Author: Curtis Blake, BSU student
Are you from the South Shore?
Yes, I grew up in Whitman, Massachusetts.
Why did you choose fitness as your business?
This building was a previous business before and later became his partner in the business. Then split the partnership and that is how Hanover Fitness was born. Kept the current building that is now Hanover Fitness.
How did you come up with the name Hanover Fitness?
I thought long and hard about it but, it kind of just was just we are in Hanover we are promoting fitness, bang. Hanover Fitness.
What year did you first open Hanover Fitness?
September 2010 or September of 2011.
What was the toughest thing you went through when first starting Hanover Fitness?
Running the business end of the business, it is not my area of expertise, I like to train people, I like to get fit, I like to talk about nutrition. Sometimes the bills come into the bin and the light company comes calling and says that you haven't paid your bill, that wasn't that high on my priority, not that the money didn't exist but the actual function of running the business. I took a backseat in the beginning and then I realized that if I didn't do that, I would not have a business. All of a sudden I am on my own and I have to decide do I listen to Comcast or Fios or try to get my bill down or make sure I pay the bill on time or should I have water bottles or have a flow water bubbler. All of those business decisions I had never handled before. I was a trainer, so that was the difficult part of starting. Now that it has been 9 or 10 years it is pretty seamless. I got in under control.
What is the toughest part of having a business in 2020?
I think business, in general, is always the toughest part, bringing in new customers there is always going to be attrition. It has been proven over the years, my membership, not training, my membership has always remained almost constant, but I am willing to bet that from the beginning that 10% of the original people are even here. The revenue has remained the same because for every customer I add I get another customer that says I don't want to be a member here anymore. Keeping the membership and training is kind of a sales business where people come and go if you don't have someone to train or you don't have someone who comes to do a workout you are out of business. I have been very lucky with my personal training clients over the years they are very consistent. I haven't had to try and mine for new business. Occasionally, I will have a client refer them to me and that is how it has kind of always been. Looking for new people, in general, is what the biggest problem is.
What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
Referrals, very few people walk in off of the street. Many people are a friend of a friend or someone I train lost 40 pounds and ask what the heck have you been doing? I see Leo at Hanover Fitness, and they come in. The vast business of my business is referrals. Most of my new business is college-aged kids and they tell their friends they come to Hanover Fitness. We are the anti YMCA. We don't have a pool, or a spa, no babysitting no sauna, no steam. So, when people want to come to lift weights their friends say come to Hanover Fitness, we can press the code at any time and lift whenever we want.
Has a website or social media played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
The website didn't work out because I didn't maintain it. It would have an outdated Zumba schedule. I decided after I hit the 3-year domain to stop using the website. I have a personal Facebook page that I will put anything on there. There is a Hanover Fitness Facebook page, but it is run by another trainer, I rarely post on the Hanover Fitness Facebook page. I am kind of a dinosaur when it comes to social media. It would probably be very beneficial but in this business, if I had a bunch of memberships here, I have to keep a balance. Student membership is $25 a month and I want to strike a fine line between the number of memberships I give out versus the number of personal training clients I have. Depending on who the trainer is it ranges from $40-50 per hour. We have a couple of powerlifters here and I thinking of having a separate area for them so they can be able to use chalk and have their area to lift.
If you were to look 6 months to a year into the future where do you see your business?
Probably exactly where it has been for the last 9 years, this business is very cyclical because with personal training people have to physically be here. If you are collecting memberships on the 15th of each month. Planet Fitness' model lets sign them up for $10 a month and pray they never come. With personal training, if they don't come, we don't get paid. With school vacations and holidays, personal training drops off. It is a bell curve above the line and a bell curve below the line. Over the year, it gets to the line.