Breaking up with your Payroll Provider

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Posted by Tom Howard on Nov 10, 2009 8:26:00 AM

Dear Payroll Provider,

I can't go on living this lie...there is a confession I must make, I don't love working with you anymore. When we first met, you promised me the world, you told me how important I was to you and promised how you would make my life easier. These days, I feel like just another case number to you. Look, we can still be friends, I just don't want to process with you anymore.

Putting up with mediocrity?

Many clubs tolerate broken promises, inferior functionality and poor service for years because they believe the transition to a new payroll company will be too difficult. The perspective is that it is easier to accept the problems than to make a change and fear of losing data from years past. The result is the club ends up feeling like it is a hostage to the payroll provider.

Breaking up is not hard to do...

We are often asked, "how do I end the relationship with my previous payroll vendor"? Not to worry, companies change payroll companies every day and despite the old cliché - breaking up is not really that hard to do. However, the steps and timing you follow can either cause or prevent some headaches down the road.

First off, in nearly all cases, you have the right to terminate your  service without notice. Rarely, if ever, does a payroll company have a contract with its customers. If you are approached by a payroll company that wants your club to obligate itself to a long term contract, see this as a big red flag. This same logic applies to similar providers such as time keeping/labor management, human resource management, or other related service companies.

The truChanging Payroll Providersth is these providers are not making a large up front capital investment in new equipment or people to provide service to you so they should not require a long term commitment. Put your club in the position of having your payroll partner "earn" your business every month and keep your options open.

When is it time to call it quits?

Timing is everything and though you expect the best from your current provider, we should be prepared for the worst. With this in mind, our advice is not to advise your current provider you are making a change until after you have successfully processed your first payroll with ClubPay.

The rationale here is to continue to have access to your legacy system as long as possible in case you need to retrieve additional information from it. If you are running a locally installed solution (server or PC based), your legacy vendor will most likely not deactivate your access for some time, if ever.

If you are running a web based system, they may deactivate it a bit quicker. Either way, it never hurts to ask for them to keep access open for a few months in case you need to run some reports. It never hurts to ask, the worst that will happen is they say no.

Keep good records...

If you are not already doing so, be sure to keep a log of all of your payroll registers. You can keep paper log but preferably these should be kept electronically. If available, keep them in a common format such as excel or .csv so that you can easily pull and import information if required.

Shortly before transitioning to your new system, you should also go into your legacy system and run copies of every report you have access to. Err on the side of caution. Although you may not ever need most of these reports, better safe than sorry. Some systems grant broad access to reports while others are very restrictive. The point is, get what you can and get it in a exportable format if possible.

What is a retention team?

Many of the larger payroll companies have actually created "retention teams" to try to "save" clients that intend to leave. The basic premise is to approach unhappy customers, create fear around a change and offer to discount prices to keep your club as  a client. How pathetic is this? My advice to you is to not work with any company that even has a retention team in place. The investment in this team should be made into improving service so that a retention team is not needed.

outsource payroll implementationData conversion and professional services...

Finally, make sure your new vendor will take the lead role in helping you make a seamless conversion. Do enough research to determine how complete and systematic the implementation plan offered by your vendor is. Ask hard questions! Who takes the lead in the conversion? Are implementation templates available? Will demographic data be converted? If data can't be converted, who will hand key - you or the vendor?

Most important - do not take your vendor's word regarding ease of conversion. They are trying to sell you something and are not going to level with you about any potential issues. Insist on talking to at least 3 clients, in your industry, that the vendor have gone through an implementation within the last year. Make this a demand, not a request.


Topics: outsource, tom howard, club management software, club management, labor management, club payroll, reduce costs, save time, changing payroll, customer service

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