EFT Helps Small Clubs Prosper

Small clubs. Customer service. Know your members. Intimacy of space. The personal touch. EFT. Does EFT seem out of place? It shouldn't. Read on.

The small club or gym atmosphere of the past decade has capitalized on its inherent advantages mentioned above. The one area where the "little guys" have lagged behind the "big guys" has been in the area of collecting membership fees. It is fairly common to have monthly losses of 10 to 12 percent on membership dues. Couple this factor - loss meaning money not collected - with a long-known statistic that more than 20 percent of invoiced dues do not get paid within 30 days, and one realizes the absolute need for stabilization of the monthly fees base in small clubs.

It is conceivable - in fact, predictable -that the average small club (10,000 square feet, 1,200 members, monthly fee $35, 60 percent of members on monthly pay) is losing between $30,000 and $90,000 per year in cash flow from poor billing and collection methods. In other words, in an attempt to be overly "customer friendly" by billing in-house, these clubs have committed the First Deadly Sin of Business - not arranging for timely and ethical collection of members' fees.

For most clubs, this represents the difference between operating predictably profitably or "just getting by" in business. What it means for their customers is that the club is not able to capitalize new equipment when needed, nor to make necessary renovations to stay current in the competitive marketplace. What it means for staff is no money for wage increases or incentives. What it means to owners is no cushion. Said more bluntly, it means a business always operating in survival, and we all know that a survival-based business operating in a highly cyclical industry spells certain disaster. As the old sage said: "It's not a question of IF you're going out of business, it's a question of WHEN."

Enter EFT. Greater ease of payment for the customer. Immediate collection of fees due to the club, at lower cost to both the club, and ultimately, the customer. Fewer losses and delinquencies. Enhanced cash flow. Ability to have additional funds for expansion of member services, purchase of new equipment and raises/incentives to employees. Stabilization of your business guaranteed.

One more thought: Get to the phone NOW. Call your bank, software provider and/or billing receivables company today. Get on the EFT train. Stop suffering. Enjoy prosperity in your club.

- Michael Scott Scudder is an international consultant and training workshop leader who can be contacted at (505) 751-4236; fitfocus@aol.com; or www.michaelscottscudder.com.


More Techno Notes & News...

StairMaster Acquires Quinton

KIRKLAND, Wash. - Stair-Master has purchased Quin-ton Fitness. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Perhaps best known for its steppers, StairMaster has unveiled a new strategy to offer a full range of aerobic and strength products for commercial customers worldwide. With its established treadmill line, Quinton fits into this strategy well.

Quinton's fitness and medical treadmill support personnel will be incorporated into StairMaster's organization in Kirkland. Quinton's treadmill manufacturing will remain in its facility in Bothell, Wash.