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Personal training is one of the most popular ancillary services offered to members through gym management. As a separate service fee, personal training is a way for members to pay for one-on-one, semi-private or group training (large and small) with a professional fitness expert to help those members effectively reach their health and fitness goals.
How Do Personal Training Payments Work?
The first option with payments for personal training is to have members pay for all their training sessions up front (paid In full). The downside to this method is the large, upfront cost for the member. Additionally, once the sessions are used (or possibly go unused), the revenue cycle for the club ends unless the member initiates the purchase again or the trainer attempts to resell more training sessions. Unfortunately, the member may change their mind and decide not to renew or repurchase more training sessions.
The second option is to make payments on a recurring basis, where the member pays incrementally for a specified number of training sessions. As the money is automatically drafted either with membership dues or on a separate billing date, members receive the proper number of allotted sessions.
Why Recurring Personal Training Payments Are Better
A club owner’s goal should be to achieve greater results through recurring revenue over a longer period of time. In other words, create a long-term and permanent solution for the member. It not only helps ease the burden of members managing their cash flow, but it also is financially good for the club. Here’s why:
- Recurring billing allows members to pay smaller fees through incremental payments rather than paying for all of the training sessions upfront. Think about buying a car and paying the total amount upfront versus making monthly payments. It’s much better financially and psychologically to pay a lower amount over time.
- Clubs can sell the value of each individual service session, or appointment, as opposed to grouping them all together. Again, from the member’s perspective, it can be financially overwhelming to receive a large invoice and not know specifically what they are paying for. Itemizing the bill takes the sticker shock out of it.
- Personal trainers risk losing clients if they have to continually resell them when the member runs out of sessions.
Suppose you offer a training camp that runs for six months and give members the opportunity to pay for two, three or four sessions per week over that time period. That six-month total is going to add up fast and cause cash flow issues for your members. This will most likely cause them to re-think how much they want to spend on fitness all together. Selling the same six-month training camp with a recurring flexible payment option will make selling the program much easier since the payments are more affordable and worth the reward for many members. It also is a much easier upfront sell for you and your staff, and your member will negotiate less with the overall cost if it’s presented as smaller recurring fees.
Certain payment processing companies allow for flexible payment frequencies, such as weekly, bi-weekly and monthly that will in turn help with your club’s cash flow. It is a good idea to find a billing company that can accommodate not only multiple billing frequencies but also has the ability to draft any day of the week. These small but extremely important factors allow members to select a payment date and frequency that ensures their money will be available when it is ready to draft. This decreases bounced payments and increases club revenue. Furthermore, setting up recurring personal training payments on different dates than membership dues shows your club’s flexibility to members.
Allowing for recurring personal training payments to be drafted from a different form of payment if needed offers additional flexibility for members. For example, many members will choose to have their membership dues drafted from their checking or savings account (via ACH or debit card), but they also may have a reward-based credit card that can be used for the recurring training payments. They can “double dip” with their rewards credit card and get the services at your gym while still earning reward points.
Offering recurring payments for personal training is the most convenient and business-savvy way to recruit clients and sell them training. Keeping members enrolled in ongoing personal training is as much a result of your training services as is the ease of making payments. Fitness can be expensive. Sell your members on the rewards as well as an effective payment solution in reaching their fitness goals.
Jason Abucejo is the manager of sales at ASF Payment Solutions. Through his responsibilities and travels for ASF, Abucejo has visited literally thousands of facilities getting to know more about club operations, business trends and training philosophies. He can be reached at [email protected], or by phone at 800-227-3859, extension 738. ASF is the innovator in payment processing and gym management software including ACH, credit cards, point of sale and scheduling. Visit www.asfpaymentsolutions.com for more information on our products and services.