So you decided to jump on the bandwagon and offer a membership program to your clients. With membership based franchises saturating the market, it’s hard to not feel compelled to follow suit. Aside from the benefit of brand loyalty, memberships allow owners to receive a steady cash flow without waiting for the client to book their service. Offering packages have always been my preferred method. If you’d like to read about how to improve your package sales, head over here. However, this article is for memberships.
If you’ve only had the luxury of providing services for your clients at a membership based company then there’s a lot you may not know. A lot of work goes into developing and selling a membership. Even more work goes into retaining those members. As service providers, I’m talking to the massage therapists and estheticians, we want to believe that clients become members due to the power of our magical hands. It’s almost laughable the amount of clients I’ve consulted that are confused about how they were able to experience high “conversion rates” while working for their employer yet can’t quite make it work on their own. But I don’t laugh, I educate.
If you’re seriously considering tapping into this solid membership trend, there is some groundwork that should be laid. It’s highly advised to speak with a contract attorney before creating anything that allows you to charge someone’s account on a recurring basis. Assuming you’ve already taken this step…or very soon will…here’s where the fun begins!
If you as an owner cannot answer all of these questions with a consistent answer, you may need to do a little more work before rolling out that new membership campaign.
How much is your membership?
Are there different levels to your membership?
What does your membership include?
What additional privileges do members have over non-members?
Does the membership just include a massage?
What length of massage does one get with the membership?
Does this include add ons (aromatherapy, hot stones, etc)?
What about advanced services (prenatal, sports, deep tissue, etc)?
Do I have to sign a contract? (clients ask this all the time)
Is there a fee to cancel?
Is there a rescission period?
Am I locked in?
How can I cancel? (in person only, in writing, through email, verbally, etc)
Do I need to give notice? (2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, etc)
What if I move?
What if I can’t afford the payments?
Can I put my membership on hold?
If so, how long?
Can I upgrade my membership?
Can I downgrade my membership?
How often can I switch between memberships?
THOSE TRICKY PAYMENT ISSUES
When will it be drafted?
Can I choose my draft date?
If the payment fails, will you attempt to retry?
If so, how soon will you attempt to retry the payment?
Will you notify me if you attempt to retry the payment?
How will you notify me of a retry attempt?
How will you notify me that my payment failed?
How many times will you attempt to retry the payment if it fails?
Am I penalized or charged a fee for failed payments?
Is my membership still active after a failed payment?
Will you cancel my membership after a failed payment?
How do I notify you if I change my bank information?
How soon before the draft date do I need to notify you of new banking information?
THOSE DANG UNUSED SESSIONS
Do my unused sessions roll over?
Can someone else use my unused session?
Is there a fee to allow someone else to use my unused sessions?
How many people can I allow to use my unused sessions?
How many times can I change who is allowed to use my membership?
Can I convert my sessions into gift certificates?
Is there a fee to convert my sessions into gift certificates?
Can I get a refund on unused sessions?
Do you set a limit on unused sessions?
If so, will my membership be cancelled when I reach that limit?
Will you notify me of unused sessions?
How soon will you begin notifying me of unused sessions?
THOSE UNCOMFORTABLE POLICIES
If I last minute cancel or no show, is my prepaid session charged?
If I last minute cancel or no show, am I charged the membership price or non-member rate?
What happens if the person using my sessions last minute cancels or no-shows?
Is my card charged? Is my session charged?
I know the money won’t be in my account tomorrow, can you push the payment to a later date?
How many times can I change my draft date?
Do you allow people to “gift” memberships?
If the recipient of a “gifted” membership last minute cancels or no shows, who is charged?
Who is allowed to cancel the membership? (spouse, friend, parent, child, caretaker)
OH CRAP! WE SCREWED UP!
What happens if you overcharged my account?
What happens if you draft on the wrong date?
What happens if you’ve overdrafted my account and caused me fees?
I cancelled. Why did you still charge me?
How soon can I expect a refund?
What if I’m unhappy with the services?
I only signed up for THAT therapist. They quit. Can I cancel?
I’m moving. Can I cancel?
My doctor says I can’t get a massage anymore. Can I cancel?
I was injured. Can I cancel?
As extensive as this list is, it doesn’t even brush the surface of all that is involved with implementing a membership. It is impossible to list all the possible questions or situations that will arise from memberships. However, this is a great starting point for those ready to begin generating steady cash flow. When you’ve answered all these questions, read Members Must Be Sold.
Kamillya Hunter is the owner and founder of Spa Analytics. She encourages independent owners to focus on The Details That Matter when running a business. She’s a mom of two, an army wife, author and a self diagnosed “Spa Junkie” who lives, eats, breathes and sleeps the personal service industry.