We often try to think of the fastest, quickest way to get new students, but what we don’t often think of is the information we forget we need to make their experience as pleasant as possible. The way to do this is to provide the best service we can while teaching our classes, and to make their experience as smooth and convenient as possible when dealing with our billing company or any other companies involved with our school’s contract agreements.
It is important for every successful Martial Arts school to have contract agreements for several reasons. The most important being, COMMITMENT! Signing your students to an open ended agreement is not recommended for cash flow. These are not contracts you can rely on for monthly income because they can give a thirty day notice, and cancel any time. Open ended agreements also hold no outstanding balance value for your school, which will highly decrease your chances of ever getting any type of loan to remodel or open another location. Also, open ends usually can not be sent to any type of further collection efforts once they have defaulted three or more months.
Using term memberships gives you the commitment you need from your students to give you some type of projected total for your cash plan to budget out your month. It will also give you an outstanding balance and give value to your school for bank loans or if you wanted to sell your location. Their commitment also allows you to better monitor their program for upgrades and renewals, so your students don’t just fall off of your outstanding balance by expiring. You must make sure you are effectively filling out your contracts to insure there is no delay in processing, and you have all of the correct information needed for follow up.
Here are some tips to help with contract procedures:
- When filling out a membership agreement, make sure it is legible. If you’re unable to read it, nobody else will be able to. Make sure you get all of the addresses, and phone numbers required, so that you are provided with good contact information to include your students in your mail outs, e-mails, and attendance follow-ups.
- The most common mistake is the payments do not equal. Make sure when you submit a contract that the total monthly amount times the term equals the note balance. You would be surprised how many contracts are calculated incorrectly.
- Make sure the responsible party signs the contract. If they do not sign it, you may find yourself refunding the entire agreement.
- Always try to attach a voided slip for the checking and savings, or credit card information. It is so easy to transpose numbers. This will give accurate banking information to input and avoid delays.
- Make sure all of your dates are correct, i.e. begin date, expiration date, and first due dates.
- The most important: Have some type of renewal information. I suggest once the term expires, roll it over. This way if your staff has not yet worked the student for an upgrade, they will not fall off your monthly income, and will buy you some time to get them to renew. The other option would be to send them a renewal form around thirty days prior to their expiration date. This will not automatically renew them, so if they do not fill it out, you will lose the income once it expires.
Whether you are keeping track of your contracts yourself, or submitting them to a billing company like Member Solutions, you must have some type of verification process. You must make sure that your contracts are being entered in correctly, and that they are paying you on time. Term contracts are the best way to put some value into your school, build up your contract amounts, and make sure you are verifying the information is correct. Once you have built so much value in your school, make sure you are not jeopardizing your receivables by selling your paper, or cashing out too many agreements at one time.