“How Your Gym Can Tackle Rising Energy Prices in 2022 and Beyond?”
It is a time of tension, both across the world and in the UK. It is hard to shake the twinned feelings of horror that one, energy prices have substantially risen. And two, that not only will those prices not go down, but they are also most likely, under current government policy, only going to rise.
With that being said, the last two months have seen stunning reversals by the UK Conservative Party (including the reversal of a prime minister), so it is possible that compared to the time of reading, the situation may change.
As it stands, our understanding is that the rather ‘half-measure’ cap in energy prices that has been put in place for businesses will expire in April and that ‘a more targeted alternative’ will come into place.
In a move reassuring to no-one, the specifics of that scaled-back and ‘more targeted’ scheme have not been shared.
As predicted by the head of the British Chamber of Commerce earlier in the year, we are already seeing businesses, both within and outside the fitness industry starting to reduce hours. In a few extreme examples, closing entirely.
As such, we thought it best to be proactive and look at a selection of measures that businesses can take to mitigate the damage that the energy price crisis is currently inflicting on many industries. We have made sure to keep in mind what independent gym and fitness club owners can do about the rising energy prices during this coming winter and beyond.
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1. Utilise What Government Support Is Available
Despite being the ‘party of business’, the Conservatives have never been too keen on the state directly financing businesses (unless they are banks). Now former Prime Minister Liz Truss’ response to the crisis involved an energy package that capped energy bills for businesses at the same price per unit as consumers for two years. This was later revised to six months by now Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Alongside this measure, we have also heard talk of the capping of business rates and, we should also expect VAT and business rates to be reduced, all of which have yet to be finalised.
Thankfully there are multiple government schemes including a grant scheme and the offer of bespoke loans which businesses should absolutely take advantage of.
And while you wouldn’t believe it from government rhetoric, there are also incentives on offer for businesses that are able to show that they have lowered their carbon emission and a variety of other factors.
While we might discuss these another day and how they can be applied to independent gym and fitness clubs owners.
For now we would guide you towards the official government advice on this:
2. Reach Out To Your Energy Provider
Much like the government, energy providers are keenly aware of what is happening, and know that while these energy prices are currently resulting in record profits, they also threaten to wipe out many of their customers.
As such, we have seen many energy suppliers offering initiatives and grants that encourage and reward energy efficiency. Most of the time, these can be taken in conjunction with the government schemes. This reinforces the need to keep track of any and all improvements that a gym owner may make to their facility. Often a portion of this can be recuperated.
In addition, ‘business hardship funds’ have existed for a long time within many energy companies. These are, for apparent reasons, coming into the limelight now in a back way. While a business will need to prove that they qualify for this type of relief, it can be of vital importance to small businesses.
We are planning to do a more indepth article about business rates in the future but for now the above should help guide gym and fitness club owners down the right path.
Finally, though it will not save or add additional money to a business portfolio, the option of setting up a payment plan exists. Energy companies are receiving significant pressure from governmental and non-governmental sources to enact these at the moment and they can often be a generous lifeline. As such, we believe every facility within the fitness industry struggling should look into energy payment plans for their gym or fitness club.
3. Review Your Choice of Energy Supplier
If you are not happy with the support offered by your current energy supplier, the next step is to shop around. Each energy supplier is different and will offer different levels of business support. We recommend doing research on any energy supplier with an appealing energy package to see what experience other business owners had with them. We would recommend looking for other business owners within the fitness industry first, followed by other businesses that use a similar level of electricity to a gym or fitness club.
Comparison websites can be useful here for getting an idea of which energy supplier will offer the best rates, but it is important to keep in mind that that isn’t the whole picture.
If they offer effective energy efficiency grants, business hardship schemes and other business supports, it might be preferable to pay a little extra on your bill to be properly supported through these trying times.
4. Contact Your Bank
Every major bank provides some form of financial advice for businesses. Santander, Lloyds, Natwest, HSBC and Barclays all spend a significant amount of money investing in their business departments. In better times, we can just forget that these services exist but they exist for a reason.
Whether you are a long or short term customer with your bank, they should be more than willing to offer business support. This advice and support can manifest in a variety of ways, it may overlap with some of the above, being able to recommend areas to save, energy suppliers that have been useful to their other client businesses and more. Banks represent a concentration of business expertise and support to gyms and fitness club owners and should be utilised as such.
5. Reduce Consumption
And finally, the most direct solution. While we never want to impact the members that use our gyms and fitness clubs, given the circumstances it may be necessary to scale back energy usage. Some energy usage can be reduced without compromising the operational effectiveness of a gym or fitness club.
Lowering the thermostat/resting temperature:
As obvious as it is effective. Lowering the thermostat a few degrees can quickly add up to large savings. It is important for any gym or fitness club to communicate this (and any measure that is undertaken) to their membership ahead of time.
Even if it is a temperature change that will be mostly imperceptible, your membership will appreciate being forewarned and that a gym is taking measures to lower costs.
Using energy-efficient equipment and LED bulbs:
As discussed earlier, one of the many tools in the fight against energy costs will be energy-efficient electronics. Gyms and fitness clubs should make careful note of every energy-saving appliance they purchase to demonstrate the measures that have been taken to make the business more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. If this can be demonstrated, significant price reductions and business assistance could be unlocked.
Automatic sensors to endure that empty rooms do not have their lights turned on unnecessarily:
Just as above, this is another measure that will not only save a significant amount of money after a gym or fitness club has installed them but can also be used to demonstrate energy efficiency.
Turn off powered exercise equipment/PCs/Sauna/ when not in use:
By turning off these systems when they are not in use, consumption can be reduced.
A more extreme variant of this measure would be to limit the amount of time that these systems are operational. This can be especially effective with any facility that uses heated water, such as a sauna, spa, or especially a swimming pool.
While an extreme measure, if communicated responsibly we have seen that gym and fitness club members are understanding of the hardships currently facing the industry.
An energy audit can highlight some of the above measures and recommend where more complex energy-saving measures such as solar panels and insulation can be placed.
Both of these measures are expensive but very effective. Insulation will allow for the thermostat to be run lower, though it is important that the current ventilation also be taken into account.
Solar panels can provide massive savings on energy for a business if a gym or fitness club is able to accommodate them.
Here at Ashbourne, we’ve been working with gyms and fitness clubs, growing their business and helping them reach their potential for over 25 years. While our primary domain is membership management, we’ve learned plenty along the way. Interested in seeing if we can help enhance the reach and potential of your Gym? Please do not hesitate to contact our team today here.