If you own a fitness studio, you know that the lion’s share of your time goes to managing and scheduling. But why bother scheduling over the phone and managing through spreadsheets? By building a software for your business, you can do everything in a few clicks.

Building your own fitness studio scheduling software can help your business sell services better and improve the customer experience. Sounds like something your business needs, doesn’t it?

After reading this blog post, you’ll know how scheduling software works and what features are must-haves. We’ll answer your questions concerning why ready-made solutions aren’t always a wise choice and how to find a team of developers to build a custom scheduling system.

Fitness studio scheduling software workflow

If you already have a website, you can embed widgets to integrate scheduling software. Using these widgets, your clients can sign up for classes and purchase memberships or gift cards online. Below, you can check out the scheme for a scheduling flow.

Fitness Studio Scheduling Software
Source: Steelkiwi.com

If your fitness studio has walk-in clients, an administrator can book them manually and accept card payments through a point of sale (PoS) device.

Top features of fitness scheduling software

To automate the scheduling process, you need to build software armed with a whole suite of tools. The Steelkiwi team has compiled a list of must-have features for your scheduling app.

Online scheduling

Your gym management software must enable clients to schedule, reschedule, and cancel classes online without having to contact a manager. This saves time for clients and allows fitness studio administrators to more effectively manage class sizes and meet staffing requirements.

User-friendly dashboard

A dashboard is the center of your scheduling management software. From the dashboard, you can access everything from calendars to payment processing. A fitness studio manager can create new lists of training sessions or add extra fields to the dashboard manually. A user-friendly dashboard can filter clients by time, class, and trainer. This offers flexibility and allows administrators to quickly search for clients, which is especially helpful if a training session must be rescheduled.

Membership management

Integrating gym membership software into your website allows clients to purchase memberships 24/7. Using this functionality, a fitness studio manager can create online offers (discounts on classes or trial memberships). Members can access their membership history, book training sessions, and pay for classes.

Notifications

Dynamic and effective notifications via text messages or email keep clients updated about their schedules and payments.

Real-time reports

To keep your finger on the pulse of your fitness studio, you need to build a gym scheduling app that can generate real-time reports. Usually, a minimum set of reports includes class attendance, a billing statement, and revenue per client. There also must be the possibility to archive daily reports for quick access. With this data, you’ll be able to make better business decisions.

Attendance tracking

By tracking their attendance, you can keep fitness studio clients on track toward their goals. Clients can track the number of classes attended with their accomplishments. A tracker encourages clients when they aren’t consistent. Also, by using an attendance tracker, you can spot fitness trends and reorganize your offerings accordingly.

Social media integration

Why is it so crucial? Well, social media has become a vital part of everyone’s life. Scrolling down to the next post in their newsfeed, those interested in fitness not just stay connected to their friends. They also have access to useful information on new fitness trends, learn more about losing weight and look for a cool fitness studio. Eventually, they can come across your business page.

Direct scheduling via social media is fast and convenient, as users don’t need to disengage from their browsing to schedule on an official website. Integrate your fitness management software with Facebook by adding a Book Now button to your business page. By using existing social media tools like the Book Now button, you put the right call to action in front of your potential audience.

Online payments

Automated payment processing gives fitness studio clients more flexibility and improves the customer experience. Your workout scheduler should handle different payment options and use email reminders or push notifications to notify of successful payment.

Ready-made fitness scheduling software

The number of wellness management platforms is vast. Ready-made solutions are designed to meet the needs of gyms, yoga and fitness studios, and their clients. Most ready-made fitness club software has powerful functionality, including for scheduling.

fitness scheduling software
source: mindbody.io

We’ve chosen three popular products — WellnessLiving, Zen Planner, and MINDBODY software — to compare based on their set of features, scheduling tools, disadvantages, and cost per month.

MindbodyWellnessLivingZen Planner
MindbodyFeaturesWellnessLiving
  • Online scheduling
  • Admin dashboard with calendars
  • Analytics and reporting dashboard
  • Retention marketing
  • Automated emails and push notifications
  • Client profiles
  • PoS integration
  • Integration with social media platforms, email and credit card software, Google Calendar, and Google Analytics
  • MINDBODY app
Zen Planner
  • Online scheduling
  • Admin dashboard with calendars
  • BOOK-A-SPOT for reserving special assets (e.g. bikes)
  • Client management
  • Mobile staff app
  • Mobile client app
  • PoS integration
  • Reporting
  • Marketing
  • Integration with social media
  • Automated confirmations and reminders
  • Online scheduling
  • Attendance tracking
  • Admin/user dashboard
  • Skill and belt tracking
  • Automated billing
  • Customized reporting
  • Customized analytics
  • Marketing
  • Member app
  • Staff mobile app
  • iPad Kiosk app
  • Integrated custom website
Scheduling tools
  • Scheduling from any device
  • Staff permissions
  • Assigning classes and tasks to staff members
  • Offering packages and products to potential buyers
  • Viewing the schedule on a buyer chart
  • Editing schedules with a drag-and-drop option
  • Checking a client’s membership type
  • Checking remaining spots for a class
  • Scheduling from any device
  • Real-time booking
  • Interactive calendar
  • Search by filter
  • Class scheduling
  • Workshop/event/course management
  • Scheduling closed days
  • Customizing the look and feel of the calendar
  • Customizing the schedule for each staff member
  • Calendars with real-time updates
  • Self-service registration
  • Member management
  • Staff management
Cost
  • Essential plan — $129 a month
  • Accelerate plan — $239 a month
  • Ultimate plan — $349 a month
  • Starter plan — $39 a month
  • Standard plan — $99 a month
  • Professional plan — $199 a month
  • Enterprise plan — $599 a month
  • Less than 50 members — $80 a month
  • 50–99 members — $100 a month
  • 100–199 members — $120 a month
  • 200–399 members — $140 a month
  • 400+ members — $155 a month
Disadvantages
  • Slow customer service
  • Difficult to use because of too many features
  • Reported bugs and glitches
  • High cost of the full-stack set
  • Feature updates aren’t announced in advance
  • Slow when loading pages
  • No features like client management, performance assessment, mobile app customization, and exercise library
  • Lacks depth
  • Lacks multi-location support and suits single-location studios only
  • Difficulties with signing up
  • Kiosk interface lags
  • Reported desktop app crashes

