When you run a gym business, you and your team likely want to focus on your collective passion for fitness. It muddies the water when your staff has to talk to members about non-compliance regarding payments, yet payment of member dues is how to run a successful gym business.

It’s helpful to start with gym communication and progress to sending member information to a specific gym-oriented collections service. Here are some best practices to follow when your members are flagged.

Have an Efficient Billing and Collections Process

It’s much easier to deal with payments – and the lack thereof – when you have a specific process laid out for billing and collections. This makes it easy for everyone to know what to do in a given situation and to make billing and collections run as smoothly as possible.

You should also share your process with members from the start, so you are transparent, they agree to the process, and they know what to expect. Then, you can refer back to the membership policies as needed.

It’s helpful to have easy ways for members to pay, such as online payments or automatic ACH payments. This lessens the likelihood of them skipping out on a payment. Then, you can have set actions to take when a person becomes delinquent, with specific steps based on the length of time.

Using gym management software helps you manage member accounts, flag unpaid accounts, and track steps taken toward receiving payment.

Follow Communications Best Practices

A best practice is to have separate messages for the first month, second month and third month past the due date.

Consider a process like this:

  1. Start with communication directly from your gym. For instance, you could start with simple reminders by text, email, app, phone call, or letter. Provide any necessary information, such as that a credit card expired or an ACH payment failed.
  2. Have follow-up communication planned as a next step, which may include reminders of non-payment, mentions of benefits the person is missing out on at the gym, efforts to return the person to the fitness commitment they made, and offers to assist with solutions to help the person retain membership.
  3. Progress to warnings about what will happen next if no payment is received. During this stage, you’ll give a fair warning of the collections process. You may want to mention that collections can impact a person’s credit score.

If the person fails to respond to your communication, start the collections process after 90 days.

By communicating through the gym as a form of first party collections, you create a better line of communication and relationship, helping to resolve problems. By escalating to third-party collections, you show that lack of payment has become more serious and needs to be addressed to avoid consequences. You also separate your staff from this stage of the process.

Have a Good Collections Partner

Once a member’s account is 90 days delinquent, it’s best practice to send their information to collections since they have ignored all your efforts. Here are additional best practices related to this step:

  • Use a collections service dedicated to gyms and the fitness industry
  • Use a U.S.-based collections center
  • Use a law office for collections, which provides better results
  • Use a collections center that focuses on retaining customers first through an effective collections process

These are benefits we can provide at Aldous & Associates. You can send your 90+ day gym collections to our U.S.-based team. Our law office has a sophisticated process that aims to help your gym retain members, and we know how to motivate members to pay delinquent dues.