As we set our sights on the coming year, one of the most common things people do is start making resolutions to get fit and healthy. “Resolution Season” is a busy time for fitness franchises everywhere. Classes are busier than normal, membership increases dramatically, and you and your staff are working extra hours to keep up with it all.
But as traffic and activity increases at your franchise, so too does the risk of member injury and lawsuits – which drives up insurance costs. As you plan for the busy period ahead, make sure to take some time now to ensure your equipment, staff and members are safe and happy. Not doing so could potentially mean a loss of membership and income, and reputational harm.
Keeping your franchise thriving and your members engaged and motivated during Resolution Season requires more than just a clean facility, great music, and a helpful staff. It requires increased attention on several fronts:
- Equipment Safety: Loose bolts, frayed belts, holes in floor mats, and loose bike pedal straps are leading causes of member injuries – and potential lawsuits. Make sure your equipment has been serviced recently and is fully operational. Install plenty of non-slip mats in the showers and locker rooms to prevent “slip and fall” accidents.
- Cleanliness: Stock up on cleaning supplies and keep the closet locked and its contents safely away from members. With increased traffic in your franchise, your staff will likely need to clean more often. Because cold and flu season coincides with Resolution Season, increase your supply and availability of sanitizing wipes and gels.
- Safe Training: Make sure your independent trainers’ certificates of insurance are up to date or confirm they are covered under your liability policy. Not doing so might open your franchise up to liability issues if a member is injured in a class or training session. Though a general liability insurance policy will cover member injury, consider expanding coverage to include Professional Liability to protect against claims of negligence and Abuse/Molestation Liability and against claims of sexual misconduct.
- Emergency Preparedness: Accidents happen, but that doesn’t mean your franchise shouldn’t be prepared to handle them. Have your staff go through emergency preparedness training, which could include the proper use of defibrillators, basic first aid, and keeping an injured party safe and comfortable until medical professionals can arrive.
- Front Door Safety: In many parts of the country, the weather can be snowy, rainy and icy during Resolution Season. To help prevent slip-and-fall injures when members enter your franchise, have an ample supply of ice melt on hand for icy doorways and plenty of no-slip mats and signage for wet floors. Review your lease and work with your landlord to guarantee the walkways and parking are clear.
- Reliable Security: Test your security system and smoke detectors on a regular basis to make sure they are in working order. Install a carbon monoxide detector. Have the contact of a trained repair technician readily available for your staff should a problem arise.
- Content Staff: In any business model, having a happy and dedicated staff is a key to success. The cost of staff replacement is high due to the loss of institutional knowledge as associates leave, and the lost time due to onboarding new staff members. Review your wage structure and other benefits to make sure your franchise is competitive, able to retain your best staff members, and is an appealing employment option for future employees.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Doing the minimum isn’t going to cut it, especially if you’re a busy and growing fitness franchise. Review your insurance coverage to make sure you have adequately addressed ALL exposures. Ask yourself (and your insurance provider) the following questions:
- Is your Business Income limit adequate?
- Have your equipment values increased recently?
- Are Professional and Abuse/Molestation coverages in place??
- Do you have Cyber Insurance?
- Do you have an all-encompassing policy designed for your specific franchise brand?
Protecting Fitness Franchises
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