FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Does your service replace our current website?

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Yes, we create and host a modern website for your club, completely integrated with all of our tools.

The flat $999 per year fee includes hosting your site, all of our member billing tools, a customizable storefront, a reservation system for tennis courts and clubhouse rentals, a content management system for social events and club news, advertising / sponsorship tools, and our one-of-a-kind dashboard specifically created for Board Members of neighborhood swim and tennis clubs.

If switching over to a brand new site sounds like a lot of work, it’s not. Everything is set up by us, including the initial design, importing existing club members, product creation for your membership tiers (Family, Singles, etc.), and everything else to make the switchover as turn-key as possible.

Does PoolDues.com act as an intermediary for payments (i.e., do we take a cut of sales)?

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No, your club immediately receives full payment directly from PayPal whenever a member pays for anything. We do not receive any portion of any payment from your members.

We set up an incredible storefront and a powerful bookkeeping backend, but all payment processing is passed over to PayPal, one of the biggest and most trusted credit card and e-check payment processors in the world.

This also means your website/payment portal does not store any of the financial information for your members.

Our pool doesn’t accept PayPal (or any credit card processor) due to the 2.9% fees that PayPal charges. How does Pool Dues address that?

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Totally understandable. When someone purchases anything through your Pool Dues portal, we can optionally add on 3% labeled as “Service Fee,” “Process Fee,” “Tax,” or whatever label you want. Most people don’t even notice it. For those that do, faced with the alternative of writing a physical check when they would prefer to pay by credit card, most people just accept the extra fee.

It’s important to remember that not every member is able to pay by check at the time your club invoices them. If your club wants to get paid in February but you consistently have 50 members that won’t write a check until the day before Memorial Day weekend, then you need to give them more options to pay.

The price when adding a membership to the cart is still a nice even number like $550.  Some pools that currently accept PayPal decide to use buttons that include the total price with fees included. So visually people immediately see the price as $566.50, then wonder why the advertised membership price is $550. So, for example, in the image below, you can see how this fee could look if you choose to pass on the 3% charge to your members…

Paypal payments for neighborhood clubs or pools

 

Again, this fee is optional. Your club can simply accept the fees as the cost of doing business these days.  You can also include or exclude the fees on a per-item basis. So, for example, you could include the fee on One-Time Payments but exclude it on Yearly Recurring Payments (which would incentivize getting members on an automatic payment cycle).

As a non-profit business can’t we avoid PayPal fees somehow, like accept fee-less payments sent friend-to-friend?

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That would be nice, but no. You are still considered a business in PayPal’s eyes, and even as a non-profit, your pool is taking in money that far exceeds the limits of what can be received “friend to friend” (a fee-less way of transferring money between accounts).  PayPal isn’t stupid. They will notice multiple $550 payments being sent to the same account. Trying to circumvent fees in this manner will ultimately get your account in hot water.

If your pool is struggling, we understand trying to avoid fees (and passing them onto members). If your pool isn’t struggling, as a non-profit organization the better question is why are you trying to avoid them at all?

The pool is a community-run organization NOT trying to make a profit. Correct?  Ask your membership if they want the convenience of paying online with fees. Ask your Treasurer if they want the convenience of all money being accounted for electronically with easy-to-use reporting.

These days members that pay by check are the ones that should be charged an extra fee. It’s a hassle for accounting purposes, a hassle to deposit, and especially a hassle when a check gets lost in the mail.

Why should we use Paypal as a credit card / e-check processor for payments?

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For one, any credit card processor is going to charge about the same amount for fees. Paypal’s fees do get lower based on your monthly amount received. The standard 2.9% goes down to 2.5% if you receive over $3000 in a month, and 2.1% if over $10,000.

It’s also a brand people trust and a processor they keep recent. Most of your members have used Paypal before for online payments, and as such already have their credit cards and backup checking accounts connected to their accounts. This is important because if you do decide to offer a recurring Yearly payment option, your members are most likely already keeping their Paypal accounts up-to-date. For example, if their credit card’s security code changed in the last year, they’ve probably already updated that in their account because of another online purchase they made since the last time your club billed them.

What info do you need from us to get set up?

 

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Here’s what we need to set up your account…

  1. The PayPal email where your club receives funds. Don’t worry, we don’t need to login to your account. We don’t’ need your password, just the email address.

  2. Club name and website.

  3. What kind of memberships your club offers (e.g., Family, Couples, Singles) and the prices.

Optionally, we can do a mass import of your current members (which would save you a ton of time entering them in one at a time). This would give your current members access to the Member Dashboard to reserve a tennis court, rent the clubhouse, use the Member Directory, etc.

When is a good time to start using Pool Dues?

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Obviously, the earlier in the year the better, because you want to get as many new and current members as possible using it. The first club we implemented Pool Dues with started using it in late April, so a lot of their membership had already paid their dues for that year. What amazed us was that within the first 2 weeks, of the 20 members that paid online, half of them choose to setup an automatic Yearly Recurring payment!  

Pool Dues can also benefit your club year-round with our integrated tennis court reservation system, clubhouse rental system, increased sponsorship revenue, Member Directory, fundraising options, and more!

Can we do a slow roll out to test Pool Dues?

