From the get go, CrossFit Avalanche and sister gym CrossFit Blizzard offered drop-ins. The conscious decision to do so was helped by the location: Tahoe Vista, California.
“Because the CrossFit community is so worldwide these days, it just helps spread the word about our gyms, and then people tell their friends that they came up to Tahoe and they went to Avalanche or Blizzard and had a good experience,” explained Travis Weaver, co-owner of the Boxes.
Extra revenue doesn’t hurt either, he added.
However, drop-ins are an art, and Weaver shared advice and considerations when it comes to offering drop-ins.
1) Do you offer drop-ins or not? People need to know so make it clear on your website.
2) What is your process? Give specific instructions online when it comes to dropping-in at your Box. Do people need to sign an electronic waiver or can they do it at your gym? Do they need to specify what class they are coming to or not? The more specific you are the better.
3) How much is it? If people want to come for multiple days, do you offer a multi-day discount? Will you accept them buying a t-shirt or giving you a t-shirt from their CrossFit as payment? True, it will be different if you are a small Box that gets only an occasional drop-in or if you are a gym like Weaver’s that is in a destination town. However, he pointed out a good way to decide on payment: “Are these people working out for less money than what your clients are working out for? And if so, is that a proper balance?”
4) Do you have a drop-in option for both locals and visitors? If not, decide if you should have one.
5) Are there special considerations people need to take when visiting your Box? For example, altitude is much higher at Weaver’s Boxes. His Coaches are instructed to warn drop-ins about this change while also asking about previous injuries or problems they may have.
6) Do you have somewhere people can write about their experience? Weaver explained they have a Yelp site where visitors can leave reviews.
7) Is this something you want? Weaver said while there are benefits to allowing drop-ins, there are also negatives. “It can be distracting to your existing clients,” he said. “It can be distracting because you’ve got a new person in there, but also you have a new person that you don’t know what their ability level is.”
A lot has to be considered before you decide to offer drop-ins or not. Ultimately, you should remember Weaver’s words: “It’s a privilege to be able to walk into somebody else’s gym and be able to work out there, rather than a right.”