When Meredith Simmons opened her first Box in Lewis, Delaware, her payment methods were basic to say the least. “I used to use, in the very beginning, a piece of paper and pen with people signing in, and I was taking cash and checks,” she said.
Sometimes, members would go long periods without paying, and Simmons would realize three months later they hadn’t paid. “Then you can’t go back and ask them for the money,” she said.
It wasn’t long until she switched to automatic payment. “I was overwhelmed, and once you start growing and you’re growing fast, it’s hard to keep track of who’s paid and who hasn’t paid, and who’s expired and who hasn’t expired,” she said.
With the opening of her second Box, CrossFit Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware, and for the last six to seven years, Simmons has used MINDBODY Online. “It has been very helpful,” she said. “I really like the way they operate; they have amazing customer service. But why it helps me is we don’t do contracts, we just do monthly payments with 30-day cancellations, so when anyone signs up, we don’t have to worry about renewing their membership every month because of the automated system.”
One of the biggest benefits in payment automation deals with expiration and renewal. “I’d say the first and foremost would be trying to renew people every month and knowing when they’re expiring and renewing and keeping track of all those people every day,” she said. “It also, I think, gives us better longevity with members, because if you’re in an automated payment system, you tend not to cancel as often as you would if you were paying month to month.”
Versatility was a big factor when Simmons chose a program. “We have so many offerings, including personal training and events and seminars, and we have over 300 members,” she said. As a result, MINDBODY was appealing, “Because MINDBODY basically can do so many different things you have to kind of narrow it down to what you need, but other different programs don’t give me enough.”
MINDBODY also allows clients to sign up for classes, suspend their membership twice a year if, for example, they are going on vacation, and also produces reports.
When it comes to choosing, Simmons said it depends. “I just think depending on the size of your gym, how many different offerings you have, and how intricate your facility is depends on what type of software you’ll need,” she said.
No matter what program, payment automation can help with stress. “Do you want to have to follow up with all of your members every month once they’re expiring to renew their membership?” asked Simmons. “It just helps with the longevity of your members. It also helps with tracking down people and having to get their payments. This is a lot easier. It takes a lot of the workload off of you.”