“NOT THE END?!” By: Dave Kenyon, Gold’s Gym Dutchess County

challengeIt always amazes me how quickly time goes by. It feels like just last week we were planning and organizing this year’s Gold’s Gym Challenge. And yet here we are talking about wrapping it up and judging.

The Gold’s Gym Challenge is truly special to me for a number of reasons. One reason is that it happens during our busiest time of the year, which can be great or a little stressful.  I personally love the busy season of January through March, as the energy in the club is at its peak, and people are working hard to create a better version of themselves.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing a fitness floor filled to capacity with people from all walks of life, working hard to accomplish whatever goal they have set.

The other reason the Challenge has me hooked is its simplicity and effectiveness. It isn’t rocket science, but the results we see every year still amazes me. The dedication and commitment that people make is truly inspirational. I believe that the Gold’s Gym Challenge IS the magic pill!

The best reason the Challenge is so special to me is the impact it has on our employees. Watching the Trainers, Sales People and Front Desk Staff talk about it and get excited to see people sign up is extraordinary. The level of excitement the staff brings to it is, in my opinion, the difference maker.

So as the weather starts to turn nicer and people start to think about going outside. Let’s get all the people who started the Challenge to remember why they did it. What was their reason for their dedication? Why did they sacrifice and commit to the gym and the healthy lifestyle for 12 weeks?

Let’s remind them of why they feel and look better than they did just a short 12 weeks ago.  Let’s help them to remember their healthy lifestyle. And let’s celebrate their achievements together.

So as we say goodbye to this year’s Gold’s Gym Challenge, I would like to challenge everyone reading this to keep that Challenge feeling alive in your staff and yourself for as long as you own, run, or work in the best place on earth!

GOLD’S GYM

All 2016 Gold’s Gym Challenge Team Submissions must 
be received at the GGFA by Friday, May 6th! 
GGFA #129 / 400 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard 
Suite 5, Suwanee, GA 30024

Dave Kenyon

Dave Kenyon, Chairman
Gold’s Gym Challenge Committee
Gold’s Gyms of Dutchess County NY

 

 

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“Are You Watching Your Monthly Membership Sales Decline and Don’t Know Why?” By Jim Thomas, Fitness Management & Consulting

We recently took on a client club whose sales were on a steady decline.  Of course, we heard the normal push-backs such as to much competition, time of year, rates are too high, marketing is not working, etc.  One of the first things we will normally do is listen in to call-tracking results on incoming calls – most of this is tied to direct mail marketing.  In this particular case, a prospect called in asking about membership rates.  Not only did the club representative not follow the provided script, but when the caller volunteered that she may have called the wrong club, the club rep offered to find the phone number of the competitor. You may be thinking this was a new rep that was answering the phone prematurely…..unfortunately, it was the club manager.

Do you know what your salespeople and front desk staffers are saying over the phone?

92% of customer interactions happen via the phone.  85% of customers report dissatisfaction with their phone experience.

Do you have a written phone script? If not, you need to get one and it should be memorized to the point of being second-nature. Regular training and role-playing should be done to be sure everyone is on track.  And be sure to listen to your call tracking notes…this will only be important to your staff, if it’s first important to you.  You must inspect what you expect.

A customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor when ignored.

Are you ignoring your customers?

Many clubs will put a significant effort into getting the phone to ring and people to walk through the door, but then don’t maximize the opportunity to increase membership sales when the salespeople fail to follow up.

48% of salespeople never follow up with a prospect.

25% of salespeople make a second contact and stop.

12% of salespeople only make three contacts and stop.

Only 10% of salespeople make more than three contacts.

80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.

The biggest reasons we find salespeople do not follow up like they should – they simply don’t know what to say.  Web leads, for example, on average, require 8 attempts before contacting….you may speak to some web leads right away which means someone else make take 16 attempts.

The key to successful follow up is to commit to it, get creative on different ways to do it and understand that speed is power.

Do you know what your salespeople are saying? Can your salespeople pass the test?

