it inspires confidence in our staff and customers that we believe in our program enough to bet tuition on our students happiness.

  1. Courageous Pricing (Minimum 3% Annual Price Adjustments)

Pricing our services is both an art and a science. Our pricing reflects not just our costs of operating, but also indicates the value WE feel we are delivering. We strive to be the pricing leader in our industry by demonstrating continued reinvestment, learning and innovation.

  1. Continuous Enrollment

Our sessions never end! We began a year-around schedule and never looked back. A certain times of the year we may need to make minor adjustments and we continue to educate our customers that gymnastics is a year-around sport.

 

  1. Online Registration

Just do it! I have yet to hear anyone say they regret letting customers register 24 hours per day.

  1. No Pay = No Play

This is a tough pill to swallow, at first. We have instituted a zero receivables (no one owes us money) policy 5 years ago. This coincided with our Auto-Pay system. Additionally, we stopped taking checks as well. This reduced our administrative costs and collections. Can you drop your kids at the movies and pay after they enjoy the show?

  1. Open Book Management with Leadership Staff

Sharing the inner financial workings of your business is an educational endeavor that yields enormous returns. This levels the playing field by informing key leaders on how things are going financially, thus equipping our decision makers with vital information they need to be successful.

  1. Performance Compensation for staff based upon overall results

We are a team. We are all in this together. If one side of the boat is sinking, we all need to bail. We have made several attempts to break apart our organization into mini-segments and assign percentages of fixed costs – all of which failed. Our team approach is just right and keeps everyone rowing in the same direction.

  1. Summer “FREEZE”

This is basically a withdrawal form AND a re-enrollment form built into one. We allow members to hold their spot in their class for up to 8 weeks between June-August. The majority of members who freeze their membership do so for 4-6 weeks. We do not charge for the freeze but do begin charging their tuition when their freeze has thawed.

  • Weekly Reporting of KPI’s

We report weekly our Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to our leadership. Measuring our KPI’s weekly provides valuable data our leaders use to manage their programs and evaluate performance. KPI data includes enrollment, instructor hours and class/program efficiency.

  • *(Bonus) Only surround yourself with people that have a quality you admire

We spend a lot of time with our fellow staff members. Let’s make the most of that time by picking the very best people to share our days. This is my quick-test to see if we have the right people on our team!

Staffing Lessons You Can Learn From Others

Some people learn hiring lessons the hard way, but you don’t have to because many people who have made mistakes before you have left great advice on what to avoid when you’re trying to staff your gym/studio/school/center….

Mario Ashley, owner of CrossFit Naples, shares the five major mistakes in staffing made by Big Box owners. He has taken their mistakes and applied them to his own experiences in his gym!

1. HIRING BASED ON A GUT FEELING

Coaches rarely have all the skills they need when they first come to us.

It’s our job to teach them these skills if we want to have a killer staff. What you should really be looking for in a new coach is potential.

Base your decisions about potential coaches on the following:

– Do they show up 4-5 times a week to work out?

– Do they follow the Paleo diet?

– Do they stay after class to work on mobility?

– Have they signed up or plan to sign up for a Level 1 cert?

– Are they friendly and social with the community?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to several of the previous questions, then the prospective coach in question has more potential than another candidate you just “have a good feeling about.”

2. ACCEPTING THE FIRST APPLICANT THAT COMES ALONG

The fact that someone is Level 1 certified doesn’t mean crap.

I know we’ve all seen some of the people who show up to those certs. I remember one participant who showed up at my cert that had never done CrossFit, was horribly out of shape and admitted that the only reason he was at the cert was because he wanted to open up his own CF gym. He had a long way to go in becoming a great coach.

Always hire from within. Those that understand your program and believe in it enough to pay your premium rates are the people that you want to consider as potential coaches.

3. RUSHING CANDIDATES THROUGH THE HIRING PROCESS

Don’t get so excited about your first prospective coach that you hand him or her the entire 40 page Instructor Training Program (ITP) Guide (found in Module #19) and say “read this.”

