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The Scariest Things That Can Happen to a Gym Owner
Posted by Katie Zacharkiw

Any gym owner knows that running a business is not always smooth sailing. There are problems with clients, problems with credit cards, problems with malfunctioning equipment, and other issues that periodically pop up. The savvy business owner expects these issues and deals with them quickly. 

If you own a gym, what issues should you be prepared for? In the spirit of Halloween, here are the scariest things that can happen to a gym owner:

Expired credit cards and unpaid clients

It’s tough to reconcile your bank account at the end of each month when you have unpaid clients. And in addition to making paperwork a hassle, the interruption in cash flow affects every part of your business. You need your clients to pay you so that you can pay your rent, your staff, and for your other business operations to keep running smoothly.

What can you do?

The best way to prevent unpaid clients is to follow up with them before the missed payment occurs. Use reporting to track which clients are unpaid or which credit cards are about to expire. Then follow up with those clients immediately. Most of the time, all a client needs to update their payment information is a little nudge. 

Clients who frequently no-show

Even if you’re charging cancellation fees, clients who frequently no-show have a negative effect on business. These clients are taking up roster spot that someone else could be using, and their lack of engagement puts them at huge risk for churn. It’s also frustrating for your staff who need to meet certain attendance quotas in their classes.  

What can you do?

Follow up with your no-show client to find out why their attendance rate has been dropping. It may be a personal issue that you can’t do anything about, but if the issue is with your business then there are steps you can take. If the client is attending less frequently due to interpersonal issues with staff or other clients or because the gym down the street offers better prices, there is action you can take to regain their favor. 

An empty studio is one of the scariest things that can happen to a gym owner. Don't let it happen to you.

Your client records are lost

If you keep manual client records, waivers and other paperwork at your facility, you run the risk of losing all that information in (highly unlikely, but still possible!) event of a flood, fire or other disaster. Losing your paperwork would mean that you essentially have to start over from scratch–which can cause paralyzing stress for you and your staff and can put the future of your business in jeopardy.

What can you do?

The easiest way to keep your client information and other records safe is to use a software that stores all your administrative documents in the cloud. That way, if the worst-case scenario happens and your facility is damaged, all of your paperwork is still safe. Cloud-based software like Pike13 also just makes your life easier by automating functions that would otherwise take up hours of administrative time.

A competitor gym opens down the street

It’s easy to get clients when you’re the only gym in town. But when a competitor moves in to the neighborhood you’ll have to work a bit harder to acquire and retain clients. The new gym might compete with yours on pricing, class variety, class size or any other number of features. 

What can you do?

You’ll want to learn as much as you can about competitor businesses so that you can clearly differentiate yourself from them and speak to your own unique value. You’ll also want to survey your clients on a regular basis to learn what they see as the value of your gym and what it takes to get them to stay. The more you can engage your clients in your business, the more loyalty they’ll feel towards you. 

Clients report a poor experience

The success of your gym comes down to client experience: do your clients like engaging with your business? If the answer is no, you have problems. An unhappy client is a client who is likely to take their business to that competing gym down the street. 

What can you do?

If your clients are reporting negative experiences, the most important thing is to immediately locate the source of the problem. Is it malfunctioning equipment? The actions or a particular staff member or another client? Stale class content? Find out what the problem is and then decide on the appropriate steps to solve it. 

These may be the top problems a gym owner faces, but if you’re prepared for the variety of issues that might come up in your business then you’ll be able to handle them without major interruption to your everyday operations. And the peace of mind that comes with being prepared is invaluable.

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