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Being able to gain access to your local gym at any time that suits your members can be great selling point.
Nowadays, people don’t often work set times and those who work anti-social hours will often consider 24-hour fitness centers as opposed to those that open for limited times throughout the day.
If you want to allow your members to gain access at any given time the best way of doing this is by implementing a gym access control system. This will allow you to keep your doors open all day, every day without the need for employing additional staff members.
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Benefits of Access Control Systems
Lower Staff Costs
When you have a secure access system in place this reduces the need for front desk staff. This means after the initial investment of your door entry system has been paid for, you will see cost savings in your monthly payroll. What’s more, if you don’t need a reception desk, this will give you some more space for additional gym equipment.
Over time, you’ll gather data which will be able to show you your busiest times of the week. This is useful as you can ensure you have more staff, such as personal trainers, on site at peak times.
Prevent Unwanted Access
Whilst member access by way of a manned reception area works efficiently most of the time, human error can mean that mistakes happen.
Perhaps a member who only pays for off peak membership is able to train during peak times or someone has missed some of their monthly membership costs but is still able to gain access to workout. This all adds up to lost revenue. However, effective door entry systems will ensure this cannot happen and keep your facility secure at all times.
Better For Members
As mentioned above, a typical 9 to 5 day is no longer the norm. In fact, research has shown that less than 10% of people work, what was once, traditional workplace hours. This means that people will want to the option to workout out at different times to suit them.
If you can grant access to your members at any time they wish, this will immediately give you a competitive advantage over gyms that open for set times.
You can increase your income by offering tiered gym memberships. Giving people the option to sign up for off peak membership will give them access to your facility at what is normally quieter times.
You can encourage sign ups by giving them preferential rates ensuring that your gym is kept busy all the time.
Types of Gym Access Control Systems
There are several different types of access solutions and which one you choose would depend on the space you have available, current access, the security level you’d need and your budget.
Below are the most common control access systems available.
ID Access Cards
Using membership cards to gain access is usually done by waving or swiping your card on a keyless pad which is mounted outdoors. Once access is granted, the doors unlock allowing the gym user to gain entry.
This is a very secure system and will only provide access to those who have paid up memberships. The drawback of course is that the card can be passed on to anyone to use.
A keypad reader will allow for keyless entry and involves the gym member inputting a numerical code to an externally located pad which then unlocks the doors.
The entry code would be unique to the member with one of the advantages being that they don’t have to worry about losing any access keys or entry fobs.
They would, however, need to memorize their pin or store it in their mobile phone. As with an ID card, the main disadvantage is that the number can be given to anyone to use.
Mobile Phone Access
This works in a similar way to that of using an ID card and involves using a mobile app on the user’s phone and a reader for easy access to the gym.
Mobile devices are commonly being used as entry keys as the consensus is that most people nowadays have a smart phone. Mobile phone readers don’t have to be mounted to an external wall with some being freestanding scanners that are simply placed on a desk.
However, this is the least secure method and simply informs the front desk staff that their membership is still live.
Whilst useful for data gathering, it likely won’t be a suitable option for 24-hour gyms.
Full height turnstiles are a great way of providing physical security and ensuring unauthorized access cannot take place.
However, they can be quite costly to install with your current access likely having to be removed completely meaning quite a lot of labor is involved pushing the costs up.
Another negative for gym owners is that they don’t look particularly inviting.
Speed gates are like the modern equivalent to turnstiles. They take up much less space with some brands offering a very sleek and modern design which can help to fit in with your gym aesthetic.
They also look much more welcoming when compared to turnstiles, especially full height ones. The doors on speed gates either slide or swing open once the member has waved their card over the access point.
Biometric readers rely on physical attributes of a gym member in order to provide them with access.
This could be by way of fingerprint scanning or facial recognition. It’s certainly the most high-grade security system when compared to the others and the most convenient for your members.
This is because they don’t need to remember a card, fob or phone nor do they need to memorize any pin numbers.
Installation & Maintenance of Gym Access Control Systems
Depending on which system you choose will impact on factors such as installation and maintenance.
For example, if you opt for full-height turnstiles or a gated system, you’ll need to include additional costs for the supplier or other contractor to complete the installation works. Structural work will often need to take place which can be time consuming and expensive.
However, if you’re leaning more towards a key card or key fob systems which unlock the doors to provide access, installation is far less complicated with the reader having to be mounted to a wall with new members being given a card or fob for access. You will need to employ an electrician or the supplier of the system to ensure it’s wired in correctly.
The easiest systems to set up are the freestanding scanners that are placed in a convenient location for your members to scan their mobile phones as they pass through reception. Remember though that whilst it’s the most cost-effective option, this system will still require a member of staff to oversee members entry to the gym.
Another important consideration is that of usage. Be sure to explain how the system works to both members and staff and keep them updated when the system is down or undergoing repair and maintenance. Sometimes gym membership software can have upgrades that need to be rolled out. This could be to improve the system or just to make sure it continues to run smoothly.
A gym access control system is a great way of tracking how your members use the facility so you can make improvements based on your busiest times.
Not only that, depending on the system you choose, it can prevent unauthorized access giving a sense of safety and security to your members. This is especially important for those who train at quieter times.
Another key feature is that you can keep your doors open all the time without having to have staff on site. This allows you to offer off peak memberships to those who want to work out at less common times of the day helping you to increase your revenue.
There are a wide variety of different systems available, so you’ll need to do plenty of research before investing in the most suitable for your health club.