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!


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.”


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.


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.


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.’


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.

What’s So Great About Jackrabbit’s Time Clock?

Time Clock saves time for studio owners and managers and gives them the tools they need to reduce inaccuracies in payroll data.

Jackrabbit’s Time Clock feature automates the studio’s process for tracking payroll. This eliminates time-consuming, manual tracking that can be frustrating and wrought with inaccuracies by turning time entry over to employees to track for themselves in the employee portal. A quick check of employee-entered data is all that is required before Time Clock data can be exported to Quickbooks or Express Payroll.


Time Clock enables owners and managers of dance studios to aggregate accurate and standardized data and automate its delivery to their payroll systems. The feature enables employees to log and track their time in Jackrabbit’s employee portal. This does not replace payroll capabilities, but provides payroll systems with accurate pre-payroll information. Employee activities can be broken down to accommodate tracking by varying pay rates or duties and will note instructor availability and class instruction times. This is a significant enhancement that Jackrabbit offers at no additional charge to clients.

Jackrabbit’s Time Clock contains the following functionality:

  • Provides an online Time Clock for staff to record their time (both at your facility and/or remotely)
  • Creates Departments as “buckets” for staff hours
  • Allows multiple methods of time entry
  • Records Location and Department per time entry
  • Records Hour Type (regular, overtime, holiday, sick, vacation, PTO)
  • Records Staff Pay Rates
  • Approves time entries, at either individual or department level
  • Adds “Time Buffer” to scheduled class hours to identify overages between actual hours and scheduled class hours
  • Exports total hour information to QuickBooks or Express Payroll
  • Estimates Gross Wages
  • Creates Reports

What Time Clock DOES NOT do:

  • Calculate overtime wages with the multiplier (time and a half, double time, etc)
  • Calculate any withholdings, deductions or payroll taxes; or process payroll


What do Time Clock users think?

Watch a video with John Aardema’s comments about how Time Clock has improved the way the Gymnastics Academy of Atlanta operates.

“We were excited to try out the new Staff Time Clock with Jackrabbit.  We see huge potential to save time and money and be more efficient as we grow.”  “We love that Jackrabbit takes our individual needs into consideration when designing great tools for schools like ours so that it accommodates the way we do business.” – Meg Roundy, Kings Swim Academy

“When we saw the enhancement alert, we immediately noticed the functionality in our system. Now I can get rid of the additional expense of the online Time Clock we’ve been using. Kudos, Jackrabbit!” – Jamie Crippin, Hearts In Motion Baton, Dance & Cheer Center

“The new Jackrabbit Staff Time Clock is a great tool for managing our staffing hours.  Thanks to Jackrabbit for creating a system we could set up in just a few hours and begin monitoring the very next day. Adding Staff Time Clock has made our Jackrabbit dashboard a hub for managing our staff and students!” – Karen King, U.S. Swim Academy

“With Jackrabbit’s Time Clock, our staff no longer needs to manually split their time between departments and I no longer need to manually check the accuracy of their reports.  Time Clock saves my bookkeeper 2 hours every payroll by making it easy for her to export data from Quickbooks and access the system from home.” – Patti Komara, Patti’s All-American Gymnastics and Tumblebear Connection

Take a look at our Time Clock Guide if you want details.