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Despite what your weather app is telling you, it’s spring (or at least a month with several confirmed sightings of spring). And around this time when the weather starts to turn, you come out of hibernation, fully recovered from the New Year’s rush, to start spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning is the age-old tradition of wiping, sweeping, vacuuming and obsessing over every missed spot in an effort to restore your club to its former glory. But what if I told you this practice is all wrong?
“The concept of spring cleaning should not exist,” said Dr. Bruce Sherman, Ph.D., the president of GymValet and B&D Specialty Concepts, Inc. “It should be every day cleaning — every day should be treated as spring because of the constant flow of people in and out of clubs every day of the year. A spring day, or spring cleaning, shouldn’t be any different than any other day of cleaning.”
To make your club the safest, cleanest environment possible for your members, cleaning needs to be a daily practice.
“Clubs should have a cleaning manifest with the basics and then the bigger stuff on some regular schedule,” said Sherman. “Spring cleaning might signify a club has kind of let things go — and now it’s time to get tidied up for spring. Clubs shouldn’t be run that way.”
Having a cleaning protocol — complete with a regular schedule and specific directives — isn’t the tedious task we think it is. The practice of regular cleaning will pay off for your club more than just providing a clean environment to workout in.
“It’s a health and safety issue to have equipment clean,” said Sherman. “It helps with aesthetics — cleanliness can be a club’s best sales and marketing tool. It shows your club cares. There is no excuse for having clubs that aren’t clean, because unclean means it doesn’t look good. The bottom line is nobody wants to workout in a dirty club.”
According to Sherman, it’s easy to remember cleaning the front desk, lobby, walls and windows — the places you can see without looking too hard. It’s the places you can’t see very easily, especially on or around equipment pieces, that require the most attention.
“You should be required to clean in and around the equipment,” said Sherman. “All the surfaces of the equipment that can be seen or not seen should have some sort of regular cleaning schedule.”
Lifting up the front and back ends of the treadmills to sweep and vacuum, cleaning the pedals and belts on elliptical bikes, cleaning the bases and surfaces of strength equipment, and wiping down weight stacks are just a few examples of areas that should get regular cleaning, according to Sherman.
And as it is with all business practices, it’s up to club owners and managers to be the example for the employees.
“Your club should have some element of daily surface cleaning, and on a regular basis, deep cleaning,” said Sherman. “You want your club to make you proud. Members should say, ‘They keep this place up. I feel safe here, it looks good, it feels good, it smells good.’ That’s what you want in a club, and it’s incumbent on owners and managers to have cleaning as a priority.”
Getting members involved in cleaning is essential, as well. There simply isn’t enough manpower in a health club to clean every piece of equipment after each individual time it’s used. So you have to encourage members to clean up after themselves.
“Cleaning is a team sport — it’s important to have cleaning done by your members,” said Sherman. “They want a clean club and there’s no one walking behind them with cleaning supplies, so they need to take responsibility and clean the equipment as soon as they get off it. The only way to guarantee that is to have cleaning supplies literally right in their faces — then they’ll do it.”
Placing basic cleaning supplies in close proximity to your equipment increases the chances of your members cleaning after themselves. And that increases your chances of running a clean club.
By keeping your staff (and yourself) on a regular cleaning schedule and encouraging your members to do a little cleaning as well, you’ll eliminate the need for spring cleaning and make your club a healthier, safer environment for your members.