The 7 Best Gym Management Software Platforms: Our 2020 Review

The 7 Best Gym Management Software Platforms: Our 2020 Review

Chris Cooper’s Intro

 

This is our second review of the top gym management software platforms.

Below, you’ll find sections on Arbox, Mindbody, Pike13, PushPress, Trainerize, Wodify and Zen Planner.

In 2019, we published what I consider to be the first objective review. You can read it here. It cost me $35,000 to put it together, but doing so produced an unforeseen benefit: Several of the platforms we reviewed actually took steps to improve.

“We’re going to win next year!” was the first comment I heard from two companies (Arbox and Wodify), and both took steps to get there this year.

We also got the opposite, of course: One company immediately complained that it wasn’t included—until we showed its people the dropped email threads and unreturned calls. Whoopsie.

The first quarter of 2020 had the whole industry scrambling. When payment processors decided to withhold funds for gyms, many of the gym management platforms were caught in the middle. That meant using resources and time to communicate with gyms and attempt to bridge the gap. It also meant a large turnover in clients as gym owners moved from one platform to another.

In 2020, we asked each platform to give us an update, and we summarized their messages below. We also polled our clients for their opinions, and we received a great response from gym owners around the world. These people don’t test software; they rely on it to help them make a living. We summarized their responses for you below, too.

 

The Search for the Best Gym Management Software

 

“Which gym management software is best for my business?”

At Two-Brain Business, we’ve been helping gym owners answer questions about software for years. And the answer isn’t always the same. Two-Brain Business mentors have talked to thousands of entrepreneurs, and their needs change quickly as businesses evolve and new products appear on the market.

Our mentoring team is always discussing the best gym management software. Our constant research has led us to dozens of presentations, demos and software trials. Every company wants to know how it can help our huge pool of clients, and each one promises improvements to existing platforms soon. Some have asked us to sign non-disclosure agreements.

Beyond software providers, we’re constantly surveying hundreds of clients around the world. These gym owners—among the best in the world—bring up software solutions and pain points almost daily in our private Facebook group for Two-Brain Business clients.

Ultimately, we want to know what they need to make their businesses successful.

Is their software supporting them or letting them down?

 

A fitness coach uses the best gym management software to run a report on a laptop.

 

Essential Aspects

 

Gym owners are usually concerned with two things first:

1. Point-of-sale payment processing and automated billing. Cash flow is critical. In 2020, some gym management software companies were put in a bad position by their payment processors. While this wasn’t directly under the platforms’ control, some handled the problem better than others.

2. Membership management—essential to client tracking and retention.

Other critical elements: a powerful database with robust reporting, seamless automations and third-party integrations, appointment scheduling and facility management, check-ins and reservations, administrative features, and retention systems.

Also important: general functionality, cost of service, ease of use, customer support and mobile apps.

Things that are becoming increasingly important to some gym owners as the industry evolves: features that allow lead nurture and marketing, and the ability to use one system for all aspects—facility and group class management, personal training, and online PT and nutrition coaching.

So which gym management software is best for you and your business? Which ones are easy to use? Which ones have the most features? Which boast a host of integrations?

The answer is critically important to your business. The right software will help you become profitable, grow, retain members, analyze your business and plan for the future. The wrong choice will have you throwing your hands in the air as you try to figure out how to get what you really need.

 

Gym Management Software: Our Exhaustive Evaluation

 

We’ve compiled our research on the key players in the gym software industry to help you decide which system will work for you, your staff, your clients and your growing business. You are investing in a service, and you need to see a return on your investment.

Our review is unbiased: We have no partnerships of any kind with any of these companies.

Below, we rate each of the major software providers from 1 to 10 in a few critical categories:

Function—Does the software meet the basic needs of a gym? These are the must-have elements: payment processing, scheduling (appointments, classes and staff), membership packages and so on.

Reporting—Are the reports useful? How easy is it to find the data you need? Can you create and run your own reports based on what you need? Is it easy to do so?

Usability—Is the software easy to use by the owner and staff? How about by the clients? Is there an app? What about the user interface (UI)? Does it make you feel at ease when you open it or does it give you a headache? Look and feel also factor in here.

Integrations—Does the software platform play nice with others? Does the program integrate with common management tools such as Mailchimp, SugarWOD, iCalendar, Zapier, etc.? Does it have an open API so you can add things as you see fit?

Bonuses—Does it have any useful extra features such as a killer workout logging app or a kick-ass customer relationship management system (CRM)? What’s the customer service like? How about the development cycle? Does the software stand out through any unique features?

We’ve included pricing info in US dollars, but in some cases rates are highly variable based on the features you select, the size of your membership, and so on.

We’ve also selected videos that will give you an idea of how each platform functions, and you can find others on each company’s YouTube channel.

Scoring and Standards

The maximum score for each gym software platform is 50. We’ve published our gold standard here.

One final note: We’re not endorsing any platform yet or making blanket recommendations to our family of entrepreneurs. But we really want to. We want to be able to tell our clients exactly which platform will help them solve their problems and grow their businesses.

So we’ll keep evaluating and communicating the needs of the community to developers.

And when a platform finally does everything we need, we’ll recommend it to the Two-Brain family.

Now, on to the software, presented in alphabetical order.

 

The Top 6 Gym Management Software Platforms

 

Arbox

 

Chris Cooper’s Intro—Arbox, based in Israel, produces some great data that gym owners can leverage. Unfortunately, few gyms in the U.K. or U.S. use Arbox yet, so that data set isn’t as robust as it could be. During the covid crisis, Arbox was able to provide really great data on revenue and retention—in a format that was easy to understand. No one else provided this “meta” view of their clients.

Function: 8

Arbox is a newer company, and it has shown a strong desire to improve. It offers almost everything you’d need: scheduling, texting, pro shop, messaging—users can use SMS or email now to send digital forms and waivers. Arbox reports that the biggest drawback from last year—slow load times—has been addressed with servers located around the world.

Reporting: 7

While the dashboards, insights and reports are good, users cannot fully customize them. The support team will assist, but experienced database users would appreciate more flexibility. That said, Arbox is always adding more reports, including lead/conversion stats, booking statistics, retention metrics, employee efficiency reports and a summary view.

Usability: 8

An area of strength. The UI is easy to use and navigate, and Arbox improved the mobile experience.

Integrations: 5

Arbox doesn’t offer a ton of integrations but gets points for an open API and a responsive development team that has volunteered to build integrations we might need. The platform now works with First American and PaySafe for processing, and leads acquired from Facebook can be sent into the system.

Bonuses: 6

Arbox offers a host of features you’d want right out of the box—a big bonus. It has a robust client app, and Arbox added a dashboard inspired by the Two-Brain Roadmap. The reports there allow users to see key metrics such as lifetime value, length of engagement and average revenue per member. During the covid crisis, Arbox improved functionality to allow users to input holds and activations en masse, control access to facilities, and obtain pre-class medical statements.

Cost: Starting at $59 per month (billed annually). Pricing page: Click here.

What Our Clients Said

In an informal poll in a private Two-Brain Facebook group, our clients said they really liked the email/SMS communication options and the ability to warm leads. There were no complaints about general management of memberships and attendance. They also liked the user interface and the ability to have clients complete forms in the app.

On the flip side, our clients said Arbox’s workout tracking isn’t good enough yet (Arbox said SugarWOD integration is coming), the shop is glitchy at times, and reporting could be improved even if support staff will assist you in finding what you need. The Two-Brain crew would also like more flexibility with scheduling and more integrations to improve workflow.

What Arbox Said

Arbox reports that its team has doubled in size, which has reduced development time. That team is completely rebuilding the members app, with release set for later this year. New features will include personal profiles, a store and a dynamic feed. Two-Brain clients will get the brandable app for free for a year.

Overall

We’ve been impressed by Arbox’s desire to improve, and we’re looking forward to seeing what it can do with a larger team. We’ll be monitoring feedback as more gyms around the world use the software.

