Nobody likes tedious paperwork. Especially not active gym managers. But Feilding's Evolve is among many Kiwi gyms using an easy tool that cuts hours from sit-down tasks.
As Feilding's Evolve Gym grew from zero to 700 members with a staff of 18 over five years, Manager Ross Darragh knew he needed a new system.
Ross discovered GymMaster over two years ago, a Kiwi-designed and managed program from Treshna Enterprises.
GymMaster won't manage your team, it merely gives gym owners the tools to cut down on menial tasks and provides simple reporting, ultimately giving time back to managers.
Frustrated by hours spent completing 70 direct debits each week, Ross searched the internet for a simple and well-priced system.
"We wanted a system that would enable us to manage our own direct debits easily rather than having to keep a spreadsheet of all our members, put them all into a banking system and tick them all of individually."
Within weeks of contacting Treshna, Chief Executive Andrew Hill flew up to install GymMaster. One day later, GymMaster was fully operational and Evolve's staff were trained.
While Evolve's direct debits leaped from 70 to 400, time taken shrank from two hours to twenty minutes per week.
"It's so much easier the way the system works against doing it manually," says Ross.
Evolve has grown by a basic formula - focusing on gym retention by building rapport with clients. Most clients arrive through referral.
"Our objective is to get as many people in the community exercising as possible for health and fitness reasons. We started with the community in mind and that hasn't changed"
GymMaster alerts staff with a pop up when clients are due for a call or assessment, or if a direct debit failed. Texts and emails can also be sent directly from the system. Handy if you have hundred of members.
"We have gone from a paper based system to totally automatic reminders. It speeds up everybody's work, and because they're not having to flip through papers, it's easy to refer back to see when their last assessment was."
"The texting has certainly helped in the way we have more people come in when it's assessment time. We have a lot more people coming in saying 'I was texted, can I book in my assessment'.
"We used to manually go into each customer's record and see when they last visited, now I click a button and away we go."
Gym owners can also access more than 40 reports - It scraps the need for an administrator.
Ross' favourite is the key perfomance indicators. The short-cut report provides easy-to-read statistics on total members, new members, rejoins, expiries, fees taken, direct debits, retention percentage - and a happiness indicator. Gyms can select their own timeframe on 'gym joy'. At Evolve, a smiley face means their members are coming three days or more a week.
"If they haven't attended in three weeks we give them a call. So the system brings that up on our to-do list."
Evolve also computerised their stock and sale figures through GymMaster, allowing Ross to enter stock and undertake simple stock takes each month.
As Evolve grew, GymMaster evolved with them.
"When we first got GymMaster it had potential for what it's now doing. It's constantly updating with new products and features which is good," he says. "We have asked for lots to be included and most requests have been well met."
Dealing with a Kiwi owned and operated company has it's advantages too.
"The fact that they are in New Zealand, it's one phone call away. Because Andrew travels around he's made a couple of trips up here when we've needing things."
"All the staff are really really helpful and for IT that's pretty good."
If problems do arise, with Ross' permission, Treshna staff remotely access his system.
"I just say, 'here's the problem, give me a call when you're finished' - and it's fixed."
Evolve plans to keep growing - Ross hopes for 1000 members. To deal with more members he plans to install GymMaster security entrances.
"GymMaster has a gate system to stop people walking through. They zap in with their card so we know who's visiting and who's not."
There's no need to pay for extra software as everything is built into GymMaster.
"The only cost for us is the purchase cost of the gates. The system can do it - it's just a matter of looking into it."
Ross says there may be comparable systems on the market, but without New Zealand support, a flexible system and easy direct debits. He recommends GymMaster to managers wanting to tie their processes into one system and do it at reasonable cost.
"It's a pretty easy decision," he says. "There's probably another system out there, but you'd have to pay a lot more for it"
But Ross has found cutting back manual processes doesn't always equate to less paper.
"We're not as reliant on manual systems for a lot of the processes so there are a lot less folders around. There's still plenty of paper from GymMaster reports though!"