Letting Go of the Outdated

After 25 years as a tennis teaching professional, I learned one very valuable lesson: Practice does not necessarily make perfect, it makes permanent.

This also holds true for so many other disciplines and businesses, especially health clubs. Today, many facilities follow the same routine business plan: “This is how we have always done it, and it works for us.”

This is exactly the problem. Following that motto does work for them, but it also creates an inefficient workflow that is both redundant and wasteful. It’s a way of doing things that ultimately increases inefficiency and decreases the club’s profits.

One way or another, we all hold on to some past method of record-keeping, organization or bookkeeping. Not because we believe that method is more efficient, or better, than what modern technology has to offer, but because we are just more comfortable with the tried, true and tested methods of yesterday. I have seen some clubs that are still in the mid-20th century using big, clunky cash registers to run their point-of-sale. I have seen some clubs that are still operating in the 1980s and communicate with their members through what us 21st centurions call “snail mail.” Additionally, I have even seen clubs that actually use paper trails to keep track of punch card visits, personal training packages and tanning sessions.

At home, if you listen to vinyl records or drink your hot beverages using a whistling teakettle, you are only hurting yourself. But at the club, your old-fashioned ways are creating lost revenue, increasing payroll and, quite frankly, lowering morale from those more technologically savvy than you. It is time to put down your walkman, push away your Chia Pet, take off your leg warmers and start using your club management software to do what it is built to do. That way, you can spend your time doing what is more important — making money.

Here are just some of the things that your club management software can do to make your club more efficient:

Sign up new members online. You can make a kiosk for very little money and sign up new members, without a paper trail of continual human error.

Have your members sign up for small group training, like indoor cyling, without taking valuable staff time to do the work.

Have your members change their credit card information, print their own usage report or get their A/R history all online so your staff isn’t inundated with the inevitable end of the month, “I have to have this now” call, that takes up valuable employee hours.

Track punch cards or packages and remind members when their packages are running low.

Track inventory, so you don’t have to track it yourself.

Email communications for expiring members, members whose credit cards got returned or even members who have a birthday coming up.

Allow members to put money on their account so they can buy products without having to bring money into the club. Or, allow them to charge money to their account and have it automatically added to their monthly billing.

Help manage and track your hourly employees as well as your trainers and pros, so you don’t need to do payroll with a calculator — or, if you are really old school — with an abacus.

These are but a few of the many ways club management software can make your club run smoother and make the business of running your club more efficient and, ultimately, more profitable. Call your provider to see what they can do to make your business more efficient. As Jawaharlal Nehru stated, “Obviously, the highest type of efficiency is that which can utilize existing material to the best advantage.”


Eric Claman owned two clubs in Torrington, Connecticut, before selling both and accepting a consulting job at Twin Oaks Software Development in 2011. He can be reached at 866.278.6750 or at eclaman@tosd.com, or visit healthclubsoftware.com.


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