Now, go learn that script!

 

Register for the GGFA webinar  How to Improve Sales Performance

by 20% Without any Additional Expenditure”

 DATE: THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2016 TIME: 1:00 PM EDT

Register Now

 

Jim Thomas

 

Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting and turnaround firm specializing in the fitness and health club industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars and workshops across the country on the practical skills required to successfully build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.jimthomasondemand.com.

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“10 Tax Time Tips for Your Fitness Business” By: Melissa Knowles, CEO, Gym HQ

With April 15th fast approaching, now is a great time to start the prep work for filing your business taxes…for 2016.  If you’ve waited until now to start preparing for your 2015 filing, you’ve already missed the proverbial buck.  As with all other aspects of your business, organization, proper planning, and consistency are hugely important in making tax season as painless as possible.  Follow the tips below to ensure that next year’s filing is smooth sailing.

  1. Prepare early. Not surprisingly, this ranks top on our list.  Procrastination will not serve you well when it comes to ensuring the documentation needed for your taxes are in order.  Late filings and amendments can cost time and money.  When you fail to file a Form 1120 (due March 15th for corporations and April 15th for LLCs), the corporation is charged a monthly penalty that’s equal to 5 percent of any income tax that remains unpaid.  In addition to the penalties for failing to file, the IRS can charge the corporation a separate penalty for paying taxes after the filing deadline. This penalty will increase the amount of tax that the corporation owes by one-half of a percent for each month it remains unpaid.
  2. Be consistent. Ensure that your accounting and bookkeeping practices are accurate and occurring on a schedule.  Make sure your expenses are reconciled, tracked and supported with receipts.  At a minimum, spend time at least monthly to review your accounts—receivable, payable, credit card transactions, cash flow, etc.  You also want to ensure that all expenses and revenues are booked according to the same system each month.  Keep a depreciation schedule for all major asset purchases.  Make sure the schedule includes:  date put into service, original cost, accumulated depreciation up to this tax year, business use percentage (if applicable), recovery period of the asset.  You’ll also need any Section 170 Expense taken in the first year of service.
  3. Make sure you have W9s on file. If you’re paying anyone as an independent contractor and their total payment exceeds $600 (or the payment is for legal services), you’ll need to provide them with form 1099-MISC by January 31st.
  4. Take advantage of your liabilities. If you’re on an accrual basis, make sure you accrue liabilities that occurred within the fiscal year to the take advantage of the tax deduction.  If you’re on a cash basis, make sure you stroke a check for any outstanding liabilities prior to year-end to reduce your profit.
  5. Be mindful of state apportionment. Have locations in multiple states?  Then you need to prepare for state apportionment.  Make sure you’re dividing your revenue, expenses, and payroll appropriately throughout the year.
  6. Don’t forget about the ACA reporting requirements. Do you understand what your business’ requirements are under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?  Reporting was due to employees in January.  The filing due to the IRS has been extended from March 31st to June 30th (if filing electronically) and from February 29th to May 31st (if not filing electronically).  Penalties are in place this year for failure to report or provide adequate coverage.  Make sure you look into the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit which is in place to help small businesses with low-  and moderate-income workers afford the cost of coverage.
  7. Avoid payroll mistakes. Payroll tax compliance is something that many small business owners struggle with. The financial consequences of getting it wrong aren’t pleasant either. Statistics show that approximately 40 percent of small businesses incur an average of $845 per year in IRS penalties (not to mention issues with the states in which they operate). To make sure that your payroll taxes are deposited correctly, consider outsourcing your payroll function. The benefits often far outweigh the fees.
  8. Ensure your SUI rates are accurate. Each year, the state(s) mail out a new unemployment experience rating for the coming year.  Make sure you update yours with your payroll team.  Failure to do so can result in under paying and receiving a nice bill, with interest, or overpaying and jumping through the hoops required to get a refund back from the state.
  9. It isn’t only the IRS. The IRS is only a piece of the tax puzzle.  You’ll want to be mindful of other tax obligations like property, payroll, local taxes, excise tax, self-employment taxes, etc.  Failure to meet deadlines can result in some serious fees.
  10. If you’re not prepared, file an extension. If you haven’t heeded our advice and find yourself staring down a rapidly approaching deadline, probably the easiest way to avoid late-filing penalties is to file Form 7004 to obtain an extension of time to file. If the 7004 is filed by the original tax return filing deadline, you’ll have an additional six months to file the Form 1120. However, the extension doesn’t give you more time to pay the tax you owe, so it’s best to estimate how much tax is owed and pay as much of it as possible by the original filing deadline to minimize late-payment penalties.

