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Follow this quick guide to quickly and concisely figure out who you should spend your time researching, doing demo's with and ultimately picking for your gym.
We see this common thread play out all the time on the random gym owner chat forums on the Internet. Someone's thinking of looking at new gym management software for their business, and they just ask this open ended (yet simple) question.
Despite everyone's (biased) opinions on the Internet, this is what you actually SHOULD do. This guide is broken down into three phases:
- Getting The Hitlist
- Making The Decision
Get Your Gym Management Software Hitlist
The first thing we're going to do is get a list of 3 to 5 companies to dive deeper into. We're going to base this list on two key things we will find all over the Internet:
- Reputation / Reviews
- Relevance to your gym type
We are not going to focus on anything else just yet. The idea of this part is you don't want to waste your time looking at ALL of the systems out there... you want to leverage the power of the Internet to focus your attention in on a handful of them. The first part is to crowdsource a few key questions placed in the right spots to get a jump on a hitlist of companies you can spend time actually researching.
Step 1: Post That Question to a Forum or Two
Required Working Time: 30 minutes The reason you should actually post that question is because you want to have a wide range of options to look at, and your peers might know of some that simple Google searches fail to pick up.
Where To Post
Facebook is often the best spot to get a lot of answers, fast (and that's what we're going for here). If you're not already in a Facebook group with other owners in your gym industry - find one! There's groups for every kind of workout/fitness niche!
Literally copy and paste this forum post and replace with your information.
HI, I run a in #Gym Type / Location#. I currently use #Your Current Platform# and I'm thinking of switching software. Does anyone here have any guidance or advice? Things that are important to me: #Important Features#. Thanks in advance everyone!
Keys to this post
Gym Type / Location: you need to tell the audience your gym type and city/state for contextual relevance. Some software is better for some gym types. Some software might not work best where you live.
Your Current Platform: For starters, you don't want to be referred back to your existing platform. That's a waste of everyone's time. Second, someone who has experience migrating to or from that system might be able to chime in with some help.
Important Features: Everyone will reply with the context of what's worked for them, but if you're explicit about what is important for you in the next potential software, people can answer your question with more relevance. Let people reply to the post for a few hours. If activity is low, add a comment to it to get it bumped back to the top of the group's page. Come back after a few hours and start to scan the answers. Write down every unique name you see. If you see a certain company name more often than the rest, put an asterisk next to the name.
Step 2: Search Review Sites
Take this list of names and head over to some review sites. For this, we would recommend the following:
- Google My Business
Go to capterra.com and search for each of the names on your list. Our objective here is to save time, so we're going to try to get in and out of here before getting lost in the weeds. is an online review site that verifies reviewers and cannot be littered with fake posts.
A Capterra Gotcha
Capterra ranks sites on their searches by WHO PAYS MORE PER CLICK. They do not rank listings based on the reviews or ratings.
Write Down The Ratings
Capterra will give you a rating overview for many important categories. Write down the average star rating for each of the review types they offer next to the gym management software name.
Scan The Good AND The Bad Reviews
Don't take the time to read every one of them - we're going for speed here. Scan them. See what words pop out at you in both the good and the bad. Hold onto those words and feelings that are popping out... we will revisit them later.
Google My Business
GMB is Google's efforts to help consumers find companies to do business with. It allows customers to leave ratings and reviews for businesses here. If this company does not have a Google My Business page, scratch them off the list. Repeat the steps above. Write down the GMB average rating and scan some of the written reviews. See what "key words" pop out at you again after doing this and hold onto those words again.
Facebook Business Page
Head back over to Facebook and search for the official business page of each gym management software you had on your hit list. Repeat the steps above. Same as GMB, if they don't have an official Facebook Business Page - scratch them off the list. Write down the average Facebook rating and scan some of the written reviews and reformulate your "key words" you feel about this business one last time. Now - write down those GOOD and BAD key words. Try to keep it simple, sum up your feelings in a few words or less.
Modify Your List
If any of the businesses left a bad taste in your mouth by this point, scratch them off your list. We will take anyone who's still alive into the next round.
Researching The Gym Management Systems
Required Working Time: 1 - 2 hours By this point we've done some quick elimination of potentially not-so-great fits with your company. It's time to invest a little time learning more about these companies to see if you should do a demo or take the time to understand their product.
Visit Their Website
This is just a mandatory step, because you kinda have to... but honestly if I had a dollar fro every time I heard someone's marketing website sold promises they didn't' deliver on... So keep that very important concept in mind.
Dive Into Their Features
Check out their features page and make sure it's a good fit for you. Be very careful if a system is claiming to do everything in the world - we know the old saying "Doer of everything, master of none".
Check Out Their Pricing
Here's some key things to check for on the pricing page:
- Do they have a pricing page and are the terms very clear?
- Do the prices change or are they fixed?
- Is there a contract or minimum time length agreement?
- Do you have to pay more to unlock certain features?
- Do they have a free trial?
At PushPress, we try to keep our pricing very clear and up front. We are the only ones to offer a free gym management software plan!
Understand Their Payments Options / Pricing
Often people are only looking for the system pricing, but they over look the Payment Processing fees. Most gym management software solutions bundle payments into the application, so you should make sure to understand those costs too. Here's some questions to try to answer about payment processing pricing:
- Are the payments pricing public on the website?
- Are the terms of the payments pricing clear and up front?
- Are there any things that change the payments pricing?
- Do you get to bring your own payments solution, or is it included with the software?
PushPress Payments is simple as it comes. Our Pro clients enjoy 2.9% + 0.30 per transaction for credit cards and 0.8%+ $0.30 for ACH. Our Free clients pay 1% over the Pro rate.
Scour The Internet for Clues To Their Help/Support
Google " help docs" and " youtube" to start. See if there's an indication that this company has help docs and a system for helping their clients out there.
Request Help Through Their Support / Sales Chat
This is a key one. If they have a front end chat on their marketing website, start a conversation. See if they are around to assist you in a timely manner. If you're chatting with them at an inopportune hour, do give them a pass. You can't expect someone to be manning a front end sales chat 24/7. Once you're done doing this research, take a look at your list and cross off any company you got a bad feeling about. Now it's time to invest the real time in the process.
Step 3: Demos and Product Evaluation
Now it's time to book some demos and see how their product is. The demo, like the website, will likely be scripted to look perfect, so we are going to discount almost everything we see in the demo. We will however be very judge-y about all the details.
Time To Demo
If you cannot book a demo time for a long while, what it means is they're overworked. Yes, it might mean that there's a lot of people wanting to have demos - but it also might mean their one sales person is away on vacation. Either way, if you cannot get a demo booked anytime within the next 3 business days, it means something is being stretched thin.
Demo Sign Up Process
Remember, attention to detail! If the sign up process is confusing in any way, likely other things will be in your experience with this platform.
The "Moment of Truth" Question
This is the ultimate question to gauge the sincerity fo the sales person on the line with you. When doing your research above, find a feature you KNOW they do not or can not do. For instance if you're a strength and conditioning gym, tell them that you take donations and would like to have the proceeds donated to charity for a certain Saturday class. If the sales person does not bat an eye and tells you "yeah, we can do that, easy" then you know you're dealing with an organization that puts sales and profits before the needs of their customers.
Bonus Offer on the "Moment of Truth" Question
If you think of the funniest question and get the sales person on video or audio saying they can easily handle that - send it to me. If it makes me laugh out loud, I'll personally pay you $100. I'm really just curious if anyone read this far down the page.