29
Jun
09

Choosing a place for your kids, Part 2

I had written a blog entry a few weeks ago helping parents to choose a gymnastics, or any other sport activity, club for their child.  I promised more insight and I had a few questions from parents that come to the gym. I figured that I needed to make good on my promise and finish the post with my last few thoughts.

  1. Ask how often they safety inspect their equipment.  Is there someone who actually periodically inspects the equipment and writes a report for inspections and maintenance? A business that has children playing with their equipment should take such measures.  Maintenance reports should be filed and recorded and well as inspections. Parents need to know that their kids are safe.  I have been in facilities that not only disregard a clean facility (see first blog) but have no history of checking apparatuses for proper function.  I want to know, if my child is playing or training on something, that the likelihood of it collapsing is minimal.  Don’t you think that they should care about your child too.
  2. What kind of reputation do they have?  Ask friends and neighbors. Ask people with kids the same age as your kids, when you see them at the mall, or the grocery store.  Now days people don’t care what gum 4 out of 5 dentists chew, they want to know what their friends chew.  And that’s right.  Your kids will probably have the same experience as their kids, so the comparison is usually pretty accurate. 
  3. Look at their website. Proportionally, the more time they spend on their site, the prouder they are of what they do and the more likely they are to work hard at maintaining their reputation.
  4. Also Check their reputation with other activities you have been involved with. If you love your swimming place, ask them who they recommend for another program. If you hate your pool people, ask them anyway, then steer the other direction from their recommendation. Birds of a feather stick together.
  5. Check out their office hours and customer service. Are they available for you? Will they be easy to work with or difficult?  If you have a question or concern, does it take you several calls and several different levels of people to get to the right person to help?  At Gymfinity, we have a front desk that can solve most issues. Only if a concern deals with a safety or pricing issue are they referred on to a director.  One layer of bureaucracy, Pretty easy right?
  6. What is their Philosophy of business?  Do they have one?  There should be a guiding principle for their way for handling people and services.  Make sure you agree with the way they do business.
  7. Lastly, and most importantly, is the lesson my mother taught me. If you want to learn about a person or a business, stop by and visit their bathroom.  If it’s clean, well tended, adequately reviewed and comfortable then, most likely so will they be in doing business.  If the floor is wet and  sticky and the light is burned out; run away.  So far, much to my mother’s credit: this rule has always been right. She was also right about driving behind old men who wear hats but that’s a whole other post.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions: or if you want to hear who we recommend, for better or worse.

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