 

The beginning of the year is a great time to do a vital statistics check on your business.  Many of the practices required to satisfy Uncle Sam will benefit the overall health of your business.  So consider each of these pointers as time well spent.  Happy tax planning!

Melissa Knowles

Melissa Knowles serves as the CEO for Gym HQ.  With over a decade of industry experience, her knowledge spans many areas:  strategic operations, development of staff training materials and programs, cost savings analysis, reporting gym hqdevelopment and implementation, fitness department overhaul, client retention systems, and corporate management.  She’s especially well versed in all operational and HR focused areas; and she holds an HR certification through SHRM.  What makes her uniquely qualified as an industry leader is her time spent “in the trenches”.  Melissa is a graduate of the University of West Florida and holds an MS in Exercise Science and a BS in Sports Medicine.

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Why Effective Club Sales And Marketing Is Becoming More About Helping Than Hype By: Bryan K. O’Rourke, MBA

webinar-icon.pngOverview

IHRSA 2016 in Orlando this March has many great seminars and speakers but among them all is a really special one. Jay Baer, the renowned business strategist, keynote speaker and the New York Times best-selling author of four books will be discussing his book Youtility: Smart Marketing is About Help, not Hype on Monday, March 21, 2016 from 10:45am-12:15pm . I strongly suggest your attend.

What Is Youtility and Why Is Smart Marketing About Help Not Hype ?

Two key trends are making general top of mind marketing and advertising ineffective. First media continues to be highly fragmented and includes vast amounts of noise. The competition for your attention has never been higher so its harder to get your message across. Second companies are increasingly distrusted by consumers. They simply do not believe what brands are telling them and so are skeptical about any messages that do get through the noise.

While top of mind awareness is certainly fading, in-bound marketing has risen as an effective alternative but its only half the story. When someone is ready to buy they can find you, but this effort only serves demand that already exists. It does not create new customers.

Mr. Baer’s thesis is that a new approach he terms “Friend Of Mine” marketing, is a better way to market because in today’s world we are competing for attention against everything including the friends and family of your potential customers. As Jay puts it “Make your marketing so useful people would pay for it.” Because of this dynamic there are two approaches brands can take. The first is to be simply “Amazing” which is more generic and certainly important but the second approach is better: to be truly and utterly useful. How can brands do this ?bracket-clipart-right-bracket-md.png

There are three facets of creating Youtility:

  1. Provide lots of self service information. Buyers do not want to be hassled by sales people any more. They want to research and learn as much as possible using online tools. Create information that can help people evaluate their decisions.
  1. Provide radical transparency. People want to see the sausage being made. They want to know what is in it and how it is cooked. They want to know everything. Buyers want to understand as much details around any service or product they are considering to reduce the risk of uncertainty and to be sure they have the experience they are looking for when they do make decisions; and
  1. Deliver real-time relevancy. No brand can be useful all of the time. Utility is circumstantial. Jay shares the example of Columbia Sportswear’s mobile app featuring “What Knot To Do In The Great Outdoors” which shows its users how to tie various knots. This is incredibly useful if you need to tie a knot, which many people in the outdoors need to do. When customers rely on this useful tool they will likely return to Columbia when they are ready to buy something related.

There are many examples in health clubs where these three facets can be created; from providing a wonderful online presence that enables potential members to virtually tour clubs 24 hours a day to displaying pricing alternatives for services and memberships.

