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No one wants to be “that guy,” as in the one asking for money.
However, your gym is ultimately a business and members need to pay. Sometimes their credit card on file changes and bounces back when a payment is run. Sometimes they start as a drop-in and keep coming, and no one has tracked if they have signed up yet or not. Or maybe they keep promising they’ll pay and they just never quite remember to make it happen.
Whatever it is, it’s tough. Money is a hard conversation and in a business often built on relationships, it’s hard to bring up. However, money allows you to build relationships and grow a gym of which members are proud. So, it’s time to talk about some steps to take to improve your cash flow:
- Be proactive. The first step you can take before having that awkward “your payment bounced” conversation is being clear with them what payment looks like at your Box. Do they know when they’ll be charged each month? Are they aware if they update their card they must also notify you or change it in your management software? Getting out ahead and letting them know what needs to happen to keep their membership going can help draw clear expectations for you both.
- Consider a late fee. If your members don’t pay you, how are you going to pay your bills? By having a late fee, you could encourage members to make their payments on time and to update their credit card information when necessary.
- Don’t assume anything. Just because a member misses a payment doesn’t mean they are being spiteful. Seek out answers and the ability to understand why they missed paying their membership dues. Talk to them and see how you can work with them.
- Offer more than one way to pay. While automatic credit card payments through your management software might be the best way for you, not every member can pay this way. Consider allowing them to pay by check or cash with you the owner or at your “front desk” — if you have one. But you’ll need to set clear rules and expectations on when the money should be given to you.
Whether you like it or not, payment and cash flow are essential to your business. The gym might be built on relationships, but it still needs money. How are you ensuring your members’ payments are coming through consistently and on time?