 

Mindbody

 

Chris Cooper’s Intro—Think about the negative reviews you read about Mindbody: “It’s too confusing.” No one ever mentions missed payments, over-billings or absent features. There’s just too much stuff, and it takes a while to learn. I started with Mindbody in 2006, when it was simple, so I missed the feature dumps over the years. But Orangetheory Fitness uses this system for a reason, and the integrations are pretty amazing for coaches. In the end, it’s easier to block the stuff you don’t need than to fill the gaps in the other systems.

Function: 9

Mindbody has everything. Every. Thing. The platform has been around for a long time, and it’s grown to serve its large user base. It’s also very reliable. The drawback is that it can be tough to navigate the many, many features. And some of our clients said they still have to rely on external software that’s better than the Mindbody options. For example, Mindbody could improve its email platform so users don’t have to use other systems, sometimes at additional cost.

Reporting: 8

The gym software keeps data on everything and allows you to create and save custom reports. You’ll get the reports you need.

Usability: 5

Mindbody is robust, but it can still be tough to use. One user called the membership/contracts system “the most confusing process I’ve ever come across.” To get the most out of this platform, users must invest time in learning. How much time? Well, Mindbody has offered courses in the 20-hour range for managers and front-desk staff, so the time investment isn’t small if you want to get the most from the system. And while the system does everything, users in our private Facebook group said they wish it did some things much better.

That said, the usability of the mobile staff app is great and definitely offsets some of the issues with the desktop platform.

Integrations: 8

Mindbody integrates with lots of systems—more than anyone else—and if you don’t find an integration for the one you want, it has a robust open API. One flaw: It does not sync with Google Calendar.

Bonuses: 9

Mindbody has bonuses galore—some as add-ons and some as part of upper-level service tiers. One in particular is worth mentioning during the covid crisis: a video/streaming service that’s free for a limited time. The system allows you to broadcast live or pre-record classes clients can access via a video-on-demand library.

Cost: $129-$599 per month. Pricing page: Click here.

What Our Clients Said

In an informal poll in a private Two-Brain Facebook group, users said Mindbody’s reporting needs work even if it’s better many other systems, and the platform isn’t completely tailored to microgyms. Users also said they still sometimes need external apps like Mailchimp and Acuity, two people expressed concerns about price and value, and one mentioned that Mindbody won’t work well for you if you’re trying to separate data for multiple locations.

That feedback was balanced by assertions that the platform is very reliable, payment processing is solid and support is good. Our clients also said the app for clients is straightforward and user friendly, with features that will allow gyms to easily navigate government restrictions due to covid-19.

What Mindbody Said

Mindbody’s additions include the streaming/video platform mentioned above, and it’s free at the time of publication. The provider also offers the Bowtie AI virtual receptionist for an additional fee, and marketing automations are available in the premium plans. A branded mobile app can be added on to the first three service tiers, and it’s included in the Ultimate Plus package. That app includes push notifications and an after-class review prompt. Finally, Mindbody has connected with btwb for tracking and ADP for payroll functionality (in certain service packages).

Overall

As we said last year, this is a well-developed, well-established system. Mindbody is a leader in the industry, and it shows. You’ll never have to look for gym software with more options, and Mindbody’s ability to improve your clients’ experiences is unmatched. If you can customize the system for your needs, this is the one to choose. Unfortunately, the learning curve can be steep.

 

Pike13

 

Chris Cooper’s Intro—Nikki Violetti was the first CrossFit business blogger back in 2006, and I learned about on-ramps from her. When she started FrontDeskHQ nearly a decade later, I was eager to join, but I was pretty entrenched with Mindbody, and FrontDeskHQ’s initial payment processor didn’t work in Canada. FrontDesk is now known as Pike13.

Function: 8

Pike13 handles the basic functions most gym owners need quite well, with payment processing, class scheduling, appointment scheduling, a pro shop, etc. However, there is no inventory control functionality, so this limits any online store or profitability reports for retail items. Pike13 has a basic app you can put on a tablet so clients can sign in and fill out waivers, and it also offers an app that allows clients to schedule appointments and check into classes. This app, formerly $20 per month, is now free.

Of note during the covid crisis, Pike13 has recently allowed virtual classes to be scheduled and Zoom/Google Hangouts links to be sent to all participants.

Reporting: 7

Reporting functionality has improved in the last few years, with help from Looker. Data is accessible faster than before, and with some practice you’ll get better at mining it. Service questions are answered fast, but the answers aren’t always clear.

Pike13 now offers an “insights” dashboard for the pro subscription level ($50 extra). It’s useful, but it would be nice to be able to customize it. Also at the pro level, the payroll feature is great for calculating percentages of personal training fees or commission rates for different staff members, but the payroll reports themselves could use more capabilities and customization.

A drawback: The address input field is open; i.e., it doesn’t include individual cells for a specific street, city, state/province or zip/postal code. This causes significant inefficiencies and inaccuracies. Trying to use customer data for a mailing is extremely difficult and time consuming to standardize for printing.

Usability: 6

Pike does not allow the user to have the complete freedom found in some other systems. For example, you can’t change sale dates and payment details after a sale has been processed—helpful for month end/year end or adjusting mistakes. If the original sale had issues, it requires extra steps to refund and start over. This is frustrating at month end and year end and also over-inflates refunds in reporting. Pike13 wants to prevent the accounting data from being manipulated, but owners would like the freedom to correct errors more easily.

Similarly, you can’t edit logo size and graphics on digital documents such as waivers or forms through Pike13’s Smartwaiver integration.

Integrations: 8

Pike13 has greatly improved integrations since our last review. Zapier is connected now, as is BrandBot (a comprehensive, fully integrated CRM system), Webhooks, Mailchimp, Smartwaiver and Emma. The platform also links up with Intelivideo and PieSync. Users can now track leads, purchases and enrollments and build lists through a Facebook pixel.

Gym owners have the ability to use their own payment processors.

Bonuses: 5

Pike13 has a robust app for staff that almost totally duplicates the desktop version. This feature alone can seal the deal for users who are looking for mobile functionality—the gym can run entirely on an iPhone if needed. As mentioned above, the client app is now free—a definite bonus.

Cost: $129-$179 per month. Pricing page: Click here.

What Our Clients Said

In an informal poll in a private Two-Brain Facebook group, users liked Pike13’s robust open API, as well as its customer service. The app—which duplicates desktop functionality—was a hit, too. Users named the client self-checkout process as the biggest area for improvement. They wanted better functionality (fewer clicks, the ability to add notes, etc.) and more ways to customize the process.

What Pike13 Said

Pike13 highlighted its vastly increased integration package, as well as improved reporting. The company also reported new and more flexible widgets that are compatible with common website builders (iframes).

Overall

Pike13 finished at the bottom of the pile last year but has shown significant improvement over the last year. And if you’re done with desktops and all about mobile, this platform deserves your consideration.

 

PushPress

 

Chris Cooper’s Intro—PushPress kicked off a new pricing model in 2020, and it was among the first companies to pitch in and help gym owners when the covid crisis hit.

Function: 6

PushPress has most functions you’d want from gym software, but there’s a missing piece: Clients cannot book appointments and pay on their own. Only staff can do these tasks. The appointments are synced with the staff member’s Google calendar, and members receive invites to add appointments to their Google calendars.

Reporting 6

Reporting is limited. Clients need the ability to create custom reports. That’s balanced by the fact that PushPress will do something Two-Brain clients desire: It will calculate average revenue per member, length of engagement and lifetime value. You will have to manually enter sign-up dates for clients if they started with you before you began using PushPress, but doing so is worth it—these are essential metrics.

Usability: 7

PushPress is simple to use—a definite plus when some other platforms have a steep learning curve. But users have reported that the check-in, booking and waitlist systems are not glitch-free. For example, members who book classes for the following day can show up on the current day.

Integrations: 9

PushPress integrates with everything via Zapier and uses Stripe as a payment processor. Open API: We wish all software were so flexible.

Bonuses: 5

Client, staff and front-desk apps are available, and they’re easy to use. In particular, the member portal is wonderful—clients can reserve classes, add plans and change info with ease.

Cost: $0-$139 per month (the free option, released late in 2019, has no monthly fee but charges processing fees plus 1 percent of gross revenue. Fees increase until your gross is $13,900, at which point users should switch to the premium monthly rate). Pricing page: Click here.

What Our Clients Said

In an informal poll in a private Two-Brain Facebook group, users said PushPress was easy to use and had a great support team. They also mentioned that setting up billing was a breeze, and the platform seems to be evolving all the time. Those positives were balanced by a clear desire for much better reporting and improvements to the appointment/PT booking systems. On the wish list: a way to quickly add a fee for no-shows to classes.

What PushPress Said

PushPress reported that features to be released later in 2020 include multi-location functionality, a branded mobile app, a retooled and more flexible communication platform (with custom automations), and revamped reporting. Expect more details to come later in the year. No timelines were available at press time.

Overall

PushPress carries all the pros and cons of a small company. Customers can speak directly to the founders almost any time and get a quick response. On the other hand, when the founders are talking to the clients, they’re not building software.

 

Trainerize

 

Chris Cooper’s Intro—After being named our top fitness coaching platform of 2019, Trainerize was added to this list. The platform also takes payments for appointments. It’s not really set up to manage gym memberships well, but with more gyms coaching their clients online, Trainerize could possibly serve as a one-and-done platform. I’ve been using Trainerize since 2015.

Function: 4

Trainerize is probably all you need if you’re a personal trainer or coach small groups in a gym. It has great programming features (even if they’re not CrossFit friendly; you can’t do an AMRAP, for instance, though you could enter a circuit). A coach could literally have their own branded app, a payment gateway and client programs ready for delivery within a few hours of signing up. But Trainerize can’t replace the other platforms for gym memberships—yet.

Reporting: 6

Trainerize has great client reporting but weaker business reporting metrics. However, client progress metrics are really important, and most of the gym management platforms don’t report on retention or adherence at all. Our clients loved being able to quickly see athlete compliance.

Usability: 7

It’s pretty easy to train clients on Trainerize, but—like Mindbody—there are so many features that it’s hard to use them all. We asked Trainerize when it would offer the ability to deliver programming to groups of people at once, and its CMO reported that the feature had existed since 2017. But one user since 2015 didn’t know that. In fact, we asked Trainerize sales reps about it for our coaching platform report last year and were told, “It’s coming soon.”

Integrations: 8

Trainerize syncs with MyFitnessPal better than anyone else, putting all a client’s nutrition and exercise data on one dashboard. But it also integrates with business platforms, and its Stripe integration would have been very useful when other processors held back funds in early April.

Bonuses: 6

The platform offers a custom-branded app, tons of integrations, and a very useful exercise library that can be updated by each gym—or not.

Cost: $0-$350 per month. Pricing page: Click here.

What Our Clients Said

In an informal poll in a private Two-Brain Facebook group, our clients said the user interface is not intuitive and takes some getting used to, and notifications have been glitchy for some. Creating programs and workouts can take time—and users have to find a hack to add workouts for nutrition clients.

Conversely, one user called Trainerize a “powerhouse,” and several mentioned that they loved the auto-messaging feature. A big hit: a dashboard that makes it easy to see client compliance. Coaches loved the ability to assign daily habits and add info to client files, and they mentioned that synchronization with Apple Health, Fitbit and others is nice. Our crew also reported that the client side of the app is very easy to use.

What Trainerize Said

Trainerize unveiled habit-coaching features in fall 2019, and it will be upgrading the system in 2020 so trainers can tack habits onto master programs. In the first part of 2020, Trainerize synced up with Apple Health, and an Apple Watch app is on the way. Also to come: the ability to create and archive video workouts for clients, video-call capability for face-to-face check-ins, and better messaging in the app (threads, reactions, delete/edit functions).

Overall

Trainerize isn’t really a gym management platform. But in a pinch, it could run your whole business.

 

Wodify

 

Chris Cooper’s Intro—Wodify’s contribution to the industry in 2019 included a programming marketplace and some business courses for gym owners. Both were great additions. They also took steps to make online coaching better, which was timely. And they were up front with their clients during the covid cash-withholding crisis on April 1.

Function: 8

Wodify’s appointments feature is worth noting: It allows you to create free appointments and embed a scheduling widget on your site, and you can create paid and free appointments for members and non-members. The system offers two-way synchronization with Google calendars, and customers can schedule right through the app. Perhaps best of all, customers can purchase PT sessions as they schedule the appointments.

While Wodify is not a full-featured messaging platform, you can SMS and email your clients in broadcast form, and you can send leads a broadcast email. Automated messages are available but are not related to lead nurturing.

Also good: a customizable sales portal so anyone can purchase a membership and sign all associated digital forms.

Wodify uses Stripe and takes out the payment processing fees on each transaction. This process might slightly increase cost, but it makes it a lot easier when dealing with reports, chargebacks etc. Unfortunately, it also means that Stripe could withhold funds from gyms, which it doesn’t do on other platforms.

Reporting: 7

Wodify introduced a new reporting feature called “insights” and offers a few prebuilt dashboards, but they’re confusing to read and difficult to customize. You can dig into some reports and export data, but this should be easier. Instead of trying to guess what you want, Wodify should provide a small number of prebuilt dashboards and the ability to custom-build and export any data set you like.

Usability: 7

Everything is listed nicely on one sidebar, with reports and financial data as obvious links to build a WOD and edit the class schedule (the WOD and class schedule just happen to be at the top). That said, some features are not easily found. For example, pricing is under “classes” even if the program you want to price has no class associated with it. Additionally, you need to create a “program” before you create a price point for it, and they are two different features. While display is not an issue, organization of options is.

Integrations: 7

Wodify is solid. The system plays nice with Zapier and others such as Stripe, Facebook, Mailchimp and WordPress. The developer API allows access to workouts but not much else. You get the impression the developers would work with you if you had something creative you’d like to do.

Bonuses: 7

Because the company started with workout tracking, it’s the primary focus, and Wodify still does it well.

The Wodify suite of apps is diverse and slick. Owners and coaches use one, while athletes use another. Others allow you to run challenges, competitions and live seminars. All have free or paid versions that integrate with your Wodify payment gateway.

The app suite mentioned above is a definite bonus, and Wodify Sites is a custom website builder that integrates with Wodify on the back end for an additional fee.

Cost: $109-419 per month with a la carte add-ons including WOD Marketplace and Wodify Sites. Pricing page: Click here.

What Our Clients Said

In an informal poll in a private Two-Brain Facebook group, our clients said Wodify has improved over the years, and they really liked the reports that allow users to see ARM and LEG. Also on the positive side: Solid customer service with video responses.

Our crew pointed out a few sticking points, including management of kids programs—it’s a challenge because parents can’t register multiple children without using a different email address for each one. Users want more options and functionality when building out memberships—especially hybrid or tiered memberships and recurring PT memberships. On the wish list as owners’ needs evolve: the ability to program individual workouts for clients.

What Wodify Said

Wodify has improved functionality so you can directly book No Sweat Intros online and mass-update memberships (for price increases and program changes). The platform has also enhanced reporting on its Business Health Dashboard, showing revenue, members, leads, ARM, LEG, discounted revenue and other key metrics.

Payment processing is available, through Stripe in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Europe. Additionally, users can now embed videos in coaching notes. Also new: A priority waitlist with options. Clients can be automatically added to the class in the order in which they signed up or you can designate “first come, first served” to give everyone a chance to take an open spot.

Wodify is planning improved APIs/integrations for connecting third-party apps, better functionality for the Athlete App and customized reporting delivered via regular emails.

Overall

Wodify is feature rich, and if you primarily sell classes in your gym, it might be best. However, as we learned in 2020, the class-only model is the most fragile one. What gym owners need in 2020 isn’t quite the same as what we needed in 2018. But Wodify has a solid platform to build from if the company determines what its clients actually need going forward.

 

Zen Planner

 

Chris Cooper’s Intro—Zen Planner was sold to a larger conglomerate in 2019. The same group went on to purchase both SugarWOD and UpLaunch. I hoped that Zen Planner would improve its workout tracking (or just integrate SugarWOD, which would be far better). SugarWOD plus UpLaunch (a CRM) plus booking and billing would be a pretty unbeatable combination. They’re still sold separately, however. As a Zen Planner user myself, I didn’t notice any upgrades in 2019 or early 2020.

Function: 7

Zen Planner offers scheduling, appointments, payment processing, and staff management, and it works reasonably well. But it’s not always easy to do everything. For example, some clunky features make it tough to sell a T-shirt to a drop-in client. Customers have reported issues with double billing in the past.

Reporting: 6

Zen Planner’s reports are flexible, and the company seems willing to customize reports based on need. Users can reach out directly to a support person who can walk them through report creation. The Two-Brain dashboard is very helpful for tracking the critical metrics we measure. However, the reporting system can be hard to manage unless you’re a master. And the results you get from reports aren’t always the results you’re seeking.

Usability: 6

The web apps and dashboard are clean and simple. However, the online app and web browser can be difficult to navigate, and it gets challenging when you try and log in from a different computer. The app itself has a lot of bugs. The user app interface is great for class reservations, and Zen offers a workout tracking feature that looks nice and is great in theory. However, users can’t search for previous workout performances or make purchases through the app, so it’s less than ideal.

Integrations: 3

Zen Planner does not offer an open API. If you use Zen as a base system but want to add programs from industry leaders to handle workout tracking, texting/emailing and so on, you are limited to the options Zen Planner chooses. It also doesn’t integrate with Zapier to help you out with any automations beyond the emails generated and sent by Zen Planner itself.

Bonuses: 5

The client app and workout tracking are nice bonuses, and SugarWOD integration is available for an additional fee. Zen Planner’s support team is great, but users often wish they didn’t have to contact the support team so regularly.

Cost: $117-$227 per month, with options for software-website suites for up to $1,074 per month. Pricing page: Click here.

What Our Clients Said

In an informal poll in a private Two-Brain Facebook group, our clients generally said Zen Planner does a lot but could do more—and better. Our clients named integration—especially two-way Google calendar integration—as a weak spot, and several mentioned that reports are generally clunky. Other items on the wish list: flexibility with membership options, improved staff and client app functionality, better native workout tracking (not through SugarWOD), store flexibility, and improved reporting of Two-Brain metrics (especially length of engagement).

They reported that the platform is robust and has lots of reports and automations. Also noted: a very strong support system.

What Zen Planner Said

Zen Planner did not supply an update by our publication deadline.

Overall

Zenplanner is great if you want the no-frills, straightforward approach and aren’t looking to customize with integrations. You’ll have to invest some time climbing the learning curve for this software, but it will get the job done. 

 

Final Rankings

 

 

The Rest

 

Many members of the Two-Brain Business family asked us to evaluate their favorite platforms. Our mentors can help clients who are using any gym management software, and our Two-Brain reporting systems don’t require clients to use a specific product.

We had conversations with 20 platforms total, and we chose to focus on what we consider the top seven.

For one reason or another, we chose not to add more companies to our main report in 2020. Some just weren’t ready, some weren’t interested, and some didn’t meet minimum standards for greater consideration.

 

Selected Other Platforms We Considered in 2020

 

Club OS

Exercise.com

WodBoard

Glofox

Triib

 

The Big Question: Should You Switch?

 

Right now, no single platform is so far ahead that it’s worth the pain of switching.

Some platforms have features you might find more important—such as scoreboards—but we’d prefer that you stick with systems that provide good reporting and metrics.

But all the main software packages are so close that it might not be worth switching—yet. If one platform offers you something the others don’t and offers to move your clients over, that’s valuable.

In the end, the best system for you is the one you’ll use. If you can’t get your basic metrics, or if the gym software can’t book appointments or collect money, the platform isn’t giving you what you need as a box owner and entrepreneur.

We’ll stay in touch with these companies—and others—and keep letting them know what box owners, gym owners, studio owners, personal trainers, coaches and clients need. As the providers grow and improve their products, we’ll let you know which ones we believe are best for you and your business.

Click here for Two-Brain’s huge collection of Free Tools.

Done-For-You Hiring Plan and Detailed Job Descriptions for Gym Owners

Done-For-You Hiring Plan and Detailed Job Descriptions for Gym Owners

Every entrepreneur says, “I wish I could clone myself.”

But that’s not possible—yet. And it’s also wrong.

Entrepreneurs don’t need copies of themselves. Instead, they need to find ways to spend as much time as possible growing their businesses. But time isn’t limitless, and that means entrepreneurs need to figure out how and where they spend their time and energy—and how to buy some of it back cheaply.

Freed from low-value roles, business owners can reinvest that time in activities that grow the business and generate revenue.

Many new gym owners wear more than a dozen hats: coach, admin, marketer, salesperson, cleaner, programmer, bookkeeper, maintenance person, and so on.

Should the owner wear all these hats?

The simple answer: No.

Want to create your own business plan?

Get a free editable copy of the Ultimate Business Plan For Gym Owners. Just let us know where to send it.

Below is a short, non-exhaustive list of low-level tasks that often prevent entrepreneurs from growing their businesses. We’re not saying the tasks are unimportant. Some of them—like billing clients—are absolutely essential. But they’re not high-level tasks, and owners can teach others to do them with ease so they can get back to growth activities.

Here are just a few important but low-level tasks a business owner doesn’t need to do:

  • Mopping floors and scrubbing toilets.
  • Shoveling and mowing.
  • Maintaining equipment.
  • Billing clients and grinding through administrative work.
  • Opening the doors in the morning.
  • Closing the doors at night.
  • Living on social media.
  • Coaching every class.
  • Making workout posts.

Many of these tasks can be assigned for a very reasonable hourly rate. Consider paying someone $12 an hour for admin work like answering emails and handling client accounts. An owner could offload five hours of low-level work for $60.

Do you think you’d be able to generate at least $60 in new revenue if you had five free hours?

The answer is an emphatic “yes!”

You, as the owner, are the person who’s best suited to growing the business. You have the vision, you have the skill, you have the charisma, and you have the drive. You have everything you need to build a very profitable business—unless you’re tightening screws on a rowing machine instead of having coffee with the owner of a nearby company that badly needs a fitness program for its employees.

Close your eyes for 10 seconds and answer this question: How much do you want to make per year?

Take that number and divide it by 2,000 (the average number of hours worked in a year). That’s your hourly rate.

If any role can be filled for less, hire someone for that role.

If you continue to answer emails and fiddle with client accounts, you are losing money.

You are much more valuable as a CEO.

In the Two-Brain Business program, we group entrepreneurs into four phases: Founder, Farmer, Tinker and Thief. You can find out which phase you’re in by taking a quiz here. In the Founder Phase, we help owners create and fill key positions to free him or her to grow the business. It’s time to do the math, set some budgets and hand out some hats:

  • • CEO (you)
  • • General manager
  • • Coach (group, personal or nutrition)
  • • Administrator
  • • Cleaner

From there, build out the roles and tasks associated with each role. Then you hire.

Here’s another big win: The right people with the right skills will get more work done faster in some cases. Remember your last four-hour fight with the database? Your new admin expert might solve the problem in 30 minutes for $8.

In this guide, we’ll break down the roles and tasks for each of the five roles listed above. We’ll also give you some general compensation numbers to help you budget.

And we’ll offer tips for helping you find the right person.

Time is your most precious resource. Here’s how you invest it to grow your business.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Who does what?

It seems like a simple question, but it can become very complicated if you don’t answer it clearly at the outset.

Many too-eager CEOs make assumptions and keep a private list of “shoulds” in their heads.

“He should know better.”

“She should know to process the payments today.”

“He should have mowed the lawn yesterday.”

“She should have done a bank deposit.”

Shoulds are for suckers, not CEOs. If you create roles and tasks for each position, and if you hire by matching applicant skills and traits to the needs of the position, you’ll be rid of should and ready for success.

Many people get overwhelmed when they have to delegate. Founders are usually talented, Type A generalists who aren’t very patient. And they can be shortsighted: They’re often quick to “figure it out myself” when they should invest a little extra time creating the structure that would guide an employee.