When considering the various approaches to creating there are Six Blueprints that Jay identifies in his book and which he will cover in his IHRSA 2016 presentation. They are:

  1. Identify Customer Needs. By understanding via research and study, what needs are most important to customers, you can design the best most valuable solutions people are looking for.
  1. Map Needs to Youtility. By using apps, blogs, forums and other modalities of content the Youtility can be optimally delivered in various forms that people find more useful. Picking the right form for the best for of Youtility is critical.
  1. Market your marketing. Content and information is fire and social media is gasoline. You must promote your Youtility first and your company second. Simply creating Youtility is not enough. You have to promote it.
  1. Youtility is a Skill Not A Job. Creating Youtility is the job of everyone in the business. The more knowledge that can be created and shared to create value the better.
  1. Youtility is a Process Not A Project. It never ends and evolves because technology and needs evolve. Once you start down the path of Youtility it never stops.
  1. Keep Score. There are four methods of tracking the effectiveness of Youtility and these include comments, shares, lead generation and finally sales. The metrics of Youtility are important to measure to understand just how relevant the effort is in supporting your growth plans.

 

Conclusion

Marketing and consumers are changing. Using the tools and approaches Jay outlines in his book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype is the modern day effective approach to building your fitness business. Hopefully if you are in Orlando for IHRSA 2016 you will have the time to hear Jay’s views in person. Jay has also just recently launched another great book Jay’s new book is Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers. To learn more about Jay Baer please visit his web site here: http://www.jaybaer.com/books-by-jay/ and give his concepts a try. You’ll be happy you did. If you’d like to figure out how you can use Jay’s concepts let me know, we’d be happy to help.

 

Bryan O'Rourke croppedAbout the Author:

Bryan O’Rourke serves as President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council, is CEO of Integerus Advisors and serves as CSO of Fitmarc. He’s an entrepreneur, consultant and business executive with a 30 year track record of success. He and his partners actively serve health club and fitness business around the world.  As a former club owner, Bryan has worked in the health club and fitness industry for 18 years and was named one of 13 to watch in 2013 by IHRSA. He has presented at conferences on four continents and is widely published and quoted in periodicals like Inc. Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He is being published this spring in an upcoming book by EuropeActive titled Growing the Fitness Sector Through Innovation . To learn more visit bryankorourke.com .

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Relationships Are the Foundation of This Business

Ginger CollinsHello Everyone;

As we have completed the first month of the year ahead, many of you have shared that January kicked off very strong and that you are very encouraged about the upcoming season.  This is great news that I am not surprised to hear.  Success takes drive and dedication and all of you have it.  You know your members and your market and have consistently responded to their needs.  You make improvements to your club to enhance the member experience, whether it is through making capital improvements, adding new programs or services, or focusing on new types of marketing to attract new members.  You’ve acquired an amazing staff and have trained them to exemplify your mission, vision and purpose.   And then there are those things that you do in your communities to make a difference.  Bringing fitness and wellness into supporting local events and national causes is part of your DNA.

You are in this business because you are passionate about improving the life and health of others.  People who come into the business purely to build something great and be a financial success is just not a sustainable thought process.  It takes a huge commitment to others be successful as a club owner.

That is why the GGFA is here to support each of you that open your doors every day to make a healthy contribution in your communities.  The association is built on relationships and as you’ve heard me state our strategy, “to create conditions for franchisees to thrive.”  The Supplier Partnership Network was created early in 2008 in answer to your needs.  It is built on relationships too and has developed and matured since then.  In 2014, we created the Premium Club and invited our SPN member community to consider participating.  It is limited to five suppliers, who are Gold Level members.  They must be in the SPN for at least 3 years to be considered and their club status runs from January through December.  Last month we introduced the 2016 SPN Premium Club members, but today we would like to share with you what they think about being part of the GGFA.

Please read what they have to share and you will see how their support of you and your association are a mirror of the support you give to your members, your staff and your communities.

