While drop-in visits and class passes give students flexibility, they give studio owners a reason to worry. You can never be sure how many drop-ins and class passes you’ll sell each month, and that means you can’t accurately forecast future revenue. Even if you’re a well-established studio, this uncertainty eventually becomes a problem.
The solution is to move your students to recurring monthly memberships. With monthly memberships, you can predict future revenue and enjoy a steady and dependable stream of income. Recurring monthly memberships also take the (monthly) decision to renew out of your student’s hands. You can easily move your students away from drop-in visits and class passes by putting some attractive options and key policies in place.
Make it Attractive to be a Member
To start, your monthly recurring memberships need to be the most attractive option for your students. The right pricing is important, and we’ll cover that next. But you can include some perks in your membership packages that will help make them the best option. Try including the following in your membership packages:
- free members only monthly event
- free guest passes
- discounts on workshops
- merchandise discounts (like mats and water bottles)
Offer Tiered Memberships
Setting up tiered membership options gives students the flexibility they desire, while still moving them away from single-visits and class passes. Of course, this suggestion has to work for your studio and sales process. So our advice is to keep the options simple. Look at how often your students come to class, and build tiered memberships to match the most common drop-in frequencies. Here are some common options:
- Tier 1- 1 class per week, or 5 classes per calendar month
- Tier 2- 2 classes per week, 8 classes per calendar month
- Tier 3- Unlimited classes per week and month
Reduce the Commitment Period
If you ask for too long of a commitment, your memberships won’t sell. Consider a 15 or 30-day cancelation option so students don’t worry about being locked-in if their life changes.
Setting up recurring monthly memberships for your students, no matter how many classes per month they contain, is an excellent way for you to better predict your future cash flow.
Offer Attractive First Month/New Student Rates
Ideally, you want to catch your new students before they get in the habit of doing drop-in visits or class passes. To do that, offer an attractive (inexpensive) first visit, unlimited month membership option that auto-renews at the regular unlimited monthly membership rate, unless the student cancels or requests a lower-tier membership option.
Enforce Expiration Dates on Class Passes
You may already have expiration dates in place, but you might also be less than excited about enforcing their expirations. The problem is that being lenient on expiration dates undermines your membership options. If you don’t have expirations on your class passes, consider instituting the following:
- 5-class pass: expires in three months
- 10-class pass: expires in six months
- 20-class pass: expires in one year
- Offer 30-Day Membership Holds
Without a membership hold option, students will need to cancel their membership, with the intention of re-enrolling when they’re ready. But you know that students often never get around to re-enrolling. To ensure this doesn’t happen, offer membership holds. 30 to 60 days is a normal and reasonable amount of time to hold a membership, and offering longer hold periods can lead to students falling out of the practice or habit of yoga.
Get Your Automated Billing and Payment Processing in Place
Finally, and probably most importantly, you need to have automated billing and payment processing in place. Automated billing and payment processing make collecting membership fees effortless for you and your students. Once you set a student’s membership for auto-renew, it is billed and charged on a credit card automatically. It’s essentially a set it and forget it process, which means your students don’t need to decide each month if they want to renew their memberships.
Putting these policies and practices in place will help you roll your single visit and class pass students into monthly, auto-renewing memberships. This will help your business become more stable and sustainable. It will also reduce your worries.
Zen Planner is a management and billing software for boutique fitness businesses.
We help gym, school, and studio owners streamline their day-to-day tasks so they can get back to doing what they love — helping their members. Enjoy all the features you need to manage your fitness business, including robust reporting dashboards, automated payment processing, skills and belt tracking, attendance history, and online retail.