The decision to implement new management software for any type of business is very important. It can generate a lot of headaches for both management and the employees using it.
This is true for gyms and fitness centers as well. Such a business needs a management program that solves all the challenges your employees encounter every day. Though many people think a management software for gyms is basically a database with members and membership types, a truly useful platform is so much more than that.
A gym is a complex business that entails more than a room with training equipment, isn't it? That is why such a business needs an equally complex technical solution that handles every aspect from member and membership management to product and service sales, the management of product inventory, personal trainers and class instructors' activity, member communication methods and features for members.
It's not always easy to find the perfect solution for your fitness center, and that is reason enough to think carefully before taking the leap. To help you, I will try to list some questions you should ask about a potential management software you might be interested in investing.
Before you start looking for software or a platform, it's essential to set out your gym's necessities. Each business is different and has different needs, that is why not any digital solution might be useful for you.
From my experience with UPfit.cloud, I must confess I had potential clients that I had advised to find a different solution for their gym, instead of our software. Crazy, I know! I did that because I knew our software would not help them, but actually make their lives and work more difficult.
It is crucial to pin down your business's needs to know precisely what features to look for in a new platform.
Start with a list of the services you provide in your club. Do you sell anything else apart from access memberships? Do you organize group fitness classes? Do you have personal trainers for private sessions? Do you have SPA services or a pool where you organize swimming classes?
What kind of employees do you have? Apart from the reception desk team, do you also employ trainers, instructors, or coordinators? How do you pay them, with a fixed salary, or based on their monthly activity?
What are the secondary aspects of your business? Do you sell products at the front desk? Do you manage product inventory? How do you issue contracts or invoices? What payment methods do you accept?
In the end, think about your members? What type of members do you have? Are they young and tech-savvy? Or do they mostly belong to a older age group that prefers thing analog? What is the onboarding method for new members? How do you recruit new members?
The answers to all these questions will help you get a general idea about your business and what digital solution you actually need. Now it's time to start asking questions about potential management platforms.
Aspects regarding management are also the most important features for a gym management software, so it's essential to know what they are. That means both member and staff management and software management, like how it can be accessed and its price plan.
Implementing new software in any company takes effort. That is why it's crucial to know precisely what the deployment steps are, how long does it take, and what do you have to do for it. It is also important to know how long will your employees need to learn how to use the new software.
The technical support you receive when you purchase new software is very important. That should mean more than just a handful of how-to articles. It should mean the possibility to request help in real-time, from the company that created and manages the software. Otherwise, what will you do when you want to perform a particular task, and you don't know how, and you can't find the answer in any of the tutorials. How about when one of your employees needs help with the platform, and you are not there?
Complete management software should also provide features and tools for members. That could mean mobile apps, member portals, or other similar features that would allow members to manage their activity at the gym.
More often than not, gyms, just like other companies, use several platforms for different processes. Therefore, to issue invoices, you need a dedicated solution, and member contracts might be managed with other software. For financial tasks, you might need accounting software, and so on.
Some management platforms have different integrations with such software, or they have these solutions included on the platform, so you don't have to purchase and use several digital solutions simultaneously.
Any sophisticated management software should provide various integrations with other software or equipment, whether it's a simple integration with fiscal equipment or more complex ones for access control systems.
All these integrations are meant to create a diverse ecosystem that ensures effective management of your business's every aspect, based on information saved in your management software.
At the same time, a complete integration means that your management software communicates with different software and equipment, without your employees having to copy data from one platform to another manually.
The most important benefit of management software, particularly for gyms and fitness centers, is the automation of most tasks. That means that your software will automatically perform most tasks that, until now, where handled by your employees. This automation can have various forms, and it doesn't necessarily involve complex processes. On the contrary, it can be minor aspects that can have a massive impact on your team's workload.
For instance, when an employee must renew a member's membership, how much information must they fill in, and how much is it automatically filled in, based on the information already existing in the database, about said member and membership type. Even details like automatically calculating the expiration date of a membership can save dozens of seconds for each sale, eliminating human error.
The decision to invest in management software for your gym is not an easy one, and in no way should you decide in a rush. It's crucial to identify your gym's needs and then see what platforms are there on the market with the features you actually need.
Just like in any other area, on the management software market, you will encounter loads of offers and grandiose phrases meant to catch your eye (I'll admit, we also use those kinds of phrases). However, before you make any decision, it's important to ask a series of questions meant to help you find out if certain software is truly useful for your fitness center, or it just might end up making your life harder.
These questions are more detailed than how much it costs, and when can I start using it. It's important information about management, integrations, support, deployment, tools for members, and more.
Once you find the answer to all these questions, you can surely make a smart and informed decision that will help you manage your gym and expand your business in the future.
There is an easier way to get more members! Communicate efficiently with them through automated emails, provide them the option to purchase memberships online, delight them with a professional mobile app and member account, and surprise them with fast services at the reception desk.
With UPfit.cloud, everything is done quickly, and you can start seeing results in a matter of days. Find out the advantages of our platform in a 20-minute demo session.
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We have created a series of free guides that will help expand your gym: advice on increasing sales, lead management, optimising your online marketing strategy, creating a corporate program, and so much more. There are dozens of e-books and guides with useful information and ideas for ambitious gyms, that are willing to use all the tools available to grow their business and recruit more members.