Owning any business comes with a seemingly never-ending assortment of responsibilities. And when your business is a gym, yoga studio, CrossFit gym or another type of fitness-centric organization, those responsibilities include unique considerations that need to be made, like maintaining exercise machines, preventing equipment theft and keeping locker rooms safe.
To protect your investment, boost profitability and in some cases, even help retain clients, a little extra effort to help make your facility safe and secure can go a long way and offer everyone involved some peace of mind. Here are a few tried and true ways to safeguard your fitness business.
General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance may seem like a fairly obvious precaution when it comes to protecting your fitness business, but it also covers a wide range of circumstances that you may not realize you need protection for. It can help protect your business if a client slips and falls in the shower or pool area, or if a client or staff member is injured using fitness equipment. In the event that a sexual harassment lawsuit occurs, general liability insurance can even cover defense cost reimbursement.
Paired with ample outdoor lighting, security cameras are an extra layer of protection. In the event of an accident or a criminal incident, video recordings can provide additional information to the authorities and offer an unbiased view of what really happened.
In addition to offering more peace of mind to your clients and staff, security footage can provide protection to your company as well. For instance, if a client tries to sue you for being at fault for an accident after leaving your gym, security camera footage of the incident could possibly prove that you are not at fault, saving you from a costly legal battle.
Invest in security cameras with color night vision to ensure that recordings will be high quality, which can help make them more effective as evidence. Color night vision does require some ambient lighting in order to produce the clearest picture, but when paired with the exterior lighting recommended above, there should be plenty of ambient lighting to capture crisp images and recordings.
When joining a gym or signing up for private fitness training, a client provides a host of personal information, including their mailing address, email address, phone number, date of birth and credit card information. As such, there is an assumed level of trust that your business will protect this private information, which is why it is crucial to have data security precautions in place.
Train your staff to be vigilant in protecting private client information. Make sure your team uses complex passwords to get into your computer systems and have them change their passwords every three to six months. Encrypt all sensitive data and have a routine backup protocol in place to make data recovery easy in the event of an outage.
You may find it easier to hire an IT consultant to help you create a data security plan and procedures to help you and your team stick to it. They can help you implement general policies and offer support when technology issues arise so that you can focus on the parts of your business that you enjoy.
Equipment maintenance is a crucial element for any fitness business, as it's a proactive way to catch any equipment functionality or safety issues before they're reported by a member; not to mention your clients will be judging your facility on the quality and cleanliness of the weights, machines and other workout equipment. In an effort to streamline maintenance as much as possible, create a checklist for staff to review daily, weekly and monthly.
Daily tasks should include wiping down all equipment at the beginning and/or end of the day, organizing all chalk, weight belts and other accessories and that all mirrors and flooring in the workout areas are clean. Weekly tasks should include a deep cleaning of the exercise areas, as well as ensuring proper cable alignment, sufficient lubrication and tightening of all screws and bolts on equipment. Monthly tasks should include a deeper inspection into the mechanics of each machine as well as all mats, protective padding and accessories to make sure that everything is in excellent condition and free of any cracks or tears.