We know breaking down the minutia of staff roles is tedious. But a founder who wants to be a CEO has to do it—only once.

Here’s the good news: Two-Brain Business has talked to hundreds of gym owners around the world. We know what the best gyms are doing, and we know what it takes to run a successful facility. We can do 90 percent of the work for you.

So go through the roles and tasks below. Feel free to copy and paste. We want to get you into the CEO chair ASAP. But we encourage you not to rush. Read the roles and tasks carefully and make edits based on your unique business. We know you need a cleaner, and we can lay out what a cleaner does, but we don’t know if want the place cleaned on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Review the roles and tailor the tasks.

Do it once now.

Then pass off oversight to a general manager so you can get on with being CEO.

CEO

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In the early stages, this is usually the business owner, although some owners eventually hire CEOs, too. For now, let’s assume that you, the founder, are going to fill this role.

The CEO is the top executive in a company. He or she gets stuff done—the important stuff.

The CEO is responsible for making large decisions and overseeing the overall operations of the company. The CEO is concerned with the big picture: vision, long-term sustainability and profit, annual planning, partnerships, and high-level management.

CEOs don’t worry about toilet paper in the bathroom. That job has been assigned, and the successful CEO has even hired a manager to oversee the maintenance person. The CEO is now several steps removed from the job.

Same deal with day-to-day operations. The CEO does not micromanage a coaching schedule or oversee the money spent on birthday cards for members. Those tasks have been assigned, and those budgets have been set. A manager is in place to monitor the daily operations. The manager is the CEO’s right-hand person: a trusted employee who safeguards the CEO’s time by taking care of mid-level tasks and bringing only large decisions to the CEO.

The CEO is then free to dream, research, plan and build—to grow the business. How this is done varies. Some CEOs are masters of strategic planning and roll out the right product or service at the right moment. Others are financial wizards who can increase profit margins through clever structures and marketing. Others are masters of relationships and find ways to connect their businesses to others for the benefit of both. And so on.

The CEO is simply the captain of the ship.

So where do you want to go?

Compensation

The sky is the limit for a CEO’s earnings.

It’s not a cliché. Check CEO salaries online.

You’re an entrepreneur. You gave up the security of a regular paycheck for the possibility of an even bigger payday. You can literally make as much money as you want. That money might come in the form of a salary or dividends or other benefits.

We encourage you to ask yourself exactly what you want to make, then figure out how to do it. Dream big. (If you have big dreams but don’t know where to start, book a free call with a Two-Brain Business mentor. We’ll point you in the right direction.)

To give you some basic direction, we’ll explain the 4/9ths Model. In this system, gross revenues are split into nine equal parts. Two parts (22 percent) should cover your fixed costs. Four parts (44 percent) should be paid to your staff for their services. Three parts (33 percent) should be set aside as profit. Operating profit is your unbound cash flow. It’s the money used to pay you. It’s also the pool for new equipment, surprise costs and so on.

As you can imagine, owner salary increases significantly in this model as gross revenue increases. To make six figures, you need to gross just over $300,000. If you gross $1 million, the profit is well over $300,000.

We encourage you to set 33 percent aside right from the start. It’s common for entrepreneurs to pay themselves last, but sometimes there isn’t any money left. Eventually, an overworked, underpaid owner closes the business. No one wins—not the clients, not the owner.

Pay yourself first. Your family needs to eat. If money is left over, buy some new barbells.

Click here for more info on how to pay yourself and your staff.

Click here to watch our founder, Chris Cooper, explain the 4/9ths Model in more detail in the CrossFit Journal.

Roles and Tasks: Early Stage CEO

  • Develop annual and monthly goals with a mentor.
  • Track Metrics That Matter (gross revenue, total members, average revenue per member, length of engagement, net monthly client gain, net total client gain, profit ratio, revenue by stream).
  • Write and update the staff playbook, and determine policies and processes.
  • Build content bank (minimum 30 pieces in the first six months.
  • Perform Affinity Marketing with five clients per month.

Characteristics and Hiring Tips

Look in the mirror. You’re the ideal person to run this business.

If you’re an entrepreneur, we already know what you’re like: You’ve got big dreams and you’re willing to work hard for them. Your unique characteristics are less important than the one shared by all entrepreneurs: You have the courage to bet on yourself.

Beyond that, you’re reading this guide, so you’re clearly wise enough to create and plan and invest in research.

We’ll lay out a few other ideal characteristics for CEOs. Don’t worry: This isn’t a must-have checklist. Think of it as a loose survey of commonalities and use it to set goals for yourself.

Great CEOs:

  • Always learn, from the past and through proactive activities.
  • Inspire others by example, by setting a strong vision, and by ensuring the right people are on the team.
  • Communicate well and develop relationships.
  • Have courage. They take decisive action even when it’s hard to do so.
  • Take risks—but only after research and deliberation.
  • Know when to say no, either to avoid a mistake or to decline a role or delegate a job to someone else.
  • Are resilient and optimistic. They play the long game and will weather any storm.
  • Challenge themselves by considering opposing viewpoints and taking constructive feedback.
  • Have confidence in their abilities but are able to check their egos to avoid hubris.
  • Care for their business and their employees.

You, as CEO, already have the most important trait—courage—and you’ll develop all the others as you and your business grow.

GENERAL MANAGER

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If the CEO is the captain, the general manager is the “first mate.”

He or she takes executive orders from the CEO and implements them. The CEO sets the vision, and the general manager implements it.

General managers should be free to make decisions, but they should know when they need the CEO’s input. For example, if a GM asks “should I order more toilet paper?” you don’t actually have a manager. If, on the other hand, your GM suggests constantly increasing class sizes might warrant building another bathroom, you’ve got the right person in place.

GMs provide a buffer and a filter. They are the CEO’s link to the staff, and great GMs protect the CEOs time fiercely. They’re independent and self-motivated yet able to take detailed instructions and follow through with implementation.

Great GMs do not need to be coaches, though many are. But the GM’s role is not to coach every class but rather to manage the day-to-day operations.

In some cases, the role develops over time as finances allow. For example, a GM might first cut coaching in half to handle increased other responsibilities, including staff development. As new coaches develop and revenue increases, the GM can reduce coaching hours and increase management time. Eventually, the GM might coach one class a day—or none at all.

Compensation

In the 4/9ths Model, we like to tie wages to revenue. For example, if a gym charges $70 for personal training, the trainer should get $31.11.

Some important roles can’t easily be tied to revenues. They include the roles of GM, administrator and cleaner (see below). These roles should be paid hourly and tracked on a timesheet. Wages paid to these roles must still come out of the 44 percent of total revenue set aside for staff pay.

In the early stages of a gym, GM duties are often tacked on to other duties to create a full-time position. For example, a GM might to 15 hours of personal training, 10 hours of group coaching and 15 hours of management tasks each week. As the business grows and the GM duties increase, he or she can coach less and manage more.

In this example, the GM hours are not tied to revenue.

What’s a good starting point? About $20 per hour or around $250-$300 per week.

Roles and Tasks

Manage staff schedules.

  • Confirm coverage.
  • Handle call offs and vacations.
  • Cover or find coverage as needed.

Fill in and manage annual calendar via Brand Action Sheet.

  • Ensure all holidays and closings are announced well in advance.
  • Fill in the big events for the year.
  • Find opportunities for specialty courses, clinics and seminars.
  • Ensure the Brand Action Sheet is filled in for at least three months to allow proper time to announce and fill programs.

Manage retail department.

  • Set up kiosk and make sure payment app is working.
  • Spot-check transactions to ensure clients are paying for products.
  • Make announcements for product orders and launches.
  • Advertise products weekly.
  • Order and stock as needed.

Oversee cleaning and maintenance departments.

  • Provide cleaners with an up-to-date checklist.
  • Manage cleaning and maintenance schedules.
  • Cover shifts as needed to ensure a clean facility.
  • Check cleaning supply levels and order as needed.

Oversee client success manager (CSM).

  • Follow up with CSM to ensure communication with prospects is professional and effective.
  • Ensure Intake processes are followed, new intros are booked and sales team is ready.
  • Ensure integration is effective and new members know where to go, what to do, what to use and who to talk to.
  • Ensure retention processes are implemented and effective, including updated automations, goal-setting sessions, discretionary spending on gifts.

