So let’s start with the word “Vendor”, I hate it! To me, a vendor sells commodities that are easily replaced. Things that are throw away products, not expected to last or affect your bottom line. In the fitness business there is no room for vendors. “Partners”, on the other hand, can definitely make or break your club and its reputation!
Speaking as a former club owner myself, be very cautious who you choose to partner with, as they will not only represent you and your business, but in some cases they also have direct communication with your most valuable asset - your members
Here are the top 3 areas you should pay careful attention to when dealing with your vendors, as these could potentially be seen as ”red flags”.
Keep in mind these are geared towards software companies but they can be applied to anyone you do business with, from your equipment vendors to software companies and even service businesses. If you take your time and heed these warnings, your vendors will soon become your partners in business that you will one day not know how you lived without.
The reputation of the company that you do business with WILL reflect on you. What do you want people to say about you? If your software company is also providing billing and member services, then this is especially true. Do your homework, go out and Google your current or prospective software company, but keep in mind, many companies spend a lot of money to push good info to the top of the search results and bad info to the bottom. So, how to get around this?
To do: Google the name of the company with “complaints” at the end i.e. “xxxx company complaints” Pay attention to not only how many complaints a company receives but what the nature of the complaint is and how the company responded. Did they blame the club? Did they take any responsibility? Were the issues resolved? Did it leave the member happy?
Do you know how much your products and services are actually costing you and how it is broken down? For equipment, is the lifecycle provided by the company accurate or will you need to replace those treadmills two years earlier than expected? For software companies, do you receive a detailed statement showing all of your processing fees separately?
To do: If you are not already receiving detailed reports, call and ask for them. If you do not understand the report, call and have it explained to you.
3. Does your software save you time?
There are three reasons to buy anything for your gym. It saves you time, it saves you money or it drives revenue. Any good club management software should save you time, and time is money. Do you spend hours reconciling your books because your numbers are not adding up? Do you have to export basic reports into Excel and manipulate them just to get what you need? Do you have to spend hours per week speaking with members who are unhappy with the way they are being treated by your billing company?
To do: Take a week to record everything you and your team are doing and how long it actually takes. If dealing with your software is taking up too much of your time, then you need to change. Software should be a time saver and NOT a time suck! Just think…if you have the right software implemented, how much extra time you will actually have to start enjoying your business and all its success!
Dean is a Senior Sales Consultant at Jonas Fitness who brings 10+ years of sports, health and fitness industry experience along with over 20 years in the information technology field. This unique background along with being a former Gold’s Gym franchisee owner gives him first hand experience in assisting club owners to implement technologies and software that will increase profitability, help eliminate stress and increase work-life balance.