Reposted from www.abcfinancial.com

Congratulations, you’ve decided you are ready to become a gym owner. The global fitness and health club industry generates more than $80 billion in annual revenue. However, just because the market is great does not mean you should dive into the industry without proper research and planning.

You need to create a plan to ensure you have the proper certifications, a streamlined process to collect membership dues, know how many employees you’ll need to hire and have an automated way to simplify administrative tasks. Ensuring that you have everything you need to run a successful gym is critical before you make that leap. Below we have outlined 5 things to consider before owning a gym:

Certifications

If you plan to have personal trainers or group fitness instructors, make sure they’re certified. A personal training certification ranges from about $500-$1,000. Many certifications can be obtained through the American Council on Exercise through a series of study guides and tests. Obtaining certifications such as these shows your members that you have proven industry accepted competencies and that you are serious about what you do and adhere to industry standards. Other certifications your gym staff may need include:

  • Lifeguarding — $250-$500
  • Water Safety — $20-$50
  • CPR — $75-$125
  • Health Coach — $400
  • Nutritionist — requires a Bachelor’s degree, price varies depending on institution

You can learn how to get certified here.

License & Permits

It’s important to ensure you and your members are protected with insurance in the unfortunate case of an accident at your facility. In 2011, a woman fell off a treadmill and hit her head, having to undergo multiple surgeries, at the 24 Hour Fitness in Sacramento, CA. She pursued legal action against the facility claiming the treadmill wasn’t within the proper space requirements needed for user safety. Unfortunate circumstances like this should demonstrate why you should include a statement in your member contracts to prevent your members from taking legal action against you or your facility.

Type of Gym

Whether it’s big box, mom and pop, or a boutique studio — you first need to determine which type of gym you want to open. If you’re looking to focus on a niche workout with specific fitness classes like cycling or yoga, then a boutique studio may be best for you. If you need room for a lot of members with plenty of classes and strength training equipment, a larger box gym may be best for you. If you’re not sure what type of gym you want to open, first understand who your target audience is. Once you understand this, you will be able to determine membership types and pricing structures.

Membership Types

What kind of memberships will you offer and how will you keep your members engaged? You may want to offer two or three types of memberships such as basic, standard, and premium. This will give your members options with different levels of pricing and commitment. Determining membership pricing can take some time. You should first take a look at how many members you plan to have, at what frequency they are using your gym and what types of workouts they are participating in (cardio, fitness classes, personal training). On average, a gym membership costs about $20-$50 per month. Although, your pricing structure will largely depend on the type of gym you plan to open.

Gym Membership Software

You have considered the type of gym you want to open and the membership types, but how are you going to sign-up your members and manage them, along with managing your employees? Take a look at these critical gym membership management software features outlined below:

Member Sign-Up and Management Features

  • Allow members to sign-up for a gym membership on any device
  • Check-in members manually or allow them to swipe or scan a key tag or key fob
  • Create alerts on members to pop up when they check-in
  • View member billing — members can store multiple credit cards or EFT payment options
  • Enter membership agreement electronically
  • View member details such as bar code and agreement number, notes, secondary members, past due, next due, late fees, service fees, etc.
  • Deactivate members

Employee Management Features

  • Track availability and time sheets
  • Set employee level security
  • Track clock-in/out
  • Manage employee productivity goals
  • Create employee alerts to show when they clock-in

These software features will save you the time needed to focus on member engagement rather than sifting through hundreds of papers trying to manage your members and employees.

Payment Processing Services

Determining the best way to collect payments from your members isn’t always easy. Using a payment processing service can save you time and will ensure you’re collecting all payments from your members. In the case that your members become delinquent, you won’t have to spend time calling them to track them down for their payment. A payment processing service will handle the hard work for you. Once a member becomes past due this service will automatically attempt to collect dues at certain times depending upon the member’s method of payment. This will give you more time to focus on your members and running your club instead of spending hours trying to collect payments. Click here to learn more about payment processing services specifically designed for collecting membership dues.

If you are considering owning a gym, ABC Financial can provide you with the gym management software and payment processing services you need to be successful. ABC Financial is the leading fitness club management software and payment processing provider in the fitness industry. We’ve been in business since 1981 and work with 6,700+ health clubs across the country. Our goal is to provide gym owners with the products and services to make club management easier while maximizing revenue. Take a look at how we’ve helped transform Spencer McDaniel’s clubs.

“I don’t have to sit there going through paperwork to find answers that I can find in two seconds using DataTrak,” McDaniel says. Our software, DataTrak, has helped Spencer sign up members, keep track of their information, and check them in to his gyms. Spencer believes in ABC stating “If I had to start over my first call is going to be to ABC Financial.”

Interested in learning more about ABC Financial? Request a demo to see how ABC Financial can transform your gym.

An Outsourced CEO, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully to overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. In addition, his company will buy gym equipment from gyms liquidating or closing. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net orwww.jimthomasondemand.com.