If you’re looking for software advice from an industry veteran, Paul Reed, owner of the Mt. Hood Athletic Club in Sandy, OR, is worth speaking with, especially regarding billing and collections. You might consider Paul a real pioneer.
In December 1988, he took over the operations of a health club, and collections were a critical issue, with contracts getting about 25 cents on the dollar. Using a basic DOS computer, Paul installed medical billing software he’d learned about from a member and input all his members’ data. That led to the ability to create trackable, month-to-month memberships based on uniform billing.
“We had some minor pitfalls, and it was a bit of a struggle at first,” says Paul. “But we got it going, and we saw an immediate increase in revenue without a huge growth in membership. Essentially, we gained control over billing and collections. We now knew we could send out late statements when we needed to, and when we wanted to—at the beginning of the month and then in the middle of the month.”
A few years later, he attended an industry trade show and was introduced to Aphelion billing software—later acquired by Jonas Fitness—and the EFT process, which became a permanent part of his billing platform. Paul was ahead of his time.
We spoke with him about some of the tips and tactics he’s employed using his software package to keep billing under control.
Recent Lessons Learned
Through the years, Paul has experienced several health and fitness industry ups and downs, but likely none more impactful than COVID.
During the pandemic, Mt. Hood lost a third of its membership, which equated to about an $800,000 loss in cash flow for 2020. In looking at where he could scale back, Paul did something that many might find counterintuitive: he dissolved the bookkeeper position.