Your business was started with a passion for fitness, and its growth has been built and is sustained on relationships.  Everything that the GGFA does for you is also founded in relationships.

Ginger Collins
GGFA Executive Director

 

“The GGFA is such an important organization to be part of and plugged in to so members and suppliers can be informed.  It is amazing to see the growth of the GGFA and involvement of all the Franchisees.  I cannot think of a better way to support the brand and be part of the educational process.  Matrix values the GGFA relationship deeply and appreciates all the opportunities that it brings.  Matrix wishes all of the Gold’s family a great year in 2016.”

Seth Robinson
Matrix Fitness
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“Through the years, ASF Payment Solutions has been honored to be supporters and sponsors of the GGFA.  Everyone in this organization continues to be a pleasure to work with.  Our commitment to GGFA and the individual owners grows with each year through the incredible events that are put on by their staff.  Relationships are the ultimate foundation of any partnership, and ASF is fortunate to have nurtured those friendships with GGFA and the owners!”

Jason Abucejo
ASF Payment Solutions

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“It’s been over 6 years that Europa has been part of the GGFA and wouldn’t trade a single moment of it.  The relationships that have been forged through this network truly mean the world to us.  The word relationship to Europa is not a corporate word that we use in marketing or punch lines but the core of who we are and governs the many decisions we make on a daily basis.  Partners like the GGFA help guide those decisions because of the work that’s been invested on both sides that extend beyond the all mighty dollar.  Many of the things we put effort into for Gold’s and its franchises are simply because 25 years ago its where we started.  Our owners, Eric and Jeff built those relationships with people like Ted & Nancy Capp and Steve Roten.  So when you fast forward to today and see the relationships that take shape with people like Dusty Mason or Joe Harrison you can understand why continuing to partner makes as much sense as it did then as it does now.  We look forward to working and getting close with each member of this organization because it’s as much family to us as our own employees.”

Justin Weeks
Europa Sports Products

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“For 10+ years Les Mills and the GGFA franchisees have been partners in over 185 locations nationally. Events such as the GGFA Owners’ Conference and Regional Workshops have given Les Mills the opportunity to forge stronger relationships with our GGFA franchisee partners. We appreciate the support that the Gold’s Gym owners and operators have given us over the years and the GGFA has been a very important part of the support structure that strengthens those relationships.”

Erin Kelly
Les Mills US

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“Fitness Underwriters has been a member of the GGFA Supplier Partnership network since 2008 and we are proud to announce that we have taken that commitment to the next level with our Premium Club sponsorship in 2016!

Over the years, we have enjoyed the unique opportunities that events like the Owners’ Conference and Regional Workshop provide us.  The team at Fitness Underwriters truly values those opportunities to stay connected to and strengthen relationships with our clients as well as creating new partnerships with all of the franchise members.

We are the GGFA’s biggest fans and believe that Ginger and her team are second to none!  We truly value the relationships we have built with the entire GGFA organization and we look forward to many more successful years together.”

Jeff Kerxton
Fitness Underwriters
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“FITNESS PAYMENT SOLUTIONS: TURNING PROSPECTS INTO NEW YEAR MEMBERS” By Christie McPherson, ASF Payment Solutions

Now that you’ve got prospects coming into your club, it’s time to convert them to members. People are looking to YOU, the fitness professionals to motivate and inspire them to reach their fitness goals.  So, in keeping with your New Year’s fitness goals, it’s the perfect time to act. Get your GroupX instructors and Trainers pumped up. They need to build energy and to drive member/guest traffic into the club, along with the GroupX and Training programs.

