Towel Service: The Not-So-Basic Facts

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Towel service feels like it should be straightforward, right? But it's not as simple as you'd think, so I've boiled down some of the basic facts for you.

Towel Service Options

  • Pay a towel service to provide and launder towels
  • Buy towels and wash them yourselves
  • Opt out of towel service

Key Factors To Consider

  • Do you offer services or just a facility for working out?
  • Do you offer a higher level or a lower level of service?
  • Are you charging a high or a low membership fee?

Towel service does come at an expense, but it also plays a big role in the customer experience. That's why the level of service you offer is a key deciding factor when it comes to offering towel service.

Gyms That Should Always Provide Towel Service

If you are trying to build a service-driven business including personal training, you'll want your customers to feel the warm fuzzies. I'd recommend always offering towel service.

In this case, you are probably charging higher fees as well, so it's a good idea to bake the cost of towel service into your membership fee.

Gyms That Should Consider Towel Service

If you are an average priced health club at about $58 dollars a month, towels are nice to have, but not required.

Average priced health clubs that are selling personal training services should remember that the training is a profit center, and small details like towel service can help you sell more of those higher end services.

Gyms That Don't Need To Offer Towel Service

If you offer a great place to work out, but offer a low-touch business model without a lot of personalized services, you probably do not have to worry about offering towels.

I've seen many businesses succeed without them.

A Cost-Saving Alternative

Consider offering hand towels only. Shower towels can cost 4 times as much as hand and face towels, offering hand towels can save you a lot of money!

Hiring a service to drop off clean towels, pick up dirty towels, and take care of all the laundry is the easiest way to go, but it's also very expensive.

You might be surprised to know that it can cost more than hiring a full time employee each year!

Hidden Costs Of DIY Towel Service

If you want to consider buying your own towels and washing them in-house, here are a few hidden costs to consider:

  • Plumbing: make sure you have proper plumbing in the proper location
  • Machines, and equipment maintenance
  • Utilities: water and electricity
  • Buying the towels: hand towels cost $18-$40/dozen; shower hotels cost $30-$70/dozen
  • 10% annual loss: sometimes the accidentally disappear, sometimes purposely
  • Wear and tear: plan to replace towels when they get dingy, at least once a year
  • Storage space and containers: you don't want the gym looking messy!
  • Labor: you'll need employees who can wash and fold

There is no question that there's a strategy to deciding if towel service is worth the investment, and I hope this information helps you decide what's right for your business.

Don't miss our other towel service blogs:

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