Can You Sign Them Up Before You Open?
It’s been your dream to open your own gym. There are so many things to do! Get your location ready, pick out the perfect equipment, sign up members! The excitement can be overwhelming! You decide to have an open house prior to your first day of business to start signing new members.
State Laws May Govern
Wait, did you know that there may be laws governing how early you can sign up members? Getting contracts and receiving money before you can deliver can cause bad publicity and loss of revenue.
Many states have regulations regarding promised health club services. Regulations may include:
- Failure to open a planned health club or location
- Changes in the operation of the health club or location
- Prepaid Entertainment Contracts
Any of these reasons may be justification for your member to cancel a contract.
Failure To Open
Ah, the pipes start to drip, the bathroom doesn’t work and your gym equipment wasn’t delivered on time! All these delay the opening of your gym. And you’ve already signed up 30 new members who are eager to use the facility!
Not only do delays risk your members going elsewhere, but it can be justification for them to cancel their contracts and give you bad reviews. Some states won’t allow early signups. Some states, such as Ohio, require that “…performance of a contract [must] begin within 180 days from date of contract.” This time period is the deadline time period by which you must be open after the contract is signed.
Tip: Choose your contractors carefully, ensure you are within less than 30 days of opening before new members are signed on. This doesn’t mean you can’t generate interest by getting out into the community to share your knowledge and advertise your upcoming opening. Build anticipation and good will, but don’t sign on new members until you are confident in your opening dates and are complying with state laws.
Schedule an Open House as soon as you have a committed date to open your doors. But double check with your state and county to verify that you can pre-sign new members. If not, then just plan a great Open House the first day you are officially open for business!
Changes in Operation
Your buddy, Sam, thought opening a gym would be a great idea, but the pressures of managing the business made him realize that he just wants to teach classes and be a personal trainer, not a business owner. So now you have to find another partner to help achieve your dream.
Changes in ownership or location create just cause for new members to cancel their contract in many states.
Tip: Use any changes in business ownership or location as an opportunity to increase communication with your members. Tell them in advance, let them prepare, and always be positive. Show them the positive side of any change, be supportive of their needs and show them you are still the best choice of the options available to them.
Affiliated Acceptance Corporation is a payment processing and full service billing company that provides gyms with back office support ensuring they keep more money in their pocket from recurring membership dues.
All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about Affiliated Acceptance Corporation and the services we provide. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice.