Hunt Fitness was born almost seven years ago, in December 2016. Back then, it was just Charlotte working alone, doing small group personal training, with a maximum of 6 people in a group session, going back and forth between two gyms.
The first year was busy but a big success and Charlotte remembers spending a lot of time juggling queries from clients who would text her about sessions and schedules. “It ended up being a bit of a pain!” she laughs. Charlotte was keen to open her own studio and quickly realized she’d need a booking system to manage her schedule more easily, give more flexibility to clients, and free her up to focus on her PT sessions. She began to look into tools on the market, such as Mindbody, another Trainerize platform, and, of course, TeamUp. “I got in touch with TeamUp and was pretty much sold right away!”
The TeamUp experience
It was around the time that the studio opened that Charlotte started using TeamUp. The studio may have been “tiny” as Charlotte describes it, but it marked a huge milestone in Hunt Fitness’ trajectory: a brand new location with an online booking platform.
“I got in touch with TeamUp and was pretty much sold right away!”
Setup was straightforward. “I think the biggest thing that attracted me to TeamUp was the simplicity of it,” Charlotte says. She found the chat function especially useful for quickly solving any teething problems, and always received helpful responses from the help team in a couple of hours. “I really liked the web chat - how you could type in a message and within a matter of hours an actual human would get in touch to go through everything with you or send you a video with what you need.”
Immediately, the new setup became a game changer in how Charlotte ran her business. “It was super easy to manage all the PT sessions,” she says. Now freer to focus on tailoring her sessions, Charlotte was able to increase the number of members and hired her first part-time staff member.
She credits TeamUp’s pricing structure as playing a major role in enabling Hunt Fitness to scale up. “As we continued to grow, I really liked how TeamUp would grow with my business. If I’d had to pay the same price for when I had around 50 clients as I do now, I probably wouldn’t have chosen TeamUp. But everything is relative. Now that we’ve grown in size, obviously we can accommodate for that fee. That’s a reason why I’ve wanted to stay with TeamUp.”
“I think the biggest thing that attracted me to TeamUp was the simplicity of it.”
Navigating a global pandemic and beyond
Her main focus was on continuing to grow the business and foster a strong community. And then the pandemic hit. Thankfully, the TeamUp platform proved especially useful during lockdown, allowing Charlotte to move her whole business online and enabling her members to continue to look after themselves throughout the pandemic. “We managed to maintain all our members throughout lockdown, which was amazing. It was a challenge and we put everything into it,” she smiles.
Following lockdown, Hunt Fitness’ success continued to grow, and so Charlotte was able to further expand her team of fitness professionals, this time recruiting full-time staff members. “I wanted to give back to the industry. Typically in the UK, people working in the fitness industry are given zero-hour contracts. It can be unstable and it’s not necessarily a career for life. To me, it was important to offer people a full-time role with a pension, holiday allowance, and other perks.” Hunt Fitness now has five members of staff: Charlotte and one other head coach, plus three regular coaches.
An interesting detail about Hunt Fitness that helps it stand out from the competition is that it's a mirror-free zone. The reason is to keep the experience about feeling good and getting stronger, instead of feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable as members try new things. Charlotte says of this decision, "For me it was a no brainer. We want people to feel non-intimidated, enjoy exercise and focus on how they feel rather than what they look like. We as coaches are there to support them and ensure that they are moving in a way that feels good for them and is efficient. We predominantly work with beginners, people who have never lifted weights before and people returning to exercise, so we want them to feel comfortable as soon as they walk in rather than self-conscious and no mirrors is one of the ways in which we do that."
TeamUp was especially useful during lockdown, allowing Charlotte to move her business online so members could look after themselves throughout the pandemic.
Favorite features and functionalities
Things are going so smoothly, it’s hard for Charlotte to imagine running her gym without TeamUp. “I’m on TeamUp all the time. I mean, I don’t think there’s an hour that I’m in work where I don’t go on TeamUp!” She continues to manage her financial reporting separately as she has done since she set up her company. However, she relies fully on the TeamUp platform to deal with the operational side of the business, and praises the ease and user-friendliness of the scheduling tool. “The biggest thing is the schedule and managing people coming into sessions, and how simple it is. My head coach now tracks all the attendance and all my coaches mark attendance which is really important making sure that we can contact our members.”
The simple scheduling and report tracking has dramatically increased the ability for staff to detect and reach out to any members who are attending a little less frequently than before. “What we don’t want is people who don't come to our gym. It’s so important for us as a small business to have people who come to our gym, so the slipping away report is one our head coach looks at every single day.”
TeamUp helps business owners safely collect and store import documents in one space for existing members and makes them readily accessible for new clients interested in joining your facility. “All our medical forms and waiver forms are on the platform and linked so that any new member who starts can get quickly set up.”
Simple scheduling and report tracking dramatically increased the ability for staff to detect and contact members who are attending less frequently than before.
The platform also simplifies manual tasks, taking the pressure off staff at the gym. “The other functionality I like is the bulk cancel option. For the last three years, we’ve canceled all sessions between Christmas and new year. We’ve shut as a business so we don’t have to do that manually. We just click bulk cancel and send everyone an email telling them what’s going on. Same if a coach is sick or if I need to cancel a class, which we try to avoid, we can send everyone an email with the exact reasons why and they can respond to that email if they like. It’s really useful if you need to cancel sessions last minute or move things around, and you can tell people exactly why you’re moving things.”
