Before founding Martial Arts on Rails in early 2016, I have been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for close to a decade. From the east coast to the west coast in the US, to Japan and Israel, I’ve dropped in and trained regularly at many different locations.
Since I build software products for a living, I couldn’t help notice how backwards some of the systems I had to interface with as a member / visitor in many of these places. For example –
No online onboarding or profile access.
Uncertainty regarding payments – from cash to Paypal and insecure online payment forms.
Complete lack of visibility to my training record.
For the last few weeks we’ve been working on a refresh of the gym website template we’ve been offering, a feature that has barely been touched since we launched more than 4 years ago. Let’s go over what’s new:
With most gyms currently closed due to the global coronavirus pandemic, it’s hard to tell when or if things will ever go back to the way they were before. I’ve been having conversations with our users and other gym owners about their concerns and ideas for how to respond to the situation, and have been following closely on how other industries are handling it.
As the situation with the COVID19 virus continues to develop, gym owners are faced with difficult decisions that will have serious repercussions for the future of their business and livelihood.
We’ve been talking to some of you regarding this situation, and wanted to share some of the ways gyms have been handling this situation so others can learn from it and perhaps apply it to their own situation.
For the last several weeks we’ve been working on enhancing the gym schedule feature based on user feedback, as well as adding a completely new feature to allow members and visitors to book sessions, such as private lessons, through the gym website.
In this article we’ll give you a quick tour of the new features and provide details on how to get started:
Processing payment cards and bank debits is a common requirement for most membership based businesses, such as martial arts schools, fitness / MMA / cross-fit gyms and yoga studios. Being able to charge members on a regular schedule for memberships and create on-demand charges for selling products is how those businesses generate revenue.
Despite being so important for such businesses, payment processing is often one of the most misunderstood aspects of it, and particularly how payment processing fees are calculated.
Since launching in 2016, one of our major selling points has been the ease-of-use and simplicity of our user interface. User feedback has always been very positive in that regard and we’re looking to build and improve and on that.
In the four years since we originally designed the look and feel of our software. Many new features and whole sections of the software have been added, adding additional complexity and pushing the limits of what our original user interface was designed for.
When building your gym’s marketing, there’s a basic conflict for every gym owner. On one hand, they opened a gym or martial arts school because they love the sport and art they train in, and would like to make it as accessible as possible to people in their community. On the other hand, they are now running a business with their livelihood on the line.
From a business perspective, gym owners are worried about their bottom line. From the sports-fan and instructor perspective (which not every gym owner is), the goal is to provide the best experience and value to gym members.
A story recently broke out about National Fitness Financial non-payment to gym owners. National Fitness is a gym management software, not unlike our own, but one big difference is that they handle billing and collections directly, as it would appear from the article.
I cannot comment on the exact situation at National Fitness as they haven’t released a formal response yet, however it brings up a point that we often discuss with our customers – how we handle billing on behalf of gyms using our system.