Author: Shelby Crosby, BSU student
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Gleason, who is a personal trainer for his own business TRG Performance Training. Tim’s business is located in the U at Starland in Hanover, MA, where he helps his clients reach their goals towards fitness and health. At TRG Performance Training, Tim offers a 1300+ foot studio, as well as use of the turf and the cage during training sessions. TRG offers other services, such as group training with a max of 8 people, private one on one training sessions, and recovery and rehab programs. In our interview, I learned a lot about Tim’s business as well as his personal life.
So, let’s start with are you from this local area?
Yes, I grew up in the South Shore area and went to Bridgewater State University.
Tell me about your business. Why did you choose this line of business?
Growing up I always loved sports and fitness and pursued that interest through college. I fell in love with Dr. Robinson, who teaches physical education and health science at BSU. My passion for health science grew, as well as my interest in learning about the human body, and I ended up getting my masters in this field. As far as how my business started, I have always wanted my own. I started as a trainer at the Kingsbury Club training college athletes and wanted to go out on my own.
When did you start your business?
I started my business 10 years ago in 2010.
What was it that made you want to start this business?
I have always loved helping people reach their fitness goals or become a better athlete. I used to work at a gym as a trainer and loved it so much that I decided to pursue my passion for it and create my own business.
What was the toughest thing you went through when opening? What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
One of my biggest obstacles was when I opened this one location in Marshfield. I put a lot of money and work into rebuilding the floor and area to make it great quality, and out of nowhere they told me that they sold the building and I needed to leave. I ended up having to find a new location, and it actually turned out to be better. I relocated to the U at Starland, which brought in more clients and other athletes. I have an amazing wife and family that have always inspired me to keep going when I started and still to this day.
If you had to start over from day 1 what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
If I could change anything, I would have hired more consistent trainers to train with. Many clients would like to work with me, as it is my own business, and it can be difficult to attend to all clients by myself.
What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
At first, the toughest part was the unknown because gyms were closed due to COVID-19, and even when they opened it wasn’t until the 3rd phase. This actually attracted even more business because people were home and gyms weren’t open, leading to more clients trying to do virtual training. I ended up doing virtual training from home and I felt like I didn’t have enough time in the day. I had to change my business model from clients coming to me at my gym to going to their homes and doing it that way.
If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
The truth- I take the approach to my clients with the knowledge that everyone is different. No one is treated the same. I take what my clients need to work on or improve and specialize it to that specific person. I use their body type and other factors to figure out what isn’t working and make it more personal. I listen attentively to how my clients are feeling and use it to my advantage so that I am able to help them.
What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
I attract new clients through word of mouth and referrals from current clients. I am also next door to a physical therapist, so I refer clients to him and he does the same for me. Working in the U at Starland brings in business as well.
Has internet technology (website, online ads, social media, etc) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
To be honest, social media has not had a huge impact on growing my business. Word of mouth is key for my business and the way I operate it. I could do more online but I am not tech savvy and my business is always growing. I now sell apparel and it sells quick.
Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the right tools?
I think internet technology could play a bigger role in any business. Social media platforms definitely play a huge part in helping businesses bring in new clients; however, where my business is small, word of mouth is how I would like to continue growing the business. I think if I were to expand I would definitely look into utilizing internet technology to help bring business in.
If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
I have been looking to expand and get other trainers as well as group training. I would also like to incorporate a rehab cardio section and offer some classes, such as Zumba, Pilates, yoga, etc.
If you could, would you increase or decrease your workload, step away and be more a manager, passive owner? Why?
I would say that overall, yes, I do feel overworked. I am currently happier than I have ever been because I am to spend more time with my family. I train a lot of students after school and usually do late clinics, but since sports in school are not an option right now, I get to go home and spend time with my kids. It is nice to be able to put them to bed instead of coming home late. I don’t get many breaks and haven’t since I started my business 10 years ago, but now I am able to make my own schedule. This has also helped a few other trainers that can rent my space while I’m not there.
Is there anything else that you would like to add or share with potential new clients?
I have a business alliance with Peak Physical Therapy, where new clients at TRG will receive a 30 minute injury prevention evaluation to screen for potential issues that may hinder their training. Additionally, if a TRG athlete encounters a potential injury during their training Peak Physical Therapy will perform free injury screenings to determine the issue and initiate therapy if needed. I think that this is a helpful tool that all new clients should take advantage of.