Oversee social media manager (SMM).

  • Check all platform and website insights and analytics to get objective data on performance.
  • Provide feedback to SMM to ensure constant improvement and elevation of the role.
  • Provide SMM with calendar for posting schedule.
  • Connect SMM with Brand Action Sheet to ensure events are created well in advance and all programs are advertised often.

Maintain the atmosphere, spirit and goals of the brand, including oversight of other contractors, employees and tenants thereof.

Review current SOPs and update staff playbook appropriately.

  • Every month, choose one system to improve through focused work.

Mentor staff through monthly one-on-ones as they build their careers. o Identify current successes.

  • Help staff set areas of focus.
  • Update likes and dislikes, as well as long-term goals of staff members.
  • Provide recommendations for continued/increased success.

Manage outreach and co-branding activities.

  • With budget set by CEO, create a quarterly plan tied to Brand Action Sheet, including expos, local business events, competitions, runs, OCRs, health and fitness related events, etc.
  • Visit one to two businesses weekly through appointments and cold-call coffee visits to find out how we can help their clients and employees.
  • Pursue cross-promotional opportunities according to budget set by CEO.

 

Characteristics and Hiring Tips

General managers are intelligent, self-motivated people with great organization and communications skills. GMs are an important face in the business, and they manage your staff, Copyright © 2019 – Two-Brain Business 13

so they need to be kind but clear leaders who are deeply invested in the business, its clients and its staff.

Great GMs:

  • Understand the vision of the CEO and are committed to implementing it.
  • Must be well spoken and comfortable with in-person, over-the-phone and online communication.
  • Must be well organized and task oriented.
  • Are able to manage others and help others improve performance.
  • Often have strong skills in social media, spreadsheets, website management and general computing.
  • Earn the respect other staff members and lead by example.
  • Are knowledgeable about all aspects of the business.
  • Perform consistently well on evaluations (90 percent or better).
  • Are timely and respectful of the standards of care and behavior.

COACH

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Many owners start gyms because they love to coach. Passionate about fitness, they open a facility, and they plan to coach every class.

Here’s the reality: You won’t be able to sustain that plan for long. You’ll either hit burnout or run out of money.

That’s not to say you can’t coach classes if you want to. Two-Brain Business works with many successful owners who still coach classes—but they do it because they want to, not because they have to. And their businesses still grow while they teach squats because they have the right people in the right roles.

Many new gym owners see coaching as a high-value role, but it’s not. It’s important—critically important—but it’s worth about $20-25 an hour. And it isn’t that hard to groom a coach to lead a class.

The hesitation here is always related to something like this: “My clients love me. I’ll never find someone who can replace me.” If you’re irreplaceable, your business won’t grow, and you’ll reach a hard income ceiling because you run out of hours in the day. It happened to our founder, Chris Cooper, who once coached 13 sessions back to back and realized he hadn’t made enough money to feed his family.

So hire some coaches and shape them into the great leaders you need. Replace yourself. Better yet, hire a GM and get him or her train the coaches. All you have to do is identify roles and responsibilities and select people with the right skills. Then you train them, supply constructive criticism and provide regular opportunities for skill development.

The best coaches aren’t the ones with the most credentials or university degrees. Education helps, sure. But it’s not the most important aspect of a great coach. The best coaches always get people to move better and smile—and you don’t need a degree for that. In reality, coaches/ need one credential to qualify for insurance and a set of soft skills that allows them to connect with clients.

You’re looking for passionate, friendly leaders who are invested in health and fitness. Sometimes you’ll find them via a job posting, and sometimes you’ll find them in your classes. Some will know the origin and insertion of the quadriceps muscles. Others will not, but they’ll know the exact points of performance for a squat, and, more importantly, they’ll be able to make a client smile while he or she learns to squat.

Coaches are leaders. They need to inspire and connect with people. And they need to be able to follow instructions that ensure they’re doing exactly what you want them to do. That’s where roles and tasks come in, as well as regular performance reviews.

Compensation

Coaches can be paid in several ways. In the industry, the group coach role averages about $20 or $25 per hour. That results in an annual salary of about $40,000-$50,000 if the person coaches eight hours a day—which is usually far too much for a person to handle.

We recommend coaches find ways to move beyond that ceiling through personal training, small-group coaching and specialty programs that result in hourly wages well above $25. That’s outside the scope of this guide, but you can read all about the plan in the free ebook “How to Add 10K of Personal Training Revenue to Your Gym in 30 Days or Less.”

Whatever you pay a coach, we’d recommend you pay all staff a maximum of four-ninths (44 percent) of gross revenue. That might be a flat rate per group class or a rate per head in each class. It’s up to you. But remember to set aside 33 percent of revenue for profit first, as well as 22 percent for fixed costs.

In a successful, well-run gym whose owner has moved into growth roles and created lucrative opportunities for staff, coaches can make a great deal more than $20-$25 an hour/$50,000 a year.

Roles and Tasks

Adhere to all standards of behavior in coaches manual/staff playbook.

  • Show leadership and professionalism at all times.

Prepare and implement group training strategies for clients, as detailed below.

  • With skills/gymnastics, be sure to focus on technique, control and quality of movement with each athlete.
  • In strength work, focus on form first and PRs/load second.
  • Don’t let athletes skip assistance work.
  • Encourage athletes to do the mobility work before leaving.

Manage general administrative tasks and set the tone for each session.

  • Arrive fully prepared 15 minutes before every session and follow the facility’s opening checklist. If a class is in session, the coach should greet and interact with arriving/exiting members.
  • Start all classes precisely on time.
  • Smile and be inviting, courteous and fun. Introduce yourself to everyone in the room
  • Take attendance and ensure everyone has signed in through our system.
  • Cover any announcements on the whiteboard or as described to you by General Manager.
  • Use an ice breaker: Make up a question or use one that’s already on the board.
  • Briefly describe the workout for the class, spending a moment explaining the why of the workout.

Prepare athletes for training.

  • Lead clients through the general and specific warm-ups but be sure to move about the room and talk to each person.
  • If someone is late: have him or her run through the warm-up on the side alone, then jump in. Absolutely no burpee penalties.

Run the group workout.

  • Set up the room in a way that nobody will be in danger when transitioning between movements.
  • Assign modifications as needed, considering injury status, mobility, goals, previous training history, and skill and fitness levels.
  • Supervise weight selection for workout and have clients perform 3 practice reps of each movement. If form is lacking, scale the athlete to a more appropriate movement/load.
  • Remind athletes to hold off putting away equipment until all members are done.
  • Set timer, count off 3, 2, 1 … go!
  • Move around the room and monitor form, giving precise, actionable cues to each athlete. If form is slipping as fatigue grows and cues do not improve it, scale on the spot.
  • Look for those who are frustrated and those who achieve PRs. After class, pull frustrated clients aside and offer to help through a PT session. Talk to athletes who hit PRs about new goals and ways to achieve them, including personal sessions.
  • Maintain high energy and enthusiasm but prioritize coaching, not cheerleading.
  • As athletes finish, encourage them to cheer others on rather than put equipment away. Gear will be put away as a group when everyone is done.

Supervise the post-workout period.

  • Upon completion of the workout, high-five everyone.
  • Remind clients to log their scores.
  • Get the class started on assistance work and cool-down/mobility movements. Focus on tissues worked that day (especially the high-volume areas).
  • Perform “campfiring”: Talk to clients about things other than CrossFit. Get to know them and find other ways to help them reach their goals
  • Usher everyone to the side/lobby if another class is coming in.
  • Start the next class on time.
  • Follow the facility’s post-class or closing checklist.

Assist in promotional endeavors through group participation, public speaking, and delivery of promotional materials. o Get at least one or two pictures/videos every class and share with Client Success Manager (CSM).

  • Provide one to three instructional videos or photos per week to establish expertise. Share with CSM.
  • Write one blog post every two weeks on an area of interest or specialty.
  • Create content as directed to promote specialty programs or upcoming events.

