Automated sales

How to implement recurring memberships at your gym

How to implement recurring memberships at your gym
Written by GEORGE Published on 2021-06-15 5 minutes read

Recurring memberships are the next step in a consistent online sales strategy for any gym.

Since most memberships sold are for a specific period, recurring payments are a logical choice for gyms because they replace both the renewal and sales activity of the front desk and the manual payment by the member for renewal.

With recurring memberships, your fitness club's income is much more predictable, which means you can make better decisions for your business, knowing you're basing it on hard data..

And from the member's perspective, recurring memberships are a benefit because they don't have to worry about renewing their membership every time it expires. This is done automatically, and the member goes to the gym without worrying about their membership.

If you're convinced that recurring payments are a smart choice for your gym, let's see how you can implement them and what you need.

Online sales system

Of course, recurring payments can only be made online, so you need an online sales system for memberships.

If you have never sold memberships online before, it would be ideal for implementing a sales system for prepaid ones. And then, once members get used to paying for their gym memberships online, introduce offers for auto-renewing memberships.

Thus, the transition from cash or card payment at the reception to memberships being paid automatically is smoother and more accessible for the member to understand.

Some aspects to consider when choosing an online sales system for memberships:

  • It should be integrated with the management software, so that memberships sold online are automatically activated, and you don't have to do it manually in the system.
  • It should automatically generate the member contract and invoice and send them to the member when they shop online.
  • It should send payment confirmations immediately after the payment is processed correctly.
  • It should be integrated with a secure online payment processor. Remember that you need an online payment processor to transfer money from your member's card to your account.
  • It should allow recurring payments, not just prepaid.
Distinct features for recurring payments

Once you have set up your online sales system for memberships, you can also implement recurring payments.

By using a coherent and complete system, the effort will be minimal.

Among the features listed above, integration with management software is mandatory to implement recurring payments.

This integration means that when a member buys a membership online, the online sales system communicates with the management software, and the membership is activated automatically in the software after the payment is processed.

If the online sales system does not communicate with the management software, you will have to manually activate each subscription purchased through the online sales system in the software.

In this case, recurring payments cannot work properly because they rely on automation.

Another essential aspect of recurring payments is the platforms where members can activate such a membership.

Unlike prepaid ones, for recurring memberships, the member registers his bank card details when making the first payment. After that, the required amount will be drawn from that card each month without the member filling in their card details again.

Should that card expire or simply need to be replaced, they must be able to change the bank card in a secure member account, either in a browser or a mobile app.

So, you must ensure that your member app or online account is updated with these features.

In addition, it is essential that when the customer selects the membership with automatic payment, they can quickly and easily find information about what this means and understand that in the next month, money will be withdrawn from the card again without them approving it manually. Details on how to stop automatic payment should also be added.

Online payments

Setting up auto-renewing memberships

The next step is to set up memberships with recurring payments.

Recurring payments can be used for memberships of any duration, not necessarily one month. This system can even replace the sale of long-term memberships in instalments.

Specifically, for 12-month memberships, for example, instead of waiting for the member to pay an instalment every three months, you can set up 3-month subscriptions that automatically renew themselves.

My advice is to start with one-month memberships and, depending on member feedback, offer other types of recurring payments if necessary.

In the case of these automatic renewals, it is important to understand that the system actually sells a new membership each month when the money is transferred from the member's card.

So, to set up a one-month subscription with recurring payments, you first need to set its availability period for one month.

Also, don't forget to explain in the description that membership renews automatically, so the member makes an informed decision, and you avoid complaints.

Since each renewal means a new membership, the sales system must automatically issue the invoice for each payment. Therefore, the member must receive an invoice each time the recurring payment is made, i.e. the membership is renewed.

Ideally, this invoice would be automatically generated and sent to the member by email.

Another thing to be aware of is member contracts. In the case of an auto-renewing membership, you do not need to generate a new contract after each automatic payment. Instead, you just need to generate a contract when the member makes the first manual payment stating that it is an auto-renewable membership.

Optionally, you can generate an addendum to that contract for each payment made.

Promote new memberships assiduously

The last and most important step for successfully implementing recurring payments is to promote this new type of membership.

As you well know, investing in state-of-the-art services is futile if your members do not know about them.

So, set up a launch campaign for these memberships, trumpeting the fact that members don't have to worry about renewing their membership anymore.

Offer a friendly discount on auto-renewing memberships, so it's a no-brainer for clients.

An essential part of the marketing campaign for these memberships is also educating the member. Since these memberships involve a bit more technology, it's normal for many clients to be discouraged or reluctant.

This is solved with a communication campaign where you educate members and potential clients about auto-renewal, how it works and what security solutions you use.

After all, you are asking members to trust you to take money from their account every month without asking first. For that, they need to have a lot of trust in your gym, which can only be achieved through honest communication.

Start by educating your staff so they can answer any questions about recurring memberships, put up instructional posters at reception, in the locker rooms, studios and gym area, make a separate page on the club website and post about these memberships as often as possible.

Make short videos showing how to set up such a recurring gym membership and explain in detail what auto-renew means.

Once the member switches to a recurring membership, they will immediately see how simple everything is and will be very unlikely to cancel it. This way, your gym will automatically renew memberships without you having to worry, and your income forecasts for the coming months will be much more accurate than before.

Even though the implementation of recurring payments may seem complicated, the secret is to choose a system fully integrated with the management software, which does not require much configuration effort on your part.

If you are interested in the solution, which is fully automatic, do not hesitate to contact us. Then, you, too, can start selling recurring memberships at your gym in just a few days.


George works in the fitness industry for over 12 years, during which he combined his advanced IT skills with the ability to solve problems with ingenious tech solutions. As a result, he has become very familiar with the challenges that occur during gyms' daily tasks and their solutions. His experience always takes shape into practical features for our platform

Fitness Business Romania
Fitness Business Romania

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