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We can go as quick or as slow as you want. If your Board isn’t ready for a complete website change, you are welcome to use PoolDues as a subdomain (for example,  yourclub.pooldues.com), and introduce prospective members to the club through that site. Facebook advertising is dirt cheap to small areas (for example, 2 miles from your club). You can send ad traffic to your fresh looking Pool Dues site and get new members signed up on the spot.

If you are like most neighborhood pools, your website is looking 15-20 years old (because it is)!

Think about what that says to prospective members. If they see a club equidistant away that has a more modern website, the assumption is that that club is a younger, more fun pool. Even if your facilities are better, people make decisions based on how the website makes your pool look – a good website makes your pool look good!

Make it a priority to get the ball rolling. If your club has two websites for a year – one for the current membership and shiny new one for targeting new members in your Facebook ads or other local advertising – you are headed in the right direction.

What sales export options are available?

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Your Treasurer can log in to the backend and choose from various export options to CSV. (CSV files can be imported into Excel, Numbers, etc.) You can export all sales or only particular dues, and you can filter by Start and End Date.

Does the Pool Dues Member Check-In app replace the need for our members to wear wristbands?

 

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Wristbands are always going to be important, especially early on in the summer, as an immediate identifier that separates member from gate-crasher. Your lifeguards are typically the only paid people at the pool during open hours, but their job is safety, not membership. Your guards should not be watching the front door to see who’s walking in, as their eyes should be on the pool. So having wristbands gives guards a chance to see who in the water is banded, and when they are off-the-stand they can see who’s around the pool area with or without a band.

The check-in app has some great features, but in terms of physically preventing someone from just walking through the front door, it is not an app for that. But neither is a paper guestbook. Your main line of defense against gate-crashers is always going to be a wristband.

Wristbands are dirt cheap and the Board Member Dashboard of your Pool Dues site includes a page to show you who EXACTLY gets a wristband for the upcoming summer. We sort it all out for you.

Also keep in mind that if you station a check-in kiosk (ideally an iPad running our app) at the pool, it will help scare off gate-crashers. Appearances are everything!

What if a member can’t pay online?

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We understand clubs have members of all ages and tech-savviness. Millennials aren’t even sure if they have checks, whereas older members will insist on paying by check. For members that do pay by check, your Treasurer can add a manual payment into our system with their backend login.

Manually entered payments will trigger the same welcome emails that members who paid online receive. They will also be issued a check-in PIN for the email entered with the manual payment.

When entering a manual payment, your Treasurer can decide whether to enter a price of $0.00 or the regular price of membership. If the regular price is entered, any reporting run on membership totals would include that amount. Treasurers may want to set the price to $0.00 if they only want to run reports that include actual online payments.

What if we start using Pool Dues when some members have already paid for the upcoming pool season?

 

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There’s two easy options here. Your Treasurer can create a back-dated manual payment, essentially a fake payment, that doesn’t charge the member. The member will then get access to the Member Dashboard accessible via their email and 4-digit PIN, where they have full privileges to the site (tennis court reservation, etc.).

If you have a lot of members that need manual payments, the second option would be to send us a CSV file of every member’s First Name, Last Name, and Email Address.  We can do a mass import and create a manual payment for each. For the payment date, we can use the day of the import or back-date it. So, for example, if you want the renewal date to be February 1 of the next year, we could set that.

Once a member is in the Pool Dues system, either through a membership purchase they initiated or a manual payment your Treasurer created, they will receive automated emails reminding them that their membership is due or expired.

Once a membership has expired, they no longer have member privileges so, for example, they can’t reserve a tennis court.

This will get members paying their dues on time for a change!

 

What happens if we use Pool Dues for our club then cancel a year or two later?

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You can cancel at any time. Although your site would be closed, any recurring payments set up through it would still be in effect. When one of your members creates an automatic yearly payment profile, it is initiated through us, but ultimately it’s done through PayPal. So this profile would still be in effect and PayPal would continue billing them for you.

Once you see revenue increase from miscellaneous sales and more members retained through recurring memberships or our automated payment reminder emails, we are confident that Pool Dues will become an essential part of your club running smoothly.

What if we need some help creating a new payment or with something else?

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No problem! We provide clubs with an ongoing service which includes immediate help for anything!

The Board Member dashboard is also incredibly easy to use.  So you have complete control over your store, the front page, news, events, tennis grid settings, etc.

We also include video tutorials in your Board Member dashboard that go over everything.

How do we keep people from exiting the Member Check-In app in kiosk mode?

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That’s easy! Long ago, Apple figured that businesses would need this option, so they’ve included built-in settings that are ideal for kiosks.  Tap here to read our recommended settings.

How do we create a Paypal account for our Swim and Tennis Club?

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That’s easy!  Go here for more details.

Do we have to stop using SwimTopia or Team Unify for our swim meets?

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Nope! We recognize that SwimTopia and Team Unify both have important features for swim teams, swim meets, pool records, and other useful swim team stuff. With a Pool Dues site, we can link to your preferred swim team site. So, members and swim team parents can go to your Pool Dues site for things like paying for swim team, and they can follow a link to teamunify.com or swimtopia.com to engage with swim meet information.


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When we aren't at the pool, we are writing code in the Atlanta area. 🍑