One idea is to start the New Year with a GroupX Team Spirit day. Have members and guests wear their favorite sports team jersey or T-shirt every Saturday for the month of January. Have the GXIs present one member per class an MVP award. This awarded member could be someone who brings guests; who has tons of energy; or is someone who has come a long way on their fitness journey. Showcase these members for the entire month and make them feel special! Put a message in your check-in system, “MVP in Les Mills Body Combat” to alert the front desk when one of your MVPs checks-in and coach your staff on congratulating them and asking them to bring their friends to share their love of “Les Mills Body Combat.” Enthusiasm is contagious and creates new members! Post pictures in the club and on social media with hash tags. Of course get the member’s permission first. Make an impact on your members because everyone wants to be recognized, so get them excited in achieving their goals, while at the same time promoting your club. Celebrate your rock star instructors! They are the catalyst to your success! See http://www.asfpaymentsolutions.com/blog/how-to-continually-inspire-a-motivated-group/ for employee motivation.

You not only want to drive guests into your club, but you want to make them successful and keep them coming back to your club. Your GXIs/Trainers should be doing the following to acclimate guests into your club culture so they don’t give up and want to come back.

  • Make sure your guests feel welcome. Motivate and help them achieve their dream of looking and feeling fit, as well as healthy. Be genuine!
  • Don’t call new people out in front of the class. Sometimes it takes a lot just to get someone to participate in a group fitness class, or even step foot in a gym. Acknowledge new members and guests before or after class, and compliment them during class.  Make sure to thank them for coming into your class and invite them to participate again. Genuinely show you care about them.
  • Introduce a new participant to one of your rock star regulars that can tell them more about your class. Help the participant get set-up and provide a safe environment for their questions. Sometimes people are self-conscious about speaking up with instructors/trainers and asking for advice.  For this type of situation your regulars can be a sounding board. Try to provide great motivation and cheer your regulars on during their workouts. There’s a reason why they are your regulars! People love to workout in a friendly and encouraging atmosphere. Make that possible for them!
  • Encourage your guests and regular members to “friend you” on social media to build a sense of community and a fitness support system. This engages them and keeps them part of the club.
  • After a workout or a class, congratulate new participants for their hard work and give them some guidance on what kind of workout they can do the next day. Cross-promote other classes to compliment what they’ve already accomplished that day. For example, if they have just completed a strenuous strength workout, tell them about a great Cardio or Yoga class. Let them know about the value of cross training. This helps to meet their goals faster.
  • The next time the guest comes to your class, congratulate them for making it back and tell them you’re excited to see them. On the other hand when they do miss class, welcome them back and let them know you genuinely missed them. Be authentic!
  • Run your Attendance reports in your Fitness Payment Solutions software to see who has signed up the previous week and hasn’t checked in. Have your staff email them, or extend a more personal touch and reach out to find out what’s holding them back. Show you care by giving them the encouragement they expect from a fitness professional.
  • Now is the time to give your members the convenience of using your payment solutions scheduling portal, and/or a Mobile App so they can sign up for classes, or buy PT sessions from their mobile device. It is also a great way to build a sense of community of like-minded people from your club. Members will be able to take fitness challenges, and log their workouts to share on social media as well. Members and guests inspire each other and keep themselves on track. More importantly, they keep coming back to your club.

CONCLUSION:

This is the time of year when you want guests to stop being doubters and make them successful and above all, to help them feel their inner champion.  You want them to smash through any barriers to achieve their fitness goals and to accomplish more than ever what they thought possible. When those guests fall in love with fitness and the community that you’ve created for them, you’ll have members for life.

Now go get ‘em!

 

Christie_ASF-490x365Christie McPherson is client training manager for ASF Payment Solutions. She spent a number of years in a senior management role on Wall Street working with mutual funds. McPherson has been with ASF Payment Solutions for 15 years as a client training manager and focuses on providing the best systems training in the business. Product development and system quality assurance are also an integral part of her responsibilities at ASF. She enjoys working with a staff that genuinely cares about helping clients grow their businesses and is happy to promote teamwork, fitness and a healthy lifestyle, which fits her core values as a certified Schwinn cycle instructor. She can be reached at: Christie.McPherson@asfpaymentsolutions.com

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Affordable Care Act Reporting Requirements for 2016

If you’re panicking over the reports the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires your business to produce this month, you’re not alone.  We’ve received numerous questions over the past few months from clients and blog readers.  In an effort to make the process easier, we’ve prepared the handy guide below.

