A gym with childcare has a much larger advantage over gyms without. Many people find it difficult to attend the gym regularly when they have children. They take up a good chunk of a parent’s life for at least 18 years of theirs. Gyms with childcare broaden their target market by allowing people to workout without the stress of figuring out what to do with the little ones.
As a gym owner, you have the opportunity of promoting a healthy lifestyle for the whole family. As numbers in obesity continue to rise, it’s important to attract as many people as possible to gyms and health clubs. Families will benefit tremendously from fitness programs that serve the whole family.
Gym With Childcare Options
When designing your childcare program, you have a few options for successful programs. The first decisions you have to make involve the ages you want to provide care for and the budget you set aside to provide that care.
Consider the people who are attracted to your gym. Before making any decisions, send out a survey for your current members to fill out about implementing a childcare program. A survey will give you an idea of how many of your current members will take advantage of the service.
Your current members should be a priority over new ones. First, understand how your gym with childcare will be able to meet their needs. Budget for that number. Then, how much you have left in your budget for acquiring new members and providing childcare services for them.
For people who participate in childcare programs at your gym, create a Facebook group for them. Parents can chat with each other about when to hit the gym to work out together while their kids can play with each other. Building a community around your gym increases client retention and the longevity of their membership.
Kids Exercise With Their Parents
Instilling a sense of appreciation for exercise in children is very important to kickstart them on a healthy track. Parents feel the same way about this and would be attracted to a program where they can exercise with their children 8 and up. Provide a curriculum for exercises that children can participate in while their parents get their own exercise in.
Ages younger than that can be placed in a childcare service where they can engage in physical activities appropriate for their age. Kids get a chance to make friends and coming to the gym a pleasant experience for the whole family.
Personally, I had a great time when my dad would take me to his CrossFit gym with him and exercise with the adults. It gave us something to do together and really pushed me to set fitness goals for myself at a young age. Before CrossFit, I would watch Insanity exercise videos with my dad and follow along.
Classes for Kids and With Kids
Getting kids engaged in fitness is an extremely valuable selling point for new members. Offer classes for kids to participate in while parents work out. Les Mills has a great virtual series of classes for children and sets an example for how to segment these classes by age and activities. Not only will this open the doors for new clients, but the little ones will benefit tremendously from positive experiences with exercise.
Another option – offer classes that kids can participate in with their parents. These classes should be segmented in age as well. This option reduces the time and money on a completely separate childcare service. As the owner, you must make sure that the instructors of these classes have proper certification for instructing children.
Non-Supervised Childcare Centers
Gyms with childcare that is not supervised have seen some issues in the past. However, it can be beneficial if the members are completely aware of the terms and can supervise their children from most places in the gym. This means a safe, separated space visible from the main areas of the gym.
The largest costs for this type of care involve equipment for the children to use and a small renovation to space in your gym. This option does require that you have very clear standards for liability of the children. This option also limits the ages of children that you can accept. Thus, attracting parents is much more limited.
With supervised childcare, you can host a wide range of ages. However, this means your gym will be liable for the children. You will also have to hire at least two employees to supervise the children 7 days a week. Although, to save money, think about the times that parents would most benefit from having childcare available.
Child caregivers should keep the kids active and engaged with activities while parents workout. This is a much more valuable service to offer than non-supervised and will be much more likely to attract new clients.
Your gym might not need to offer this service 7 days a week. Once again, survey your current members on how this service can best fit their needs and use that information to understand what new members will want.
Insurance and Licensing
When offering childcare, consider the different options for insurance. Give your current provider a call to see what options they have available and tips on where to look elsewhere if not.
Here are some resources for commercial childcare insurance coverage:
Insurance companies appreciate it when you have an established system of tracking and managing children. When parents can sign in and sign off on their child’s care, that reduces liability on the gym. An example of a service for this type of management is KidCheck.
This type of software sends automated messages to parents about their time remaining and tracks the parent’s location in case of an emergency. It tracks information on children’s allergies and other pertinent information for caregivers. Payments for childcare sessions can be managed by software like KidCheck as well.
Terms and Agreements for a Gym With Childcare
Your insurance provider should help you establish the terms and conditions of childcare services. Your insurance coverage will outline the important gaps you need to fill in with a waiver for parents to sign. Here is an example of a daycare contract and how to formulate one for your members to sign off on.
Each state also has differing regulations for licensing. The article below will help you identify all the important information you will need to adhere to your state’s regulations. From here, you’ll find other resources pertinent to understanding the ins and outs of all things childcare.
Let Your Audience Know!
Post about your new childcare services on your Google My Business account and reach out to local listings. Many local and online publications identify gyms with childcare to help parents find the right place without having to do all the research. Search for “gyms with childcare in [city or location]” and you will find articles online that list gyms in your area with childcare. Not only will this help direct attention to your gym, but you can identify your competition.
Speaking of competition, check out what your competitors are offering in the childcare department. If you want to run a gym with childcare, then it’s a good opportunity to gain a competitive edge. Read reviews of other gym’s childcare programs and see what they are doing best and could do better in.
Keep in mind that a unique selling point for whatever your gym offers is what gives you a competitive edge. Therefore, get creative with how you want to offer childcare services. Identify the prospect as a sign of major growth to come.
You will not need to spend too much money starting up the service and childcare will generate an extra source of revenue. Add an extra charge to monthly memberships or charge by the hour. Either way, your costs for supervision and equipment will be covered very quickly.
Childcare will always be a need for parents until we have live-in robots to stay at home with children. Until then, keep them coming to your gym by making it a family-friendly space. Start making an impact on families for the better!