Pursue additional development. 

  • Maintain all credentials and actively engage in learning, either through self-directed study or in consultation with the GM during quarterly reviews.
  • Meet quarterly with GM for performance evaluation and goal setting.
  • Attend monthly coaches meetings, and, as directed by GM, present on areas of interest/specialty to educate other staff members.
  • Participate in all educational components of staff meetings.
  • Be prepared to offer ideas and suggestions for improvement.

Operate and oversee the facility. o Provide general assistance in maintaining and tidying the facility.

  • Notify cleaner of areas requiring attention.
  • Remove all broken/malfunctioning equipment from the floor and notify GM through maintenance log.
  • Review Emergency Action Plan monthly and know all emergency/accident procedures, including Accident Reports.

 

Characteristics and Hiring Tips

Above all, coaches are caring leaders. They have empathy and amazing communications skills. They are passionate about fitness and live an active, healthy lifestyle. Ideal coaches understand the mission of your business and are fully invested in supporting it. Technical skills are a definite asset, but they can easily be added to a friendly, passionate motivator. It’s much more difficult to add soft skills to a boring, cold tactician.

Great coaches:

  • Are invested in the success of the business.
  • Care about each client and find creative ways to motivate.
  • Celebrate successes and make clients feel like superstars.
  • Develop effective communication styles.
  • Fill the space with their presence such that a visitor immediately knows who is running the class.
  • Consider themselves “fitness professionals” whether they are full-time staff members or coach a few classes a week.
  • Never let clients see they’re having a bad day.
  • Live an active lifestyle and pursue professional development, not because they have to but because they want to.
  • Have the technical skills needed to help clients move better and accomplish goals.
  • Absorb and act on constructive criticism, seeing it as an opportunity to improve.

ADMINISTRATOR

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An administrator is the Detail King or Queen of the facility. He or she is responsible for the small but essential office tasks that ensure the business runs smoothly.

We know of spectacular trainers who foundered because they didn’t process payments on time or let a database devolve into a useless mess. We know of other visionary owners who can’t free themselves from data entry and basic paperwork. Other owners struggle to implement simple systems that have a dramatic effect on member retention and client satisfaction.

The administrator is the solution. This staff person is often the most detail-oriented person in the business. He or she tracks down the missing receipts, ensures payments are processed on time, and handles day-to-day tasks such as correspondence, password resets and member requests, and so on.

A good administrator improves efficiency, and it’s not uncommon for administrators to “supercharge” a business and help it take a great leap forward. In one case, a Two-Brain Business client hired an administrator for $20 an hour, and the new staff member promptly found hundreds of dollars in billing that had not been entered into the system. This one simple correction covered the wages of the administrator for months.

Administrators can also be project managers. Have a talented coach who can’t seem to get a specialty program organized? Connect him or her with the administrator. Struggling to implement and new automation because technology isn’t your thing? Pass it to the administrator. Need a spreadsheet to track membership growth? That’s a simple task for your admin person.

In the roles and tasks below, we’ve included traditional admin tasks as well as signature Joy Person duties Two-Brain Business recommends. This role is sometimes referred to as a Client Success Manager (CSM), but we’ll lump it into admin here.We’ve also included Social Media Manager (SMM) tasks. Most administrators are excellent with CSM/SMM tasks that directly affect retention and length of engagement. If you want to create separate roles, feel free to carve out the CSM/SMM roles and assign the duties to other people.

The list of tasks is long, but many of them are very simple or can be automated—child’s play for a skilled administrator.

Some owners like paperwork. Many do not. Either way, it’s not a good investment for a CEO to do admin work, which is very stimulating for the right person.

If you know someone whose eyes light up when you complain about a spreadsheet, database or checklist, you’re likely looking at your new administrator.

Compensation

Administrators can generally be found for $15 to $20 an hour, though some are paid more or less.

Do not let the cost of this position obscure its importance. Small investments here often pay for themselves immediately. Think about this: If you pay an administrator about $60 a week for 20 hours of work per month, you’ll make your money back if just two extra clients are retained.

That says nothing of the revenue a CEO could generate with 20 free hours per month.

We recommend you start with a small number of hours and duties, then expand the role as finances and needs allow. Remember, this money comes from the 44 percent of gross revenue set aside to pay all staff costs.

Roles and Tasks

Handle all monthly administrative processes as laid out by the GM.

  • Ensure all clients have current memberships and automated billing.
  • Update expired credit cards.
  • Respond to all requests for membership additions/adjustments, process refunds and purchases as needed, and add additional services/memberships when requested.
  • Complete Two-Brain Big Sheet metrics for review by GM/CEO (average revenue per member, length of engagement, long-term value, sales).

Handle all incoming inquiries, including phone and text, and reply using appropriate resources (see staff playbook).

  • Manage general gym email accounts.
  • Manage messages coming through Facebook and other social media accounts.
  • Monitor and respond to comments questions on gym social media pages.
  • Post PRs, congrats, news, promo material, and calls for Bright Spots and goal setting every week.
  • Manage all automated communications through database and selected apps.
  • Politely disengage from all repeated sales calls that have previously been declined by GM/CEO.

Forward inquiries to GM and CEO when needed, including:

  • Sales correspondence or co-branding proposals.
  • Government/tax correspondence.
  • Job inquiries.
  • Requests for donations.

Manage No Sweat Intro/free consultation scheduling. Book No Sweat Intros and ensure automated sequences are in place.

  • Book No Sweat Intros and ensure automated sequences are in place.
  • Confirm all appointment bookings 24 hours in advance by client’s preferred method of communication.
  • Handle any rescheduling smoothly to preserve engagement.
  • Maintain No Sweat Intro schedule for staff and ensure double bookings and missed appointments do not occur.
  • Ensure proper follow-up after successful appointments.
  • Follow up with coach to ensure sales tracking sheet has been correctly filled out, and get all memberships/services in place and billed ASAP after booking.
  •  Manage sales tracking sheet.
  •  Ensure coach has uploaded goals to database after all appointments.
  • Follow up with prospective clients 7, 14 and 30 days after unsuccessful appointments using appropriate templates and scripts.

Manage all staff scheduling and administrative tasks. o Ensure schedule is created at least seven days in advance.

  • Ensure adequate coverage of all classes.
  • Adjust schedule as needed when switches or illnesses occur.
  • Log request for time off.
  • Ensure time cards and invoices are filed on time.
  • Ensure payroll is filed and checks are prepared for signature by signing authority.
  • Book staff meetings according to schedule and take minutes.
  • Manage CEO/GM calendars.
  • Notify CEO/GM of important upcoming tasks according to schedule (maintenance/renovations, tax filing, seasonal duties, etc.).

Promptly integrate new members according to procedures. o Ensure new clients feel welcome and understand all services available to them.

  • Manage automations for new members so the campaign is running less than 24 hours after membership is created.
  • Review automations quarterly and update info if anything has changed (sign-in procedures, workout tracking, pricing, new services, etc.).
  • Three days after signup, call or text the new client to check in, answer questions, book 90-day goal-setting session and ensure client knows how to book classes, log workouts, join Facebook group, etc.

Perform all retention duties according to staff playbook.

  • Ensure retention automations are running (periodic check-ins, class milestones, birthdays, etc.).
  • Review retention automations quarterly and update info if anything has changed.
  • Ensure goal-setting sessions occur, and follow up by logging feedback in appropriate tracking docs/systems.
  • Manage client outreach strategy and buy/send gift items within budget set by GM/CEO.
  • Text, email or use social media to congratulate everyone on PR board.

Manage business social media.

  • Create and post content as directed by GM.
  • Create, run and monitor ad campaigns as directed by GM.
  • Funnel coach/GM content onto appropriate platforms according to social schedule.
  • Foster engagement through professional interaction according to social media guidelines.
  • Ask for and record client testimonials whenever possible.
  • Manage membership issues sheet, identify and contact absent clients, check in on clients on injury holds, contact expiring clients in advance of expiration to re-up.
  • Plan, promote and run social events according to calendar and budget set by GM.

Manage website and all association platforms.