I made that mistake and scared away two potential coaches, because they got overwhelmed.

Try this instead: create some context for ITP first by hosting a one hour meeting for anyone curious about the program. Use this time to explain to them why this is such a great opportunity and to answer their questions. Then, for those who are truly on board, you can give them the tools to get started.

If a prospective coach balks at the 40 pages of reading, at this point, then you know this is not a great candidate for ITP.

4. PROMOTING AN APPLICANT AS A FAVOR

Business owners should never risk results because they’re focused on protecting someone’s feelings.

You may feel sorry for a potential coach that has been in the ITP program for 6 months and still isn’t ready to be on the floor, but giving them their own class anyway is a mistake.

Your processes need to be based on successful business practices that can be duplicated and replicated. So always be sure that all of your coaches also excel at what you do so well.

Remember, it’s the consistent excellence at your box that makes students willing to pay top dollar.

Your members respect you for your entire staff’s expertise, and professionalism; don’t ruin that because you feel bad for a coach who isn’t fully developed.  Develop that person into a BAMF coach instead. Then maybe… just maybe… you can put them ‘on the floor.’

5. COMPROMISING QUALITY TO KEEP A SHIFT FILLED

If the people who are running your classes aren’t fulfilling their duties, FIRE them.

These are Mario’s top 5 mistakes with comments…

We hope you find this useful in alleviating some of your staffing frustrations.

Gym Ownership Has Been Life-Changing

Diane Trifiro and her husband Tony had been involved with Hand2Hand Gymnastics for a long time: since their son was a mere boy. Their son’s love for gymnastics only grew as he matured. He began to coach and discovered a career that he loved. That is when he and his parents met a heartbreaking impasse: the owners of the gym were retiring. After all of these years, it seemed impossible to the Trifiros that their son would have to lose his dream of one day owning the gym.

Well, the Trifiros had faced an impasse all their own a few years earlier in the career department and time didn’t seem to be on their side in resolving things.

More out of curiosity than planning, Diane did a little research into the possibility of buying the gym and found that they could make it work. So why not go for it? Maybe it would be a stop-gap until other paths cleared and it would allow their son to continue working toward his goal of being a gym owner.

“It’s been almost five years since we bought the gym and we’ve never regretted it,” says Diane.

If really was a leap of faith. Having worked in the office prior to the takeover, the Trifiros relied on their customer service knowledge, the examples of other gym owners and just plain common sense.

“It has truly been a blessing in disguise,” Diane adds. “We had tried a couple of things to generate income but nothing provided a consistent income like we were accustomed to living on. The gym has restored financial consistency to our lives and put us in control of our own destiny.”

The Trifiros are beyond thrilled with their exit plans for their gym. No students (at least for the next generation) will have to wonder what will happen to their gym when the owners retire. The Trifiro’s son and his wife are the next-generation owners! Involved in acrosports and gymnastics, the young couple will make the perfect recipients as the Trifiros pass the torch.

Is the Chalk Dust in the Gym Harmful?

The experts say “yes” and “no”.

Well – what is that supposed to mean?

We will try to give you a concise and simple explanation…
So chalk isn’t really harmful if it is inhaled in small to moderate amounts.  In fact, you could eat a piece of chalk and it wouldn’t hurt you at all. But inhaling chalk dust and what accompanies it over a period of time is harmful.

Take a close look at chalk and you will see something interesting and disturbing.

The disturbing part isn’t the chalk but what is ON it.

Several years ago, air samples from gyms were examined and bacteria was found in the samples. It was just a little bacteria. The amount was shocking. Researchers expected everything from chalk resin to mat fibers but they never expected to find Salmonella (Salmonella cholereasuis), Staph (Staphylococcus aureus), E-Coli (Escherichia coli) and Candida (Candida albicans).  The dirty sock odor (as it is often described) that is noticed in gyms is made up of Salmonella, Staph, E-Coli and Candida.

