What do water parks, bounce houses and most youth programs have in common?
The answer is: parents view them as activities, something to do because kids have fun but not important to pursue long term.
If you want your youth program to be successful and sustainable you need parents to view your program not as an activity, but rather an essential part of their child’s development. We serve kids, we do what is best for kids but kids are not our clients. Our clients are the parents, and parents need to view your program as essential to make it successful and sustainable.
Gyms tend to create the impression that their program is just a fun activity in several ways but the most egregious are the three P’s, Punch Cards, Pricing and Programming.
The use of punch cards is becoming more popular. I mean it sounds good, right? The gym get $100 and the kid can come ten times. The gym sees this as recurring revenue, it will happen every month, but the parent sees it differently. They see the same payment structure the local “Get Air” bounce house uses and they equate the payment structure with an activity. The gyms we have talked to that started this have seen attendance become sporadic and its understandable. Parents are programming activities for their kids. This week we are going to the bounces house, next week we are going to the zoo. Maybe we can make the gym the following week.
10 years ago, we had our youngest son in gymnastics. It cost $165/month for twice a week. If you missed a class you had to reschedule a make-up class, and then pay for the make-up class! If you missed too many you were booted out. Now I’m not recommending going to that extreme but the attitude was, “Attendance is important”, and the payment structure reflected this, thus parents made sure their kids were in class. If you want to be successful don’t be the “Groupon” of youth programs.
I remember talking to Chris Cooper a few years ago about gyms that run kids programs (what a surprise). He was saying you could walk into many gyms that were charging $175/month for an adult but only $50 for their youth program. Chris said “It’s like Kids programs are charging by the pound”.
Two things about this. The first is it takes more training and effort to work with kids. Youth trainers are better educated and work harder than most adult trainers. If, as a youth trainer, you devalue what your worth, so will your clients. Recently I talked to a Brand X® Professional Youth Coach that has moved locations and is starting over. They are starting with a Teen class 2x a week and are charging almost $250 per month, two months paid up front. $495 per teen. Guess what? Class is full to capacity at 10, 5 weeks in and no absences. Parents and kids taking it seriously in part because the trainer values their experience and correctly communicates it to the clients.
All of the above doesn’t matter if your programming is haphazard or made up on the fly. I can’t tell you how many times I have asked a youth trainer what they are going to do in class and been told “Oh, I’m going to wait to see who shows up”. Your clients are smart enough to figure out that your programming that day on the spot at the whiteboard. It’s also amazing how many youth coaches cannot define the goals of their program. If you cannot define the goals of your program for the kids your working with, your programming is random and purposeless. If this is happening you cannot charge a premium price. You are simply programming for an activity, not with intention.
Brand X® Professional Youth Coaches can easily describe the goal of their program. We provide monthly progressive programming for our Training Centers that is by design created to support the goals of our program. For Teens, we program in tests and assessments that give hard data for parents to see their kids moving forward. For Kids, we program assessments within specific workouts. In the Brand X® Youth Coach Pro we provide handouts to begin discussing and educating parents on why our program is different than others and why it is essential to their kids, health, development, physical confidence and competence -as well as athleticism.
We do what is best for kids. If you think having the right experienced support system to run a youth program is what you need, book a call to talk with us about our Brand X® Plug & Play Success bundle today.