How do I know what size employer I fall under?

For some, it’s very clear that you’re a small business.  You have 10 team members (both full and part-time) at any given point in the year.  For others, it can get a bit cloudy.  Here’s what the ACA says about your business size:

  • Small employers are those with fewer than 50 FTEs.
  • Applicable large employers are those with at least 50 FTEs.

First, you’ll need to determine how many full-time equivalent (FTE) employees you have.  Start by counting all full-time (30+ hours per week for at least 120 days) employees you had at the height of your employee count for the year (if your number of staff members/payroll has fluctuated).  Next, calculate your FTE employees; employees who worked less than 30 hours per week for at least 120 days of the year.  Take the payroll data from several payrolls throughout the year and do the following:   Add up all part-time employee hours (for those working or expected to work 120 or more days).  Divide it by 30.  Add that number to your full-time count, and you have your FTE number.  Look at several payrolls and go with the highest.  The IRS has a calculator to help with this:  https://www.healthcare.gov/shop-calculators-fte/

Which reports do I need to send?

Take your FTE count and your knowledge of the medical coverage your business currently offers and determine which reporting group you fall into:

  • Small employers (those with fewer than 50 FTEs) with a self-insured health plan must complete and file Forms 1095-B (Health Coverage) and 1094-B (accompanying transmittal form) with the IRS, as well as provide employees—specifically, those who are taxpayers responsible for showing they had health coverage during the year—with a copy of Form 1095-B.

Form 1095-B is used to report certain information to the IRS and to taxpayers about individuals who are covered by minimal essential coverage and therefore not liable for the individual shared responsibility payment.

The 1095-Bs will be provided by insurance companies for fully insured plans.

  • Applicable large employers (ALEs) with at least 50 FTEs must complete and file Forms 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage) and 1094-C (accompanying transmittal form), and provide each full-time employee with a copy of Form 1095-C.

Small employers with fewer than 50 FTEs also will be required to file Forms 1095-C and 1094-C if they are members of a controlled or affiliated service group that collectively has at least 50 FTEs.  This means if you have several different legal entities all operating under one brand and one management umbrella, you’ll need to count all of these legal entities’ FTEs together for reporting and coverage requirement purposes.

When are the reports due?

Reports due to the employees must be provided by January 31st.  Reports to the IRS are due by February 29th.

While the coverage requirements and penalties for 2015 only applied to applicable large employers (ALEs) with at least 100 FTEs, reporting is required for those with at least 50.  And in 2016, employers with 50 or more FTEs are subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions.

*The employer shared responsibility provisions—also known as the employer coverage mandate—are the employer penalty provisions under the ACA. Penalties apply if an employer fails to offer minimum essential coverage that is affordable and provides minimum value to full-time employees working at least 30 hours per week
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What else do I need to do to prepare?

Before you start working on your required forms, here’s one last recommendation, get your employees prepared.  Since this is the first year they’ll be required to report coverage with their tax filings, chances are they’re not prepared.  A little communication can go a long way.

Three primary messages to convey to your employees:

  1. Here’s what to expect. You will receive Form 1095-C for the first time in January 2016.
  2. Why you should care. You will need information on the form to prepare your 2015 taxes.

Be on the lookout. Watch for the form in your mailbox in January or for it to be delivered by hand at the worksite

 

Melissa Knowles.jpgMelissa Knowles serves as the CEO for Gym HQ.  With over a decade of industry experience, her knowledge spans many areas:  strategic operations, development of staff training materials and programs, cost savings analysis, reporting gym hqdevelopment and implementation, fitness department overhaul, client retention systems, and corporate management.  She’s especially well versed in all operational and HR focused areas; and she holds an HR certification through SHRM.  What makes her uniquely qualified as an industry leader is her time spent “in the trenches”.  Melissa is a graduate of the University of West Florida and holds an MS in Exercise Science and a BS in Sports Medicine.

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