That being said, also realize that germs don’t have wings so they can fly through the air. Dust actually helps retain the odors and bacteria that everyone breathes while in the gym.

The sense of smell is the only one of our five senses that goes directly to the brain. So whatever is inhaled – included that bacteria in the gym – goes directly to your brain. We use air-fresheners which actually just deaden our olfactory sense and make it comatose. The scent in air freshener masks the odor of the bacteria – even though we still inhale it along with the new chemicals that the air fresheners contribute to the blend.

At the same time, everyone who is in the gym is shedding their skin – called skin rafting – at a rate of about 150,000 rafts per hour.  Tiny dust mites (from the arachnid family) consume this exfoliation and then go to the dark corners of the room and hatch, grow, eat, defecate, mate and lay eggs. The waste is what humans react to – some developing severe allergies to the droppings.

Combine these factors and you have the lovely blend “living” in the gym air. It is become more of challenge to keep gyms as healthy spaces that host healthy activities.

Can something be done to improve this situation?

While a filter simply catches particles, a true air purifier doesn’t depend on a man-made filter to clean the air but replaces missing ions and ozone in the indoor air so that is it purified and acts again like fresh outdoor air.

Air filters only work well on particles that actually make it to the filter. They don’t remove the biological particles that may be growing in close proximity or eliminate or even dilute the chemical gases that are created by paints, carpets, vinyl etc., in the building. It is the air purifiers that actually have an impact on these things and can do a lot to improve indoor air quality.

Learn more at USGyms.net.

Photo Credit: © All rights reserved by Rebecca Stone

Cleaning Tips to Address Your Customer’s Top Priorities

Some parts of owning your own business are fun, some are not. Cleaning may be one of those things that fall into the ‘no fun’ category but they are vital to your business. Germs are everywhere – and not just the cooties that your students may claim their peers have. We’re talking about serious germs here that can be dangerous for the health of your students.

At the Wings Center, Amber Uriarte (Marketing Manager) put together a strict set of guidelines for cleaning. Putting a list of procedures together has really helped keep all of our employees on the same page. Everybody can reference this list and know how to clean and disinfect.

There are a lot of resources out there for information about cleaning. I have gone to several including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to put together the Wings Center Facility Cleaning Standards and Procedures.

For starters, knowing the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting is huge. Sometimes these terms are used as if they mean the same thing, but they are not the same.

Sanitizer is a product that reduces germs on inanimate surfaces to levels considered safe by public health codes or regulations. A sanitizer may be appropriate to use on food contact surfaces (dishes, utensils, cutting boards, high chair trays), toys that children may place in their mouths, and pacifiers.Disinfectant is a product that destroys or inactivates germs on an inanimate object. A disinfectant may be appropriate to use on non-porous surfaces such as diaper change tables, counter tops, door and cabinet handles, and toilets and other bathroom surfaces.

Now, when you’re disinfecting you must provide the proper tools for your employees.
The key is to clean effectively, disinfectant where required and sanitize where required. You can’t do all
effectively for every square inch of a facility so you need to clean as per traffic and contact patterns.
Use color-coded (see code references above) microfiber cloths in restrooms, counters, windows and a
variety of other places.
If you use microfiber on a surface, it gets about 98 percent of the bacteria. Knowing the proper way to
use microfiber, you will be able to cut down on chemical usage

This next part about caring for our children is very important. At the end of the day, cleaning and disinfecting may be a pain but in the big picture it is protecting the children.

Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards 444
Treat urine, stool, vomit, blood, and body fluids, except for human milk, as potentially infectious.
Spills of body fluid should be cleaned up and surfaces disinfected immediately.
For small amounts of urine and stool on smooth surfaces,
● wipe off and clean away visible soil with a little detergent solution. Then rinse the surface with
clean water.
● Apply a disinfectant following the manufacturer’s instructions.
For larger spills on floors, or any spills on rugs or carpets:
● Wear disposable gloves while cleaning. Disposable gloves should be used when blood may be
present in the spill;
● Take care to avoid splashing any contaminated material onto the mucous membranes of your
eyes, nose or mouth, or into any open sores you may have;
● Wipe up as much of the visible material as possible with disposable paper towels and carefully
place the soiled paper towels and other soiled disposable material in a leak-proof, plastic bag that
has been securely tied or sealed. Use a wet/dry vacuum on carpets, if such equipment is
available;
● Immediately use a detergent, or a combination detergent/disinfectant to clean the spill area. Then
rinse the area with clean water. Additional cleaning by shampooing or steam cleaning the
contaminated surface may be necessary;
For blood and body fluid spills on carpeting
● Blot to remove body fluids from the fabric as quickly as possible.
● Then disinfect by spot-cleaning with a combination detergent/disinfectant, and shampooing, or
steam-cleaning the contaminated surface.
● If directed by the manufacturer’s instructions, dry the surface.
● Discard disposable gloves.
Mops and other equipment used to clean up body fluids should be:
● Color coded
● Cleaned with detergent and rinsed with water.● Rinsed with a fresh disinfectant solution.
● Wrung as dry as possible.
● Air-dried.
● Wash your hands afterward, even though you wore gloves.
● Remove and bag clothing (yours and those worn by children) soiled by body fluids.
● Put on fresh clothes after washing the soiled skin and hands of everyone involved.

Selecting an Appropriate Sanitizer or Disinfectant
One of the most important steps in reducing the spread of infectious diseases in child care settings is
cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting surfaces that could possibly pose a risk to children or staff. Routine
cleaning with detergent and water is the most useful method for removing germs from surfaces in the
childcare setting. However, some items and surfaces require an additional step after cleaning to further
reduce the number of germs on a surface to a level that is unlikely to transmit disease.

Do you have a similar cleaning procedure in place for your gym? Share your comments and experiences below. I’d love to chat with you more.

20 Ideas for Great Customer Service Volume 3

The last two weeks I emailed you 40 ideas for great customer service. This list makes a total of 60 ideas! I hope you got a few new customer service concepts to put into your gym. Some readers have emailed and asked me specifics on some of the ideas. All the ideas are discussed in detail in DVD #152 and I show samples in the accompanying book. Click below to check them out. Let me here from you if you were able to use some of these.
  1. Preschool parent exchange- At the end of a Parent & Tot Class, sit around and ask parents to share their ideas on various parenting topics such as toilet training, etc.
  2. Holiday cards in mail
  3. Thank you notes
  4. Get well cards
  5. Offer babysitting for siblings during parent and tot classes
  6. Give DVDs of their class for Christmas to the Parent and Tot Class
  7. PapaBear Night-a special open gym just for the kids and the Dads
  8. Mothers’ Day appreciation week (flowers, chocolates, candy, or cards)
  9. Speakers at your gym (policeman, fireman, nutritionist)
  10. Photos you take in class-e-mail to parents
  11. Business card bulletin board for members only
  12. $5 off appreciation coupon/send at least 20 per month to various customers
  13. List of moms and children’s names to class members (no phone numbers)
  14. Use their names in class
  15. Notice new hair style, nice outfit, new car
  16. Send baby cards, sympathy, thinking of you, etc
  17. Under promise and over deliver
  18. Backs and cushions on bleachers—make it comfortable for parents to stay and watch
  19. Clean bathrooms with diaper changing table, extra toilet paper, tampon container
  20. Air fresheners throughout the gym
 Remember:
  • Think relationships!
  • It’s in the details when running a business. The smallest effort sometimes can bring the biggest reward.
  • Dissect each move a parent and child makes in your business. How can you improve each of those experiences?These ideas are part of #152 Unbeatable Customer Service and are all explained in complete detail. Click here to purchase as an instant download. Prefer hard copy? Click here