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  • 8 Steps to a Cleaner Facility, Part 1

    Posted on December 5th, 2011 Patricia No comments

    Five different owners share eight tips for keeping things clean and fresh and keeping members from turning up their noses.

    By Jill Higgins

    The cleanliness of your facility can make or break your bottom line. If customers walk into your facility and smell stale sweat, there’s a good chance that they’ll walk right back out. If members jump into the shower and end up with athlete’s foot, they may rethink their membership. You can avoid such incidents by maintaining a strict cleaning schedule.

    Tips to maintaining a clean facility

    According to John Telford of Powerhouse Gym, Dewitt, Mich., at least 90 percent of facility users pay attention to the cleanliness of a fitness facility before making a commitment. Following are eight tips from five different owners and managers that can help you keep your gym clean and ultimately retain membership.

    Cleaning is an everyday job. Be consistent with vacuuming, sanitizing and dusting to keep members happy and make your job easier in the long run. “You pay attention to your clients every day, you pay attention to your business every day, so you must pay attention to the cleanliness of your gym every day, too,” says Jane Diamond, owner of Diamond Fitness, Jenkintown, Pa.

    If there aren’t enough employees or there isn’t enough time for cleanup, follow a regular schedule to help avoid buildup. Or, if your staff is small, Carl Medina, owner of Medina’s Gym, Dublin, Calif., suggests employees alternate vacuuming the rooms each day. By rotating the schedule, the cleaning is completed and employees can accomplish other tasks.

    Train employees. Employees should have the same expectations of cleanliness as members. “Cleaning is every employee’s responsibility,” says Jo Glassford, assistant manager at Beverly Hills Racquet and Health Club, Beverly Hills, Mich. “If anyone sees something lying on the floor — a towel, a piece of paper — it becomes his or her job to pick it up.”

    Diamond attests that dirty clubs really turn members off. “Even if they have a good training session, they remember the dirty locker room.” The little things employees can do make a big difference.

    Pay attention to hard-to-reach spots. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. Areas not used often and hard-to-reach spots like ceiling vents often get overlooked because they are thought to be less important. For instance, Justin Towel, assistant manager of Gold’s Gym and Aerobic Center, West Roxbury, Mass., says, “The cardio equipment needs constant upkeep from sweat and dust buildup. Users often wipe down the handrails, but we have to make sure not to ignore the frames of the machines.”

    Offer employee incentives. Employees tend to work harder when they know their work is appreciated. At the Beverly Hills Racquet and Health Club, “Tom money,” named after the general manager, is awarded to employees who go beyond their duties to help others clean.

    Nominated employees receive a “check” for use in the club’s cafe or pro shop, or they can save it up for paid vacation days.

    Have members contribute. Set rules for members to help keep your club clean. According to Leon Doris of Halt’s Athletic Club in Bellevue, Wash., their members are required to bring a towel to wipe down equipment after use. Returning equipment to its proper storage place is also necessary for cleanliness and safety. “It can be dangerous for other members when weights aren’t returned to their proper place,” says Medina. Some managers find it helpful to prohibit bags and sports drinks on the exercise floor.

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