Due to the disadvantages of ready-made solutions, you should consider developing your own scheduling software from scratch. Following this path, you’ll be able to:

  • choose a set of features that match the needs of your fitness studio
  • invest more in data protection
  • avoid monthly fees
  • control updates and ensure further improvements

However, these clear benefits come along with one big drawback: developing scheduling software is costly.

How to hire a development team

Before you start interviewing a team of developers, decide on the programming language you’ll use to build your scheduling software.

According to a 2019 Stack Overflow Survey, Python is the fastest-growing language. Its popularity has already surpassed that of Java, C#, and PHP. Today, Python is in great demand among the world’s most famous companies — Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google. If you want your fitness software to be powerful, go with Python.

When researching the market for a development team, check out feedback from previous clients to see if a team has met clients’ expectations, development terms, deadlines, etc. Conduct two or three rounds of interviews to decide which team to choose. Be prepared to evaluate candidates’ technical and soft skills.


Read also: How to Hire an In-house Python & Django Developer: Python/Django Interview Questions, Tips, and Advice


Technical skills

  • Expertise in core Python — Developers need to have a good grasp of basic Python concepts and know the differences between Python 2 and Python 3.
  • Knowledge of Python web frameworks — As your team must create a project from scratch, your developers will need to know at least one of the common Python frameworks, such as Django.
  • Good grasp of ORM tools — Object-oriented mappers help developers connect software to databases.
  • Understanding of multi-process architectures — This helps developers to correctly manage processes related to developing high-performance software.
  • Knowledge of RESTful APIs — Team members must understand how to use RESTful APIs to integrate scheduling software with other components.

Soft skills

  • Efficient communication — This is important when discussing ideas or technical details and doing peer code reviews. Good communication also helps to resolve issues.
  • Motivation — Developers should be passionate about the idea of the project and dedicated to its development.
  • Responsibility — Developers should understand the implications of the project and avoid data manipulation or fabricating results.
  • Teamwork — Developers should be able to thrive in the team and maintain good relationships with other team members.

High concentration of talent

If you’re looking for potential cost savings, hire a team from Ukraine. Ukrainian software developers charge $30 to $50 per hour. This rate is the average, and the precise rate will depend on a developer’s experience. There are four other bonuses you’ll get along with these attractive rates when you choose Ukraine as your outsourcing destination:

  1. Time zone. Ukraine is only one or two hours ahead of Central and Western Europe. The workday in Ukraine coincides with the workday in European countries. The time zone also isn’t a problem for US clients: Ukrainian mornings are American afternoons/evenings, so meetings can be planned accordingly.
  2. Language. Ukrainian developers are proficient in English. Most IT industry employees know English at an intermediate or upper-intermediate level.
How to hire a development team
source: codingninjas.co


3. Mentality. Ukrainian developers are valued for their productivity and work ethics. They put much effort into developing reliable and high-quality software.
4. Skills. If you work with a team of developers from Ukraine, you can count on a wide range of skills and proficiency in various disciplines.

Fitness software development costs

When asking about the cost of developing fitness club management software, you expect to hear precise figures. But a development company can provide only rough numbers. Say you want to build a house and contact a homebuilder. Upon providing rough figures, they’ll explain that the final cost will depend on the architectural plan, size, necessary permits, materials for the exterior and interior, qualifications of the construction crew, etc.

Similarly, the following factors affect the cost of scheduling software:

  • Scope. Technically complex features are more expensive to implement than routine ones. Plus, you’ll pay more if you implement all features at once.
  • UI/UX design. Prebuilt themes and templates are cheaper. If you order fully customized scheduling software, it will be more expensive.
  • Non-functional requirements. High-load software that handles many requests at a time is always costly.
  • Deadline. Meeting tight deadlines requires more resources and entails higher risks.

At Steelkiwi, developing a platform for booking classes with snowsports instructors and mountain guides took us 734 hours:

  • Wireframes: 68 hours
  • Design: 72 hours
  • Backend development: 336 hours
  • Frontend development: 138 hours
  • Testing: 120 hours

We spent 1,454 hours developing Your Living-room Trainer, a fitness marketplace that connects trainers and trainees:

  • Wireframes: 87 hours
  • Design: 139 hours
  • Backend development: 474 hours
  • Frontend development: 354 hours
  • Testing: 400 hours

By knowing the total number of hours and approximate hourly rates ($30 to $50 per hour in the case of Ukrainian developers), you can estimate the total cost.

When crafted to your requirements, fitness studio scheduling software will centralize and streamline your scheduling process. It will facilitate business processes and turn your studio into a user-friendly environment. If you’re ready to go over the details or have any questions, contact our team.