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    The monthly draft is the lifeblood of most fitness businesses. The draft is there like a big blanket—keeping your business warm and cozy during the coldest nights. Or, as is generally the case in fitness, the slower sales months of summer. Something so precious to your business should always be top of mind. You should nurture it with new sales (obvious), mind your cancellations (still obvious), and ensure you have a good system in place to pick up missed monthly payments (totally obvious). Chasing past due payments is something that frequently falls by the wayside for many fitness businesses. Maybe it gets done, likely it doesn’t. A healthy draft requires a systematic approach and constant work.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    The absolute best way to maintain a healthy draft is to prevent past due payments from ever occurring. Ensure that good billing information is captured at point of sale. If your billing system allows for two payment methods (ACH and credit card), obtain both.

    Make sure you can reach all your members.

    Capture all contact information from all members at point of sale. It’s also a great idea to run member rosters from time-to-time and spot check the data.

    Have a system and schedule for contacts.

    How often will you contact your members? After how many days past due? For how long? How will you make contact (email, phone, letter, SMS)? What will your message be?

    Trust but verify.

    Once you have a system in place, it can’t be “set it and forget it.” Insist that your staff notate all contacts on the members’ accounts. This way you can audit the process anytime you’d like.

    More contacts x more ways = more money.

    Phone calls are great, but some people respond better to other channels like text and email. Make sure your team is utilizing all methods of contact to maximize the impact.

    Start early.

    Why allow a past due payment to languish for weeks? The longer a balance ages the smaller your chances are at resolving it. The golden rule in successful billing resolution is contact early and often.

    Consider outsourcing.

    Numerous club management software providers offer billing support as an additional service. This is well worth exploring. Regardless of who is minding your draft, what’s ultimately important is that these past due accounts are receiving attention.

    It all boils down to people (working the accounts), process (how they are working the accounts), and profit (retain more of that hard-earned revenue).

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