Glenville & Latham, NY
“With MindBody it was so complicated. You guys made it easy.”
When Amanda Gonzalez-Barone ditched her desk job in software to become a fitness instructor, she didn’t envision ending up as the owner of two kickboxing studios, with eleven instructors and packed classes that regularly sell out.
“I kind of muddled around for a few years as a personal trainer working at different gyms,” said Gonzalez-Barone. “I started my own business after getting the shaft from one of my previous employers, who basically promised me a great job that ended up not happening. I kind of had a rock bottom moment, shrugged, picked up my client list, and said, ‘You know what? I'm going to start offering kickboxing classes’.”
Gonzalez-Barone, an Elite Trainer through the International Sports Sciences Association, is passionate about offering a welcoming and supportive place for women to get fit and strong. She started out by renting a space and grew her business by word of mouth.
“It turned into a gym for women where we are no judgment,” she said. “We have all different shapes, sizes, ability levels in a safe environment where you know you're going to get a great workout and you don't have to worry about your starting point or if anybody's staring at you or laughing at you.”
As Girl Fight Fitness grew, Gonzalez-Barone’s pen and paper attendance and client tracking system became an organizational nightmare.
“For the first two years, I was just using a paper binder and had every punch card printed out and actually was just physically checking them off every single class,” she recalled. “But when the binder gets to be about 200-300 people deep, it gets trying to take attendance for your class. And we would have people showing up -- like 30 people for a 20 person class capacity --because we had no way for them to sign up ahead of time.”
Gonzalez-Barone decided to use a fitness studio software platform from MindBody.
“I found very quickly that it was a huge system that I only needed to use about 10 percent of,” she said. “But I was still paying a hundred percent of the fees for it. It was way too much for what I was using it for.”
“It was just cumbersome and confusing,” Gonzalez-Barone said. “And you had to set up THIS, THIS and THIS to be able to use THIS feature. And I feel like I was a big pain in their butts.”
“They kept upping prices. That's really what I think what triggered me to look for another solution,” she said. “Every six months or so they kept coming up with reasons to increase the prices. It got to the point where I was paying over $200 a month for a system I was barely even scratching the surface of using.”
“I really just needed attendance, a way to assign trainers to classes, create a schedule, and take payments.”
“I said, ‘That’s me!’ I'm way too overwhelmed with MindBody. I need something more simple, and you guys seem to get it."
Gonzalez-Barone also wanted a software product that was easy for her non-tech-savvy instructors and customers to use. So she went online to search for MindBody alternatives, and found Punchpass’ product comparison page.
“I said, ‘That’s me!’ I'm way too overwhelmed with MindBody,” she said. “I need something more simple, and you guys seem to get it."
Migrating Girl Fight Fitness’ data to Punchpass was quick and easy, which surprised Gonzalez-Barone.
“With MindBody it was so complicated,” she said. “You guys made it easy. You were just like, ‘Yup! This is what we need. This is the spreadsheet format we need it in. We can upload it. We'll fix anything. You guys can go in and do a spot check and make sure it uploads okay.’ It was easy. I appreciated that very much.”
One of the biggest shifts for Girl Fight Fitness, and Gonzalez-Barone’s ability to expand into two locations, was being able to get students to pre-register and pay online for classes, and to be able to quickly and easily access client attendance from her smartphone, she said.
“I know that having Punchpass has changed the way I look at my business. Punchpass provides you with usable information at your fingertips,” Gonzalez-Barone said. “Because sometimes if you're doing it pen and paper style -- like I think back to myself when I was just had my attendance binder -- I didn't know how many people were coming to class tomorrow. I didn't know if I should cancel class tomorrow. I didn't know if I had enough members to make my overhead, because I was just basically crossing my fingers that people would show up and pay me.
“So, when you have all that information organized into one place, it makes it so much easier to manage your business, to project: What am I doing? And do I need to up my sales this month? Do I need to get more members because I lost three?”
“I'm much more proactive in running my business and making those decisions rather than being reactive because I'm waiting for something to go wrong or something to happen in order to actually put a fix in place,” she said. “I can look ahead and say, ‘Okay, well I can track the attendance numbers for this one class and if it's not performing well, I can change it to something else. I can consider changing the time. But I wouldn’t be able to do that if I didn't have the ability for people to sign up ahead of time, to actually track their attendances, to see if they show up, and to do that easily too -- and not have to do 3,000 steps to get that information.
“And I know the key reports that I need out of Punchpass, and I can run them in two seconds,” said Gonzalez-Barone. “I would say it definitely makes me feel like a more empowered business owner because I have that information readily available. I feel like I don't have like 3,000 balls flying around in the air anymore. I have a focused place where -- it's literally part of my day-to-day life -- pulling up Punchpass.”