Charlotte is also a big fan of the Zoom integration “We use Zoom for strategy sessions with our clients, where we do a 30 minute check-in. We attract busy professionals, so if they’re busy, they can choose to do it over Zoom.”
Boosting success with TeamUp’s flexible software
Without a doubt, the flexibility offered by the TeamUp platform has streamlined operations at Hunt Fitness, saving staff time and stress and catering better to customer needs. “The biggest thing for us is the flexibility of people booking into sessions. People don't have to come at a set time on a set day. This feature is a massive USP in that area. Having a system like TeamUp has enabled us to have that flexibility and just manipulate it, based on how many hours we want people to be able to book before the class. A year ago, we wanted to make sure it was at least four hours in advance. Now we’ve always got coaches in, so it’s okay to have it two hours before the session.”
She continues “The USP of my business is the flexibility of the booking system. I wouldn't have that as a USP if it wasn’t for TeamUp”. For that reason, Charlotte hasn’t needed to use any other platform and is keen to recommend TeamUp to colleagues. “When I do business coaching, I always ask ‘Why aren’t you using TeamUp?’ Many people are spending so much money using other systems that don't even have half the stuff that TeamUp has to offer”. In particular, she likes the accessibility and how it can be used and managed by all staff members. “The biggest thing for me is that all my team has access to TeamUp. They can all be added as a staff member - it’s their platform as much as it’s mine.”
The platform is so intuitive and easy to use that Charlotte set it up on her own and onboarded her team. “3 out of 4 of my coaches are in their 20s. If i say ‘Download TeamUp’, they know how to use it in a day. But also our clients are in their 50s, 60s and even 70s, and they can be worried about having to download an app and how to use it. I download it with them and once they’ve been on it, they also find it easy. If I had a really complex app, my members would not be able to use it. They need to know how to use it. It needs to be simple enough. For me, if TeamUp went more complex, I think that would be a negative as there’s almost too much sometimes with some apps.”
Sharing wisdom through business coaching
In addition to being the head coach at Hunt Fitness, Charlotte also mentors at the Fitness Business Development Agency (FBDA) in London. She recalls her first encounter with the world of fitness business coaching fondly. “I was excited. I was maximizing. I was fully booked, a PT in a gym. Everyone was looking at me as I was so busy, on the phone, answering questions. But at the same time I was thinking okay, but what happens now? I actually don’t have any more hours in my day.”
It was at that point that one of her clients recommended hiring a business coach to help. Unsure what business coaching was, Charlotte got involved with the Fitness Marketing Agency (FMA) where she met Nicky Sehgal from the FBDA. Nicky stepped in to offer some free expert support that really helped Charlotte structure and track her finances so she knew what was coming in and going out, and when. In just 6 months, they’d turned the whole business around so it was profitable. “We continued to grow and have more success. In fact, this year, August, normally a really quiet month for the fitness industry, was actually our biggest month ever in business. Having that guidance has massively helped. I’m now coached by James, who is part of the FBDA team, and now I’ve come on board and I coach fitness businesses with Nicky as well.”
She appreciates the opportunity to use her own experience to support other business owners. “The biggest challenge was me trying to grow my business. When you become a business owner there is so much you don't know - you don't really have a boss or anyone to help you to deal with things as you're the boss. There’s no one to ask for support or advice and you can feel a bit lost. Having been part of it and seeing the benefit with my business, I’m now able to give that back to the industry. What gets you from 1 to 50 members, what gets you from 50 to 100, to 150, to 200, different things are going to take you to the next level, so how can you have guidance at every level from someone who’s done it or can look at your business from a bird’s eye view that’s not operationally in it every day, that’s massively helpful.
It’s been really amazing, especially as a female in the fitness industry. There are a lot more women in America that run fitness businesses but in the UK there aren’t that many, so it’s really cool that there’s Maxine and myself with the FBDA. I like how Nicky has ensured that women are represented as much in the team as men.”
What’s next for Hunt Fitness and TeamUp
Charlotte plans to keep using TeamUp to lighten the load as her gym scales up. “I just love it, I love the platform! I think the biggest thing I haven't optimized is if there was a new member ready to buy, I haven't used the functionality for them to create themselves as a member on TeamUp and book their first session. A lot of the people who are new tend to come directly to us.”
She’s positive about the future and what it means for Hunt Fitness. “When I first started, I had less than 50 members. I’m now at 150 members and at every level, TeamUp has grown with me. Regardless of whether you're starting out or you're established, TeamUp has helped me at all of those levels.
As I look now to grow to 250 members, I’m not looking at any other platform because I know TeamUp can accommodate it”.
We wish Charlotte luck in achieving her latest goal - and with her commitment and dedication, we expect it will happen sooner rather than later!
“The USP of my business is the flexibility of the booking system. I wouldn't have that as a USP if it wasn’t for TeamUp”
Charlotte Price is the owner and founder of Hunt Fitness in Leighton Buzzard, UK. For more information about the facility and classes available, visit here. You can also follow their activity on Instagram and Facebook.
Nicky Sehgal is the founder of the Fitness Business Development Agency (FBDA). For more information about this organization, visit here.