Private lessons are a huge moneymaker for most of our sports facilities.
But that means bad habits in lesson scheduling can drain significant money from your business – losses that you may have never even noticed.
Here are the most common bad habits I’ve noticed when it comes to hosting private lessons at sports facilities.
Mistake #1 – Letting instructors schedule their own lessons.
Letting your trusted instructors manage their own lessons can save you some admin hours, but it has serious consequences for your business. Here’s why:
- You lose valuable facility and customer data. You need a full understanding of your facility’s use and your customers’ behavior to plan future activities and marketing. When instructors schedule on their own, you don’t get a complete record of facility activity, including who was there, when, and what they were doing. This could also be a trouble spot legally if someone were to get hurt on your property.
- You lose control over customer experience. Funneling all scheduling requests through a structured system gives you control over customer experience, including the tone and the level of customer service. (Instructors are hired for their ability to coach, not their administrative and support skills.)
- You lose marketing opportunities. Each customer contact should be a marketing opportunity – for example, to remind clients about upcoming camps and clinics. Also, all client requests and services should be tracked so that you can better serve those clients in the future.
Mistake #2 – Not collecting enough money from private lessons.
Some facilities choose to let staff keep all the money from their private lessons. However, you’re paying a lot to let your staff host those lessons; you maintain the space and equipment, attract new clients through marketing, and much more. It’s perfectly reasonable to collect payment for every on-site lesson to cover some of those upfront costs. (Click here fore more best practices on instructor-facility pay split for lessons.)
Mistake #3 – Not making it easy for your clients to schedule and pay.
The easier it is for your clients to schedule private lessons, the more they’ll do it. Don’t make clients call the front office or wait for a response from an instructor; they should be able to view available instructors and dates online and pay on the spot using a program like eSoft Planner.
Mistake #4 – Not requiring upfront payment.
No-shows and last-minute cancellations frustrate your staff and hurt your business. Unfortunately, they’re extremely common. It’s easy to fix this problem: Require upfront payment to schedule private lessons. You can always give refunds if you decide that the cancellation was legitimate. (Click here for more on how to set your sports facility’s payment and refund policies.)
Mistake #5 – Not creating packages.
Your customers are happier and your business makes more money when you focus on solutions instead of services. When you’re approached about private lessons, find out the client’s end goal and develop a package to help them meet it. Packages can include lessons, but also any appropriate skills-specific clinics, or perhaps complementary strength or speed training. By focusing on solutions, you increase revenue, your clients get discounts, and most importantly, your client are more likely to reach their goals. (Click here for more best practices for custom packages, and here to see how a volleyball club was able to successfully charge much more than competitors by focusing on solutions).
So, have you been making any of these lessons mistakes? Please share in the comments!