Business Advisor

Why are you encouraging your clients to steal from you?

Why are you encouraging your clients to steal from you?

photoFirst, let me be clear: I don’t want to suggest that you have dishonest clients or that anyone would intentionally steal from your place of business. But I will say that failure to use the tools at your disposal can and does lead to clients using your services and not paying for them, potentially resulting in thousands of dollars of lost revenue.

Is it stealing? Perhaps not technically, as it’s likely unintentional. Are you encouraging it? If you aren’t consistently signing people into classes, then yes. And I’ll go ahead and say it: it’s your fault.

I’ve written about the importance of taking attendance on multiple occasions, but this is such an important component of running a class-based business that it can’t be stressed enough. If you don’t sign your clients into classes, you have no way of knowing if the people training day in and day out have a current membership.

I’ve heard all the arguments, and maybe—just maybe, if you have 30 clients and are the only instructor, you might be able to keep in your head who has paid and who hasn’t. But as soon as you have multiple staff members and over a hundred members there’s no way you are keeping that info straight in that noggin of yours.

Here’s what has gotten me fired up:

I had a call earlier this week with a super sweet gal. She manages a fitness studio and wanted some clarity on her membership numbers. The owners (her bosses) are telling her they should have close to 400 members, but her reports are showing a member count of 322. Are the owners just wishing they had an additional 78 members?

Probably not.

The big clue that got me all in a fizz? Her client snapshot shows the following: 322 members, 0 active members.

ZERO active members? That means that of the 322 people paying for a membership each month ZERO have attended in the last 30 days. That single metric was a giant red flag telling me that this business is not signing clients into classes.

I would not be the least bit surprised if this studio has 400 people coming to classes. Potentially 78 non-paying members! (You do the math—that’s a LOT of monthly revenue). People training multiple times a week with lapsed or non-existent memberships.

How do you know if someone has a lapsed membership? You sign them into class!

It’s worth noting that this business also offers visit restriction-based memberships: two times per week, three times per week, and unlimited. If you have memberships with visit restrictions you MUST take attendance. Otherwise you have no possible way of knowing if people are attending more frequently than their plans allow.

Heck, aside from the potential 78 non-paying members, over 100 members might be exceeding their three-times-per-week memberships and would be candidates for upgrading to unlimited visits (that is, there’s likely much more revenue being left on the table).

A friend told me recently that she was shopping at a local department store and heard some girls in the adjacent dressing room chatting. Her ears perked up when they mentioned the name of a competitor’s fitness studio. The one gal was telling her friend, “I just show up five minutes late and the side door is always open. You can just go in that door and jump in the class. I haven’t paid for my membership in six months!”

Now again, I’m not suggesting your clients would do this intentionally. But if you don’t keep track of who is in each and every one of your classes, you’re likely providing more than a few free rides into your business.

Pike13 makes it abundantly clear when a person is unpaid for a class. In fact, if you want we’ll even send you a text message each time a client is unpaid for a visit. If you sign folks into classes you also have access to a ton of visit-related reporting data, alerts for missing waivers, and more. But again, if you don’t sign them in you can’t take advantage of any of that.

For those of you already in the habit of regularly taking attendance, give yourselves a vigorous pat on the back. For the rest of you, I hope this serves as a much-needed kick in the pants.

To go forth and prosper you must first go forth and take attendance!


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At Pike13, we're passionate about helping fitness business owners succeed. Our innovative software solutions empower businesses of all sizes to streamline their operations and grow their customer base. Whether you're a small boutique studio or a large gym chain, our platform is designed to help you manage your business more efficiently and effectively.