  • Ensure workout posts are pre-built and scheduled.
  • Create and maintain landing pages for all programs.
  • Perform quarterly review of all static pages and update old information.
  • Respond to all comments.
  • Post blogs and other media as directed by GM.

Perform all front-desk tasks.

  • Process retail purchases.
  • Supply waivers for drop-ins and process payments.
  • Greet all visitors promptly upon entry.
  • Ensure front area is tidy and professional.
  • Monitor all office supplies and restock when necessary.

 

Characteristics and Hiring Tips

The best administrators are detail oriented and possess general office and organization skills. Your administrator does not have to be a coach or fitness professional, but it’s a bonus if he or she lives a fit lifestyle similar to that promoted by your business.

Great administrators:

  • Love details.
  • Are precise, tidy and very organized.
  • Always know what time it is.
  • Take instructions and follow checklists to the letter.
  • Know how to use all general office equipment and software.
  • Can learn to use new software or equipment to increase efficiency.
  • Enjoy paperwork, spreadsheets, databases.
  • Possess a smiling, friendly disposition (more important for CSM duties).
  • Understand all aspects of current social media and are skilled in written/visual communication (more important for SMM duties).
  • Communicate well in general.

CLEANER

Profile

A cleaner might be considered a low-value role, but it’s still an essential position. Filthy gyms turn off clients and are often indicative of deeper problems. CrossFit founder Greg Glassman famously said he could tell the quality of a gym by the cleanliness of its bathrooms. How you do anything is how you do everything.

So cleaning is essential. But the owner shouldn’t do it.

Too often, we see owners in the early stages wearing a host of hats, as well as a set of rubber gloves. The hard-grinding owner thinks nothing of scrubbing a toilet or mopping the floors. He or she is only too happy to roll up the sleeves and get to work. But it’s a bad investment.

Anyone can clean the floors. Only the owner can grow the business. We encourage owners to offload cleaning as soon as possible. Doing so is an easy win. Cleaners are not paid a great deal, but cleaning takes time. That means an owner can buy back valuable time for a low price.

This role can be tacked on to others to create a larger position, but be careful of burdening a talented coach with vacuuming. Could he or she generate more personal-training revenue if someone else cleaned the floors? Often, cleaning is farmed out—to a member, to a cleaning company, etc.

Cleaners simply need to be reliable people who don’t mind manual labor. Is the business always above minimum cleanliness standards, and is the cleaner doing the job in the allocated time each week? If so, you’ve found a great cleaner—and free time to build the business.

Compensation

Cleaners can usually be paid about $12-$15 and hour. Remember, this money comes from the 44 percent of gross revenue set aside to pay all staff costs.

Try to look at this money as a very profitable investment. Could you, as owner, use a free hour to make more than $15? Yes, you could.

So hire a cleaner.

Roles and Tasks

  • Arrive on time as scheduled.
  • Meet all service standards (see staff playbook) and perform all duties in time allowed.
  • Follow the cleaning checklist for the correct order of tasks.
  • Check all supplies and follow resupply procedures to ensure the facility never runs out of anything.
  • Communicate with GM if extra hours are needed to meet service standards, or note any areas of concern that might require extra attention by other staff members outside cleaner’s hours.
  • Ensure supplies and equipment are always put away in an orderly manner.

Characteristics and Hiring Tips

Your cleaner must be reliable and diligent. Those are the two main characteristics you are looking for. We’ve seen many situations in which owners trade services with members or pay unreliable people to clean, and that usually results in missed or subpar duties and awkward situations.

Your cleaner must know that the role is essential, and he or she must perform it as scheduled. If you can’t find the right person, contact any cleaning company in your area.

The best cleaners:

  • Are professionals or enjoy manual labor.
  • Arrive on time every time.
  • Finish the work on time every time.
  • Make it shine.
  • Don’t require large amounts of oversight.
  • Can follow checklists.

 

CLIMB THE LADDER

Creating these five roles will dramatically improve any facility in the early stages. While it might feel odd for a generalist owner to give tasks to specialists, this is how businesses grow. Steve Jobs didn’t build many iPads, and Elon Musk isn’t turning screws on Teslas.

When we first talk to new entrepreneurs, we quickly identify the lowest-value tasks he or she is performing. That usually means we get the mop out of the owner’s hands immediately. But before long, we’re getting rid of other tasks, including excessive amounts of coaching and basic administrative duties. After that, we install a thin management layer with a GM.

All this allows the owner to use his or her time on the most important role: generating revenue.

Owners who are very good at generating revenue soon need to add more roles. These often include specialty group coaches, nutrition coaches, therapists, and so on. At this stage, administrator might become a full-time role, and CSM and SMM might become their own part-time positions. A receptionist might be needed, as well as a head coach and a sales manager. A chief operations officer (COO) might need to be installed above the GM to allow the owner to offload high-value roles. Maybe the owner hires a CEO to replace himself or herself.

This process takes the owner from a sole proprietor who does everything to a successful entrepreneur who has created a cash-flow asset and now has the free time to create another or retire.

In the Two-Brain Business model, this is the path from Founder to Farmer to Tinker to Thief.

To find out what stage you’re at, take our 20-question quiz here.

To read more about the four phases of the entrepreneur’s journey, read “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” by Chris Cooper.

And if you need help figuring out how to hire staff who can free up your time, book a free call with a Two-Brain Business mentor here.

Salaries Breed Laziness and Complacency

People who have an intrapreneurial mindset will always be drawn to the opportunity to earn a higher income.

They’ll be eager for more responsibility and promotions, and they’ll also be very interested in systems that provide incentives, commissions, bonuses and other rewards. They’re less interested in flat salaries that don’t offer any room to grow. This mentality can be used by the owner to grow the business and by the staff person achieve his or her own goals.

Intrapreneurial staff members aren’t a cost to the business. They are an asset—and they are rewarded accordingly.

Consider a staff member who is paid $20 to coach a class vs. a staff member who is paid 4/9ths of any revenue he or she brings in. The former is a cost to the business, especially if only one or two people show up to class. The latter is a true asset who can generate gross revenue for the business that results in an hourly rate well above $20. In Two-Brain gyms, it’s not uncommon for intrapreneurial coaches to make much more than industry-standard hourly rates.

In the Two-Brain Business system of Intrapreneurship, employees or contractors are incentivized to use entrepreneurial skills within a larger business. Intrapreneurs essentially build their own businesses within the stable, established larger brand, and both parties win.

Salaries often create a culture of complacency. A guaranteed wage doesn’t motivate most people to do more than the minimum, and there’s no consequence for doing less than the minimum—at least until the owner eventually fires the staff member after a series of reviews that document the poor performance.

In a salaried business, it’s very easy to see how staff members are an expense. They collect money no matter what happens as long as the business stays afloat.

But if the right people are paid based on contributions, they’ll be motivated to work hard to generate more income—for themselves, of course, but also for the business that affords them the opportunity. These staff members are not an expense; they are an asset because they generate new revenue and keep a percentage of it.

Performance-based pay structures offer the possibility of great reward, and they allow independent, motivated people the autonomy they love. But this path isn’t for everyone. If you don’t perform in this system, you don’t earn great rewards.

Here are three tips for success in an intrapreneurial system:

1. Have a short memory. Success should be savored, but only for a short period. Then the nose goes back to the grindstone so more successes follow.

2. Rewards are tied to effort. Invest more and you’ll earn more. Slack off and you can expect meager rewards.

3. You must work hard and smart. Nothing will come easy, and you will have to push hard. But in a well-run business with invested ownership, you’ll have the guidance, support and opportunity you need to thrive.

In the intrapreneurial model, the right people must be in the right places. Employees and contractors must understand the system, see the path to reward and buy in. If they don’t, they won’t succeed, and the business won’t grow.

But if you’re a passionate, motivated, qualified individual, the possibilities for growth and financial success are endless.

Why put a ceiling on your earning potential? Why not reduce your own risk while generating a great income in collaboration with a supportive business owner who’s invested in your success?

Want to add $5,000 a month in recurring revenue? Click here to book a free call with a certified Two-Brain Business mentor who will tell you how to do it.

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