One of CrossFit Wilmington’s members has an hour commute to the gym. While she likes the Box itself, said Owner Tanner Martin, there’s another underlying reason for her long drive: the Box has childcare.
The gym in Wilmington, North Carolina, has offered childcare for several years now, and although it isn’t necessarily an additional revenue stream, the benefits have been substantial. “You can eliminate that one excuse or that one stressor, which is really common — I have kids, I can’t workout — if you can say, ‘Well bring your kids in, we’ll take care of that for you,’” said Martin.
Stephanie Geissler, the childcare provider at CrossFit Wilmington for over three years, said offering childcare even entices drop-ins from out of town to choose the Box over other gyms in the area.
As for CrossFit Forest in Lake Forest, California, Owner Pete Jones said he started with minimal hours. Now, he has childcare every weekday at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Currently, a CrossFit Forest Coach’s mother runs the childcare. Jones explained he pays her $10 an hour, on top of the $3 per kid that she collects from parents. Plus, after the first two kids, Jones will pay her $2 for each additional child. Although it’s costly, Jones said he found he needs to pay a person well for them to stay.
Staffing has also been a struggle with CrossFit Resurgence’s childcare. Craig Kaufman, the president and head trainer of the Box, has tried co-op systems that involve the mothers at the gym, as well as hiring college-age kids. Even with the difficulties, Kaufman didn’t refute his strong belief in the benefits of having childcare. It continues to align with the business’ mission. “I felt like it was a part of our culture that I didn’t want to give up,” said Kaufman. “I liked being able to have the moms be able to come in. They can hang out.”
He charges $20 per month per child, hoping to simply offset the costs of offering childcare. Kaufman also uses Wodify’s class sign-in function so parents can reserve spots in the childcare room for their kids. He can only accommodate so many children at a time, and the sign-in process helps keep track of who is coming and going.
At CrossFit Wilmington, the childcare rate is monthly. It is $40 for the first child, $50 for two, and $60 for three children and up. A high school student who has grown up in the gym is in charge of the childcare, and Martin pays her $8 an hour.
Having a dedicated space is also essential for building a successful childcare program at a Box. Plus, at both CrossFit Wilmington and CrossFit Forest, members donated toys for the room. For the older children, Geissler recently invested in a Roku, a digital media player.
Ultimately, you have to commit to building and staffing your childcare program at the Box if it’s something that will build toward your overall mission. Jones said CrossFit Forest’s current slogan is to be the best hour of its members’ day, and by offering childcare, he is one step closer to accomplishing that goal.