Collections and Cancellations

June 23, 2022

There are many benefits to owning and running a fitness facility but there are some really tough aspects as well, like collections. When many of our members gathered for the 2022 NIHCA Spring Conference and Exhibit Expo we talked to each other about collections. There was concern from some clubs about how long to wait for payment and when to take action. We have gathered that information for you!

The biggest take away that we want to emphasize were the wise words of a facility, “Be Strong and people will adjust”. On average, most facilities wait anywhere from 1-3 months before they cancel the membership due to non-payment. Automatic payments from a bank account are much more reliable than monthly billing or automatic credit card payments. Check with your software because there are some systems that will automatically rebill if payment is not completed after 5 business days!

The most important thing to do is communicate! We recommend Call, Call, Email, Call and this should be repeated 2-3 times. The manager should be reaching out if someone at your facility has not been assigned to this task. There are options to send past due collections to an outside agency, however, many of these will take 30-40% of the recouped funds.

Use which method works best for your facility and circumstances, but if your current practices are not bringing in those collections, we recommend you give another method a try. Do not forget to update your policy and procedures!

 

~”There are three kinds of people: the haves, the have-nots, and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-haves!” – Earl Wilson

Appropriate Clothing

Appropriate clothing for the gym should be basic knowledge but there may be times we need to spell it out for our dear members. Do you have a clothing policy in place for your facility? When we reached out to the NIHCA Networking group, we were surprised to find out more facilities do not have a written policy but do have “rules” clearly stating that proper fitness attire is required.

We recommend that you do have a policy in place now and before it comes down to needing one. We recommend the policy includes the following:

  • Appropriate footwear
    • Shoes must be clean and free of debris
    • No open toe shoes
    • Rubber, no scuff shoes
  • Appropriate tops/bottoms
    • Full length t-shirt or tank, torso needs to be covered
    • No loose or hanging material
    • Must wear shorts or pants
  • No crude or foul language or graphics

 

Do you already have a policy in place? Share with us what is working at your facility.

 

 “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it?” –Edith Head

“I firmly believe that with the right footwear one can rule the world.” —Bette Midler

“When in doubt, wear red.” —Bill Blass

Youth Policy

“In youth we learn; in age we understand” ~Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

This quote speaks volumes as to what we may need to look at when setting up a Youth Policy. Youth are important to our communities and to the growth of our clubs and facilities. For the purposes of this youth policy, we are clarifying youth as between 12-16 years of age. The youth policy would be in place for when a child is attending the facility without being accompanied by an adult. It is also recommended to have a policy in place and clearly stated regarding requirements for minors to be accompanied up to age 15 or 16.

When we reached out to the NIHCA Networking Group there is one thing that stands out – requiring a class, orientation, or walk through with a trainer before youth can access the facility. This is huge for two reasons. First, it gives you, the facility, an opportunity to teach the youth how to use the equipment properly. Second, it shows the youth that you, the facility, are willing to take the time to invest in them. We recommend this be a requirement for youth memberships and for daily pass approval.

There were also recommendations of youth having to wear a badge or wristband clearing visible that distinguishes the area of the facility the youth can access. This is also extremely helpful for when youth does not look their age.

Do you currently have a youth policy in place? Share with us what is working at your facility.

Hot Tub Rules and Policies

August 26th, 2021

If your facility has a hot tub, what are your policies regarding age and use of the hot tub? It is imperative that you clearly have your policies posted not only for employees to reference but also for your members to be able to review.

We recommend at minimum to include the following limits:

  • Maximum Capacity
  • Allowed Time
  • Allowed age with and without adult supervision, include if the adult must be present, within reach, or in the hot tub/spa

The biggest concern is often regarding age limits The concerns vary from the height of the child (being able to stand in the hot tub with entire head above water surface) to hydration. Although we were not able to find specific guidelines it is recommended by the CDC that children under 5 years of age should not use hot tubs.

  • No one under 15
  • Nobody under 2 to 4 years of age
  • Youth 5-17 with adult supervision

“ ‘Safety First’ is ‘Safety Always’ ” – Charles M Hayes

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