Dance fitness boutique
Newport, KYStaff:5 people
"I found it much less intimidating than going to a bigger software program like MindBody. I found it much more comfortable to me -- being so small -- going to Punchpass. It felt much more personal."
Vibe Dance Fitness started out as Marquita Lonaker’s part-time passion. She taught for a year and a half, renting a room at a local community center. Attendance was light, and she nearly threw in the towel. But when her classes suddenly blossomed, Lonaker started her own boutique dance studio, hired two teachers, and had to find a software management system that would scale with her, but not break the bank.
Her paper sign in sheets, punch cards, and cash only payments just weren’t working now that she’d launched her own LLC.
“It was just messy. I felt like I was kind of losing grip on everything. All I had in my possession from customers was the waiver that they signed. That was it. I didn't track how many passes they had left. I didn't know that because they were responsible for their card,” Lonaker said. “I wanted a more polished look. Because I formalized my business, I was going to start promoting myself. That's when I finally decided to move forward with Punchpass.”
Having the ability to digitally collect all her customer’s information, and reach out to them through the same program, was essential to Lonaker, and Vibe’s success.
“Once I started getting a lot more people, I had no way to communicate with them. Yeah, I could have them write down their email (which some did). But who wants to go in and try to copy that many e-mails back into your email (program) from a paper?” she said. “I wanted something to do everything that was one portal. If I need to send someone an email, I can do it from the app. If I want to take a payment I can do that with cash or card.”
Lonaker researched a lot of dance studio software management options before she selected Punchpass. She said the personalized service she received and the approachability of the product appealed to her.
“I found it much less intimidating than going to a bigger software program like MindBody,” said Lonaker. “I found it much more comfortable to me -- being so small -- going to Punchpass. It felt much more personal. You guys were attentive to me, which I really appreciated. I felt like if I had a question it was going to get answered.”
Going digital with Punchpass was still a bit scary, said Lonaker, and she admits that the first time she used her new software to sign in students, she had a line out the door and around the block as she fumbled with her iPad. But ultimately, it was more than worth the learning curve, she said.
“Looking back at it now, I would not have changed a thing,” said Lonaker, who has used Punchpass for two years now. “It's just getting that initial change out of the way. It's scary for anybody. I researched it a lot before I finally decided to switch over because I knew it was going to be kind of messy at first, but I don't regret it at all.”
One of the best aspects of Punchpass is how simple and easy it’s been for Lonaker’s front desk staff to use, which has saved her a lot of time and worry, she said.
“Now, it just runs itself basically and anyone can manage it. It doesn't take me any time to explain to the girls who work the check-in how to use it. It's just quick and it's easy, which I really appreciate,” she said. “If I show them twice, I never have to show anything again. And it's easy for them to navigate even if it's something that they don't know. It's nothing so sensitive that you're going to screw everything up if you hit the wrong button or you can't undo it. They can usually navigate themselves if they don't know it and if I didn't already go over it with them.”
Punchpass has grown with, and helped, Vibe grow, Lonaker said.
"You guys were attentive to me, which I really appreciated. I felt like if I had a question it was going to get answered.”
“There's always been something happening, and it's always been for the good. I really appreciate that you take feedback and you use it -- because a lot of people don't. So it's only gotten better,” she said.
When Lonaker moved up to the Banyan plan, she was able to offer clients the ability to set up their own Vibe online accounts, which she says saved her tons of wasted time by eliminating streams of emails from students asking how many classes they had left on their pass, requesting to cancel a reservation, wondering if a teacher was subbing a class out.
“Things totally changed again once I upgraded,” she said. “That's been a game-changer. The time spent at home answering these menial questions that are so obvious has been drastically cut down. It's been SO nice. I'm not responding to emails at all hours of the night anymore which has been great.”
Using Punchpass’ Instructor Report streamlined Lonaker’s payroll process, another time-consuming process she was able to simplify.
“I love the instructor reports. They make it really easy for me to pay the girls -- so those are great. I pay them per person that comes to class, and then if they hit a certain amount they get an additional ten dollars per class. It's to incentivize them to promote their classes just as much as I am promoting their classes. I just look at their total attendance for the month. It takes like 5 minutes.
"Punchpass has definitely taken a lot of work out that worried me before -- be it basic bookkeeping or tracking and stuff like that. It's made it very easy for me to keep doing this and it's easy for me to train other people to do it as well if I can't.
"It's made it much more attainable for me to be able to balance those jobs -- and my son and my husband and my family.”